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ZWO Duo Band vs. Optolong L-eXtreme comparison

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#1 Borodog

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Posted 07 August 2022 - 11:51 AM

I wanted to see whether the expensive L-eXtreme would provide a significant improvement over the cheaper Duo Band, which I already own. Thanks to an awesome poster (who is free to name himself if he wants) I got a loaner L-eXtreme to test. Since I had just shot the Wizard with the Duo Band, I decided to use that as my test subject.

 

This is completely unscientific. The data were taken on different nights with different Moon phases and potentially different transparencies. The ZWO data was taken at ~46% Moon, while the L-eXtreme data was taken last night with 68% Moon that set at a couple hours later. Both stacks are about 6 hours. I am in Bortle 5 with an artificial to natural brightness ratio of 4.5:1. Subs for the ZWO were 2.5 minutes, 3 minutes for the Optolong.

 

Even though the two datasets are not apples to apples, if the Optolong filter performed radically better than the ZWO it might be worth the expense.

 

On the left is the Duo Band, on the right is the L-eXtreme. I've done nothing but stack and autostretch in SiriL. Top is the wide field, bottom is a 100% crop. The images are subject to jpeg compression, of course.

 

The first thing to note is that the L-Extreme has tighter stars. I don't believe this is a significant difference in the seeing, although i can't prove it. The L-eXtreme should produce tighter stars and appears to do so, by 15-20%. The second thing is that the L-eXtreme definitely pulls fainter nebulosity.

 

I would not say there is a significant improvement in the noise. This is making me wonder if my subs were too short; they were set at the start of the evening when the target was low and may not have been swamping the read noise adequately. Any thoughts on this are welcome.

 

To within that last caveat, though, I would not say that the L-eXtreme provides a radical improvement over the Duo Band, at least not for Bortle 5. The ZWO should take the brightness ratio from ~4.5:1 down to about 1:1. Improvement beyond that is diminishing.

 

 

 

 

 

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#2 danny1976

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Posted 10 August 2022 - 11:19 AM

Thanks for the comparison. The L-extreme seems to be a bit better overall. I’m happy with mine.


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#3 Borodog

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Posted 10 August 2022 - 11:30 AM

Thanks; I’m glad somebody took a look. ;O)

#4 gsaramet

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Posted 10 August 2022 - 12:58 PM

LOL, it's about the third or fourth time I look at this - I want to get a dualband filter and I am hunting for comparisons. So thank you very much for your post!

 

Yeah, indeed, more details on the L-extreme, and I would say a bit more green fringe on the zwo. By the way, does the zwo create halos? Also, what camera did you use?

 

Cheers!


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#5 unimatrix0

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Posted 10 August 2022 - 01:25 PM

I think the ZWO's duo band filter compares more to the OPT L-enhance as far as bandwith pass. 

The L-enhance has a wider gap by the OIII bandwith, including H-beta transmission, just like the ZWO.

Also the L-Xtreme has a tighter band on the Ha.  

 

I usually see people recommending the L-xtreme to people with plenty of light pollution (Bortle 7-8), while the L-enhance is good for anyone who has less light pollution. 


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#6 gsaramet

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Posted 10 August 2022 - 01:56 PM

I usually see people recommending the L-xtreme to people with plenty of light pollution (Bortle 7-8), while the L-enhance is good for anyone who has less light pollution. 

That would be me :) Light pollution maps give 7-8 at my place; but what the maps don't know is that the residential area 50m from me have horribly strong LED for public lighting, so strong I get blinded when I drive home. So, near the scope it's probably 8-9. 

 

Only used an L-Pro, hunting for a dualband for nebulas at the moment :)


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#7 danny1976

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Posted 10 August 2022 - 03:01 PM

Take a look at the Antlia ALP-T for even tighter bandpasses 5nm and apparently no halos.


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#8 Borodog

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Posted 10 August 2022 - 04:03 PM

LOL, it's about the third or fourth time I look at this - I want to get a dualband filter and I am hunting for comparisons. So thank you very much for your post!

 

Yeah, indeed, more details on the L-extreme, and I would say a bit more green fringe on the zwo. By the way, does the zwo create halos? Also, what camera did you use?

 

Cheers!

 

No, the ZWO does not create halos. I thought the L-eXtreme did, but now I'm not so sure. It may have been thin cloud the first night I tested it that was causing the halo, as I don't recall seeing it at all the night I shot this data, and both times I used the same bright star for alignment and focus.

 

I used an ASI533MC.

 

 

I think the ZWO's duo band filter compares more to the OPT L-enhance as far as bandwith pass. 

The L-enhance has a wider gap by the OIII bandwith, including H-beta transmission, just like the ZWO.

Also the L-Xtreme has a tighter band on the Ha.  

