Filter advice

GreinerStudio

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I am interested in purchasing a filter to enhance my astrophotography landscape efforts. It appears there are two schools of though: (1) IR/UV filter or (2) Didymium filter. Any thoughts or recommendations on type and/or brand without breaking the bank (< $75)?

It appears K&F, ICE and Haida all make some great Didymium options.
 

ToxicTabasco

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For night sky landscapes some use specialized filters to cut the noise pollution, and to tame the warm colors from the horizon lights for better balance of the lighting from sky to land.

Some do like the effect of the filters. However, adding more glass to a lens at night under the stars with long exposures and high ISOs can have a negative impact on the outcome. But, a good outcome will depend more on how well the exposure is. With the night sky landscapes, there is almost no room for focus and exposure error. Because there is almost no color to work with, and shadow details that will be lost the exposure must be optimal for the editing that it will need to go through.

Neverthess, The Youtuber "LonelySpeck", started selling his custom Milky Way filter for the night sky a few years ago. Anyway, good luck on your night sky filter venture.
 

Petrochemist

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I am interested in purchasing a filter to enhance my astrophotography landscape efforts. It appears there are two schools of though: (1) IR/UV filter or (2) Didymium filter. Any thoughts or recommendations on type and/or brand without breaking the bank (< $75)?

It appears K&F, ICE and Haida all make some great Didymium options.
If there's low pressure sodium lighting still being used in the area around where you'll be taking photos the Didymium filter will make a big difference. It will have little effect on other street lighting or sky glow.

There are other filters made which will work with other common sources of light pollution, but sadly they tend to rather expensive unless you get them in 1'25" size - as far as I can see this size is only really useful if shooting through a telescope. There's quite a selection like this under a selection of names, I would recommend checking on an astronomy forum, as there are 2" models that could be used with a camera. There are also clip in filters that go behind the lens for some cameras some of these are very interesting for astronomy but I think all are at least double your listed budget :-(

I doubt either IR/UV filter will help at all both these sets of wavelengths are strongly blocked by the hot mirror in your camera.
 

GreinerStudio

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If there's low pressure sodium lighting still being used in the area around where you'll be taking photos the Didymium filter will make a big difference. It will have little effect on other street lighting or sky glow.

There are other filters made which will work with other common sources of light pollution, but sadly they tend to rather expensive unless you get them in 1'25" size - as far as I can see this size is only really useful if shooting through a telescope. There's quite a selection like this under a selection of names, I would recommend checking on an astronomy forum, as there are 2" models that could be used with a camera. There are also clip in filters that go behind the lens for some cameras some of these are very interesting for astronomy but I think all are at least double your listed budget :-(

I doubt either IR/UV filter will help at all both these sets of wavelengths are strongly blocked by the hot mirror in your camera.
What types of filters are you referring to that block other light?
 

Petrochemist

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What types of filters are you referring to that block other light?
There are many variants most being called either UHC (Ultra high contrast) or CLS (Clear sky).
Most are available as clip in filters from Astronomik (I think their name reflects their prices)
STC also do a clip in filter specifically blocking Sodium & mercury wavelengths.
These filters typically block relatively narrow wavelength regions specific to sources of light pollution.

If your interested in Nebulae there are also narrowband filters that only allow the relevant wavelengths H alpha is a popular one (really needing a converted camera as its at the edge of the visual band, borderline NIR), OIII is I believe the next most popular which is in the green region. But they'll be no good for astro-landscape type shots.

I haven't got any in sizes above 1.25" so using them without my bulky telescope is going to be problematic!
 

Mack

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I just bought a STC Clip filter Astro for the E-M1.2.

However, aside from being very small for my fat fingers, has anyone got one and how did you manage to get it snapped into the E-1.2 body? :confused-53:

I watched their videos (in Chinese) and they seem to snap in when the girl presses on it (with her tiny fingers), but mine seems overly hard or I am doing it wrong someplace.

Am now wondering if it fits other (Older??) Olympus bodies better, but I dunno.
 

Petrochemist

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I have one for a Sony A7 - which I guess must be significantly bigger - but it's still rather fiddly...
I think there's a definite knack to them!
 

Mack

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I have one for a Sony A7 - which I guess must be significantly bigger - but it's still rather fiddly...
I think there's a definite knack to them!
Thanks. Yep, it is sort of fiddly being so small.

I did get it installed but it took more effort to keep it flat while pressing it into the E-M1.2. The "spring loaded" clip is rather strong too, but least it's installed. Helps to have longer fingernails or maybe a plastic tweezers with a flat end. It sits right behind the lens communication pin area and not further back "in the wall of the shutter curtain" per their instructions. The bottom two corner of the filter glass sit right near the ends of the communication pins. That glass must be really thin (i.e. fragile?).

Now to figure out the exposure using it. It has a cyan/green appearance. I tried out the moon at the normal sunny rule, or about ISO 200, 1/200 @ f/14 and it was way too dark with the filter - maybe 2-3 stops. Color correction will be another matter, or the color/WB settings in the camera. Visually on the EVF, I do see more stars that with the naked eye so it does seem to cut some of the city light out.

The added filter may call for an astro tracker too given the need for a longer exposure. It also says to "use a 14mm and up lens" due to angular coverage so I don't know why a wider lens wouldn't work like the 12mm or 8mm fisheye with it. I got an iOptron SkyGuider Pro set in my next GAS attack.

Whole new area for me. We'll see....


Aside, I was just watching Google's new intro video of their upcoming Pixel 4 phone which will do astro work with their NightSight feature. It will also do tracking over 8.5% of the screen too (I think 4-5 minute exposures without star trails.). Guy demo'd it by setting it up against a rock for a shot of the Milky Way. They expect it - or next year's model - to encompass a 19 stop of dynamic range or the moon plus a normally lit moonlight landscape. This cell phone camera stuff's AI is surpassing the DSLR guys quick.

 
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