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LRGB & Narrowband Filters


04Stefan07
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So, I have been doing some research and reading on various websites and forums in regards to LRGB and Narrowband filters.

I am currently using the ZWO 31mm LRGB and H-Alpha filters in my rig. These are the first filters I purchased due to getting into monochrome imagine and the price point was perfect at the time. I have been using them quite a while and now starting to look at the next step.

I havn't actually used the H-Alpha one yet as I am concentrating more on LRGB imagining for now.

Based on my research I have compiled a list of low, medium and high end filter brands. I wanted to get peoples opinons on their experiences using them and why they liked it or disliked it. Please correct me below if I am wrong.

Low-End
- ZWO
- Optolong (possibly mid?)

Mid-End
- Astronomik
- Baadar

High-End
- Astrodon
- Chroma


Obviously low end is where I am now so I will be looking at the mid range filters.

Also is it worth investing in 2" filters? This would be upgrading to a 2" filter wheel.

So basically:

Q) What is a decent mid range LRGB & Narrowband filter kit?
Q) Is the 2" upgrade worth it for future proofing and when would it beneficial?

Thanks!

Edited by 04Stefan07
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I'm in a similar situation and will be interested to see the reponse to this question + if I may add: 

Is such an upgrade worthwhile, these filters (Chroma & Astrodon) are not cheap so  does the upgrade make noticeable imrovements and in which particular wavelengths?  

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As with everything, it depends!

I started off using 2” filters because they cut down on vignetting and are easier to keep dust free. This allowed me to image without taking flats... but in truth it’s usually worth flat fielding anyway but it does mean that you can accommodate larger camera sensors so gives you some future proofing...

However, I moved to 36mm unmounted filters because I really wanted to have seven filters available all the time; it seemed otherwise I always had the wrong filters in the 5-position, 2” filter wheel. 
As for makes of filter, I own 2” Baaders and 36mm Astrodon. 
As far as broadband LRGB imaging goes, I used to get bad haloes around bright stars with the Baaders, particularly around bright blue stars.   This was my main reason for changing and the Astrodon filters have given me no such problems.
 

For narrowband, it’s not really a fair fight since the band pass on the Astrodon filters is much narrower. They are outstanding filters, though. 
 

Are they worth the money?  Well that’s the real question. I got fed up with the haloes and the time it was taking me to try to address them in processing but it’s a lot of money but I do miss my other kidney...! 🙂

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Was going over my setup recently and I think I will keep my LRGB 31mm in it's current ZWO EFW for now and thinking of getting the bigger EFW with 36mm Narrowband filters.

Do a tranisitonal upgrade and would like to get into more narrowband.

Thoughts?

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I recently bought a new camera, filter wheel and OAG for use in my observatory.  For years I have used a QSI 532 with an internal 5 position filter wheel carrying Baader 1.25" filters.  This did involve some swapping around depending on whether I was broad band or narrow band imaging.  The filters have always performed very well with halos appearing in only the most extreme circumstances.   About a year ago I bought a ZWO ASI 1600 pro along with a 7 position filter wheel and another full set of Baaders - 31mm.   I use this in the garden with a 200mm lens. I do get some halos on very bright stars but they don't disturb me too much, after all, Hubble images have spikey stars!  The odd artefact isn't the end of the world.  I have been so pleased with this camera that I have now gone ahead and bought a ZWO MM294 for use with my Tak FSQ 106 in the obsy, with the QSI now just for occassional use with my MN190.  I have gone the whole hog and purchased a full set of 31mm Chroma filters, mounted in another 7 position filter wheel.  I will decide over time whether they out perform the Baaders but I am going to keep a healthy scepticism.  Spending a lot of money on kit does tend to impart some bias into peoples assessment of how good that kit is! 

I had absolutely no desire to move to a full frame chip despite one of my  scopes (Tak FSQ) being designed  for chips of this size.  With the current range of small pixelled APS H and C cameras available you can achieve high resolution wide field views without having to resort to full frame.  These are the problems faced with FF chips - needing optics that can illuminate that field and keep tight focus across the whole field, getting everything orthoganol (there are so many people on here with FF fretting about the shapes of their stars), the ridiculous cost of good quality 2" filters, the massive file sizes, these days download speeds have improved especially for cameras with on board buffering, but you still have to contend with long waits for calibration and combining routines to wheeze their way through the huge amount of data.  With regard to future proofing there isn't a natural progression to full frame chips in a similar way that imagers don't inevitably gravitate to ever bigger aperture and focal length scopes.

I'll let you know how I get on with those Chroma filters!

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If smaller filters don't vignette then the advantage of larger filters is precisely zero. My widefield rig (old school fluorite Tak FSQ106N with full frame CCD) has a roughly 23% dropoff in the corners due to vignetting with 2 inch mounted filters. With flats this is a non-problem despite using the rig primarily for mosaics where good field flattening of individual panels is essential.

Personally I'm perfectly happy with Baader LRGB but the advantage of Astrodon (and doubtless Chroma) for Ha and OIII is enormous.

The obvious way to test vignetting is to take a flat and measure the illumination in the linear image across the frame. Unless the dropoff is considerable in the corners you don't need larger filters. What will they change?

Olly

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21 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

If smaller filters don't vignette then the advantage of larger filters is precisely zero. My widefield rig (old school fluorite Tak FSQ106N with full frame CCD) has a roughly 23% dropoff in the corners due to vignetting with 2 inch mounted filters. With flats this is a non-problem despite using the rig primarily for mosaics where good field flattening of individual panels is essential.

Personally I'm perfectly happy with Baader LRGB but the advantage of Astrodon (and doubtless Chroma) for Ha and OIII is enormous.

The obvious way to test vignetting is to take a flat and measure the illumination in the linear image across the frame. Unless the dropoff is considerable in the corners you don't need larger filters. What will they change?

Olly

^^^This.  100% absolutely.

I'd add also that it is my opinion, for what that's worth,  that for LRGB then Baader are better than Astrodon for half the price. I have said before that the Astrodon L and the B filters are very, very permissive of IR and UV and they can (and often do) cause star bloat with refractors.  I know this from personal experience and others on the web say the same.

However, for Ha and OIII the Astrodons are the most utterly amazing filters.  You could spend your entire AP career with these two filters alone.

 

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Yep agree. I am sure the Astrodons and Chromas are very good filters but it all comes down to cost and what everyone can afford.

Tossing up between the Badaar and Astronomik (easier to purchase the Badaar due to where I live and price). Need to find some comparisons.

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1 hour ago, 04Stefan07 said:

Tossing up between the Badaar and Astronomik (easier to purchase the Badaar due to where I live and price)

I’m a Baader user myself along with many others.  I have absolutely no issues with my sets of filters (more than one). If Olly above gives his recommendation along with a big cohort of imagers, there isn’t really much to toss up in my opinion.   What further comparisons are you aiming for? 

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My first set of filters were Baader. Really great value. The only issue is the possibility of halos with the Baader Oiii 8.5nm. My first one had terrible halos but I had it replaced under warranty and the replacement was perfect. Currently have Astronomik filters and so far I have not noticed any Oiii halos on the few subs I have managed with it. I bought a set of Astronomik LRGB to go with the narrowband as they are the same thickness (1mm) and it makes a difference if you are using an OAG.

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