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Archive 2013 · Standard ND vs Variable ND
  
 
jonesyallday
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


So, I finally decided to bite the bullet and invest in real glass. I love the images I am getting. But I need an ND filter and realized that if I go cheap on that, then what's the benefit of the good glass. So I want to buy the best ND's. In your experience what are the best ND's and is there a reduction in image quality using a Variable ND instead of the non variable kind. I would prefer to go with the Variable, say a Heliopan or Schneider, but I am wondering if it yields results less than the non variable ones. Thanks in advance.


Jun 20, 2013 at 01:42 AM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


From what I read, variable ND isn't great for wide angle lenses with skies. Similar problem with what you get with polarizers.


Jun 20, 2013 at 01:47 AM
jonesyallday
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


Thank you. Yes, I actually was aware of the wide angle situation. Does anyone else have any experience with either or both? Thanks.


Jun 20, 2013 at 04:12 PM
naturephoto1
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


I don't have experience. But, when I discussed the variable option with Singh-Ray for my needs they recommended their new Mor-Slo fixed glass ND filters that were about to be released. They have now been released in 5 stop and 10 stop versions in different sizes. I opted for the 5 stop in the Cokin P size which I can use with Singh-Rays 4 stop Resin filter that i also have in the Cokin P size.

http://www.singh-ray.com/table.html

http://www.singh-ray.com/morslo.html

http://www.singh-ray.com/morslo.html

I can use these filters with Singh-Ray Grad ND filters, Circular Lighter Brighter Polarizeres, Gold-N-Blue Polarizers, etc.

By the way I have included an image taken with my Lumix G1 with my G Vario f3.5-f5.6 14-45mm Aspheric zoom lens set to 45mm, ISO 100 set to f16 for 1.6 second and with Singh-Ray 4 Stop ND resin filter. The image was taken in October at Mount Rainier NP before Singh-Ray was able to obtain the optical glass to make my glass 5 stop Mor-Slo filter. The glass filter should be even sharper than the resin filter. Subsequent to the trip I have received the glass 5 stop Mor-Slo filter.

Rich





Paradise River




Jun 20, 2013 at 04:56 PM
bobbytan
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


I am real happy with my variable ND filter. I can't remember the brand but I think it's pretty good, and very easy to use with the numbers on the dial.




  E-M5    LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25/F1.4 lens    25mm    f/16.0    1/8s    200 ISO    -1.0 EV  




Jun 20, 2013 at 06:21 PM
Taylor Sherman
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


My main annoyance with the variables is that, with mine (also forgot the brand), it's hard to read the setting (when I screw it on to my CV35/1.2, the writing is all on the bottom side for some reason). It would be really great if it had min/max stops as well, but if you go past MAX it just drops down to MIN again.

What I find myself doing is watching the camera's shutter speed indicator go up/down as I rotate the filter, and I use that to pick an ND value, but that's kind of slow. Also it's easy to bump the filter ring while carrying the camera, so I have to check this on every shot.

The reason I use it, mostly is to avoid blowing out shots in daylight at large apertures. I ended up getting a fixed 3-stop for this though, because then I don't have to fiddle with something else during the shot.

On the positive side, you do get some of the benefits of a CP filter, I believe, along for free.



Jun 20, 2013 at 06:41 PM
itai195
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


Does it really matter what the values on the filter are? I just turn it until I get the shutter speed I want.

I've been happy with my Singh Ray Vari-ND Duo, but I'm mostly using Lee NDs nowadays.



Jun 20, 2013 at 06:47 PM
naturephoto1
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


itai195 wrote:
Does it really matter what the values are? I just turn it until I get the shutter speed I want.


I think that the value is only useful for repeatability and for making the deciding on a setting originally or when using a separate meter.

By the way, when using the variable ND filters everything darkens as the amount of density increases. An advantage of using a fixed ND filter is that you can focus before adding the filter. As the filter factor increases (variable or fixed) the more difficult it is to focus as things get darker.

Rich


Edited on Jun 20, 2013 at 06:59 PM · View previous versions



Jun 20, 2013 at 06:50 PM
 

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joe88
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


For critical color work, you might want to test for color shifts or vignetting at the higher end of light cutoff. I would think in any situation, for *best* IQ, a filter with one glass element would still transmit more light over a filter with two glass elements?

I use vari-NDs for video work, they are indispensable since shutter speed is fixed at 1/48 or 1/50 at 24fps. Otherwise I use various B+W ND filters for photography but I think for landscape shooters, a variable ND is very convenient.



Jun 20, 2013 at 06:57 PM
LightShow
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


In researching Vari-NDs I found that some cheaper brands can create an "X" through the image, my Singray doesn't do that, nor have I seen any color cast with mine, also there are markings on 2 sides of the filter.


Jun 20, 2013 at 07:46 PM
bobbytan
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


I think it's really quite the opposite. With a variable ND filter, you can focus at the weakest/brightest setting ... then rotate the filter slowly until the desired shutter speed is reached. Easy peasy.

naturephoto1 wrote:
I think that the value is only useful for repeatability and for making the deciding on a setting originally or when using a separate meter.

By the way, when using the variable ND filters everything darkens as the amount of density increases. An advantage of using a fixed ND filter is that you can focus before adding the filter. As the filter factor increases (variable or fixed) the more difficult it is to focus as things get darker.

Rich




Jun 21, 2013 at 12:29 AM
nixland
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


I use Hoya Variable Density 3-400.

At maximum position (ring is set at 'MIN' sign) it could reach 9 1/3 stop.
At minumum position it eats about 1 2/3 stop.
I am using it with 85mm lens and there is no cross mark pattern at any position. I haven't tried it on wide angle lens though




Jun 21, 2013 at 12:54 AM
wiseguy010
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


LightShow wrote:
In researching Vari-NDs I found that some cheaper brands can create an "X" through the image, my Singray doesn't do that, nor have I seen any color cast with mine, also there are markings on 2 sides of the filter.


It is my understanding that all variable NDs do that on wider lenses above around 7 stops.



Jun 21, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Taylor Sherman
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


Yes, mine does at the most extreme settings. I wish I could remember the brand (still at work). I want to say Kodak or Polaroid?


Jun 21, 2013 at 02:12 AM
jonesyallday
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Standard ND vs Variable ND


Thanks guys for your help. I think I may end up buying a vari and a set of fixed and then doing a test. Will post my results when I do.

Btw, regarding the "x", that does occur on wider lenses, even at minimum reduction. In my experience though it wasn't an x, but a dark half sphere in blue skies.



Jun 21, 2013 at 05:34 PM





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