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Does anyone have any experience of variable ND filters? I thought it might be a useful addition to my kit but I've seen some reviews that suggest they may not provide full or even coverage, especially with wide angle shots.

 

Alan

 

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I'd love to know this, too.  Before the autumn, I will be purchasing something, either a 10 stop ND or a variable, for a 10-24 lens.  A variable would be great if it works on this lens.  I want to be able to get creamy seas taken in broad daylight.

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I believe these filters are basically two polarizing filters, which are rotated independently in order to give variable densities. So I guess in common with all polar's  with W/A lenses unevenness can happen, depending on  sun angle etc etc.

I ultimately went for the Big Stopper.

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They are great to have in your bag,  saves a lot of time in switching filters. My advice is to buy only the best either Hoya or Heliopan, well worth the extra money. The less expensive Chinese versions tend to have a color cast and can make images a little soft.

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Yes, but for video gathering and not yet for stills although I plan to do some long exposure daytime photography this week.  Certainly I've experienced colour shift problems with cheaper ND's and I've also heard that variable ND's can cause softness at the longer end of telephoto images.  For video work, the LCW Fader ND's I've used have been really good.  Will maybe have something further to say after trying the ND's out for stills this week.   

 

Anthony

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Take a look here :- http://themachineplanet.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/twelve-filters-for-digital-whats-hot-and-whats-not/

 

Might be some help.

 

This is actually one of Dante Stellar's sites. Pretty clued up guy.

 

For me I pretty much have a B+W Pro 3 stop ND permanently in use with the extreme light over here. Never seen any image degradation.

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I've been looking for one of these for a while too now for both video and photo work, so also interested in any recommendations. After reading so many reviews on the net I have been coming to the conclusion that it might be best to get a set of ND filters at varying strengths, but hopefully someone can say they have a great variable one!

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I'm also considering getting a variable ND filter. I haven't yet made up my mind, but I suspect that  a set of fixed filters will give a better quality than a variable filter which costs the same. I found this review of variable filters, which goes into some detail, which might be helpful to you http://www.learningdslrvideo.com/variable-nd-filter-shootout/

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Very useful Joseph, thanks. The moral of the story seems to be that it's not worth spending 'toy' prices on one so I need to be sure I'm going to make serious use of it.

 

Alan

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Very useful Joseph, thanks. The moral of the story seems to be that it's not worth spending 'toy' prices on one so I need to be sure I'm going to make serious use of it.

 

Alan

 

For myself I'm not sure I will find much use for one in still image work as I rarely do anything which involves long exposures in daylight. Video on DSLR is another matter altogether as getting correct exposure on a bright day with a wide aperture is impossible without the ND filter.

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The Tiffen http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiffen-77VND-Variable-Neutral-Density/dp/B004Z55VP0/ref=sr_1_1/279-2830155-8909307?ie=UTF8&qid=1398242803&sr=8-1&keywords=tiffen+variable+nd+filter is excellent.  The quality of the glass makes fewer oddities to anything out of focus like lights in the background.  I've used ND filters and all produce some degree of colour issues, some more than others.

I went with the Tiffen since it's one filter, caused the least amount of colour issues and speckling. 

Expensive...yeah but worth it imo

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So...this nice Tiffen, for the Fuji lenses from 58mm-72mm range, I would need a step up ring to work for all?  Does this ND take a step up OK on the Fujifilm 10-24 which is 72mm?   NDs are a bit of a puzzle for me. I'm after mainly using this on the 10-24 lens for landscapes of the sea, lakes, such as that.  Thanks for any enlightenment!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finally, I did some testing today using a variable ND for long exposure photography. Maintaining even coverage did become a problem with shutter speeds above a second although I managed to test up to five seconds. I must have been around an equivalent to ND400 and above at this point.  There was some softening of the image but I'd say the photos could be considered successful for reduced size internet viewing.  For printed work however I'll be sticking with ND's and I will keep my variable ND's for video only. 

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Finally, I did some testing today using a variable ND for long exposure photography. Maintaining even coverage did become a problem with shutter speeds above a second although I managed to test up to five seconds. I must have been around an equivalent to ND400 and above at this point.  There was some softening of the image but I'd say the photos could be considered successful for reduced size internet viewing.  For printed work however I'll be sticking with ND's and I will keep my variable ND's for video only. 

which variable ND did you use? I have read differing reviews, some makes being so much better than others for even coverage. Tiffen usually comes out good.

