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Fuji X ND Filter / Variable ND Filter


Rhood
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There is no such thing as a Good cheap ass Variable ND filter, actually even the high end ones mostly suck to be honest. There is a reason people use Matte Boxes with 4x4 etc. drop in filters. No such thing as a free lunch on ND's.

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13 hours ago, webrunner5 said:

There is no such thing as a Good cheap ass Variable ND filter, actually even the high end ones mostly suck to be honest. There is a reason people use Matte Boxes with 4x4 etc. drop in filters. No such thing as a free lunch on ND's.

I've watched a number of tests comparing vNDs over the years and agree - the quality is limited regardless of budget.

Also, cost isn't a predictor of performance either, with some mid-priced options out-performing higher priced options, often quite considerably.

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For me, the ‘best’ lower budget ND’s have come from Gobe.

The ‘best’ medium budget ND’s from Freewell.

I have zero experience of high end filters.

I use Freewell VND (2-5) with my FF system and as has been mentioned above, camera/lens brand has nothing much to do with it.

 

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Don't focus too much on flaws along glass, if under control, they can produce beautiful content from either motivated, unmotivated lighting, even practical light sources as well framing and production values such as locations, subject, etc. when these other requirements are not absent there (EAG :- )

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I disagree about the not camera related thing. Of course they can be used on various cameras.
But some might perform better on camera sensor A versus camera sensor B.

I know variable ND's aren't as good as single ND filters.
I have a mattebox and rectangular ND filters.
I'm looking for a Variable ND filter for documentary and other faster pace type of work.

13 hours ago, kye said:

the quality is limited regardless of budget.

Also, cost isn't a predictor of performance either, with some mid-priced options out-performing higher priced options, often quite considerably.

That's exactly my reason for asking here 🙂
Since there are so much variations out there.

@MrSMW Thanks! I'll look into the Gobe ones!

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I dunno... What I see despite the distinction between sensors and so on, we can practically mimic any outcome from one to another today ; ) IMO features and respective knowledge and skills count much more than anything else :- )

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2 hours ago, Rhood said:

I disagree about the not camera related thing. Of course they can be used on various cameras.
But some might perform better on camera sensor A versus camera sensor B.

I know variable ND's aren't as good as single ND filters.
I have a mattebox and rectangular ND filters.
I'm looking for a Variable ND filter for documentary and other faster pace type of work.

That's exactly my reason for asking here 🙂
Since there are so much variations out there.

@MrSMW Thanks! I'll look into the Gobe ones!

I disagree about them being camera related.

The whole idea of a vND is that they act as a colour-neutral filter to simply let through a proportion of light.  Any NEUTRAL density filter will attenuate all frequencies of light in equal proportion.  We know they're not perfect and this results in colour shifts, however, all cameras 'see' in the same basic RGB colours.

There can be very slight differences between which frequencies of light different manufacturers sensors are sensitive to, however these will be very very small differences and if a filter is so crazily built that it's very different for one camera than another then you'd want to avoid it at basically all costs as its colour response would be spectacularly non-neutral.

Here's the plot comparing a range of digital cameras - not much difference:

Typical-spectral-sensitivity-curves-of-c

Source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342113086_Introducing_the_Dark_Sky_Unit_for_multi-spectral_measurement_of_the_night_sky_quality_with_commercial_digital_cameras

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11 hours ago, Rhood said:

But some might perform better on camera sensor A versus camera sensor B.

No, they will perform exactly the same , - the variable is with different sensors not with the filter.

A crap filter will always be a crap filter no matter how good the sensor is.

It's no different to putting cheap Chinese remould tires (filters) on your Porsche (camera body) with it's 5k worth of upgraded alloys (lenses). The ONLY outcome is less performance/handling/braking, - nothing but negatives except in one single regard, - you paid less money for your cheap tires/filters.

And let me just clarify something about the Gobe filters... I said they were 'the best' of the cheap filters I tried but 'the best' doesn't = good.

They were OK at most. A bit more colour shift than I'd ideally like and with the VND's, especially at the stronger end.

Would I use them now?

Nope.

Would I recommend them?

Nope.

But as with most things, there does tend to be a compromise and that compromise is often quality vs cost.

I've gone somewhere down the middle with the Freewells because in my opinion, they are more than good enough for my needs and though not cheap at about 100 Dollars/Pounds/Euros, are a good investment for my needs.

Try a Gobe by all means, but maybe from somewhere like Amazon with a returns policy and if it's good enough for your needs, then great. But if not, you can return it and get something better?

