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Archive 2012 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop
  
 
dswiger
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


Looking at getting a good ND & am willing to pay if it really is "neutral" and
doesn't have strange artifacts.

I see there are issues with some of the Vari-ND types, probably due to the use of polarizing.
The fixed 10 stop should be simpler & less problematic, but less flexible.?

Thanks
Dan




May 11, 2012 at 01:22 AM
sachman
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


I have both.. The Singh-Ray Vari N Duo(roughly 8 stops) and Lee Big Stopper(10.5 stops). The Lee Big Stopper is a little less flexible I agree and does produce little blue cast, which is easily fixed if you're shooting raw but it's a lot of fun!
I love the Singh-Ray in that it's a polarizer as well, which is handy in cutting out glare.. My limitation is shooting wide, vignetting cuts in at below 24mm on my 5d mk ii.




May 11, 2012 at 01:27 AM
stanj
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


I have found that the Singh Ray VND can produce very strange skies with wide angle lenses. The "plain" ND filters do not have that problem. So I use both depending on the situation.


May 11, 2012 at 01:42 AM
ghozer
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


I've heard reports of the Singh-Ray providing some weird casts but I've only witnessed it at the highest setting.


May 11, 2012 at 01:57 AM
bobbytan
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


I have a Marumi Vari ND (9 stops) but I have not had a chance to really try it yet. Can anyone comment on the Marumi quality?


May 11, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Hrow
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


The Singh Ray Vari-N-Duo is very flexible and the polarization is an enormous plus when shooting water. It is a minus when shooting skies with a wide-angle, but that applies to all polarizers and is not specific to this filter. The main advantage (apart from a built-in polarizer) is that you can dial the ND out to see what you are doing as you set-up the shot. This is a big deal to me.

It will vignette on wide angle lenses. On a 24-105 and a 17-40 you need to be at about 33 mm before the problem disappears. To counter the problem you need a lens with a smaller front element than 77mm. I bought an Olympus 24mm 2.8 and a step-up ring to handle my wide needs but found my eyes are now bad enough that AF is a requirement rather than a "feature." I now use a Canon 28 f2.8 w/ a step-up ring and the lens is pretty decent when it is stopped down.



May 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Javier Munoz
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


Dan,

You might find this interesting http://www.benjaminmoritz.com/2011/03/1074
I think that the funky effects on the wrong conditions (wide angles...) will apply on any vari-ND. On most cases, you might pull 3-4 stops on wide angle settings before the "cross effect" starts to appear (like here http://photo.blogoverflow.com/2012/03/marumi-nd2-400-variable-nd-filter-review/). That is independent on whether your filters goes up 6 or 10 stops. To solve vignetting. you can check bigger size filters. I think that some brands makes them up to 105mm (at a cost, obviously). Most of the Vari ND on these days are thinner than the Singh-Ray and many have bigger outer diameter than the filter thread size. Some have 82 outer vs 77 filter thread and others 86 vs 77. I would recommend you go to BH and check the specification tab. THey have that information there. I have been in your position not too long ago and after an extensive research I opted for a classic ND. I shoot landscape mostly, and dont make movies so the vari-ND didnt fit my needs. Your mileage might vary.

Hope it helps



May 11, 2012 at 01:33 PM
dswiger
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


All, thanks for the feedback.
I think I will take this in steps and get a fixed 10 stop ND first.
If I use it & am confident in the results, then I will think about a Vari-ND
If the Vari-ND offers something to my images the fixed doesn't,
then I'll make another decision

Dan



May 11, 2012 at 05:45 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


dswiger wrote:
Looking at getting a good ND & am willing to pay if it really is "neutral" and
doesn't have strange artifacts.

I see there are issues with some of the Vari-ND types, probably due to the use of polarizing.
The fixed 10 stop should be simpler & less problematic, but less flexible.?

Thanks
Dan



I have a 10-stop (or is it 9-stop?) ND, but I have not used the variable ND filters.

If your goal is simply to be able to get those very long exposures in bright light, you'll probably generally want as dark an ND as you can get, and I suspect that the variable feature may not be all that critical. That's pretty much how it has played out for me.

Also, as I understand it, the variable ND filter is thicker than the single ND, and for that reason can be a bit problematic on some wide angle lenses. Check into that first if you shoot wide.

Also, the very dark ND filters will create some slight color shifts - I don't think there is any way around this, though I could be wrong about that. One idea is to shoot a gray card under the scene lighting and then use that to compensate in post.

Dan



May 11, 2012 at 06:08 PM
seacritter3
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


I've been interested in the Marumi vari-nd as well. I have been using the Marumi Super DHG polarizers. I was a B&W fanboy before that. I actually still have a KSM on one of my lenses.

I also have a mix of ND filters. I have the Tiffen set of the .6, .9 and 1.2. I have the Hoya ND400. As well, I have a bunch on ND grads from Hitech and Singh-Ray. I even have the Cokin P173 and P174 multi color polarizers and the Singh-Ray Blue-n-Gold polarizer.

The reason that I'm interested in the vari-nd is because of focusing. It would be much easier to turn a dial than to focus and then screw in the filter. But, I keep seeing everyone talking about the mustache/bowtie effect. At this point, the vari-nd would be a convenience. And as others have said, when you really want to use an ND, you typically want to go full strength. I will typically use my 1.2 or my ND400. I can still AF with the 1.2.

