In this, our 3rd part of the Baader Universal Filter Changer (UFC) system, we will look a little more closely at the UFC filter sliders. Below is an updated simplified diagram of the Baader UFC system. A general introduction you can find here, and the second part about the UFC Base here.
The image below shows the three UFC filter slider models available. More about these are individually discussed later.
All the UFC filter sliders feature:
a knurled (removable) aluminium handle for holding the slider. This allows the slider to be easily held, inserted and removed from the UFC base.
a 4mm long x 3mm diameter brass pin : The brass pin allows the slider to be seated correctly in the UFC Base. Once the filter slider is fully inserted, the brass pin "sticks out" of the locating hole in the UFC Base. The brass pin also serves another main purpose. Rather than pulling on the filter slider handle to remove it, which may potentially disturb the position of your telescope, you gently push on the brass pin to "eject" the slider away from the UFC Base magnet. You then simply, and easily, pull the slider out with the aluminium handle...
This blog continues our series on the Baader Universal Filter Changer (UFC) system, with this one giving an overview of the telescope-side adaptors. Attaching a UFC system to a telescope may be done for example, by using a 1.25" or 2" push-fit nosepiece to go into a focuser drawtube for visual or imaging purposes, or to a focal reducer or field flattener for imaging use.
The image below shows the current range of adaptors, as well as the spacers (extensions), that are available that allow you to attach the UFC Filter Base (shown below left in the pink box) to a telescope. There are ten telescope adaptors and four telescope-side UFC extension tubes. Except for the two RASA adaptors, all the other eight telescope adaptor "bodies" are fully anodised matt-black. The two RASA adaptors have their inner central portion anodised black (where the light emanates from the RASA front lens group assembly) to stop any reflections.
Looking only at the telescope side adaptors in the green box - see below - the following information given is:
Type of fitment that the telescope-side adaptor allows (e.g. T-2, M48 etc).
Baader product code.
The thickness of the adaptor contributes towards the...
In the first part of this series of blogs about the Baader Universal Filter Changer (UFC), we gave a general introductory overview of the UFC system. In this second part, we will look more closely at the main component of the system - the UFC Base - and outline its features. In the UFC overview diagram below, the UFC Base is the component in the middle (between the two red arrows).
The UFC Base is also known as, and sometimes referred to, as the UFC filter chamber. For the purposes of this and future blogs in this series, we will refer to the UFC Base as just the "Base". The Base has a number of functions or purposes. It allows:
The range of Baader UFC telescope-side adaptors and spacers to be attached allowing the UFC to be connected to a telescope.
The Baader camera-side adaptors to be attached so that cameras can be connected to the filter system.
The filter slider, which holds your filters, to be easily inserted and removed, and also to be held securely when in place (thus allowing the filter to be used for its imaging or visual purpose).
In the box
**Please note: the photographs of the Baader UFC Base...
The Baader Universal Filter Changer (or UFC for short) is a very versatile simple system for using, mounting and changing (or swapping) filters in and out of a light path. The UFC can be used for imaging where you may want to swap different filters (e.g. LRGB) between a camera and a telescope but do not want the bulk, or expense, of a filter wheel. The UFC can be used between a camera and a Celestron RASA 11/14(36) or a Starizona Hyperstar system where the overall size and shape of a filterwheel causes issues. You can also use the UFC for visual purposes where you can easily switch between different colour filters between a telescope and an eyepiece.
The image below shows the standard "exploded" diagram of the parts that make up the Baader UFC. We've colour-coded it to highlight the main different parts (see below). At present there are 30+ parts to the whole UFC system in total. The large number of components may seem somewhat overwhelming at first glance, and can lead to some confusion, and that the system is complicated. However, we hope this series of blogs will help show how simple, and effective, the UFC is....
We've been asked a few times recently on how to set up the Baader UFC for use with a DSLR and a range of wide-field imaging refracting telescopes. So we thought we would write a short blog on some ways this can be done.
Let us start from the telescope side first.
All the enquiries we have had, the wide field refractors have 2" barrel focusers, so there is our starting point. The telescope side of the UFC Base (to which everything else in the UFC system is connected to) uses Baader's S70 dovetail adaptors to allow the UFC to fit to telescopes.
Looking at the UFC main diagram above Baader do a
Baader UFC S70 / 2" SC-thread (f) Telescope-Adapter (optical height: 1 mm) (#2459128, € 23,-)
that allows 2"/SC male-thread accessories to be used. More about our UFC Telescope Adapters can be found in our blog: The UFC telescope-side adaptors.
