Since white phosphor has become a thing, people have quickly started gravitating towards it. White tubes are the new hottness, everyone wants to flex on the poors, and humans by nature will always want the latest thing. Even though like we discussed in our White Phosphor vs Green Phosphor Night Vision blog, it really just comes down to preference (there's even un-filmed high spec green tubes).
So naturally, the best thing to do for people who already own green tubes would be to just.... turn them white, right? Obviously. That's what the LLI "White" Night Vision Filter aims to do. How well does it work, and what do we think about it? Well...
LLI "White" Filter: Design & Theory
Real quick, let's nerd out on HOW the LLI Filter is designed to work. Photographers will be pretty familiar with all of this. Despite what you were taught in elementary school, there are actually TWO sets of primary colors. The Primary colors of pigment (subtractive colors), and the primary colors of light (additive colors). Basically, when you mix the three primary subtractive colors, you end up with black, but when you mix the three additive colors, you end up with white.
As you can see with the additive color wheel graphic above, greens and purples directly oppose each other. And since purple light is just a mix of blue and red light, and when you add green light it becomes white, it would make sense that filtering green light through purple would give you white light, right?
LLI "White" Filter: Performance
Yeah I mean that would make sense. It's not what happens, but it would make sense if it did. Why doesn't it work? I don't know, I'm not a f*cking scientist.
In our experience you end up with a softer green. Is it easier on the eyes? Sure. However it's still very much green, and it's hard for the camera to capture. The camera shifts the white balance more towards white. Also, what we don't really see anyone talking about, is that the Low Light Innovations filter works (by definition of a "filter"), by removing something. In this instance, light.
So while you get a "softer" green image, you also get a dimmer image in general. In effect, the LLI White Filter has managed to turn a green tube into... a green tube with less gain. Revolutionary.
It's worth mentioning too, that in high light environments you don't notice the dimming effect as much, and then the LLI Filter is kind of nice. However, it's once you start to get into lower light scenarios with no moon, or overcast skies, that we really don't find the tradeoff worth it.
Now is that to say that there is no use for it? Or that others might not like it? No, not at all. Like I mentioned previously, it does appear almost white through a camera, so if you are frequently filming through a green tube, it may be a cheap and useful tool. And of course, personal preference is a real thing. So while we didn't find the filter particularly useful, others may have a different experience.
I'd rather just see in green with full performance.
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