Photographing gels

Tony Hodge tph at
Thu Jul 27 03:24:19 EST 1995

In article <3v62be$bp4 at> Jim Hutchins,
hutchins at writes:
>Subject: Re: Photographing gels
>From: Jim Hutchins, hutchins at
>Date: 26 Jul 1995 18:42:54 GMT
>>Gordon Betts (betts at wrote:
>: I am having difficulty photographing my agarose gels.  The photos
>: don't look good and you can't see the DNA nearly as well as you
>: can on the transilluminator.  I am using an Ultra-Lum(R) transillum.
>:  and photographing with a Polaroid (R) DS34 camera, yellow #8 filter,
>: 1/4 sec, f22 with a 20 second developing time.
>: Any tips on getting decent photos, preferably publication quality?
>We use a set purchased from Fotodyne which consists of a Wratten #2B
>on the gel side and a Wratten #22 (orange) on the camera side.  The filters
>can be purchased separately; I think the price is about the same either
>way.  If you're in a hurry, a larger photo store will have them.

Yep, that's the way to go.  To amplify: the 2B is a general UV
filter and the 22 is a cut-off filter to take wavelengths shorter
than the fluorescence out of the picture.  You can check this out in
tables of Wratten Filter transmissions - I think I saw them in the
Merck Index.  At my last lab we pushed the orange filter up to a 23B
or possibly more (if memory serves) to get an even cleaner
background with mid-range UV tubes and transilluminator filter.
Tony P Hodge
Structural Studies Division
MRC-LMB,  Hills Road 
Cambridge,  CB2  2QH,  UK
Tel (01223) 402260
Fax (01223) 213556
tph at

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