Received the Marumi ND2-ND400 yesterday from my best friend Mr. UPS driver; initial thoughts are as follows:
Packaging: comes in the same package as the CPL filter by the same manufacture; nothing to get excited about, and I was not expecting a nice leather case as one would expect with the Singh Ray.
Build: It looks to be constructed out of the same aluminum material as the Super Circular PL.D, 77mm weights 2.4 oz. which is exactly 2(x) what the CPL weighed. The outer ring has 6 dots, 2 triangles and the words Min and Max. Rotation is very smooth feeling a lot like the CPL. Attaching to my Sigma 17-50 was very easy and is not prone to getting stuck like its cousin.
Initial Testing: Using my fountain in the backyard with the 60D mounted on a tripod, I took my initial shot at f/5 with a shutter speed of 1/800 at 38mm. I then screwed the ND2-ND400 on my lens and adjust to MAX; my shutter speed would need to be adjusted 9-stops, or 0.64 seconds. Using 0.5 seconds I took the next shot; interesting to note my camera had no problems with Auto Focus.
Both images were processed using DPP adjusting, sharpness, white balance, and color saturation equally; the Marumi at ND400 is slightly warmer, IQ is very crisp. I was also able turn the outer ring past the MAX mark yielding a full 1-sec exposure, with similar results.
The last thing I tried was attaching my CPL on my Sigma 17-50 and then attaching the ND400 on the front of that. I have not read anywhere that stacking the Marumi Variable ND with a CPL was advises, suggested, or even possible, but being adventurous I decided to see how bad IQ would be degraded.
The sun was just dipping behind my neighbor’s house, so I moved over to a rosebush, opened up my lens to f/2.8 with a focal length of 28mm, setting my SS to 1/200 and used the popup flash. I only took one shot with these settings but you can see from the results below that it is indeed possible to stack the ND400 in front of the CPL giving you more than 10-stops.
Overall I am very pleased at the initial performance of the Marumi ND2-ND400; $130.00 USD seems a very good deal for the hobbyist like me. I will continue to do more extensive testing with my other lenses, to see how well it performs between 10-200mm.