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Anyone Recommend a Variable ND Filter

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I use VND with Hoya UV & IR Cut.

Did some more test this morning. Actually the SLR Magic is equally as sharp as the Solas but it back focus slightly while the Solas has no such issue. This suggest the glass on the SLR Magic is not as even as the Solas.

The Solas VND has higher filtration to 8.7 stops while the SLR Magic MkII is 6 stops. The Solas has no hard stop but that does not bother me and it has a minimum and maximum markings. 

 

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10 hours ago, Simco123 said:

I use VND with Hoya UV & IR Cut.

Did some more test this morning. Actually the SLR Magic is equally as sharp as the Solas but it back focus slightly while the Solas has no such issue. This suggest the glass on the SLR Magic is not as even as the Solas.

The Solas VND has higher filtration to 8.7 stops while the SLR Magic MkII is 6 stops. The Solas has no hard stop but that does not bother me and it has a minimum and maximum markings. 

 

Post videos with min, max setting, and same scene without a filter. Add a color card, if you own one. That's what counts. There are many reviews on Amazon for bad filter that state, how good they are based on some "first look".

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10 hours ago, chrisE said:

Post videos with min, max setting, and same scene without a filter. Add a color card, if you own one. That's what counts. There are many reviews on Amazon for bad filter that state, how good they are based on some "first look".

Good advice on the color card or even a color checker. That is what goes wonky on pretty much all of them is color shifts at the extreme. I think even the cheap ones work half well at only say 3 to 4 stops. At 6 stops or more is hard to do on the ones without hard stops particularly, let alone the cheap ones with no stops.

There is really no good cheap, small solution, especially on really wide angle lenses. Even the 4" x4" ones the holders get in the way, or the cheaper Matte Boxes are no better.

Pretty good test here on single ND filters. Really the best way to go if you are not Run n Gunning a lot.

https://improvephotography.com/40253/nd-filters-30-filters-reviewed-compared/

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I have had good luck with the Tiffen Variable ND filters, just make sure that you test against a bright white wall sometime & understand how far you can twist it left or right before if makes our video look terrible lol

On 2/8/2018 at 3:14 PM, DaveAltizer said:

I would recommend against Vari ND and get a nice Tiffen ND kit with XUME magnetic filter adapters. 

I have this same kit and using the magnets are a breeze! 

Vari ND is always terrible because it takes the natural reflections out of people’s skin tones. Not to mention the price you pay for one with minimal image shift. Also Vari ND vignettes really easily. But mostly the reason 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.  

Good call; like your videos!

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I like single fixed Firecrest NDs while shooting in wide angle lens but when I shoot in telephoto I was shocked to see how much it softened the image. I sent them back to Hitech and got them  to send me a new set that was checked over but the softness is still there. The sharpness are not near as good as the SLR Magic MkII and Hoya Solas VND but better than the GenusTech Eclipse. I will try with a Hoya fixed ND to compare but I seem to have misplaced it.

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@webrunner5Great article, almost how I test my filters. 

Unfortunately, 99% of all YT filter reviews are rubbish, as none of them uses a color card and some don't even show with/without comparisons, making the reviews useless. Unless you rely on you're favorite Youtubers personal (paid, lol) option.

Unfortunately, testing ND filter is very tricky and time-consuming if you do it properly. Just showing a video with the filter is of course not enough, as your eyes easily trick you and you may find the colors pleasing even if they are completely off.

If you want to test a filter properly, you have to do the following (my personal opinion of course):

1. Shoot a color card, with the filter and without the filter. Load them in your favorite editing application and look at the vectorscopes. This and only this allows you the really judge the color shift of the filter. A datacolor or x-rite color card is perfect as you can easily analyze the vectorscope without having to rely on your "opinion", "taste" on your maybe not color corrected monitor.

