URTH Night Filter Plus+ v NiSi Natural Night Filter

We’ve been in possession of 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 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 circular version of the filter for this review. Please read our disclaimer at the bottom of this post.

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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 I 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

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Head to Head

For this review, we will use the 77mm circular version of the filters on our Sony 24-105mm f/4 lens. As it is a filter that is 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 in combination with other filters as maybe we’re missing something here. The only benefit we can possibly 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. eg. 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, the first thing we noticed is 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 difference in colour 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)

The Filters

The NiSi Natural Night Filter (Light Pollution Filter)

The NiSi 77mm Natural Night Filter has been around for a few years now.  Like the rest of the NiSi line, 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 denoting ‘NiSi Natural Night 77mm”

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.

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. 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 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).

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How to use this Filter

Like any circular screw-in filter it is best used without any other filters attached to the lens. 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?

    • 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 

Sample 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)

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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)

Price

URTH – The circular URTH Night Filter Plus+ is available for lenses with thread diameters from 37mm to 95mm. The price ranges from AUD$68.00 – AUD$167.00. The square URTH Night Filter Plus + is also available for 75mm filter holders at AUD$149.00, 100mm filter holders for AUD$195.00. Don’t forget to use the ‘widescenes’ coupon code at checkout for a further 15% discount on these prices.

NiSi – The circular NiSi Natural Night Filter is available for lenses with thread diameters from 40.5mm to 95mm. The price ranges from AUD$145.00 – AUD$269.00. The square NiSi Natural Night Filter is also available for 75mm filter holders for AUD$125.00, 100mm filter holders for AUD$269.00, 150mm filter holders for AUD$389.00, or 180mm filter holders for AUD$599.00. The filter is also available for the DJI Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 Pro and Phantom 4 Advanced.

Urth Filters & Accessories Discount Code

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.

For any of our other reviews click here

Japan Photography Workshop

If you are interested in joining us for an "Autumn in Japan" Photography Workshop from 11 November to 22 November 2022 then visit our website for more details by clicking on the image to the left.

Max 6 spots available.

Get 15% Discount

If you use the coupon code ‘widescenes‘ at checkout you will receive a further 15% discount on any item on the URTH filters website. If, for some reason, the coupon code does not work please contact us and we will rectify and advise you.

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 did receive the filter with compliments of URTH Filters but were not paid for this review. We may also receive commissions on other links in this post, however, we try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice.