New HOYA Filter Was Developed for Astrophotograhers Battling Light Pollution

Hoping to create stunning night sky photography, have you ever driven out beyond the city, only to be left with a pesky orange or green glow in every shot? A new filter promises to cut down the effects of light pollution and not affect your landscape color tones in the process.

The video above comes from HOYA, a large manufacturer of filters. Their products range from glass that increases optical clarity by various means to filters for infrared photography, and more. And their newest filter, the Starscape, is promising for photographers battling light pollution.

The webpage on HOYA's site promoting their new Starscape filter does contain a before / after example. However, the video above does not. Nor does the video list the image's shoot location, which is (after  the weather) the second most important factor in star visibility. The light being cast on the trees in the video's main image example tells me it is likely in an area with outdoor lighting, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's an urban location. I'm curious to know more about this shot, as I'm sure our readers will be.

On the filter's web page, the HOYA says:

The filter cuts off in the most natural way the transmission of light spectrum that is frequently presented in city environments and usually associated with Sodium and Mercury-vapor lights.

Color correction in post-processing can effectively cut down on light haze. But post-processing astrophotography without affecting the terrestrial portion of a photograph can become a task, requiring serious time and fluency in Photoshop. If the HOYA Starscape filter does make post-processing astrophotography from light-polluted areas much simpler, its value may be out of this world.

HOYA claims its Starscape filter also enhances star brightness and eliminates "color shift,” a chromatic aberration seen in some wide angle lenses.

To cut down the effects of light pollution, do you rely on filters,  post processing, or both? Share your results and techniques in the comments below.

Lead image by author, taken with no filters. Author's note: This is not a sponsored post. I will update this article if HOYA representatives reach out to provide more information on the image shown in the video.

Scott Mason's picture

Scott Mason is a commercial photographer in Austin specializing in architectural imaging.

Log in or register to post comments

I think digital filters are the better option ..

Seems basically the same as the Haida 150mm square Clear Night filter I have, which ain't cheap, especially when you throw in the cost of the filter holder. It works with wide-angle lenses with a bulbous front element (in my case, Rokinon 14mm, also fits Nikon 14mm - unsure about the Sigma 14). You can also get an adapter to use it on a standard 82mm thread (and then use a stop down ring if necessary).

I lose about 1/3 stop of light, but that's negligible and the results are significantly nicer. Wish I had some side-by-sides on this computer.

I've done the post-processing method and the filter method and will always use the filter method from hereon out, unless it's prohibitively cumbersome or any situation where I can't deploy it. But for standard astro, they're great filters.

Again, only speaking to the quality of the Haida, no idea about Hoya. The only filters I use are Haida, Breakthrough (my preference for polarizers and NDs), and B+W (occasionally). Had some not-so-stellar experience with some other Hoya filters in the past.

Every city is slowly switching to wider spectrum LEDs now so these won't be useful for that much longer unfortunately.

It's still going to be a mix for quite a while. That's a slow going process, especially in cities with less money. Cities are going to emit yellowish/orange light for quite a long time further into the future. Especially smaller towns.

or every other cities outside rich US states and EU countries

Yeah, that's the gist of what I was getting at. As a current southerner, you're gonna continue to see the same yellow/orange light pollution for a loooooooonng time in this area of the country.

Same is likely true of the southwest and any less populated areas of the midwest and Rocky regions.

Every city in America has much bigger financial issues right now than their lighting, even the cities that have comparably a lot of money.

And none of that is to mention countries outside of the US, like you say.

The process of switching over a city's lights is expensive and laborious. Unless there's a national initiative in the US that includes massive funding, I would be surprised if a complete switch-over even happened in my lifetime.

It's really not as expensive as you guys think it is. It's actually much cheaper over the entire lifetime of the light. I see it more and more here in Europe, and not necessarily in the richer countries, quite the opposite in my experience. When new infrastructure is built, or something old gets replaced it's usually with LEDs.

The main concern here is actually the environmental impact of the increased light levels, especially in the blue wavelengths.

It's quite a trivial thing for a single person to switch their entire home to led lighting and I don't see why it would be such a big deal for entire city to do the same.

New HOYA Filter Needed for Astrophotograhers Battling Kessler Syndrome...

So I was wondering why I couldn’t find this filter anywhere in the US. I sent an email to Hoya to find out when it would be available and here is the response.

The Starscape filter is the exact same filter that the United States has been selling for decades under the name “Intensifier” or “Red Intensifier” - The Starscape and Intensifier filters use the exact same glass and filter ring, the only difference is the name.

You can find the intensifier filter on our USA website here -
or you can purchase it from many of our USA authorized retailers.

I then asked why it says it’s new on their website. The response was that it’s new to everywhere in the world except the US