Jump to content
Ki Rin

Variable ND filters for video?

Recommended Posts

Well it seems like Variable NDs aren't a thing in Japan. I've just been to a big camera store and they didn't even know what they were! After I explained it to them, they understood but said it would have to be special ordered from the manufacturer and could take quite some time... 

I guess I'll have to order off ebay then. 

 

1 hour ago, ntblowz said:

SLRMagic VND is pretty nice, I got Zomei VND with MC coating and it is nice too, no more ghosting/reflection from lightsource vs uncoated VND.

Have you compared the Zomei to more expensive ones? It is only about $25, seems like it would be too cheap. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs
44 minutes ago, Ki Rin said:

Well it seems like Variable NDs aren't a thing in Japan. I've just been to a big camera store and they didn't even know what they were! After I explained it to them, they understood but said it would have to be special ordered from the manufacturer and could take quite some time... 

I guess I'll have to order off ebay then. 

 

Have you compared the Zomei to more expensive ones? It is only about $25, seems like it would be too cheap. 

The MC one is like $40~60, always go for coated filter! I think the $25 you saw is non-MC version. I got the genus eclipse before which I gladly get rid of it after I got the Zomei one, I got some footage ruined by reflection on Genus with their non-coating VND.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, ntblowz said:

The MC one is like $40~60, always go for coated filter! I got the genus eclipse before which I gladly get rid of it after I got the Zomei one, I got some footage ruined by reflection on Genus with their non-coating VND.

Oh ok. I couldn't find MC ones on ebay, just the standard one. I'll see if I can find it somewhere else. Thanks

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is this Zomei that good?

I have a Fotga one, which I never use, and an equally bad -more expensive- Hama and I am in the market for a good one (150-250$ price range) but I have to wait until May (for tax reasons) and the 150-250$ cost around 200-300 euros in my country (I have to buy locally for tax reasons again!), but if this one is ok, I can just buy it right now off ebay.

Another solution would be a very good ND filter, just not variable one, if anyone has something to propose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Kisaha

I know, you use the NX1. I use for the NX1 and the A6500 the Tiffen variable ND. As you say in your post, not what you just want at the moment ("just not a variable one"), but it's worth giving it a try as it is a very good quality because not falsifying colours (no optical secondary effects at all in my eyes) at all. The only thing you should care about with the Tiffen, is not overdriving beyond "max." - if so (and you can not see it through viewfinder), you could get some unwanted vignetting.

Before this, I used a cheap one, which was a true desaster, transforming some footage in pure garbage....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Arikhan The Tiffen is in my short list, I would like something better though -if possible - and to know if that Zomei is competitive to the "cheap" expensive ones (100-150euros).

The cheap ones were really a disaster!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Kisaha

With the Tiffen I never get banding in the skyes (some cheap variable ND filters cause or accentuate banding with the 4.2.0 8 bit of the NX1)...And it preserves me a very good colour balance between greens and blue when shooting footage with landscape elements. It preserves skintones and doesn't crush/falsify lamp lights when shooting in the night (even no unusual flare). I am quite happy with it and there is no reason for me to change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, one more question, is there any vignetting with UWA lenses (like the 16-35mm FF sony lens for example) with filters like the tiffen?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Ki Rin said:

...Variable NDs for video. The prices of these vary wildly. Is there any reason a cheap $20 one will be significantly worse than a $200 ? 
Surely they are just a device to block light... ?...Are there any specific things I should look out when purchasing a variable ND? 

You generally need some type of ND when shooting outdoors at wide aperture. For scripted shooting, a matte box and drop-in fixed filters may work, but for documentary, news, run-and-gun, etc. a variable ND is handy. This is why upper-end camcorders have long had built-in selectable ND filters.

However with the move to large sensors, the entire optical path gets larger. It becomes much harder both mechanically and optically to fit multiple precision fixed ND filters inside. The surface area of an optical element increases as the square of the radius, so it becomes much harder (and more expensive) to make a perfectly flat multicoated filter. The Sony FS5 has an electronic variable ND, showing how important this is for video.

It doesn't make sense to put a $20 filter on a $2500 lens. However filter price and quality are not necessarily directly related.

In documentary video I've used many different variable ND filters, and here are a few things to look for:

(1) If at all possible get one that fits inside a lens hood. This is the most difficult requirement since there are no specs or standards for this. You use a variable ND outside under bright (often sunny) conditions -- the very conditions where you need a lens hood. However most variable ND filters and most lenses are incompatible. The ideal case would be certain Sony A or E-mount lenses with a cutout in the lens hood which allows turning the variable ND filter without removing the hood. However it's very difficult to find one which fits.

