The present invention is an apparatus for forming a spectrally weighted value from received multispectral radiation. The spectral weighting is done optically prior to detection of the received radiation by dispersing the received multispectral radiation into a plurality of wavelength bin areas. This dispersed radiation is then passed through a weighting filter which includes first and second filter elements for each of the wavelength bin areas. The filtered radiation is then converged to corresponding detectors with the spectrally weighted value formed by the difference between the signals of the first and second detectors. A pair of filters, two detectors and a subtracter are employed to produce a generalized weight factor having positive or negative weights. This system can form one or more spectrally weighted values from the radiation from a single pixel, or one spectrally weighted value form the radiation from a plurality of pixels. The addition of a polarization filter permits the formation of spectrally weighted values for various polarizations of a single pixel.