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I'd love to know this, too.  Before the autumn, I will be purchasing something, either a 10 stop ND or a variable, for a 10-24 lens.  A variable would be great if it works on this lens.  I want to be able to get creamy seas taken in broad daylight.

Betty,Photog Tony Sweet uses the XT1 and endores the Singh Ray line of filters.He has a 15% discount code on his site. I kept a post of his I saw somewhere and this is what he uses: " 5, 10, and 15 stop MorSlo. The most used one is the 10 stop MorSlo"

 

http://tonysweet.com/?s=Sing+Ray

 

 

L

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which variable ND did you use? I have read differing reviews, some makes being so much better than others for even coverage. Tiffen usually comes out good.

 

 

 

Agreed that the quality makes a huge difference with ND's. I tested with a Light Craft Workshops Fader ND as these are what I have for video and for that they do an excellent job.   

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thanks. It is for video I mostly want one although I would use it a little for photography. I'm going to order a Tiffen today, will test and see how that goes.

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This article has answered questions for me.  I will not be getting a variable.

 

http://jonasraskphotography.com/2014/05/12/nd-filter-dont-go-variable/

 

Interesting article. However, as the person who first asked this question, I would be using an ND mostly for motion blur (hence the desire for variability, to control the motion effects), not to create shallow depth of field. While there is still the issue of lack of contrast and saturation (which could be offset in post-processing), I'm wondering whether the main criticisms would apply in my case.

 

Alan

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Has anyone checked whether the rotational orientataion of the variable ND filter has any effect? It will be acting to a varying extent as a polarising filter - this might lead to reduced contrast by killing reflections off foliage etc.

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This article has answered questions for me.  I will not be getting a variable.

 

http://jonasraskphotography.com/2014/05/12/nd-filter-dont-go-variable/

 

Interesting article. However, as the person who first asked this question, I would be using an ND mostly for motion blur (hence the desire for variability, to control the motion effects), not to create shallow depth of field. While there is still the issue of lack of contrast and saturation (which could be offset in post-processing), I'm wondering whether the main criticisms would apply in my case.

 

Alan

 

I wish I knew the answers.  I have read enough cons with the variable, to decide not to go that way.

Like you, I mainly want to smooth motion, but if I decide I want to use it for other purposes, I want to have no fears of doing so.  I don't want to spend the big bucks on something with a narrow use.

I surely see nothing wrong with images from the Big Stopper.

 

Betty

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This article has answered questions for me.  I will not be getting a variable.

 

http://jonasraskphotography.com/2014/05/12/nd-filter-dont-go-variable/

 

Betty, that article uses a Hama variable ND lens as an example. Those will run you about 50 bucks, and are truely worthless. A good Variable ND filter will set you back $300 - 400 and worth it. You should look into some reviews on B+W,  or Heliopan filters. 

 

http://philipbloom.net/2011/06/04/the-best-variable-nd-filter-i-have-used/

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/765517-REG/Heliopan_707790_77mm_Vario_Neutral_Density.html

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This article has answered questions for me.  I will not be getting a variable.

 

http://jonasraskphotography.com/2014/05/12/nd-filter-dont-go-variable/

 

Betty, that article uses a Hama variable ND lens as an example. Those will run you about 50 bucks, and are truely worthless. A good Variable ND filter will set you back $300 - 400 and worth it. You should look into some reviews on B+W,  or Heliopan filters. 

 

http://philipbloom.net/2011/06/04/the-best-variable-nd-filter-i-have-used/

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/765517-REG/Heliopan_707790_77mm_Vario_Neutral_Density.html

 

 

The reviewer said he had tried them all, and none of the results were good. quote: B+W, Hoya, Hama, Heliopan, and Singh Ray. I returned them all! end quote.

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Does anyone have any experience of variable ND filters? I thought it might be a useful addition to my kit but I've seen some reviews that suggest they may not provide full or even coverage, especially with wide angle shots.

 

Alan

 

I had Phottix VND filter (with German glass), which was much cheaper than B+W or Tiffen and I had problems with vignetting at wide end of 16-50mm zoom (at 16mm) when vnd was >=8 on scale from 1-10 (approximately more than 8 stops). Maybe larger diameter filter with stepup ring could help but I didn't try that so I am not sure. No other issues noticed.

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