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Thread started 24 Feb 2012 (Friday) 20:34
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Variable ND filetes... What's the best value?

 
mafoo
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Feb 24, 2012 20:34 |  #1

So I am looking for a 77mm variable ND filter, but I notice the price goes from $50, all the way up to $450.

Here is the list at B&H:

http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …24+4294955264&s​rtclk=sort (external link)

At what point on that list of filters, does the quality becomes indistinguishable? I take it the $450 filter will produce better results then the $50 one, but what about the Genus for $175?

I know very little about these brands, and what materials they use, and where the cheapest high quality one lies. Can some help me out?

Thanks! :)


-Jeremy
5D Mk II | SL1 | 24-105 f4.0L IS | 70-200 f2.8L IS | S35 1.4 | 40 2.8 Pancake | Samyang 14 2.8 | 430EX II

  
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Pi_314
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Feb 24, 2012 21:17 |  #2

You probably won't find anyone that has tried many different brands, so you might end up asking yourself ..... do I feel lucky by picking something cheaper. I purchased the Singh-Ray, and it was very hard to swallow the price, as in very very hard, but it does live up to what I'm sure others will say.




  
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mafoo
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Feb 24, 2012 22:01 |  #3

it would be nice if someone with a camera shop (or the ability to test all the filters), could do an image comparison across the different price ranges, and see what your money really buys you.


-Jeremy
5D Mk II | SL1 | 24-105 f4.0L IS | 70-200 f2.8L IS | S35 1.4 | 40 2.8 Pancake | Samyang 14 2.8 | 430EX II

  
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sticknpuck
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Feb 24, 2012 23:27 |  #4

I just ordered the light craft workshop 77mm fader II. Will let you know what I think. Seems to get mostly favorable reviews but all variables seem to hav their limitations. If you're looking for a te stopper you will be better of gong with the 4x4's I think.


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sticknpuck
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Feb 24, 2012 23:28 |  #5

Sorry for the spelling. Friday night from iPhone :)


Matt
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328iGuy
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Feb 25, 2012 10:26 |  #6

I can vouch for the 77mm Genus ND Fader. Works great so far on all my glass.


Canon 5D IV | Canon 5D III | 16-35L III | 24-70L II | 85L II | 70-200LII | 300 2.8 L

  
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EveryMilesAMemory
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Feb 25, 2012 11:05 as a reply to  @ 328iGuy's post |  #7

I've tried the Tiffen 77mm Split ND Filter and didn't like the results. I moved up to the B&W 77mm Split ND Filter and it produces much more realistic results.

I found when using the Tiffen, the colors looked more grey/blue than with the B&W which just darkened them by a few stops and didn't really add any un-natural color

I spoken to a few shooter who use the Sing-Ray, but damn, that's the cost of some lenses. I just cant seem to bring myself to buy it :confused:


Pat Bonish
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mafoo
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Feb 25, 2012 11:19 |  #8

yea currently all my filters are B+W, and I do like them. I guess I can always just get a few single density filters, and be done with it.

While in the end, It will cost me as much money as a high end variable, at least I can spread my cost around.


-Jeremy
5D Mk II | SL1 | 24-105 f4.0L IS | 70-200 f2.8L IS | S35 1.4 | 40 2.8 Pancake | Samyang 14 2.8 | 430EX II

  
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Pi_314
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Feb 25, 2012 12:13 |  #9

sticknpuck wrote in post #13962615 (external link)
I just ordered the light craft workshop 77mm fader II. Will let you know what I think. Seems to get mostly favorable reviews but all variables seem to hav their limitations. If you're looking for a te stopper you will be better of gong with the 4x4's I think.

I was checking this one out and it does seem that it is less likely to vignette due to it's construction compared to the Singh-Ray. Perhaps you can post up some pics, after it arrives, at say 24mm on a full frame, running though the various stops, up to and past the 8 stop level?




  
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mafoo
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Feb 25, 2012 12:40 |  #10

Pi_314 wrote in post #13964971 (external link)
I was checking this one out and it does seem that it is less likely to vignette due to it's construction compared to the Singh-Ray. Perhaps you can post up some pics, after it arrives, at say 24mm on a full frame, running though the various stops, up to and past the 8 stop level?

That would be awesome... along with a shot without the filter on, so we can see if it degrads at all.