We offer our
Baader 2" Nosepiece with 2" filter thread (#2408155, € 35,-)
Baader 2" Safety Kerf nosepiece with 2" filter thread (#2408156, € 35,-)
The image below shows the latter 2" nosepiece attached to the UFC S70 2"/SC adaptor. Using one of these will allow...
Now that we have covered the main overview of the Baader UFC system in our previous blogs (parts 1-to-5), we thought it would be appropriate to give some examples of how the UFC system can be used. Firstly, this is not meant to be exhaustive as there are many combinations of telescopes and accessories. In this blog, we will consider an example of the UFC being used visually.
One of the simplest ways of using the UFC visually is with 1.25"/2" eyepieces and with a suitable telescope that uses a 1.25"/2" focuser (or 2" focuser with 1.25" adaptor). If we go back to our first blog (Overview of the UFC system), we said that although the UFC system looks complicated, its actually quite simple. At the most basic level, all that is required is a telescope side adaptor, the UFC Base and a camera/eyepiece adaptor. The image below is a simplified diagram showing the UFC system: camera/eyepiece side adaptors on the left; telescope side adaptors on the right, and in the middle is the UFC Base to which the telescope and camera side adaptors are connected. The three main versions of filter slider are also shown below the UFC Base.
In this latest blog on the Baader UFC System, we will look at the UFC camera-side adaptors. At present there are nine (9) different adaptors that will allow cameras to be attached to the (camera-side) of the UFC Base unit. These are shown in the image below. The image shows the type of fitment to the camera (e.g. T-2, FLI etc), the product code and also the optical path length (thickness) of the adaptor (which is important when using the UFC system with e.g. focal reducer where the camera sensor needs to be positioned at a particular distance from the reducer - we will cover this in a later post).
All of the nine adaptors have the following common features:
made of aluminium
have countersunk holes
are attached to the UFC-base unit using 8 hex screws supplied with the adaptor for secure fitment (screws are flush fitting when fully tightened)
The image below shows the camera side of the UFC Base on which all the UFC camera-side adaptors are fitted.
Below is an image of a UFC camera adaptor showing the 8 countersunk holes in which the hex screws are inserted for securely attaching the...
It may appear, at first glance, that the Baader Planetarium Universal Filter Changer (UFC) is for use with larger 2″/50mm sized filters. Not so! You can use popular, and more often used smaller 1.25″, 31mm unmounted or 36mm unmounted filters too. So how can the filter slider drawer made for use with larger sized filters be used with smaller filters? Simple – with a step-down adaptor. Baader call these step-down adaptors AUX Filter Holders.
Apart from the UFC Base, and the associated telescope- and camera-side adaptors for your telescope/camera combination, you will need
Baader UFC D 50.4 Filter Slider (#2459113, € 40,-)
. It is to this particular filter slider that any of the AUX step-down adaptors attach to.
We offer three AUX step-down filter holder adaptors for use with the D50.4mm slider:
Baader UFC 1¼" AUX-Filter-Holder (requires #2459113) (#2459153, € 9,50)
: This adaptor is (female) threaded to accept the standard 28.5mm filter cell threads.
Baader UFC D 31 mm AUX-Filter-Holder (requires #2459113) (#2459151, € 9,50)
: This adaptor comes with three Allen-key socket screws and washers to securely clamp a 31mm unmounted filter in the AUX filter adaptor holder.
Baader UFC D 36 mm AUX-Filter-Holder (requires #2459113)...
Info about using quickchange-frontfilters with the UFC in combination with DSLR-cameras
There are no monochrome DSLR-cameras on the market, so a filter holder (e.g. the Baader-UFC) may seem quite useless for DSLR imaging, but if you take a closer look, there are indeed some interesting use-cases.
Many owners of DSLR-cameras remove the complete UV/IR-blocking filter and use this simple way to improve the sensitivity especially for H-alpha – but because of the costs, they decide not to add a new blocking filter with increased H-alpha-transmission.
But as a result, you have to find another way to block the IR- and UV-parts of the spectrum so that they will not decrease the image quality. You can use the UFC to mount such a UV/IR-cut filter in front of the camera - and to quickly replace it with another filter, without touching the camera.
Narrowband filters are not perfectly suited for a DSLR because of the Bayer-matrix, but especially a 35 nm H-alpha filter will show the emission nebulae better.
Especially in light-polluted areas the UHC-S-filter is very helpful. You can use the Baader-UFC to switch between several filters fast and easy. This way you can see which filter is the best for...
