URTH Night Filter Plus+ v NiSi Natural Night Filter

INTRODUCTION

We’ve owned the NiSi Natural Night Filter for a couple of years now and must admit that it’s not a filter that we use that often although it is always in our camera bag. We primarily purchased the filter to demonstrate it to our large Meetup group on Photo Walks. In 2021, URTH added the URTH Night Filter Plus+ to its arsenal of filters. So, we thought it would be a great opportunity to compare the 2 filters head-to-head to see how they compare.

It is available as a circular filter (screw-in) and also as a 75mm or 100mm Square Filter which is used with a Square Filter Holder.

If you’ve never heard of URTH, you may be more familiar with the brand GOBE. The company re-branded in late 2020 and has launched a fresh look and some exciting new products. We’ve been using their filters for quite a while now and absolutely 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 the 77mm thread Circular Night Filter Plus+  77mm thread filter for this review. Please read our disclaimer at the bottom of this post.

Please Note:  If you are more interested in just reading about the Urth Night Filter then click here

URTH 10% DISCOUNT

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 editing 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.

Urth Night Filter Plus+ and the NiSi Natural Night Filter

Above Left: Urth Circular Night Filter Plus+ Above Right: NiSi Natural Night Filter

Silence Corner Atoll

HEAD TO HEAD

For this review, we will use the 77mm circular version of the filter on our Sony 24-105mm f/4 lens. As it is a filter primarily used for night photography, we have never seen the point of using the square version of this filter. We can’t think of a reason to combine another filter, such as an ND or ND Grad with this filter, so not sure why it gets released in the square format. We’d be delighted to hear from you if you use this combination with other filters, as maybe we’re missing something here. The only benefit we can think of would be that the Square filter could attach to any of your lenses with the appropriate adapter ring. Even though you could also use the circular version with step-up or step-down adapter rings, there is possibly a greater risk of vignetting in the corners. To avoid this, always try to purchase the filter for your largest lens thread, and then use step-up rings for the smaller thread sizes of other lenses. For example, to use the 77mm filter on our 16-35mm f/4 lens that has a 72mm thread, we use a 72-77mm step-up adapter ring.

At first appearance, we notice a slight difference in the colouring of the filters. The NiSi Natural Night Filter seems to have a stronger magenta colour than the Urth filter (see above). It will be interesting to see the colour difference when used side by side in testing.

Above: The Urth Night Filter Plus+ and Cleaning Cloth (the cloth is folded and 4 times the size pictured)

Skylum Luminar Neo

THE FILTERS

NiSi Natural Night Filter (Light Pollution Filter)

The NiSi 77mm Natural Night Filter has been around for a few years. Like the rest of the NiSi range, this filter is made of high-quality, precision-annealed, optical glass. Its surface is finely ground and polished to ensure sharpness for today’s ultra-high megapixel cameras.

The NiSi Natural Night Filter features NiSi’s unique NANO Coating technology. This multi-layer coating reduces reflection on the surface of the filter to help with ghosting and flare. It also includes a protective layer that makes it easy to wipe off water, dust, and oil from the filter without worrying about scratching the glass. The NANO Coating process achieves this without loss in image sharpness.

Once attached to the camera, there is a 1-stop increase in your exposure time. The only markings on the filter are on the outer edge of the rim indicating – NiSi Natural Night 77mm.

Photography Planner

The URTH Circular Night Filter Plus+ filter has the same ultra-slim magnalium* rim design prevalent with all the new Urth circular filters. As per usual, the inner rim markings indicate 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). Written on the outer edge of the rim is only the word Night, indicating that it is a Night Filter.

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.

Both filters are double-threaded, meaning there are threads on both sides of the filter. One thread screws onto the lens, while the other thread faces outwards, which allows the stacking** of filters. Once attached to the camera, there is a 1-stop increase in your exposure time.

*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

**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. With 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 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 THIS FILTER

Like any circular screw-in filter, it is best used without other filters attached to the lens. Therefore, before adding this filter to your lens, you should remove filters such as UV, C-PL (Polarizer) etc. Once attached, this filter will not affect your autofocus but will increase your exposure by 1-stop.

WHO WOULD USE THIS FILTER?

  • Photographers that take a lot of Night Cityscapes and Astro where there are considerable variations in lighting sources or light pollution
  • Anyone that wants to reduce the amount of editing time
    Topaz Labs banner

    TEST IMAGES

    The test images below were shot using a Sony A7RIII mirrorless camera with a Sony FE 24-105 f/4 lens. No post-processing has been performed with the exception of straightening the image in Lightroom Classic. AWB refers to Auto White Balance. Hover over the images for a closer look.