-Jeremy
5D Mk II | SL1 | 24-105 f4.0L IS | 70-200 f2.8L IS | S35 1.4 | 40 2.8 Pancake | Samyang 14 2.8 | 430EX II

  
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mafoo
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Feb 25, 2012 13:07 |  #11

I just realized, I have a supper cheap ND filter I got off ebay one night, when I was buying some little things (adapters, lens caps, battery holders, etc).

It was 10 bucks I think, and I have never used an ND filter, so I thought what the hell.

I just setup my 5D2, and took some shots of my guitar to compare. The filter is a three stop filter, so set the camera on manual, set my 70-200 on f2.8 ISO 100, and took a properly exposed shot (1/3 stop ttr). I then put the cheap filter on, and uped the ISO to 800 (it's a 3 stop filter) and took the same shot.

While they don't look exactly the same (wb is a little off?), I am shocked how non-degraded the image is. I should have shot something with more color however, but this is the results.

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7063/6782965296_7ecb018d50_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …hotosbyjeremy/6​782965296/  (external link)
IMG_8962 (external link) by MrMafoo (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7176/6929083861_343535f9ed_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …hotosbyjeremy/6​929083861/  (external link)
IMG_8963 (external link) by MrMafoo (external link), on Flickr

If that's the result of a very cheap filter, then I am sure the $190+ ones on B&H are going to be more then adequate for what I plan to do with them (blur water).

-Jeremy
5D Mk II | SL1 | 24-105 f4.0L IS | 70-200 f2.8L IS | S35 1.4 | 40 2.8 Pancake | Samyang 14 2.8 | 430EX II

  
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sticknpuck
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Feb 25, 2012 13:26 |  #12

Pi_314 wrote in post #13964971 (external link)
I was checking this one out and it does seem that it is less likely to vignette due to it's construction compared to the Singh-Ray. Perhaps you can post up some pics, after it arrives, at say 24mm on a full frame, running though the various stops, up to and past the 8 stop level?

Haha - would love to but you might have to wait a while until I upgrade to FF ;). I hope you're right about the vignetting. They say they use an 82mm outer ring to attach the glass and then a 77mm ring to connect to the lens. Probably not as much of a problem on the APS-C though.

But I will do with my 60D. Hopefully it gets here Mon/Tues.

Have a nice weekend everyone.


Matt
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Pi_314
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Feb 25, 2012 17:50 |  #13

Just did some test with the Singh-Ray.

As far as image quality goes, I see no issues whatsoever at any stop level, so I won't bother with a show and tell here. I simply can't tell the difference.

There is a color cast however, and it goes like this. At the minimal stop level (about two stops) there is a slight warming as compared to a pic without the filter. As you move to higher stop levels the color cast moves toward the bluish side, wherein at about 3 to 5 stops you achieve something very close to parity (neutral) with the pic that has no filter at all. Moving on up from 5 to 8 stops the color cast shows to be on the bluish side as compared to the pic with no filter. Here is a screen capture that I hope shows this off, starting with no filter on the first thumbnail, followed by the filter with increases in stop value, up to going past the max for the filter, wherein all hell breaks loose. Shooting at 24mm, I'd say you start running into trouble at about 6 stops. Thats the nature of the beast. Shoot at 35mm and you can likely get away with 8 stops ..... maybe. 50mm and above, have fun, it won't let you down at the maximun 8 stops.

The color cast can be worked with in post processing to whatever degree that might be.

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7043/6783532036_9502d5863e_b.jpg



  
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mafoo
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Feb 25, 2012 19:23 |  #14

Thanks for that Pi

Do anyone know if the characteristic Pi saw, is the same in single stop ND filters, or is it an artifact of how they do variable?


-Jeremy
5D Mk II | SL1 | 24-105 f4.0L IS | 70-200 f2.8L IS | S35 1.4 | 40 2.8 Pancake | Samyang 14 2.8 | 430EX II

  
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argyle
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Feb 26, 2012 05:33 |  #15

mafoo wrote in post #13966851 (external link)
Thanks for that Pi

Do anyone know if the characteristic Pi saw, is the same in single stop ND filters, or is it an artifact of how they do variable?

No...its strictly a characteristic of a variable ND. I use the Singh-Ray Vari-N-Duo, which incorporates an integral warming poalrizer. I only get the X-pattern under certain conditions: shooting very wide (shorter than 35mm) with the ND strength set near or just beyond the maximum. At 35mm and longer, its no longer an issue (at least that's been my experience with it).


"Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son". - Dean Wormer

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Variable ND filetes... What's the best value?
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