(2) Get one with hard stops at the end of each range. Otherwise it's difficult to tell where you are on the attenuation scale, and this adds a few seconds which can make you miss a shot.

(3) Get one which does not exhibit "X" patterns or other artifacts at high attenuation. This typically happens with filters having more than 6 stops attenuation.

(4) Get one which has the least attenuation on the low end, ideally 1 stop or less. This reduces the times you have to remove the filter when shooting inside. A filter which goes from 1-6 stops is likely more useful and less likely to have artifacts at high attenuation than one which goes from 2-8 stops.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the advice joema, I will keep those points in mind. 


I found this one on ebay which seems like it might be decent, seems to tick all the boxes. I think its probably the same as the one ntblowz mentioned. 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ZOMEI-HD-Slim-Fader-72mm-MC-Adjustable-Neutral-Density-ND2-ND4-to-ND400-Filter-/171299935275?hash=item27e245942b:g:6sAAAOxyeZNTSp9c

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Kisaha said:

@joema can you propose as any brands?! The Tiffen is near my top, but I wouldn't mind something more expensive!

We've used Tiffen, Genustech, SLR Magic, NiSi and Heliopan. I didn't like the Tiffen because it made an "X" pattern at high attenuation. I use a 95mm NiSi on my Sony 28-135 f/4 cinema lens, and really like it because it fits under the lens hood, has hard stops and no artifacts: https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/NiSi-95-mm-Slim-Fader-Variable-ND-Filter-ND4-to-ND500-Adjustable-Neutral-Density-for-Hasselblad/901623_32311172283.html

However I also have other smaller NiSi filters I don't like as well because the frame is thicker. Overall the optical quality of the Genustech and SLR Magic seem OK, but most filters will impose some color cast that you must correct in post. I just got the Heliopan and haven't thoroughly tested it, but it fits under the lens hood of my Canon 70-200 2.8 IS II, which is a big plus.

There are lots of variable ND filter "shootouts" on Youtube and other places. I suggest you watch those and buy from a retailer that has a good return policy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, 64mulford said:

This might be bad advice but after using every type of ND filter possible I've decided to not use them and control exposure by cranking up the shutter. Cue the 180 degree purists to unleash on my technique but honestly it works for me and I've been shooting professionally for over a decade. Been doing this for a year and it's so liberating not having to screw on ND's

Do you go between some limits with the shutter? Say 24fps & 1/50 (180º), would you go up to 1/150 or even 1/500?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@64mulford Honestly, I am not a purist at all, but shutter speed can be an artistic decision, but not a technical one, because it changes the output considerably that can "change/manipulate" the artistic impression of the viewer. I have choose to use different shutter speeds in action, and even in performance, I like to have one camera handheld very close to the stage, for a completely different "in your face" approach.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I shoot the Heliopan Vario ND for 4 years and it was working very well.

The only other tip I have is get the biggest filter you can e.g. 77mm. You can always step up to the filter but step down you can't!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've mentioned this before in other similar threads, but a few years back I did pretty exhaustive vari-ND research and eventually settled on the SLR Magic one others have mentioned. It's fantastic. No discernible cast of any kind, no X-patterns, no vignetting on wide angles, hard stops on either end so it doesn't just keep spinning all the way around, it's really just about perfect. The other one I had been looking at at the time was a genustech, but we have one at work now and it's kind of a pain to use and I like the SLR Magic much better (I have the original version, before they added the additional twisting polarizer thing on the front). But I just combined it with Xume magnetic filter holders so I can stick it on any lens I own in half a second, works fantastically. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, Parker said:

I've mentioned this before in other similar threads, but a few years back I did pretty exhaustive vari-ND research and eventually settled on the SLR Magic one others have mentioned. It's fantastic. No discernible cast of any kind, no X-patterns, no vignetting on wide angles, hard stops on either end so it doesn't just keep spinning all the way around, it's really just about perfect. The other one I had been looking at at the time was a genustech, but we have one at work now and it's kind of a pain to use and I like the SLR Magic much better (I have the original version, before they added the additional twisting polarizer thing on the front). But I just combined it with Xume magnetic filter holders so I can stick it on any lens I own in half a second, works fantastically. 

Yep, same. Got the SLR-Magic MkII after rave reviews on bmcuser. Only downside is that 6 stops often isn't enough to shoot wide open on a sunny day, but there's really little to no hit on image quality, and the ergonomics are great. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...