    202204150183H - No Filter

    Above: No Filter
    42mm – f/8 – 6sec – ISO100 – AWB (4800k)

    202204150184H - No Filter - Daylight

    Above: No Filter
    42mm – f/8 – 6sec – ISO100 – Daylight (5050k)

    202204150185H - NiSi Natural Night - AWB

    Above: NiSi Natural Night Filter
    42mm – f/8 – 13sec – ISO100 – AWB (5450k)

    202204150186H - Urth Night Filter - AWB

    Above: Urth Night Filter
    42mm – f/8 – 13sec – ISO100 – AWB (5200k)

    Peak Design Travel Tripod

    In the images above both filters naturally have given the image a magenta cast due to the colour of the filter, however, the Urth Night Filter is slightly less magenta which is probably why the AWB on the Urth Filter has a lower result. When zoomed in there is a negligible difference between the 2 filters when used in AWB. The NiSi Natural Night Filter has a minuscule amount of better clarity in the highlights and is slightly warmer than the Urth Night Filter but this is really splitting hairs.

    In the images below that were shot in Daylight White Balance, there is once again very little difference other than the NiSi Filter is slightly warmer than the Urth Filter.

    202204150187H - NiSi Natural Night - Daylight

    Above: NiSi Natural Night Filter
    42mm – f/8 – 13sec – ISO100 – Daylight (5,050k)

    202204150188H - Urth Night - Daylight

    Above: Urth Night Filter
    42mm – f/8 – 13sec – ISO100 – Daylight (5,050k)

    The images below have been shot from the same position but at the 105mm focal length of the lens. As with the images above, these are straight out of the camera with no editing whatsoever. When comparing the 2 filters we could find very little difference with the exception of a stronger magenta cast with the NiSi Natural Night filter.

    202204150189H - No Filter - AWB

    Above: No Filter
    105mm – f/8 – 5sec – ISO100 – AWB (4100k)

    202204150190H - No Filter - Daylight

    Above: No Filter
    105mm – f/8 – 5sec – ISO100 – Daylight (5050k)

    202204150191H - Nisi Natural Night Filter - AWB

    Above: NiSi Natural Night Filter
    105mm – f/8 – 8sec – ISO100 – AWB (4800k)

    202204150193H - Urth Night Filter - AWB

    Above: Urth Night Filter
    105mm – f/8 – 8sec – ISO100 – AWB (4600k)

    202204150192H - Nisi Natural Night Filter- Daylight

    Above: NiSi Natural Night Filter
    105mm – f/8 – 8sec – ISO100 – Daylight (5,050k)

    202204150194H - Urth Night Filter - Daylight

    Above: Urth Night Filter
    105mm – f/8 – 6sec – ISO100 – Daylight (5,050k)

    ON1 Photo Raw 2024

    PRICE 

    URTH – The URTH Circular Night Filter Plus+ is available for lenses with thread diameters from 37mm to 95mm. The price ranges from USD$69.00 – USD$165.00. The URTH Square Night Filter Plus+ is also available for 75mm square filter holders for USD$145.00, and 100mm square filter holders for USD$195.00.

    To purchase the filter click the “BUY HERE” button below or the floating banner above to take you to the Urth product page. Apply the discount code ‘widescenes10‘ at checkout to get the 10% discount on all Urth products. The discount has not been applied to the prices below. When you receive the product please take the time to visit www.urth.co/trees to register your product so that 5 trees can be planted.

    URTH Circular Night Filter Plus+

    USD$69.00 – $165.00

    URTH 75mm Square Night Filter Plus+

    USD$145.00

    URTH 100mm Square Night Filter Plus+

    USD$195.00

    NiSi – The circular NiSi Natural Night Filter is available for lenses with thread diameters from 40.5mm to 95mm. The price ranges from USD$99.00 – USD$185.00. The square NiSi Natural Night Filter is also available for the following square filter holders –

    75mm square filter holders – USD$79.00
    100mm square filter holders – USD$195.00
    150mm square filter holders – USD$265.00
    180mm square filter holders – USD$410.00.

    The filter is also available for the DJI Mavic 3, Mavic 2 Pro, and Mavic Air 2S.

    To purchase the NiSi Natural Night Filter in Australia/New Zealand click here or alternatively, as we are also NiSi Resellers, contact us for the best price. For all other countries contact your nearest stockist.

    Peak Design Micro Clutch

    THE FINAL WORD

    We love both Urth and NiSi filters. Both of these filters will provide great results in images shot at night. We really struggled to find a great deal of difference between the two filters other than the price. There is no loss in sharpness with either filter and both result in the same exposure. So in this particular head-to-head test, we are going to call it a draw as far as quality is concerned, however, based on the price of the filter we are going to call the Urth Night Filter the winner. We really cannot justify the price of the NiSi filter when there is such little difference in quality (in our opinion).

    We would love to hear any comments you may have regarding the filters.

    If you are interested in reading any of our other Gobe/Urth product reviews click the links below –

    Disclaimer:  Although we are affiliated with URTH Filters and receive a commission on any sales, this review is totally unbiased. As Professional Photographers we would never recommend the use of any product unless we have used 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.

    Was this article helpful?
    YesNo