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Rob6

Anyone Recommend a Variable ND Filter

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29 minutes ago, Simco123 said:

Do you mean people using varaible ND are hobbyist who prefer convenience over IQ vs professionals who use fixed NDs who needs the IQ?

I wouldn’t want to make such a general sweeping statement but I think (from reading comments here) that non variable nds are likely to have a less detrimental effect on the image than a variable might.  An expensive variable vs a cheap non-variable - I don’t know if that changes things. All I say is that as a hobbyist who doesn’t need the best possible image the convenience of a variableND is important (to me). I leave it on the lens and try to use it instead of (or, at least, in combination with) aperture. If I had to swop it’d take me too long, I’d drop it, I’d get dust on the lens etc etc. In short, the fun and enjoyment factor would decrease. But those are my flaws and my short-comings so shouldn’t be generalised!

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

It comes down to what you perceive as acceptable/ beneficial. There is no universal arbiter of this stuff - just opinions.

With that in mind, a number of the more accomplished shooters here abouts regularly have VNDs on their lenses.

VNDs are professional in the sense that professionals shoot with them all the time. In the most important sense of getting a great shot versus not getting it - they're invaluable for a number of situations.

Example: I'm producing a commericial next weekend at a dairy for a new product launch. Because it will be very sunny, buggy, live critters and real time action for much of the B-roll. In this scenario changing lenses becomes problematic so I'll have two cameras with zooms. Having VNDs on them means I know that both FL and ideal exposure can be dialed in on the fly. In a situation like this it's hard to calculate how many more solid shots that will come from it - but a lot more than primes and fixed NDs.

When we go back the next day for the setups w/ actors I'll use fixed ProNDs on the cameras because of the control.

That said, shot well, there isn't anyone who'll view the work, broadcast or web, that will see the difference between the two.

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When shooting M43 I like to shoot as wide open as possible  and don't have the latitude in the sensor to 'ride' the ISO so variable ND's are essential. Shooting with my full frame sony kit I have more latitude to ride the aperture and ISO without changing the look of the image too much so I could get away fixed ND filters. 

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There is a lot more risk of getting them stuck on the lens and on each other, dust, fingerprints, dropping them etc, on fixed ND's out in the field compared to variable ND's. Are Fixed better, sure on average they are. but you might need 5 stops and you have  a 3, 6, 9 Fixed. Not deal breaking but just another hassle. If you are not using big Logs like SLog 3, at super high ISO's even the cheap ones work up to say 6 or less pretty well. I it is only on average when you have to push them to 9, 10 that they sort of suck compared to fixed.

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I have Tiffen variable ND filters for 49mm and 77mm lenses (55 1.8 + 28 2.0 and 16-35 4.0 + 70-200 4.0) on my A7sii.

Would only recommend them for hobbyists. Professionals would find a better (and more expensive) way.

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Variable NDs especially the more expensive ones are getting better. I always consider fixed ND  because they don't polarize but I was shocked to discover that some fixed NDs reduces contrast and colour shifts compare to some varable NDs. I'm hoping this Solar Variable NDX not only convenient but also perform in the IQ department.

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So this is probably crazy / impossible, but anyway - can anyone think of a way of implementing a system for quick swapping fixed nd's (with the magnetic mounts). I'm thinking of some kind of pouch that sits on the camera cage itself, and allows for a one-handed swap in a matter of seconds?!?!?

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Another alternative to using fixed NDs as screw ins (maybe with the overpriced Xume adapters) is to use a filter system like landscape photographers use (e.g. Formatt HiTech, Lee, etc.).

You put the adapter ring on the lens and then the filter holder gets just put on and locked with a screw. The holder can, depending on type, hold multiple square resin/glass filters. You can just slide them in and out and you can combine anything, e.g. NDs, Graduated NDs, BlackProMist, etc.

It's a bit bigger but again you only buy the filters and filter-holder once and then get fitting adapter rings for your different lenses.

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2 hours ago, Mmmbeats said:

So this is probably crazy / impossible, but anyway - can anyone think of a way of implementing a system for quick swapping fixed nd's (with the magnetic mounts). I'm thinking of some kind of pouch that sits on the camera cage itself, and allows for a one-handed swap in a matter of seconds?!?!?

Thorlabs do this, which might work for you.

4050_LCFW5_2_SGL.jpg.45b2aeacfbd16cc5dd7cecf48e714b3c.jpg

It takes 5 filters up to 60mm width and you'd just have to rig up some narrow rails for it.

Its not cheap but it would do the job

https://www.thorlabs.com/newgrouppage9.cfm?objectgroup_id=2805

If you are looking for a cheaper DIY solution then if you used a Cokin (or no name equivalent) system then you could use two graduated NDs like this but, unlike this picture, keep one of them upside down. 

Andoer-Z-Series-100x150mm-Soft-Square-Filter-Graduated-Neutral-Density-GND16-Grad-ND-1-2-for.jpg_640x640.jpg.37e0af997b12599bee24957f8b118c43.jpg

Lets say that filter 1 is 4ND grad and filter 2 is an 8ND grad

What that would let you do is slide filter 1 up and filter 2 down (they'd both at their clear graduation positions so no ND) and then by doing the other permutations of position on the each filter (i.e. one in its clear position and the other in its ND position and then both in their ND position) you'd be able to have the following with a couple of slides and not having to remove them. 