The current issue of Astronomy Technology Today introduces the UFC System - the tester was impressed:
What do you get if you cross an Erector Set with some giant metal washers, a plethora of variously-sized openings, a filter tray that slots in like a clip in a Glock, and, well, all sorts of other stuff? The Baader Universal Filter Changer, or UFC for short. And when Baader says “universal,” they mean it.
Read the Testreport ATT 1/2018 Baader-UFC . Mark Zaslove shows all wonderful things you can do with the Baader UFC (Universal Filter Changer).
Off-standard single filter sizes from Baader - why not:
Quite often we receive requests for a single filter in an off-standard size. In all cases we are sorry that we must answer as follows:
Sorry (we know it would be so very much cheaper in production - and we would be so much more flexible to fill special requests) - but we have decided long ago to not cut or saw our filters from large plates because this would leave the coating stack open and mutilated (with microscopic cracks) all around, prone to aging and peeling.
Many times we had the chance to inspect our competitors filters after several years of use (due to our 30+years of servicing SBIG-CCD-cameras/and filter wheels) and we realized already 15 years ago how moisture and heat stress can deteriorate even most modern hard coatings, slowly peeling off from the carrying substrate over time, unless the coating stack is sealed all around the filter stack.
As a consequence - in order to create our filters to remain impermeable - we only offer all filter substrates already cut to final shape and run each substrate on an double deck auto-polisher to achieve perfect optical flatness and freedom from cone errors.
Then we do individually coat these substrates in 500 pc per run as minimum to fill a complete coating chamber, in a way that the coating stack (many times 50+ layers) applied onto each filter won't reach to the very edge of the round or square substrate, so that the coating stack remains completely sealed from all sides. In this way we can ensure that our filters will not age at all.
The sad effect is that we cannot offer other sizes unless the inquired production quantity were in the range of 250 to 500 pc (depending on size) and the tooling rings or square holders will be paid for, which serve to precisely center each individual filter substrate within the rotating calotte inside the coating chamber. Sorry - as explained above - we just will not coat onto large plates and cut any shape from them, also because such large plates cannot be polished optically flat in the same way we do it.
For your most urgent need and for single piece solutions we can only recommend to order the next larger size of our respective filter and have that cut to shape by an ophtalmologist locally. We can supply the round filters without the metal cell in such cases; square filters come without cell in any case.
Unmounted Filters – which side should face the telescope?
Question in Detail:
I just bought LRGB 36mm unmounted filters. I have question: which side of filter should be placed towards telescope? Is it better way of distinguish than "more shiny surface towards telescope"?
Always put the more reflective side towards the telescope side. To guide you we already put a small arrow on the filter rim, on those filters were the position matters. This arrow indicates which face of the filter should be directed towards the sky (telescope-sided). All cell-mounted filters are already oriented in a way that the most appropriate filter face is facing the sky when the filter would be mounted directly onto the front end of the nosepiece of a camera.
If you mount your filter the other way, any reflected light would have a short way to the camera sensor, resulting in a higher risk of getting some kind of back-reflections inside the camera field. Many sensors have highly reflective areas near to the light sensitive area, also the area with the bonding contacts is sometimes highly reflective.
But: this is true only for instruments without optical elements near to the focal plane. If you have f.e. a coma corrector, field flattener, focal reducer, focal extender (to a lower degree due to concave surface), or in extreme cases a whole lens group for more complex field corrections a few centimeters in front of the filter it could be useful to flip the filter against the rule from above (thus having the arrow pointing away from the telescope). Cause in such cases the likelihood of reflections from the sensor could be lesser then fort- and back- reflections from such glass-surfaces. If in doubt, it helps to make some test images from a star field with bright stars, using the filter in both ways for comparison.
Should you really have some reflections with both positions it can be more effective to add a spacer between filter and camera, eventually shifting the reflection out of the image field. With focal correctors having curved surfaces changing the filter-lens distance could help also.
Our company exists now for more than 50 years. In this time, more than 15.000 Baader Planetariums (the first patented product of our company) help all over the world to give students an understanding of astronomical correlations. In our own manufactory, more than 500 observatory domes have been produced and delivered turnkey-ready. Instruments and telescope accessories from "Baader" are known for their high qualities by many astronomers and universities. We consider it our duty and obligation, not only to sell telescopes, but an indivdually selected telescope system, that brings you a lifetime of joy.
During Christmas time 2019 our offices are short-staffed from December 23rd until January 6th, 2020. Emails and phone calls on our answering machine will not be checked regularly and there may be slight delays in processing of orders and enquiries during this time. We ask for your kind understanding and wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year 2020 with many clear skies!