STC In-Body Clip Filter – Inserting Filters Right Between Lens and Sensor

March 8th, 2019

STC Clip Filters are filter inserts designed for use between camera’s sensor and the lens. There are ND filters in various strengths, Astro filter and infrared filter inserts available. Many DSLR and mirrorless cameras are supported and more are coming soon.

ND filters are a vital component when filming – even on bright sunny days, filmmakers want to stay close to the standard 180 degrees shutter angle for the right motion blur without compromising on the shallow depth of field too. That is impossible to achieve without a light-limiting ND filter. Since the filmmaking world started massively using DSLRs and mirrorless cameras without the internal ND filters known from classic video cameras, there have been few workarounds for that.

Naturally, the first option how to limit light entering the sensor on DSLR or mirrorless body is a classic circular threaded filter screwed in front of the lens. That can work just fine for many scenarios, but not every time. Using these filters makes lens changing longer as the filter needs to be switched to the new lens as well. It gets even more complicated when the lenses have different filter thread sizes. Moreover, for some ultra-wide angle or fisheye lenses, it is impossible to use a front filter without vignetting.

STC Clip Filter Inserts

It appears Taiwanese company STC Optics can offer a solution for such situations. Their STC Clip Filters are specially designed filter inserts made to be used between a camera’s sensor and the lens. Right now, the filter inserts are available for Canon full-frame and APS-C DSLR bodies, Nikon full-frame DSLR bodies, as well as for the Sony a7 series mirrorless cameras. A full list of currently supported cameras can be found here. Inserts for other bodies are in development and coming soon (we have been told in about one or two months) – namely for the new Canon EOS and Nikon full-frame mirrorless cameras, Sony APS-C line, Fujifilm APS-C bodies, micro four-thirds bodies, and even FUJIFILM medium format bodies.

As I mentioned, the main advantage of the STC clip filters should be no vignetting or color shift in peripheral areas for ultra-wide angle and fisheye lenses. Mounting and removing the clip filter should be quick and easy. The material used for the filter glass frame is black anodized 304 stainless steel which is virtually non-magnetic and less brittle at low temperatures. The STC clip filters feature high-quality double-sided NANO anti-smudge coating, which is waterproof and grease-proof.

The line-up of clip filters includes ND filters (ND16 ND64, ND400, and ND1000), Astro filter, and an infrared filter UV-IR CUT filter. Note that, when using the clip filters with a DSLR body, only Live View mode will be available as the mirror needs to stay lifted to make place for the insert. The clip filters are available either separately or in sets.

Although we were told STC clip filters are safe, I am personally a bit concerned. I can imagine a scenario when the clip filter insert slips out of my hand during inserting and hits the sensor causing some damage. I also think there could be an increased amount of dust on mirrorless cameras’ sensors when putting things between the sensor and lens.

What do you think of STC clip filters? Does a product like this fit in your workflow? How do you limit light entering the sensor on mirrorless and DSLR bodies? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.

20
Leave a Reply

guest
1
1
- 2
Filter:
all
Sort by:
latest
Lucas
Lucas
Guest
July 4th, 2019

Where do I buy it? for canon m50?

 Corky Heller
Corky Heller
Member
June 5th, 2019

I wonder if they would consider making a filter with no correction, UV or otherwise, just clear glass. This might help keep the dust off the sensor. It seems dust on the sensor has been my only concern since switching to mirror-less.

 Corky Heller
Corky Heller
Member
June 5th, 2019
Reply to  Corky Heller

Oh, I just saw Gary S Smith’s response. I’ll check that out!

Member
March 14th, 2019

Although as an idea it’s not bad, I am trying to imagine someone like us in a real life scenario,
holding his camera, taking off the lens while trying to open the filter with one hand and fit in a millimetre distance from the sensor.
At the same time a slight breeze is hitting your sensor, ND filter and back side of your lens with dust.
And that would be the good option of not scratching your sensor while you struggle to do all that.

David Angell
David Angell
Guest
March 14th, 2019

Is there a chance of back focus being shifted by adding a new piece of glass between the lens’ rear element and the sensor?

Rick Urbanowski
Guest
March 11th, 2019

Dust

Joshua Valdez
Guest
March 9th, 2019

This will make repair shops happy

 Erkki Juurus
Erkki Juurus
Member
March 9th, 2019

I agree with Kendrick, I don’t think a detachable ND filter element in the front of the sensor is that practical. An UV/IR filter used as a permanent fixture would make more sense, and I’ve had a LP/IR filter in my workflow for a long while already.

