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Author Topic: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes  (Read 9003 times)

JayWPage

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Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« on: August 16, 2013, 03:35:04 PM »

I'm planning a trip next year to the Himalayas (to the Tibetan side of Mount Everest) and I am starting to think about what photo gear to bring with me.

B+W makes a UV #415 Strong Absorbing Filter and I wonder if anyone has experience with this filter and is it any better than a "normal" MC UV filter, such as the B+W XS-Pro UV MRC-Nano 010M Filter or similar high quality filter?

Any suggestions for improving the photographic experience at higher altitudes would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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Schewe

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2013, 05:50:54 PM »

For film or digital? Makes a difference...film is very sensitive to UV, digital is very sensitive to IR (and requires and IR cutoff filter). But for digital, I don't think UV is nearly as much an issue as it was for film.
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JayWPage

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2013, 07:04:36 PM »

I will be shooting digital.

I will be carrying 2 cameras: a Sony RX1 (Bayer array type sensor) and a Sigma DP2M (Foveon sensor). I don't know how these 2 sensors compare in their sensitivities to UV, but they do have a different colour rendering of most colours so I wouldn't be surprised if there was some difference in their response to UV and IR.
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degrub

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2013, 07:34:59 PM »

Maybe a local tanning salon and a color checker chart would be a useful test ?
Frank
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Vladimirovich

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2013, 08:40:16 PM »

But for digital, I don't think UV is nearly as much an issue as it was for film.
it is for some cameras = prooflink with an experiment : http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3499826 (and that is not @ high altitude at all)
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2013, 09:44:16 PM »

Based on my experience on the Nepali side of the Everst, battery life is probably the most challenging aspect for digital photographers... and you have selected the 2 serious cameras with what may be the worst battery life in the last 5 years...

Just saying.

Cheers,
Bernard
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t6b9p

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2013, 12:13:16 PM »

Whether UV at high altitude will have an effect on a digital camera depends a lot on the internal cut filter (ICF/OLPF/LPF whatever you want to call it). The UV cut-off point for the ICF varies considerably from camera to camera but typically, the more expensive the camera the more UV is rejected. Newer models are getting very aggressive with some cutting off at 425nm which is actually throwing away a region of "visible" violet/blue.
Looking at the ICF transmission spectra on this page
http://www.beyondvisible.com/BV3a-ICF.html
you can see why some models transmit quite a bit of UV.

Unless you can find the transmission spectrum for your specific cameras ICF, then buying a UV filter to take with you is cheap insurance compared to the cost of your trip. When you get there, shoot a couple with and without the filter and check them out on your laptop. If you find you don't need it then save it for when you need shoot in a sand storm.
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JayWPage

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2013, 12:48:50 PM »

I have been thinking about the battery problem....

I presently have 2 batteries each for RX1 and the DP2M and I'm thinking of buying a dozen cheap eBay batteries for the RX1 (NP-BX1) and maybe 2 more for the DP2M. The Sigma camera will be a backup for the RX1 and I'll use it for special situations such as shooting panoramas from a tripod (Gitzo GT0531).
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2013, 07:34:09 PM »

I have been thinking about the battery problem....

I presently have 2 batteries each for RX1 and the DP2M and I'm thinking of buying a dozen cheap eBay batteries for the RX1 (NP-BX1) and maybe 2 more for the DP2M. The Sigma camera will be a backup for the RX1 and I'll use it for special situations such as shooting panoramas from a tripod (Gitzo GT0531).

Glad you have it figured out.

For what it is worth, I am getting about 35 images per battery on the DP2m in real workd usage in colder weather if I don't concentrate real hard on limiting battery consumption.

I have no consolidated information about the rate at which they discharge when not in use, but I feel it is a bit fast.

I would make sure about that for the RX1's cheap ebay batteries too. Batteries do discharge when not in use, especially in colder weather.

Cheers,
Bernard
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JayWPage

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2013, 08:23:02 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions.

