Interview First tests
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We think nothing of using filters like NDs and polarisers to control light in daylight photography, so how about using a filter to control light after dark, too? Cokin Nuances Clearsky light pollution filter
There was an immediate and obvious cooling of colour in low-light town shots, and as billed, in scenes where lighting was mixed, mainly the yellow light certainly was suppressed. In starry sky shots, there was also a clear difference, with stars somewhat more visible as the grey/orange glow in the sky was removed. In AWB, the camera still showed a cooler tone to pictures, so you can shoot that way and still get the benefit if you like. The filter does produce light loss, and a bit like a polarising filter, this isn’t constant, so depends on the amount of light pollution that’s removed. For instance, there was more fall-off in street scenes than open sky, as the sodium light made upmore of the illumination in those. Light loss ranged up to a couple of stops, so nothing you can’t compensate for in exposure. The filter always cuts out at least ⅔stop, even in full daylight, and testing in the latter it still gives a blue cast, so it’s clearly affecting not just the wavelength of light it’s claimed to alone. Arguably, the effect of the Cokin Clearsky could partly be recreated in Raw processing, or by setting white- balance manually, but trying both out › Availability 52-95mm, Cokin M (84x100mm), L (100x100mm) andXL (130x130mm). › Prices 52mm, £69; 58mm, £74; 62mm, £77; 67mm, £79; 72mm, £88; 77mm, £89; 82mm, £99; 95mm, £119; Cokin M, £129; L, £169; andXL, £199 › Coating Anti-reflective; scratch, oil and water repellent › Contact intro2020.co.uk
JPEG WITH FILTER
The Cokin Nuances Clearsky is a filter for reducing light pollution, which can give unwanted casts, discolour skies and reduce visibility of night-sky objects. It’s available as screw-in filters in 52mm to 95mm fits, and in 2mm thick squares in Cokin’s M, L, and XL formats. These sorts of filters are regularly used by astronomers and astrophotographers tomake galaxies and nebulaemore visible, and the Cokin Clearsky isn’t the first of such filters to be targeted at regular photographers. It’s designed to remove a portion of light from the spectrum, specifically the yellow/orange glow of sodium and mercury lights that dominate many towns and cities. Cokin specifies this as light in the 580-590nm range, but what you really need to know is, does it work? The answer, broadly, is yes. I tested the filter in a variety of urban night scenes as well as shooting night skies, andmost results were very good. In each situation, I set up the camera as I normally would for low light or astrophotography; then, to see what difference the filter made to colour and intensity of light, I set white-balance manually, and took exposures with and without it. I also shot in auto white-balance to see how the camera interpreted the filter in place.
on test, neither replicated its results precisely, nor were they as quick or intuitive to use. Like using a polarising filter, there’s a change in the look of the light and its intensity, because as the light pollution is filtered out, the natural light is clearer. General image quality is spot-on. There was no discernible loss of sharpness through the filter, and like other Nuances filters, the Clearsky uses anti-reflective coatings tominimise flare and ghosting. It proved easy to clean, too with scratch-resistant, and water- and oil-repellent, finish. KS IMAGES The colour cast removing benefit of the Clearsky is evident in the out of the camera JPEG (top), so definitely worth considering if the colour cast of light pollution annoys you
PROS Low-light and astro images definitely benefit, and general build is good CONS Some light loss, blue tone applies to all subjects Verdict Results from the Nuances Clearsky were good, and if you want to shoot JPEG and not mess around with customwhite-balance it givesmuchmore neutral looking results than unfiltered shooting. Night skies certainly appeared to havemore visibility to the stars, too. I’ll continue to use one onmy night shoots for sure.
Issue 72 | Photography News 71
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