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Variable ND filters 2021


josdr
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Hi guys, What circular  filters are you using for your projects? I have a K'F 2-32 nano one which is decent enough but some scratches on it make me want to replace it with something perhaps better.

I am not at all enamoured by youtubers and their "comparisons- reviews" (get a 300 Euro polarpro - it will change your life- sponsored by polarpro) so I am wondering on what you are working with. 

There is a lot of noise about B+W, Tiffen, Polarpro etc with sources being wildly variable as to the shortcomings of each variable ND. 

 

All input welcome.

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Almost all variable NDs suck when it comes to color shifts and polarization artifacts. They will all tint your footage, especially at higher strengths.

But in general I would go with one that:

  • Has hard stops
  • Has smaller range; 1-5 and a 6-9

I use an aurora-aperture 1-6 stop ND. It’s pretty solid. The 7-11 stop version is not very good. I’ve been looking at the polar pro mist+nd combo going forward. Still haven’t made up my mind. 

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24 minutes ago, Video Hummus said:

Almost all variable NDs suck when it comes to color shifts and polarization artifacts. They will all tint your footage, especially at higher strengths.

But in general I would go with one that:

  • Has hard stops
  • Has smaller range; 1-5 and a 6-9

I use an aurora-aperture 1-6 stop ND. It’s pretty solid. The 7-11 stop version is not very good. I’ve been looking at the polar pro mist+nd combo going forward. Still haven’t made up my mind. 

This! Green tint from polorpro PeterMc edition old gen got both 1-5 and 6-9 only cure i found was to use gray card it basically adds slight magenta to tackle green tint.  

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I have both Peter McKinnon Polarpro's (2-5 is Gen 1, 6-9 is gen 2) but I'm not a huge fan, they're wicked expensive and it's an annoyingly small amount of ND, I still vastly prefer my trusty old SLR Magic vari ND, with no x-pattern, no discernible color shift, and lots more ND range to play with. 

I've also been using a Fotodiox lens throttle/ND adapter lately on my S1 and while I feel like it does have a bit of a color cast (haven't tested too thoroughly yet, to be honest) it is ultra-convenient. 

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+1 SLR Magic Vari ND II

There's only a few threads on this (use google).  Threads might slightly exaggerate how good it is, but to me looks like one of the best ones.  I switched over from the Tiffen's a year or two back.  I just bought another one even after watching these toxic YT reviews for "THE BEST ND FILTER EVAAA".

They have spent zero dollars on marketing this and there's no direct comparisons out there. My unscientific test I just did with Sony Cam shows warming of -400K (makes it warmer), no tint change. 

One of the reasons why I got the filter was because at the time, I was thinking of getting a black magic camera, and I wanted something that had good IR filtration as well.  Apparently this one does pretty good so you don't need an extra IR filter, and they have the 4-stop IEND which you can add, which has good IR filtration as well, and increases the range to 10 stop (2-6 to 6-10). And the front thread is 86mm to help with the vignetting, not sure if this actually makes a difference but why not.

I broke the tiny handle on it, but it's easier to operate without it, I want to take it off my new one but it seems glued in....

The only thing that seems better on the Polar PrO is the marketing and the lens cap, that actually looks very functional. Otherwise it's +$100 into branding and fancy packaging.

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1 hour ago, Rinad Amir said:

This! Green tint from polorpro PeterMc edition old gen got both 1-5 and 6-9 only cure i found was to use gray card it basically adds slight magenta to tackle green tint.  

I can imagine this would be bad for some Sony cams that already have a green tint in the color. Maybe not so bad for Canon which almost always leans into magenta.

 

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11 hours ago, Video Hummus said:

I can imagine this would be bad for some Sony cams that already have a green tint in the color. Maybe not so bad for Canon which almost always leans into magenta.

 

Yup true there is workaround for this as well from Gerald Undone in S-Log 3 Color Phase has to be set to +2 in order to shift colors towards magenta from green.

 

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Be aware that the SLR Magic II is bulky and may interfere with your lens hood. The Schneider is very slim and won't interfere. Very few reviews out there, but I believe they own B+W, which is more photo-oriented. The Schneider has a much greater ND range too, with minimal color shift. 

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