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Variable neutral density filter recommendations


JackAllTog Plus
11 6.1k 58 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2020 11:11PM
Hi there,

Would you recommend any particular brands of variable neutral density filters, or even avoid others?
Is a higher price always an indicator of better performance?
What is the X effect at stronger values, does it affect all variable neutral density filters?

Or would you avoid them all together and just get a fixed set for a 77mm lens.

Thanks
Stuart

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sausage Plus
15 660 United Kingdom
3 Jul 2020 8:29AM
I did buy a variable ND lens a few years ago but in actual fact I hardly ever use it. I resorted to fixed sets in the end.
The X was an issue.
Philh04 Plus
14 2.2k United Kingdom
3 Jul 2020 8:43AM
A lot depends on your intended purpose, I have an expensive one for the sole purpose of balancing flash and daylight without resorting to HSS. For general photography I would say a fixed set is a better bet (less glass surfaces etc.)

As with most things you get what you pay for (saying that I did pick up a cheap set of ND's which are surprisingly good)

The X issue has been circumvented by some manufacturers restricting the range...
JackAllTog Plus
11 6.1k 58 United Kingdom
3 Jul 2020 9:26AM
Many thanks Guys, i'm seeing Tiffin as the bee's knees, then Hoya, then possibly Kenro, though for me from old i think colour cast, Gobe pops up as a potential contender for me.

I'd probably start with something like a fixed ND64. Still going to read more reviews...

"balancing flash and daylight " thanks Phil, yes this is what i was thinking of it for. As long as i can see the subject and AF works.
Philh04 Plus
14 2.2k United Kingdom
3 Jul 2020 9:54AM
I think an ND64 may be just a little too strong, maybe look at an ND8 (three stops) and an ND16 (four stops), I find that this is the range I am usually working in, and if you do need stronger you can always combine them (At the risk of adding more glass surfaces. My Variable is a Hoya although I am tending more towards fixed ND these days.
pink Plus
17 6.5k 8 United Kingdom
3 Jul 2020 11:32AM
Many years ago I was an early adopter into the wonderful world of variable ND filters, I though "great, the end of carrying around 3 or 4 individual filters in one" my dreams were short lived, it was horrendous, colour costs, the X effect and an unreliable gradation across the filter on every setting, it got binned.
Only recently I have again committed to buying one after advice from a couple of friends, I bought this;

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/K-F-Concept-Ultra-Slim-77mm-Fader-Variable-Neutral-Density

and I am happy to report that it works fine with no issues at all.
Ian
JackAllTog Plus
11 6.1k 58 United Kingdom
3 Jul 2020 2:26PM
Many thanks Ian and Phil. I'll add KF filters into the review mix - https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=K+F+Concept+Ultra+Slim+77mm&_sacat=0

And also tone back the ND64 to a ND16 or 8 as suggested.

Thanks again.
stuwhitt 16 1.4k United Kingdom
4 Jul 2020 10:13PM
I have a Format Hitech variable ND Filter, superb quality, and ideal for flash, video and slowing shutter speeds. I also use Format Hitech 6 stop and 10 stop ND filters for long exposures, the X issue has never been an issue for me.

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