Does the Nisi Natural Night Filter really cut Light Pollution?

I will admit, I was very skeptical that the Nisi Natural Night Filter could reduce light pollution and make a more natural appearing night time photo.   As usual, I had to know.  So I went out and bought it (yes I purchased this and was not asked to do a review by Nisi).  After it came in, I rushed to Kansas City, the best city in America, and had some fun.

From the very first comparison shot in the camera, I was shocked.  Looking at the LCD, I could clearly see a difference in the images.  Then I started thinking; I wonder if I could just get the same effect on the image in post production in Adobe Camera Raw.

My first instinct was to reach for the keyboard and pound in, “Nisi Natural Night Filter Review.”  I found more reviews than I had expected, but what I didn’t expect was the amount inconclusive thoughts on the filter.  Some said it was worth its weight in gold, while others said save your money.

Nisi Natural Night Filter

For my test, I took a batch of images into ACR and experimented with a couple of questions in mind:.

  1.   Can I mimic the effect of the filter in post production on the non-filtered image?
  2.   Does the filter give me a better starting point for post production than without the filter?
  3.   Is this filter just a magenta color filter with no real value?

I figured if I could answer these questions with my experiment then maybe I would have a more conclusive decision about the filter’s value.  For the experiment, I took two shots of every scene, one filtered, and one unfiltered.  You can watch the whole tutorial below, but here are the answers to my questions about the Nisi Natural Night Filter after my tests.

  1.  Yes and no.  You can get something close, but the filter clearly cuts some of the light pollutions from mercury and sodium vapors
  2.  Yes, it reduces some light pollution, but it comes with the cost of a magenta color cast.  Red bricks look very magenta and unnatural.
  3.  No, it has value, the starting point is better than the unfiltered image.

I may need to run some more tests on Milky Way skies and Cityscapes with more light pollution.  However, I am satisfied with the Nisi Natural Night filter and will continue using it.  Do you use filters for night photography?  If so, which one and are you happy with it?

Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
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