0 ND, 4ND, 8ND and 12ND

 

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1 hour ago, Mmmbeats said:

So this is probably crazy / impossible, but anyway - can anyone think of a way of implementing a system for quick swapping fixed nd's (with the magnetic mounts). I'm thinking of some kind of pouch that sits on the camera cage itself, and allows for a one-handed swap in a matter of seconds?!?!?

I'd imagine that the Xume would attach to a magnet pretty well, so if you were to attach a couple of magnets somewhere then you could pull the filter off the lens and stick it on the magnets and install the second one pretty quickly.  Of you could just have a kind of holster on a belt or strap somewhere handy.  They're very simple to operate, if a little pricey as @Phil A correctly mentioned.

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Yeah, I probably should have read the 'magnetic mount' part before offering up solutions to a problem you weren't actually having :)

But if you don't want to have a magnet near your camera to hold them (and I can think of a couple of reasons why I might not want to) then you nowat least have two additional clunky solutions available ;) 

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On 2/8/2018 at 2:14 PM, DaveAltizer said:

I don’t use them is the way people look with them. It’s two polarizers put together so it’s going to remove those reflections.  

I've become way too run n gun to NOT use VNR, but this is what I don't like about em. 

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20 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

Yeah, I probably should have read the 'magnetic mount' part before offering up solutions to a problem you weren't actually having :)

But if you don't want to have a magnet near your camera to hold them (and I can think of a couple of reasons why I might not want to) then you nowat least have two additional clunky solutions available ;) 

Those are great ideas.  That thorlabs device is incredible, and just goes to show that lots of people end up trying to engineer solutions to similar problems.  I'd feel way too self-conscious with that hanging off the end of my rig though.  Plus 60mm max filter size is too restrictive for me. 

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12 hours ago, fuzzynormal said:

I've become way too run n gun to NOT use VNR, but this is what I don't like about em. 

has anyone tried this from GenusTech? It combines VND and polarizer. I wonder if it would alleviate any issues with skin and natural reflections.

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13 hours ago, iamoui said:

has anyone tried this from GenusTech? It combines VND and polarizer. I wonder if it would alleviate any issues with skin and natural reflections.

Not the one with polarizer. I have the normal Genustech Eclipse VND but not very impress.

I have SLR Magic mk2 VND which allows you to change the orientation of polarization but does not rid polarization globally. It is one of the better VND that retains sharpness even better than some fixed ND such as Firecrest when using long lens but do colour shift slightly to warm at higher density.

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On 6/14/2018 at 5:18 AM, BTM_Pix said:

4050_LCFW5_2_SGL.jpg.45b2aeacfbd16cc5dd7cecf48e714b3c.jpg

I always considered making something similar, but smaller, on the backside of a lens adapter.  Or, I also thought it would be fun to design an honest to goodness lens turret. Old school cool and functionality.  Which sounds like a good idea, but gets impractical with larger sensors

2110000412197_6083_1_leitz__leica_iiic_haber__fink_triple_lens_turret_wollensak_54254ade_3.thumb.jpg.433f8f9589f0238641918fe4c39b82ee.jpg

Some Chinese thing came out a few years ago (or maybe it was a kickstarter campaign).  You'd slide 52mm ND's into a magnetic slot of the lens adapter.  Pop in and out whatever you want behind the lens.

All interesting "solutions," but I just really got spoiled with VND.  I hate the IQ concessions and flares, but a lot of what I do is captured so fast I have no option for any sort of down time.  I accept the negative because of the positives it offers.

Funnily enough, and as a contradiction, I almost always refuse to shoot with variable lenses.  I stick to my primes.  Although, full disclosure, I do tend to pick one focal length and shoot the entire project with it.

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I saw a fridge in a shop a few weeks ago that had a dark glass door on it that when you tapped it became clear and showed you what was inside. 

We can't be far off someone doing an electronic variable ND in a square filter format if that sort of tech is finding it's way into consumer products. 

Without the having to tap it to change the setting though obviously.

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28 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

I saw a fridge in a shop a few weeks ago that had a dark glass door on it that when you tapped it became clear and showed you what was inside. 

According to the sales person in JL, it’s actually even better than you imply - you can also open the door AND GET THINGS OUT! Progress.

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6 minutes ago, Snowfun said:

According to the sales person in JL, it’s actually even better than you imply - you can also open the door AND GET THINGS OUT! Progress.

The person showing it to me didn’t mention that.

He mustn’t have been on the advanced sales training course.

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This is a free video I did for some friends of mine.  I used a VND on 90% of the shots.  You can easily see the issues it creates.   Just the flaring alone is annoying.  On the other hand, I shot everything in about 6 hours and had lots of shots to choose from.  Which, for these types of low-budget-fast-moving situations, is much better than structured shooting.

https://vimeo.com/275498959/9ad0d5cf95

 

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