Another issue on the 10-12 day trek into Everest is that my gear, other than what I carry in my day pack, will be carried by yak. The north side of Everest doesn't see very many trekkers and there are no facilities to speak of, let alone any places with with electricity. I am debating whether I should bring in my MacBook Air for backups. Probably not, since I don't want to carry it during the day and I bet the gear being transported by Yak is treated roughly.

Consequently I'll bring about a dozen 16GB SDHC cards with me, along with an external drive to make a backup on when I get access to a computer, most likely at the end of the trip in Kathmandu.

I'm also hoping to make some movies with the RX1 in some of the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. I hear that they are more open to the idea of filming (or what ever the digital equivalent is) in Tibet, as opposed to the the blanket prohibition in Bhutan and the reluctance to allow it in Nepal. Since it will be available light only in dimly lit interiors, I'm hoping that the RX1 with it's amazing low light performance will really "shine" at this. However, the experimenting I have done making movies so far hasn't yielded great results (but this is probably due to a lack of experience on my part). The sound recording is pretty marginal and there doesn't seem to be any way to control it, other than by using an external mike.
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allegretto

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2013, 05:09:58 PM »

I have been thinking about the battery problem....

I presently have 2 batteries each for RX1 and the DP2M and I'm thinking of buying a dozen cheap eBay batteries for the RX1 (NP-BX1) and maybe 2 more for the DP2M. The Sigma camera will be a backup for the RX1 and I'll use it for special situations such as shooting panoramas from a tripod (Gitzo GT0531).

First, two extra batteries with no electricity? That won't get far and they don't hold a charge very well. But perhaps I misunderstand and you have access to a plug

Second, in bright to medium light the images from the DP are quite a bit more detailed than an RX-1. RX-1 is a great camera, but it cannot match the DPM in many/most situations where light is abundant. It is far more flexible however.
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JayWPage

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2013, 05:45:09 PM »

It would be nice if we could get everything we wanted in one package; maybe some day we'll just send off a check-list and some one will produce a custom camera for us. :D

I'll have 4 batteries total for the Sigma and that will have to do. They are quite expensive for what you get, I can buy about ten eBay batteries for the Sony for the cost of 1 Ricoh/Sigma battery. I don't want to invest hundreds of dollars in batteries that I will probably never use again.

But there are other issues too, the RX1 takes remarkably good pictures in a wide range of conditions and it is a delightful camera to shoot. It is much, much better in low light conditions and even when the lightning is optimal for the DP2M, the RX1 has at least more 2 stops better latitude so often even landscapes sometimes turn out better. Also, I prefer the colour pallet that Sony uses over the Sigma colours, especially the greens.

And despite having owned the Sigma for almost a year I am not yet comfortable with the workflow. I often use the Topaz Labs products in my workflow and I've all but given up using them with the Sigma files. I think the Topaz software uses some kind of deconvolution algorithms which produce repeating aliases or "muddy patches" in areas of fine detail on the Sigma Foveon files.  But, at the end of the day, sometimes all the ducks line up and the DP2M produces some outstanding images, that's why I will bring it with me.

I have the Sony EVF more or less permanently mounted on the RX1 and I'm able to focus it very easily without having to constantly swap eyeglasses around, which is the case with the Sigma. Some times I have a terrible time trying to focus the Sigma due to age-related nearsightedness.
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allegretto

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2013, 05:59:45 PM »

It would be nice if we could get everything we wanted in one package; maybe some day we'll just send off a check-list and some one will produce a custom camera for us. :D

I'll have 4 batteries total for the Sigma and that will have to do. They are quite expensive for what you get, I can buy about ten eBay batteries for the Sony for the cost of 1 Ricoh/Sigma battery. I don't want to invest hundreds of dollars in batteries that I will probably never use again.

But there are other issues too, the RX1 takes remarkably good pictures in a wide range of conditions and it is a delightful camera to shoot. It is much, much better in low light conditions and even when the lightning is optimal for the DP2M, the RX1 has at least more 2 stops better latitude so often even landscapes sometimes turn out better. Also, I prefer the colour pallet that Sony uses over the Sigma colours, especially the greens.

