Most neutral density filters are not neutral

A neutral density (ND) filter is a “grey” filter, a filter that transmits equal fractions of the incident radiation at all wavelengths. A perfectly neutral filter over a broad range of wavelengths is an idealized concept, and one very difficult to implement in practice. There are different approaches to making filters approximating colour neutrality. We here compare the spectral transmittance of of ND filters of three different types available for use on camera lenses and explain why the use of some of them can introduce strong colour casts in the photographs we take with them.

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Capture One to the rescue

Rescuing a technically “bad photograph” is not that difficult nowadays. This photograph was taken against all odds… through the double glassing of a dirty window on a train racing at high speed through the landscape. To make things even worse the sun was shining on the window I took the photograph through and the glass was slightly tinted green. The result out of camera was a low contrast raw image that looked like a sure discard… but was it?

Default rendering of the RAW file in Capture One 12.

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How small a spectrometer can be made?

[I will update this post after testing the sensor]

In a recent post I described a miniature two-channel UV-A sensor with digital interface. Here I will describe a miniature and low cost spectrometer, type AS7265X from ams. It does not used a grating as monochromator, but instead each of the 18 channels has a different interference filter deposited directly on the silicon chip. The FWHM is 20 nm, and the wavelength range from 410 nm to 940 nm. The spectrometer consists in three separate sensor units working together. The interface is digital, and temperature compensation and analogue to digital conversion takes place in the sensor modules. In spite of the number of channels communication between the spectrometer and a micro-processor requires only two wires. The spectrometer supports two different communication protocols, the specialized I2C and a generic serial communication (UART).

Macro-photographs of both sides of an early prototype of a breakout board are shown below. The size of the board is 18 mm × 19 mm. (Photographs were taken as described for the UV-A sensor.)

I bought this board from a seller at Tindie for USD 50. The seller is now selling a differently shaped board, with the three modules in a triangle, and so closer to each other.