 

I usually see people recommending the L-xtreme to people with plenty of light pollution (Bortle 7-8), while the L-enhance is good for anyone who has less light pollution. 

 

Using jdupton's spreadsheet I can tell you that the Duo Band knocks out about 79% of the light pollution. For me, that takes me from an artificial to natural light ratio of 4.5 down to about 0.93, effectively reducing my Bortle class from 5 to 4. The L-eNhance knocks out about 86%, reducing me to a ratio of 0.63. So it has about 30% less light pollution transmission compared to the Duo Band. But that's still Bortle 4. It isn't a radical improvement. Unfortunately the L-eXtreme filter is not in the spreadsheet. Looking at the transmission curves for the extreme vs. the enhance, though, it's got to be at least another 50% reduction from the enhance. So it is going to remove a minimum of 93% of light pollution (if not a bit more), which would put me at a ratio of ~0.32 or lower, which is the upper end of class 3. I had previously thought that the DB was about 1 Bortle class for me, the enhance 2, and the extreme 3, but looking at the actual numbers from the spreadsheet, that simply isn't the case.

 

Another small consideration is that the enhance and the extreme appear to have a better tuned Hα transmission band than the Duo Band. Transmissivity of Hα for the Duo Band is only about 80% whereas it appears to be around 90% for the Optolong filters.

 

 


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#9 gsaramet

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Posted 10 August 2022 - 04:03 PM

Thanks, I know about Alp-t... but it's bleemin' 500+ euros here... There is also Radian Triad Ultra for about double that...



#10 chvvkumar

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Posted 10 August 2022 - 05:10 PM

I like what I am getting from the Duoband. Especially in a dark sky location. This is a 6 frame mosaic of the Veil. Each frame is 60 minutes long with 5 minute subs:

 

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and this is a 2 hour integration with 5 min subs:

 

get.jpg?insecure


Edited by chvvkumar, 10 August 2022 - 05:12 PM.

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#11 unimatrix0

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Posted 10 August 2022 - 10:02 PM

The ZWO has been working for me so far, I have 2 of them, one 1.25" and a 2" version. I use the 2 inch with DSLR.  I have zero complaints about them as far as price versus performance. Works for me up to F3 speeds so I'm good. 

 

The reason I haven't got any of the OPT or other more premium narrowband filters, because I always think that I may go mono in the near future and I'm gonna need a whole set of other filters (and a lot more money spent on them too) . 


Edited by unimatrix0, 10 August 2022 - 10:03 PM.

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#12 norvegicus

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Posted 11 August 2022 - 10:25 AM

Great comparison, glad I was able to help it happen.  We should all be lending each other expensive stuff like filters and eyepieces on a regular basis so we can make real judgements on what we want to use.  Who wants to lend me a Nagler 22 T4?  ;)


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#13 Oort Cloud

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Posted 11 August 2022 - 11:20 AM

I thought about getting alp-t, but it seems they only make it in a 2". I have an EFW, so no way I'm taking my flattener apart every time I want to change filters.

Just something to consider.

I ended up getting the ZWO, and it does make halos on bright stars, but they are barely noticable compared to what I've seen in L-extreme images.
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#14 charles.tremblay.darveau

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Posted 11 August 2022 - 11:24 AM

The ZWO duoband is the affordable entry point for narrowband. You can get the 1.25" for under 80$ when in sale.  It is in the same ballpark as the L-enhance; it will improve detection of nebula but not to the same extent as tighter bandpass filter. I have noticed some halos on bright stars.

 

Lots of people have been using L-extreme because it was 'fairly' affordable and had a narrow bandpass. It does have halos and I think Optolong is working on a new version.

 

The newer generation of duoband from Antlia look very promising. Very narrow bandwidth and good halo control. I would seriously consider this if I didn't move to mono.

 

If you have a fast system (f/3 or faster), then you also need to think about frequency shift when using very narrowband filters (10nm or less). The IDAS NBZ is an excellent option for such cases. I have one that I use on my Hyperstar and it also works for slower scope. No visible halos and relatively good bandwidth (10nm, slightly broader than L-extreme).


Edited by charles.tremblay.darveau, 11 August 2022 - 11:25 AM.


#15 unimatrix0

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Posted 11 August 2022 - 11:25 AM

I thought about getting alp-t, but it seems they only make it in a 2". I have an EFW, so no way I'm taking my flattener apart every time I want to change filters.

Just something to consider.

I ended up getting the ZWO, and it does make halos on bright stars, but they are barely noticable compared to what I've seen in L-extreme images.

Indeed, there are some halos, although I don't notice on images with Newtonians, only maybe by the corners, but it looks more like lens effect sort of thing. It doesn't bother me. 

The thing is, the narrower the band it uses, the more likely to have halos, especially on fast telescopes. People who don't have a very light polluted sky (I'd say Bortle 6 and below)  I would go with a broader brand filters like the L-enhance or the zwo or whatever else is out there. 

