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Author Topic: ND filters for video? Suggestions?  (Read 5580 times)

acelegendary

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ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« on: April 15, 2013, 04:57:04 PM »
Hey all,

Does anyone have any experience using ND filters for DSLR video? If so, what are your brand preferences?
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ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« on: April 15, 2013, 04:57:04 PM »

JasonATL

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Re: ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2013, 05:02:07 PM »
I have a set of Tiffen NDs (.3, .6, and 1.2) that seem to work quite well without being too expensive. I generally favor B&W filters, but opted for the Tiffens for cost reasons and have not found a reason to regret it, yet.

I have had issues with variable ND's negatively affecting the image on a DSLR when used on the Canon 70-200mm. Thus, I try to stick with fixed ND's, if I can get away with it.

dirtcastle

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Re: ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2013, 06:24:02 PM »
Variable ND filters sound promising. But what are the drawbacks?

I have had issues with variable ND's negatively affecting the image on a DSLR when used on the Canon 70-200mm. Thus, I try to stick with fixed ND's, if I can get away with it.

Do you attribute the image problems to the quality of that particular filter? Or was it particular to that lens or focal range?

corey.kaye

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Re: ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2013, 07:05:50 PM »
The variable ND filters can produce an X as you approach the max. darkness when using them for photos.

Here's a great review that should help: Variable ND Filter Shootout - Polariod Genus Lightcraft Tiffen Singh-Ray Heliopan

dirtcastle

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Re: ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2013, 07:31:36 PM »
The variable ND filters can produce an X as you approach the max. darkness when using them for photos.

Ew. Maybe non-variable is the way to go. I'm not as concerned about the "X" as I am about the general loss of quality. Thanks for the heads-up!

enraginangel

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Re: ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2013, 07:45:09 PM »
I can confirm the X as you approach max with the Lightcraft Workshop variable ND. My variable ND also has a dark spot on the top right corner of the frame which may not be present in all, but that problem isn't the only problem I have with the variable ND. My recommendation is to just buy a set of fixed at the largest filter size and then use some step up rings for your other lenses.

JasonATL

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Re: ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2013, 08:06:59 PM »
I can confirm the X as you approach max with the Lightcraft Workshop variable ND. My variable ND also has a dark spot on the top right corner of the frame which may not be present in all, but that problem isn't the only problem I have with the variable ND. My recommendation is to just buy a set of fixed at the largest filter size and then use some step up rings for your other lenses.

+1
The set of Tiffen's I mentioned above are 77mm (since my Canon L lenses are 77mm). I use step downs to fit my 72mm and 58mm filter threads. The only drawback is that the hood then doesn't fit. So, I have two (cheap) flexible hoods with 77mm threads (one for wides and another for normal) that work quite well.

The variable ND is nice for its flexibility and the results can be fine - also have a 77mm one. The footage from the following video used a variable ND for all of the footage from 2:12 to 5:20.

Sorry - I tried posting the link without the huge video window, but couldn't.
Weekend at the Lake on Vimeo
Don't bother with the rest of the video, as the video was more of a personal project). The footage in that time is from a 90 minute boat ride, with changing light, shot with the Canon 24mm 1.4L and a T3i/600D. I was able to ride the variable ND to manage exposure using my desired aperture. Given that we were on a boat and I didn't want to carry anything other than the camera, changing the ND would have been nearly impossible. So, variable ND's have their utility. In a set shot, I wouldn't use it in favor of fixed ND's. For flexibility, I'm glad I have one in my kit.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2013, 08:09:07 PM by JasonATL »

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Re: ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2013, 08:06:59 PM »

charlesqian

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Re: ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2013, 03:07:34 PM »
I have a set of Tiffen NDs (.3, .6, and 1.2) that seem to work quite well without being too expensive. I generally favor B&W filters, but opted for the Tiffens for cost reasons and have not found a reason to regret it, yet.

I have had issues with variable ND's negatively affecting the image on a DSLR when used on the Canon 70-200mm. Thus, I try to stick with fixed ND's, if I can get away with it.

Variable ND is definitely the way to go, I think.  It all depends on which brand you pick.  There are quite a few brands in the market but I think only two have been proven to be the best ones: Singh-Ray and Heliopan.  Singh-Ray gives you up to 8 stops.  Fixed NDs are just too inconvenient. 

dirtcastle

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Re: ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2013, 07:08:47 PM »
I have a set of Tiffen NDs (.3, .6, and 1.2) that seem to work quite well without being too expensive. I generally favor B&W filters, but opted for the Tiffens for cost reasons and have not found a reason to regret it, yet.

I have had issues with variable ND's negatively affecting the image on a DSLR when used on the Canon 70-200mm. Thus, I try to stick with fixed ND's, if I can get away with it.

Variable ND is definitely the way to go, I think.  It all depends on which brand you pick.  There are quite a few brands in the market but I think only two have been proven to be the best ones: Singh-Ray and Heliopan.  Singh-Ray gives you up to 8 stops.  Fixed NDs are just too inconvenient.

For convenience, yes. But for highest quality it sounds like there is a sacrifice with variable ND. For me, personally, I will go for better quality, even if it means the inconvenience of switching filters quite a bit.

I also assume that setting the camera to variable ISO will stretch the range of each filter. Anyone have experience with that?

JasonATL

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Re: ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2013, 09:58:04 PM »
Variable ND is definitely the way to go, I think.  It all depends on which brand you pick.  There are quite a few brands in the market but I think only two have been proven to be the best ones: Singh-Ray and Heliopan.  Singh-Ray gives you up to 8 stops.  Fixed NDs are just too inconvenient.
For convenience, yes. But for highest quality it sounds like there is a sacrifice with variable ND. For me, personally, I will go for better quality, even if it means the inconvenience of switching filters quite a bit.

I also assume that setting the camera to variable ISO will stretch the range of each filter. Anyone have experience with that?

If you are going for better quality, then I strongly advise against setting the camera to auto ISO. If you need variable exposure in a particular scene, a variable ND, even considering its potential weaknesses vs. fixed NDs, will provide a better result than the auto ISO.

Letting the Camera choose the ISO can result in the use of relatively noisy ISOs. Try some shots and then see if you think the results are okay.

I also don't consider the need to switch out ND's to be too much of a hassle when I need to adjust for light between two separate shots. As I said above, if you need the ability to change exposure during shots, a variable ND is worth it, even with the slight hit to image quality.

Nick Gombinsky

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Re: ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2013, 11:42:13 PM »
In my country most rental places have Tiffen NDs and Polarizers. I have been a camera operator and focus puller long enough to know the difference between brands solely by looking at the final image... Even though here the standard is Tiffen, they algo give you a slight green cast and the resolution drops (this appears to be subjective, I know some ACs that claim they don't see a difference) a lot. I joke around saying that Tiffen gives you a free 1/4 White Promist with their NDs.

That is my experience with Tiffen. Sometimes I get a Schneider or B+W (owned by Schneider), and I hug the guys at the rental place. Those are good filters.

But then again, my standards of quality are comparable to standards of japanese schoolgirls. Scoring an 8 out of 10 is not acceptable.
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Re: ND filters for video? Suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2013, 11:42:13 PM »