And despite having owned the Sigma for almost a year I am not yet comfortable with the workflow. I often use the Topaz Labs products in my workflow and I've all but given up using them with the Sigma files. I think the Topaz software uses some kind of deconvolution algorithms which produce repeating aliases or "muddy patches" in areas of fine detail on the Sigma Foveon files.  But, at the end of the day, sometimes all the ducks line up and the DP2M produces some outstanding images, that's why I will bring it with me.

I have the Sony EVF more or less permanently mounted on the RX1 and I'm able to focus it very easily without having to constantly swap eyeglasses around, which is the case with the Sigma. Some times I have a terrible time trying to focus the Sigma due to age-related nearsightedness.


not disagreeing with most of what you say of course. I own both and if I needed one to depend upon the RX-1 would obviously get the nod. But when the DPM is good... BTW, I like the color on Sigma after a fiddle with the tiff. Not as warm as a Sony, but very clear and not over sat.

don't discount the info on eBay Sony batteries cheap... there is a reason in many cases for things to show up there. It's not always retail profiteering...

BTW; I assume you mean that with age your reading is flagging? That's "presbyopia".
« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 06:21:05 PM by allegretto »
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Rhossydd

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2013, 05:17:50 AM »

With respect to the battery issue; There are some useful links at the end of the thread referenced below that offer solar battery charging options. Possibly more worth taking than any back up hardware, there's no point in having back up solutions if you haven't got enough battery power to shoot anything!
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=81145.0
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Ajoy Roy

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2013, 09:52:59 AM »

At one time Hasselblad had an accessory which would charge its batteries using normal "D" cells. In your case if you have "Yak" power, think of lugging a medium sized Sealed Lead Acid battery - 7 to 20 AH to power a small inverter. These are used in India for small UPS and cost between $12-25. The inverter is sold on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/PowerFlex-Power-Inverter-Capacity-Smartphones/dp/B00144KS6W

Here are some other options
http://www.macworld.com/article/2042742/review-nine-batteries-for-charging-your-ipad-and-everything-else.html
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PeterAit

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2013, 10:19:41 AM »

I don't think it will make much difference for digital. I took some 1000 photos in New Zealand, known for strong UV light due to it being under the "ozone hole" and never gave a UV filter a thought - no problem with any photos (none caused by UV, that is!).
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image66

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2013, 12:35:21 AM »

I personally would go retro. OM-3Ti with a pack full of film. Sure simplifies the battery issues. But given that you require digital, I'd buy a couple batteries for every day, per camera. Don't worry about doing backups, just carry enough memory cards for the entire trip and anything super critical just shoot on two cards.
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MoreOrLess

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2013, 12:50:57 AM »

The Tibetian side of Everest is much more accessible by road than the Nepali side so I'm guessing batteries won't be as much of an issue. Honiestly though these days even in Nepali trekking lodges access to charging points is pretty common for a small fee, it would only be taking routes off of the typical ones in Everest, Annapurna and Lantang that I think batteries would be a big problem today.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 12:53:08 AM by MoreOrLess »
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JayWPage

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Re: Usefulness of UV Strong Absorbing Filters at High Altitudes
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2013, 01:30:03 AM »

Actually the trek to the Tibetan side of Everest is via the Kharta Valley to the Kangshung Face of Everest. It'll be about 10 days away from anyplace likely to have power.

I have abandoned any thought of any thing but a normal UV filter or at times a polarizing filter. I looked into the UV/IR cut filters but they are not recommended for any use on a lens with a field of view wider than 60 degrees, so that won't work for use on a RX1.

Batteries are my biggest concern, I plan to have about 12 - 14 batteries for the RX1 and 4 for the Sigma. I may break down and get a few more for the Sigma, so maybe 6 for it.

Other issues are dust and keeping things clean. I've also made a neoprene case for the tripod my (Gitzo GT0531) to try to protect it from too many bumps.

Thanks to everyone for the good suggestions.
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