URTH Night Filter Plus+
If your passion is astrophotography or night photography in general, then you would have at some stage heard about the Night Filter – sometimes referred to as a Light Pollution Filter. We’ve owned the NiSi Natural Night Filter for a couple of years and must admit that it’s not a filter we have used that often. We primarily purchased the filter to demonstrate it to our large Meetup group on Photo Walks.
When Urth rebranded in late 2020, they introduced the URTH Night Filter Plus+ to their line-up. It is available as a circular filter (screw-in), and as a 75mm or 100mm Square Filter used with a Square Filter Holder. Although Urth produces its own Square Filter Holder, the square version will fit into any brand of filter holder. Click the link. if you want to read our review of the Urth Square Filter Holder.
If you’ve never heard of Urth, you may be more familiar with the brand Gobe. We’ve been using Gobe/Urth Filters for quite a while now and love their quality, price, and contribution to the environment through tree planting in some of the most deforested regions of the world.
Urth, was kind enough to send us a 77mm Circular Night Filter Plus+ for this review. Please read our disclaimer at the bottom of this post.
WHAT IS A NIGHT FILTER?
A Night Filter is primarily designed to block the wavelengths of light sources such as mercury vapour, sodium and other lights that are often used as streetlights. Generally, these lights are usually yellow/orange and are the primary cause of light pollution around cities. Needless to say, this type of filter is really only suitable to use at night.
DO YOU NEED A NIGHT FILTER?
Well, technically – No. You can achieve the same results in post-processing to a degree, however, the Night Filter will do all your heavy lifting in-camera and save you heaps of time. Everyone that we have met that uses a Night Filter raves about them and would not shoot any night photography without one in cases where there is light pollution in the sky or a variety of different lighting in a night scene.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
As with all the Urth circular filters, the product arrives in a mid-grey square recyclable box. If you are going to recycle the box take a few moments to register your product to plant 5 trees in a deforested region of the world. Your unique code resides on the inside top flap of the box.
The filter is housed securely in a black circular tin container. These tins are great but will not be ideal for everyone to carry around as they are cumbersome and if you carry several filters then they will take up significant space in your camera bag. We prefer to use the URTH Lens Filter Caps in the field. These are compact and several filters of the same thread size can be stacked. Also included in the box is a microfibre cleaning cloth.
Above: The Urth Night Filter Plus+ and Cleaning Cloth (the cloth is folded and 4 times the size pictured)
The URTH Circular Night Filter Plus+ filter has the same ultra-slim magnalium* rim design that is prevalent with all the new Urth circular filters. As per usual the inner rim markings denote the URTH brand, the thread size, and the number of layers of nano-coating on the filter (in this instance it is 20L or 20 layers). On the outer edge of the rim is simply ‘Night’ denoting that it is a Night Filter.
*Magnalium is an aluminium alloy with 5% magnesium and 95% aluminium. Alloys with small amounts of magnesium (about 5%) exhibit greater strength, greater corrosion resistance, and lower density than pure aluminium – Wikipedia
The filter has the Plus+ quality rating which is Urth’s premium quality range. The optical glass is manufactured with Neodymium Glass which gives it its violet colour. In addition, as mentioned above, it has 20 layers of nano-coating which give it better protection against water, oil and scratches. The nano-coating also provides a higher maximum light transmission and a more consistent transmission curve resulting in sharper images, finer colours and greater depth.
The filter is double-threaded meaning there are threads on both sides of the filter. One thread screws onto the lens while the other thread facing outwards allows another filter to be attached to it. Please Note: we never recommend stacking filters for fear of vignetting, however, as these filters are ultra-slim rims you may want to test them at different focal lengths to see if it vignettes on your lens. On our Full Frame sensor camera stacking two slim-rim filters has slight vignetting at 24mm but this has disappeared by about 28-30mm. With the camera in APS-C mode at these focal lengths, naturally, there is no vignetting due to the x1.5 or x1.6 crop factor (if you are shooting on an ultra-wide-angle lens on an APS-C or Micro Four Thirds sensor camera we would suggest you test for vignetting).
For best results when using the filter always make sure that it is clean and free of any fingerprints. This can be achieved using a blower brush for removing larger particles, cleaning fluid that will not damage nano-coated optical glass, and a microfibre cleaning cloth. Urth produces a Glass Cleaning Kit which contains all these items in a handy travel-ready recycled nylon case.
HOW TO USE THE FILTER
Like any circular screw-in filter, it is best used without any other filters attached to your lens. This is not a filter that you would normally need to combine with another filter anyway. Therefore, before adding this filter to your lens, you should remove any existing filters such as a UV, C-PL (Polarizer) etc. Once attached, this filter will not have any effect on your autofocus, however, it will increase your exposure by 1-stop.
WHO WOULD USE THIS FILTER?
- Those that love shooting at night when there is a lot of mixed lighting
- Astro photographers that want to reduce the amount of light pollution in their images
Below are some sample images using the 77mm Urth Circular Night Filter Plus+. The images are straight out of the camera and have only been straightened and the lens profile has been applied in Lightroom. All images were taken on the Full-Frame sensor Sony A7RIII with a 24-105 f/4 lens using AWB (Auto White Balance). More sample images coming soon.
Above: No Filter
Above: With the Circular URTH Night Filter Plus+
Above: No Filter
Above: With the Circular URTH Night Filter Plus+
The circular Urth Night Filter Plus+ is available for lenses with thread diameters from 37mm to 95mm. The price ranges from USD$69.00 to USD$165.00 (less 15% when you use our discount code). The filter is also available for the Urth Square 75mm Filter Holder USD$65.00) and Urth Square 100mm Filter Holder (USD$85.00). If you don’t already own a filter holder then check out our review of the Urth Square Filter Holder.
THE FINAL WORD
The URTH Night Filter Plus+ filter is a great addition to any outdoor photographer’s kit (with the exception of genres such as wedding, portrait, sports, and product photographers). If you love shooting nighttime cityscapes then this filter is a very handy addition to your kit. Astrophotographers will also love this filter although we have not tested the filter for these types of shots yet.
The filter’s optical and build quality is excellent. The slim-fit rim makes the filter perfect for stacking, however, it would be better to stack with another slim-fit rim filter (expect some minor vignetting at wide-angle focal lengths).
There are quite a few brands that manufacture a night/light pollution filter but we can only compare this filter to the NiSi Natural Night filter, so if you are interested in a comparison test then read our post.
Will we be using the filter? Yes, we will on odd occasions when we shoot night cityscapes and the rare occasions we shoot astrophotography.
RATED: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Disclaimer: Although we are affiliated with URTH Filters and receive a commission on any sales when using the coupon code, this review is totally unbiased (we are also NiSi Resellers). As Professional Photographers we would never recommend the use of any product unless we use the product ourselves. We always strive to give you our honest opinion in order to help you make the best choice. We did receive the product with compliments of URTH but were not paid for this review. We may also receive commissions on other links in this post.