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Cheap cheap 4x4 ND filters?


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What 4x4 ND filters are recommended? (especially any more affordable ones!) Also interested in graduated ND 4x4 filters, and polariser 4x4 filters.

I know the cheaper ND filters often have issues, but I'm hopeful there are some options out there which can give at least "acceptable" results relevant to the no budget indie level. I'll be using this on a Fotga DP3000 M3 matte box with Rokinon DS lenses and a Sony F3.

These are the possible ones I'm looking at for now (open of course to other suggestions):

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Did a search for Haida on eBay and was astonished to discover they make a 12 stop ND filter!


And yes, waaay more expensive than Fotga yet at the same time heaps cheaper than Tiffen/Leen/etc. More than I'd like to spend, but maybe this is a compromise I could live with.

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I did some testing using color charts and shooting raw stills with a 5500k light.

My tiffen (glass) and Lee (resin) were fine for sharpness and color. My Formatt HiTech has some green shift. All three had no sharpness hit that I could see zoomed in.

Nothing huge, if you're manually white balancing or shooting raw video you can just re-balance.  When I color test filters or lights, I check a gray card against photoshop-generated grays. So if you eyedropper a gray patch and it's, say, 127R 121G 120B, you'll have a slightly warm cast. Put a box of pure photoshop-generated gray that's close to the patch reading but pure gray (all the same values for r,g and b - in this case 121-121-121 would do) and you'll get a good visual look at how it differs.

The best thing to do - even if you have some so-so filters - is check eBay continually for the filters you need and try to get a deal on a good brand. You'll occasionally snap up a deal. last week a guy sold a Tiffen 4x4 812 for $37... just missed that one. And test your cheap filters, you may have some that are as good as a Tiffen.

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How it ended up is I got on eBay a Tiffen 4x4 ND1.2 (four stops) for a hundred bucks, which I expect will be the most often used filter by me initially. (for when the internal ND filters on the F3 simply are not enough while shooting outdoors in summer time)


But also got three graduated ND filters of different strengths and one ND8 (three stops) filter, for the ridiculously low low price of only six bucks each!! I thought "why not?", it will at least allow me to much about and compare them. And maybe operate as a back up set in a pinch. Curious to see just how bad these $6 4x4 filters will be!

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Yeah, I actually followed the bread crums and it brought me back from Zomei to NiSi actually.

Could just be that NiSi puts on a 'high-end' face... perhaps they're taking the ODM services from Zomei and rebranding them as NiSi... then selling 'em for 3x times the Zomei.


Thing is, the NiSi does look a little suspiciously cheap for its price and actually rather similar to the Zomei package as well. Just slapped their name on the filter, pouch and packaging? Both are called F-Stopper PRO on top of that. Could be the other way around... that Zomei wants to benefit from NiSi... but to be honest, before that Newsshooter video I'd never heard of them, so that makes you wonder why they'd bother over at Zomei. Those new NiSi '6K'-filters they showed in the video, do look to be on another playing field, admittedly. Just not sure what to make of it. I'm trying to figure which piece Zomei is in the puzzle... but I gut feeling says they're probably the original design manufacturer behind it and are providing rebranding services for NiSi, Camdiox, ICE, perhaps Haida even.

Anyways. They are claiming Schott glass, unbiased colors 'that will not affect the photographic camera color balance' and so on... my guess is that they must be a definite upgrade from let's say Fotga, for not too crazy prices. Not sure if anyone has bothered to look into them before, didn't see all that much, so you indeed would have to feel like a little splurgy to go and actually find out. But it will be something I'll keep in mind.

- They've got other filters as well (VND, CPL, etc). Found some store fronts: http://stores.ebay.com/2014bingozomei , http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/bingozomei , http://www.aliexpress.com/store/1582034 , http://www.aliexpress.com/store/1261904 & http://www.aliexpress.com/store/518684 . They're on AliBaba as well: http://zomei.en.alibaba.com . http://www.zomei.hk . I'd say be careful about the really cheap filters in the Fotga-price range, I'd only consider the actual glass ones to have a certain quality to them.

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