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Then why are there camera specific IR Cut filters to be used with ND filters?
And why are there ND / IRND filters that produce quiet different results on camera A vs camera B?
Ok, it may not be the sensor but it may be the IR cut filter in front of the sensor. I've seen it, on Alexa/Red/Sony. It could be that it's different for Hdslr / Mirrorless cameras. I just added the Fuji X, since there are quite a few people on this forum who use or used this camera and probably have one or a few ND / VND filter they use or used on their system.

Also I'm not looking for the perfect filter.
Just looking for a decent variable ND filter that is good enough.
A few years ago I used Lightcraft variable ND filter, it was good enough. There's probably something better and cheaper around now?


 

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1 hour ago, Rhood said:

Then why are there camera specific IR Cut filters to be used with ND filters?
And why are there ND / IRND filters that produce quiet different results on camera A vs camera B?
Ok, it may not be the sensor but it may be the IR cut filter in front of the sensor. I've seen it, on Alexa/Red/Sony. It could be that it's different for Hdslr / Mirrorless cameras. I just added the Fuji X, since there are quite a few people on this forum who use or used this camera and probably have one or a few ND / VND filter they use or used on their system.

Also I'm not looking for the perfect filter.
Just looking for a decent variable ND filter that is good enough.
A few years ago I used Lightcraft variable ND filter, it was good enough. There's probably something better and cheaper around now?

I'd be curious to see which tests you're talking about that get different results.  Not questioning that you've seen it, but curious as to what other factor is probably causing what you saw.

The quality of camera comparison tests is very very poor, even with professional cinematographers testing out high-end cameras.  One of the things these people love to do is dial in 5600K on each camera and just assume that's the same WB, and when you look at the footage it's clearly no-where near the same.  They then talk about what they're seeing and completely ignoring the fact they've stuffed up the whole test.  Other people do that and then WB in post, but this ignores the colour science that might be applied if the footage wasn't shot in RAW.  

I see basic errors that invalidate tests time and time again.  What you saw was probably someone messing up the test like that.  There's a reason that R&D departments of huge companies have enormous budgets - doing proper testing where everything is controlled properly is extremely difficult and is called "science" and is an entirely different field of study that even professional scientists get wrong much of the time, let alone cinematographers who may well have never even studied science in high-school, let alone understand the fundamentals of experiment design and the scientific method.

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43 minutes ago, kye said:

I see basic errors that invalidate tests time and time again

All.

The.

Time.

"Hey kids, this week we are comparing Camera A with Camera B and Camera A will have a fast wide prime lens (because that's all I could get my hands on) and Camera B has a kit zoom lens (because that's all I could get my hands on). So guys, let's go out and shoot! My back wall! And my cat!"

I suppose in one way, 'real world tests' are of folks back walls and cats as that's all they seem to shoot.

Maybe there's a market for this kind of thing...

 

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23 hours ago, Rhood said:

Just looking for a decent variable ND filter that is good enough.

I don't use Fuji but I've had good luck with two VNDs on my Blackmagic Micro Cinema and original Pocket Cinema cameras:

1. SLR Magic VND (1.3 to 6 stops); it looks like Formatt-Hitech may be offering a rebranded version of this one as well as the one they offer looks nearly identical. The locking mechanism is handy for dialing in a setting and locking it there. 

2. B+W XS Pro variable ND (1 to 5 stops). Less bulky than the SLR Magic; this one was recommended to me by a cinematographer in Germany who said it had the least impact on colors of any VND he'd used.

I typically use VND with stills-camera lenses with stepped aperture rings as I can get more fine-tuned and smooth control of exposure. I also use them when I need to move fast and/or light. I have plenty of good footage shot with VNDs...would it have been better if I'd used my fixed ND filters? Probably but if having the VND made the difference between getting the shot and missing it I'll accept the compromise.

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On 1/27/2022 at 9:32 PM, MrSMW said:

All.

The.

Time.

"Hey kids, this week we are comparing Camera A with Camera B and Camera A will have a fast wide prime lens (because that's all I could get my hands on) and Camera B has a kit zoom lens (because that's all I could get my hands on). So guys, let's go out and shoot! My back wall! And my cat!"

I suppose in one way, 'real world tests' are of folks back walls and cats as that's all they seem to shoot.

Maybe there's a market for this kind of thing...

 

 

On 1/28/2022 at 1:06 AM, Xavier Plagaro Mussard said:

 

The only real thing is the cat! 

i object...  cats are easy targets. So are brick walls come to think of it.... My cat is most spritely in the morning after about 9am, he's not much faster than the proverbial brick wall. Besides that, has anyone asked the cat, how he / she feels about all  this objectification ? 

just to mix it up abit here's something not about cats or brick walls however i did manage to include a few bricks to keep it relevant. 😉 

Ignore those weeds i have yet to pick up  

RAM.jpg

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