 

I'm quite satisfied with my ZWO narrowband filters, I'm at Bortle 5 so I could even shoot with a milder light pollution filter like the moon/skyglow filter from Baader and still capture plenty of nebulousity and very good star colors. 


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#16 Borodog

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Posted 11 August 2022 - 11:34 AM

Great comparison, glad I was able to help it happen.  We should all be lending each other expensive stuff like filters and eyepieces on a regular basis so we can make real judgements on what we want to use.  Who wants to lend me a Nagler 22 T4?  wink.gif

Thank you again for lending me the filter. I want to make a few more comparisons before sending it back to you (North America, some of the Veil, Lagoon & Trifid, since I have recently shot all of these with the Duo Band), but I have clouds forecast for the foreseeable future. If you need your filter back anytime soon, just let me know.


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#17 norvegicus

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Posted 11 August 2022 - 12:10 PM

Thank you again for lending me the filter. I want to make a few more comparisons before sending it back to you (North America, some of the Veil, Lagoon & Trifid, since I have recently shot all of these with the Duo Band), but I have clouds forecast for the foreseeable future. If you need your filter back anytime soon, just let me know.

No hurry. I'm especially looking forward to the Veil comparison. 


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#18 TransitVanMan

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Posted 10 July 2023 - 03:03 PM

Thanks for this. I'm happy with my L-extreme in 1.25 format on my 130APO but I baulked at the price of a 2" for my new wide field grab and go.This gives me confidence that the DB2 is comparable. undecided.gif Now, do I spoil the ship for a ha'porth o' tar?


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#19 kevinrodgers22

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Posted 17 November 2023 - 01:18 PM

Thanks; I’m glad somebody took a look. ;O)

thanks for posting this,



#20 Oort Cloud

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Posted 21 November 2023 - 07:17 PM

There is also now the dual-3nm L-Ultimate to consider as well...if you can find one, and have the funds ($370US/2")

#21 smiller

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Posted 22 November 2023 - 11:31 AM

.

 

I would not say there is a significant improvement in the noise. This is making me wonder if my subs were too short; they were set at the start of the evening when the target was low and may not have been swamping the read noise adequately. Any thoughts on this are welcome.

 

I don’t think you should expect less noise in the L-extreme results because if your noise is driven by shot noise, and if you cut out light pollution, you’re going to have less shot noise. It’s target SNR that is improved.

 

I noticed this fairly significantly between using my L-ultimate filter and no filter. My results with no filter are very low noise but that’s because it’s all filled with light pollution so there’s very little shot noise, it’s a nice smooth shot of bright light pollution but the target SNR is poor because that weak Ha/Oiii target signal is drowned out by the bright LP background and its remaining shot noise even after subtracting out the average LP background signal.

 

 

 

Using jdupton's spreadsheet I can tell you that the Duo Band knocks out about 79% of the light pollution. For me, that takes me from an artificial to natural light ratio of 4.5 down to about 0.93, effectively reducing my Bortle class from 5 to 4. The L-eNhance knocks out about 86%, reducing me to a ratio of 0.63. So it has about 30% less light pollution transmission compared to the Duo Band. But that's still Bortle 4. It isn't a radical improvement. Unfortunately the L-eXtreme filter is not in the spreadsheet. Looking at the transmission curves for the extreme vs. the enhance, though, it's got to be at least another 50% reduction from the enhance. So it is going to remove a minimum of 93% of light pollution (if not a bit more), which would put me at a ratio of ~0.32 or lower, which is the upper end of class 3. I had previously thought that the DB was about 1 Bortle class for me, the enhance 2, and the extreme 3, but looking at the actual numbers from the spreadsheet, that simply isn't the case.

 

Another small consideration is that the enhance and the extreme appear to have a better tuned Hα transmission band than the Duo Band. Transmissivity of Hα for the Duo Band is only about 80% whereas it appears to be around 90% for the Optolong filters.

Jim Thompson has all the details about the L-extreme that you may want here:

 

https://www.research...lter_Comparison

 

At 7nm/7nm band passes, The L-extreme removes 95 to 96% of the sky background, so it’s dramatically more than the ZWO filter.


Edited by smiller, 22 November 2023 - 11:33 AM.


#22 chvvkumar

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Posted 22 November 2023 - 01:21 PM

I switched from the ZWO duoband to the L-Ultimate. I am finding it much better for getting good SnR from my Bortle 6 skies. 

 

Here's some comparisions between the DuoBand and L-Ultimate using the same scope, camera and imaging train, same exposure lengths. 

 

https://drive.google...PKy?usp=sharing

 

Pleasen ote, the eastern veil picture using the Duoband is from a Bortle 1 location whereas the L-Ultimate is from a Bortle 6 location.




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