As to stacking, I do that so often. I'll even stack a polarizer and then an ND Grad on top of that. At that point, you need to do little marks with a pencil on the polarizer and remember where the grad goes. Needless to say, a vari-nd would be easier.

I've shot a color checker and built profiles for each lens/light combo and that really makes a giant difference.

Still looking for the magic bullet on this one...



Jul 29, 2012 at 01:30 PM
 

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Monito
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


seacritter3 wrote:
[...]


Welcome to FM, seacritter.



Jul 29, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Monito
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


dswiger wrote:
Looking at getting a good ND & am willing to pay if it really is "neutral" and doesn't have strange artifacts. I see there are issues with some of the Vari-ND types, probably due to the use of polarizing. The fixed 10 stop should be simpler & less problematic, but less flexible.?


Hi Dan. Go with a fixed 10 stop. That's what I did. When you want 8 to 11 stops, you don't need much if any variation, you basically just want to whack the light down with a big ten stop hammer.

gdanmitchell wrote:
the very dark ND filters will create some slight color shifts - I don't think there is any way around this, though I could be wrong about that. One idea is to shoot a gray card under the scene lighting and then use that to compensate in post.


+1 Casts are pretty much unavoidable when using a 10 stop sledge hammer.

I have a 10 stop B+W which has a slight brownish cast. Not much of a problem in practice with reasonable technique.



Jul 29, 2012 at 02:31 PM
mMontag
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


In using an ND to soften water feature photography, most photographers want to get as close to the foreground of the scene as possible - i.e. wide-angle - that rules out the ring type adjustables, no matter how convenient they may seem to be.

The Lee Big Stopper (10 stop) is fabricated using a 1/16" annealed glass plate with a 1/16" gasket - it wants breaks & it breaks very easily. I had read of many reports of the BS's breaking & in knowing their fragility, I had one inside of a 4x6 filter pack, individually sandwiched between two hard padded dividers, that was between 2 other resin GND 4x6's plus hard padded dividers on each side, in the top pocket of a common backpack - & no I didn't drop (etc.) the pack. It seems for $200+ dollars you should be able to get the filter to the destination.

The "blue-ish" color cast is more like it washes color out. The gray and black tones go to dark gray & black/black - you can move that around in post but you can't get color back that isn't there in the first place. Also, 10 stops is a lot of ND - plan on 15-30-60+ seconds exposures - except in bright light conditions, which doesn't lend itself to water feature photography. I wouldn't want a 10 stop as my primary ND - much too limiting.

Formatt / HiTech have a "Pro-stop" line of 4x4 ND's - resin with a gasket. I found the 6 stop to be the best as far as keeping true color - and can also use it in coordination with an additional GND, also using the Lee holder on top of a CPL mounted to the lens, and ISO 50 for another reduced stop. Though I don't like stacking filters, I've found that method renders a higher IQ than the darker ND's. Then of course remember to cover your OVF when doing long exposures.



Jul 29, 2012 at 02:41 PM
bcguy
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


One of my friends has the Singh Ray variable ND filters, and he tells me it does produce weird effects with wide angle lenses. It's because it's basically two circular polarizers sandwiched together. It's hard to make the ND effect even across the entire frame. When I eventually get one of these, I'll go for the Lee or Hi Tech version.


Jul 29, 2012 at 04:32 PM
burningheart
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


Been using the The Singh-Ray vari-ND for a couple of years now and at times it will add a red cast to the skies, and becomes more noticable when you combine it with thier 5 stop ND. I recently added the Vari-trio ND to my kit.




Jul 29, 2012 at 05:17 PM
khurram1
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


I've got the Lee big stopper, the Singh-Ray Vari ND and the Helio-pan Vari-ND. my go to filter now is the Heliopan.


Jul 30, 2012 at 02:35 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


dswiger wrote:
Looking at getting a good ND & am willing to pay if it really is "neutral" and
doesn't have strange artifacts.

I see there are issues with some of the Vari-ND types, probably due to the use of polarizing.
The fixed 10 stop should be simpler & less problematic, but less flexible.?

Thanks
Dan



Vari-NDs may not work on your widest lenses due to vignetting.

Dan



Jul 30, 2012 at 06:17 AM
Jack0207
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


khurram1 wrote:
my go to filter now is the Heliopan.


Have the same Heliopan and can only say good things about it. One very handy filter.



Jul 30, 2012 at 09:37 AM
mMontag
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


So for those using the Heliopan variable ND 6.6 stop - does it get the "X" pattern dark shading wider than 24 or 21mm at the 6 stop setting? Posting an image would be great - thanks.


Jul 30, 2012 at 11:30 AM
molson
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Vari ND vs fixed 10 stop


gdanmitchell wrote:
Vari-NDs may not work on your widest lenses due to vignetting.

Dan



They also may not deliver the amount of ND that they claim.

I just returned a Formatt/Hitech Fader ND filter after testing it and discovering the maximum amount of light reduction it could deliver was only 5 stops, not the 8 stops they claim.



Jul 30, 2012 at 09:19 PM
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