2. Don't forget about WB!! Almost no damn YT review will tell you, how they set the WB. This makes a HUGE difference! Shoot with a fixed WB and with/without the filter will show you the real color cast/change of the filter. With WB set to Auto, your camera can help to lower the color cast, but it's not that simple of course. An ND filter blocks light in a non-uniform way across the light spectrum and and light intensity. Therefore auto WB can never completely reverse the color shifts of a filter. Same for the tint adjustment. If it would be that easy, you could buy any cheap filter and correct it in postproduction (ignoring the effect on the sharpness of course).

Unfortunately, I started to make these "real" (my personal opinion!!) test with my filter and got really disappointed by almost all of them, no matter how well praised (Tiffen) or expensive they are. If you want to do yourself a favor, it's maybe better to stay away for such test ;)

Then the final question arises, how good can you correct the color changes from an ND filter? Unfortunately, there is no one-click solution nor a preset you can use. I tried to make one myself (with a color card of course), but the LUT I got only worked on that specific scene I generated it from. Also, a variable ND filter changes its effect on colors based on the strength you set it to. Even more complicated then.

Keep in mind, I'm not a professional, just an enthusiast with some scientific background trying to do my best to get a good result from my videos. Feel free to correct me if needed!

Chris

 

 

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On 6/17/2018 at 6:23 PM, fuzzynormal said:

It's a cheap one.  Zomei.  Adds hue to the mix, but whatever, one lives with it.  I can shoot outside in the sun at f.95 with it.  No hard stops, but that's okay as I'm often adjusting exposure during a shot (when one tries to capture candid doc stuff, the camera just keeps rolling).  My issue is the extra layers of glass really does flare alot and it does knock down other details.  But that's true on whatever VND you use, or any stacking of glass.

Yeah, it's a GH5, for whatever that's worth, with (mostly) a Voightlander 42.5mm.

Hi fuzzynormal,

How do you get such a wide aperture (0.95) with your VND?  This weekend I shot an outdoor carnival event in the mid-day sun.  With my 12-60/f2.8-4 and Heliopan 0.3-1.8 (six-stop) VND I was at around 50% to 2/3 strength on the filter.  By the way, I liked the promo above.  Pretty nice, smooth movement despite using only the GH5 IBIS.  Do you notice much difference between the GH5 stabilisation and your old E-M5ii?

I've been going back and forth between using a fixed breakthrough photography 3 or 6-stop filter with xume magnets, and the heliopan VND.  The breakthroughs definitely seem to have more life in the shots and good colour, but you need to vary the aperture to get the right exposure. The VND definitely makes the image (especially people) look flatter or more "matte".  I've been thinking of trying those new aurora VND on kickstarter as they go a little bit darker and maybe I can get away with larger-aperture primes.

Always tradeoffs, as I wish the 12-60 had a wider aperture on the long end for easier shallow depth of focus.  I used to like using the 35-100/2.8, for events but sold it with my second GX80 and bought a used GH5+12-60 to try and do it all with one camera.  Maybe next time, I'll be brave like you @fuzzynormal and shoot the whole event with my 15/1.7 or 25/1.4 and rely on the GH5 4k ETC mode + 4k->1080p cropping in the edit to get more range...

I've only just started editing, but I think that the Heliopan VND is keeping the colour quite true.  I shot Cine-D with either auto WB or "sunny" and applied the Leeming LUT as a start.  The vectorscope shows fairly good skintones.  (Although I can only go by scopes as I'm colourblind).  I think that I might push the saturation a bit and see if the colours of the costumes pop a bit more...

Any suggestions would be highly appreciated!

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8 hours ago, sgreszcz said:

How do you get such a wide aperture (0.95) with your VND?  This weekend I shot an outdoor carnival event in the mid-day sun.  With my 12-60/f2.8-4 and Heliopan 0.3-1.8 (six-stop) VND I was at around 50% to 2/3 strength on the filter.  By the way, I liked the promo above.  Pretty nice, smooth movement despite using only the GH5 IBIS.  Do you notice much difference between the GH5 stabilisation and your old E-M5ii?