Physical LP or LP/IR filters that go between the lens and the sensor have been around for years. They are useful in battling colour shifts and moire. There’s one for some Sony S35 models, for example, and there are a couple of manufacturers making them for some Blackmagic cameras, and Mosaic Engineering have been making them for some Canon dSLR models as well. How practical or comfortable are they to use with a typical dSLR is another matter, but in my BMPCC it works fine. I wouldn’t use a similar ND filter, though.

Another issue that didn’t get covered in the story is the possible focus shift, and whether or not you need to compensate for it with shims.
If not, I wonder how well will those filters keep the entire sensor area in focus and without fringing with wider angle lenses in particular, and with various strengths and thicknesses of filter stacks. Let alone with various speed boosters.
Suppose someone will do some testing at some point.

Vic
Vic
Guest
April 16th, 2019
Reply to  Erkki Juurus

It was tested by Andy Westlake in Amateur Photography Magazine on 6th April 2019 and he found no difference in sharpness or colour shift using Sony 24-70 F4 and 24-105 F4 lenses. He did find smearing at the edges using a Laowa 15mm F2 though which would, I assume be worse with fisheye lenses.

David Kudr
Guest
March 9th, 2019

Good idea tho!

What Haveyou
Guest
March 14th, 2019
Reply to  David Kudr

“Tho?”

Lâm Tran
Guest
March 9th, 2019

Many motion cameras already have built in ND filters. From that concept, it sounds practical and time will tell.

Interviewer is abundantly pessimistic in this interview.

Nathan Jobs
Guest
March 9th, 2019

I can see this failing so hard. What a dumb idea. Another case of doing something just because it can be done….. Haiz. Anyone with a sony A 7series cam and knowledge of how sensitive the sensor is (towards dust, scratches and how cleaning it is a pain in the butt) will agree.

What Haveyou
Guest
March 14th, 2019
Reply to  Nathan Jobs

I agree. The last thing you want to be doing is dicking around with the camera body open to the environment. This is an interesting idea, but I would expect this to result in far more dust on the sensor.

Gary S Smith
Gary S Smith
Guest
March 17th, 2019
Reply to  What Haveyou

The sensor on my Sony A7R soon got covered in dust spots from changing lenses outdoors. On their stand at The Photography Show at the NEC this week I noticed the STC clip-in filter range included a sensor protector. The price of that item was around GBP93. The camera’s sensor was cleaned at the same show for GBP40.

 Dan Brockett
Member
March 9th, 2019

Personally, I would only even consider these for a super wide or fisheye lens. I also wouldn’t put them to work without comparisons between the nakes lens, the lens with this filter in place and I would do A/B comparisons to compare these against my higher end, screw-on glass filters. It’s an interesting but very limited use idea for me.

Ed Hecht
Ed Hecht
Member
March 8th, 2019

A niche need/want, I know. But I have been waiting for something like this for converted full spectrum cameras, where use of filterless fisheye lenses is precluded… I expect these to be knocked off for cheaper soon enough though…

Kendrick Satterfield
Kendrick Satterfield
Member
March 8th, 2019

The only time I see this being practical is for filters that will stay there permanently, or at very least an entire day of shooting. So like color correcting filters for instance. Otherwise changing ND’s on set would be a complete nightmare. There have been plenty of times where the DP has called for a .3, I’ve dropped it in, and he/she changes their mind and we pull it. That would never fly with these.

Additionally, how’s this going to pan out with mixing glass? The DP’s I know already have their preferred ND’s, usually Schneider. So throwing a color correcting SCT on the sensor then putting Schneider ND’s in the matte box would certainly throw off the look of the Schneiders.

Mickael Nokovitch
Guest
March 8th, 2019

Patrice Halley ça aurait été ta solution!

Kerrin Sheldon
Kerrin Sheldon
Guest
March 8th, 2019

Woah pretty cool. If nothing else, it proves you can fit an ND filter in these small cameras. If companies could make an electronic ND filter (like FS5) that can do zero ND, you’re done right there.

1
1
- 2
Filter:
all
Sort by:
latest

Take part in the CineD community experience