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Best 82mm Variable ND and Circular Polarizer?


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Hi guys any advice on a best bang for buck variable ND and circular polarizer?

Just got the Sigma 50-100mm delivered to me but totally didn't count on the front element being so massive. On location in remote Northern Canada so I have to order parts online, no nearby shops.

I usually play it safe and just buy Tiffen but I think I remember seeing SLR Magic having one of the most neutral variable NDs available?

Apologies if there's already a thread for my answer. All I have is a smartphone and lousy data connection, having trouble doing good research.

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I've used a Zomei HD Variable Density and I liked it. They come in 82mm.  I would get the one with SCHOTT Glass from Germany that is 18-Layer multi-coated.  The SCHOTT Glass and/or their coatings adds some clarity to the image that the Variable ND's seems to take away, so it tends to be a good combination from my experience. It's about $70 on ebay.  I don't know if I'm allowed to provide a link, so, if your interested, just search ebay for: 

Zomei 82mm Ultra Slim Multi-Coated 18 layers HD ND2-400 Fader Variable ND Filter.

Anyways, it's relatively cheap and does a good job IMO.

(I am not affiliated with the ebay sellers of these or Zomei.)

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I have the new X4 Circular Polarizer by Breakthrough photography and the B+W XS Pro HTC yadda yadda.


The X4 is really nice.  Sharp, and way better color accuracy than the BW.  Both cost $120 or so.

I have to say I "prefer" the X4 but haven't done any real comparison testing as I don't really use them that much.


Just do your research because a lot of them are not sharp / bad color etc...


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This video review by Dave Dugdale is a bit old by now (2012), but it might be interesting for you to watch anyway:

As scotchtape recommends, do some research to avoid buyers remorse. Good luck to you! :-)

Ah, just reread your post and see that you're in a remote location with poor data connection. To sum up the below review, Dave went with the Tiffen variable ND, but that was in late 2012, so things could have changed since then.



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Yeah I have the SLR magic as well, I love it! A bit pricey (though at the same time if you're spending thousands on lenses, what's a hundred bucks or two to keep a good filter on the front and keep that image clean?) 

I use mine with xume magnetic filters on all my lenses so it's super easy to just snap it on and off different lenses in a hurry. I'm no color scientist, but it doesn't seem to leave any color cast at all (unlike my original horribly green cheap screw-on ND's) and there's also no 'X pattern' present at any point in the range like you get on a lot of variables. 

It doesn't have have hard stops, so it's nice and smooth, although it does have number markings which make it simple to tell where you're at. It's very easy to reach forward and fade brighter or darker for exposure control, especially moving into or out of a building/vehicle etc. for a seamless transition. 

I've owned used it on pretty much every shoot for probably about 2 years now, I did a bunch of research before I bought it, and it still seems like the best option today. My only complaint is that sometimes, shooting wide open on fast lenses in the middle of the day, I wish it was a bit stronger and could go just a little darker, but most of the time it's not an issue. 

The SLR magic rocks. 

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Just to be clear, when I asked about hard stops, I was referring to stops at the minimum ND and at the maximum, not a hard stop at every level of filtration.

10 minutes ago, TheRenaissanceMan said:

My SLR Magic has hard stops.

Do you have the original, or Mark II version?

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I am very NOT IN LOVE with my Tiffen vari-ND and might give that SLR magic a try. Anything goofy about the SLR Magic to know about though? I wasn't a big fan of the giant blue splotch that the rangefinder cine has.

Also, anyone have any suggestions for bigger than 82mm without going drop in filter holder? My s16 cooke zoom vignettes with an 82mm ring in front.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks guys, went with the SLR Magic. Still not in my hands and the shoot is over, d'oh, but I'm excited.

Also if anyone is interested I went with a Tiffen Circular Polarizer as I already own a few in several sizes and every other brandname was double or triple the price!

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