I don't recall the max stops the Zomei says it offers, but with my Voightlander 42.5mm I can easily shoot 60fps/f0.95/200iso in midday sun using that VND.  At a certain point in the rotation it will literally block almost all light from going through it.

The EM5II is just a lot better at stabilization.  It's smoother and very forgiving.  It also doesn't "correct" as obviously as the LUMIX does, if that makes sense.  However, for a shoot like the one I posted here, having a little more random movement is okay.  LUMIX cams give me a sort of handheld-stabilization hybrid look.  With the EM5II, that thing is so good I can move my body and the camera in such a way that it looks like it's on a dolly.  Which is fine, but not always what I want.

I'm nit-picking, but I do look forward to the day wherein different algorithms and intensities of stabilization can be selected on a cam.  The GH5 sort of does this ad hoc, but not in a way I'm terribly fond of.

After shooting with the GX85 and the GH5 following my EM5II phase, I still miss that camera.  In a practical 'get-it-done' way (for me) it can actually do more than the 4K LUMIX cams.  I don't tend to go crazy regarding superior IQ (which the GH5 offers, btw), so I suppose I make excuses for the OLY cams.  Sure they have flaws, but what the do well, they do really well.

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11 hours ago, fuzzynormal said:

I don't recall the max stops the Zomei says it offers, but with my Voightlander 42.5mm I can easily shoot 60fps/f0.95/200iso in midday sun using that VND.  At a certain point in the rotation it will literally block almost all light from going through it.

The EM5II is just a lot better at stabilization.  It's smoother and very forgiving.  It also doesn't "correct" as obviously as the LUMIX does, if that makes sense.  However, for a shoot like the one I posted here, having a little more random movement is okay.  LUMIX cams give me a sort of handheld-stabilization hybrid look.  With the EM5II, that thing is so good I can move my body and the camera in such a way that it looks like it's on a dolly.  Which is fine, but not always what I want.

I'm nit-picking, but I do look forward to the day wherein different algorithms and intensities of stabilization can be selected on a cam.  The GH5 sort of does this ad hoc, but not in a way I'm terribly fond of.

After shooting with the GX85 and the GH5 following my EM5II phase, I still miss that camera.  In a practical 'get-it-done' way (for me) it can actually do more than the 4K LUMIX cams.  I don't tend to go crazy regarding superior IQ (which the GH5 offers, btw), so I suppose I make excuses for the OLY cams.  Sure they have flaws, but what the do well, they do really well.

Yeah if I had the money I would have a new Oly EM1 mk II tomorrow. The IBIS in them is crazy good, and so is the Photo Colors on them. Hardly and Post needed for them at all. I miss my old EM1. Now I don't know a lot about the video output on the EM! mk II?

I had a EM5 mk I for a bit with the battery grip and it was just too small for my hands buttons, dials wise. But it was a nice camera for the money no doubt. The EM1 seemed a lot better for me.

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On 7/3/2018 at 5:35 AM, fuzzynormal said:

After shooting with the GX85 and the GH5 following my EM5II phase, I still miss that camera.  In a practical 'get-it-done' way (for me) it can actually do more than the 4K LUMIX cams.  I don't tend to go crazy regarding superior IQ (which the GH5 offers, btw), so I suppose I make excuses for the OLY cams.  Sure they have flaws, but what the do well, they do really well.

Was considering the EM1-ii and EM10-iii (both 4k) for A/B(travel) cams.  Better EVF, nicer colour out of the box, better stabilisation.  However the GH5 with the 10-bit, 4k60fps, HD1080fps, ETC-crop mode, and ISO100 in video are really great features. 

Was shooting both the GH5 and GX80 with CineD and the same VND.  The GH5 at 4k60fps, 100 ISO, and 180 shutter.  Nice trick to need less ND.  Next time, I'm going to go back to the Breakthrough Photography 3/6-stop NDs like I normally use as I think the image is more life-like than with the Heliopans - especially for something like a carnival.

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