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Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series
4K and AVCHD on a Micro Four Thirds system camera with interchangeable lenses.


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Old May 12th, 2014, 12:42 PM   #1
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ND filter...about to jump

Hi guys,


Just about to splash the cash on an ND for my G6. Just before I do wanted to know your thoughts. Shall I go for a variable nd or just a normal? I have a Canon FD 1.4 50mm and the stock 14-42.
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Old May 12th, 2014, 06:05 PM   #2
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Re: ND filter...about to jump

I just took a variable ND back to the store because it seriously softened the image on my new GH4. Neither AF or peaking would function at all with the filter on. One of the worst pieces of .... I have ever seen in a camera shop. I hate to recommend something I haven't tried, but No film School's DSLR Cinematography Guide recommends the Fader ND Mark II from Light Craft Workshop. I haven't decided yet, but after my bad experience I may just get individual ND's.
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Old May 12th, 2014, 07:09 PM   #3
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Re: ND filter...about to jump

If quality is important to you, you simply cannot beat individual NDs. A set of 2, 4, and 6 stops reduction is all you really need.

However, if convenience trumps quality, then Fader ND Mark II and Heliopan are two brands I have heard good things about.
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Old May 13th, 2014, 10:07 AM   #4
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Re: ND filter...about to jump

Thanks for the advice guys.

The Heliopan is bit too expensive. I can get a good Tiffen variable nd for about $99 and it gets a good review
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Old May 13th, 2014, 02:37 PM   #5
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Re: ND filter...about to jump

Variable ND filters are well known to cause a softening in images, but are useful for those who don't mind a bit of softening. If for some reason in a particular scenario you are going for a soft image, and if the filter is of decent quality, the variable might work out fine. No filter is going to work in every scenario anyway, which is what we forget. Trying to buy one filter to satisfy many situations is a tempting shortcut, and the variable ND filter is an example of marketing to people who will sacrifice quality for convenience. Nothing wrong with it, and the higher-priced variables are decent, but they are still what they are.

+1 what Gary says.

Unfortunately, cheaper filters, such as a $99 variable, may work for some, but it depends on how demanding you are and your shooting situation. I personally have owned cheap filters and while they can work sometimes, generally they are not worth the money and end up in a junk pile.

Cheap filters are problematic and can give very disappointing results.

I had a decent, moderately priced variable ND filter, cost me about $169 or so a few years ago, and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't work out for me. I sold it and went with solids.
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Old May 13th, 2014, 03:39 PM   #6
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Re: ND filter...about to jump

Well I just watched a guy do a very interesting test...


As I'm not using lenses that cost hundreds I don't really see the need for a $500 filter! The guy on the video points this out. Tiffen looks fine to me
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Old May 14th, 2014, 11:17 PM   #7
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Re: ND filter...about to jump

Tiffens are fine in single strengths, Shane Hurlbut uses Tiffens. Variables are...variable. The softening (or lack of detail/sharpness) is most problematic at the telephoto end of zooms.

You also now have 4 reflective surfaces in front of the lens (like a polarizer, two glass "panes") and can expect extra flares and unwanted reflections. Micro four thirds lenses seem to be more susceptible to this than many other formats. So for all the reasons above I try to stick with single strength ND's. I have .6ND, .9ND, and 1.2ND for 2, 3, and 4 stops reduction respectively.

If variables are going to give you a problem you likely won't see it until you're in the editing bay. Gonna enjoy going back out for a reshoot (if you can)?
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Old May 15th, 2014, 08:57 AM   #8
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Re: ND filter...about to jump

Also keep in mind that Water White Tiffens are superior to Core Color. The latter casts a green hue over your image that is hard to get out. Hoya ProND is another good option too.
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Old May 15th, 2014, 10:00 AM   #9
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Re: ND filter...about to jump

Great response guys,

As I have said I dont have the budget for endless filters. From the test that the guy did in the video the Tiffen
looks pretty good to me. I'd agrre with you if I had a Voightlander on my camera but I dont. Sometimes you can get a little over picky about image quality and forget that its content thats important!
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Old May 15th, 2014, 02:31 PM   #10
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Re: ND filter...about to jump

The "incidents" I've read several months ago had nothing to do with "being a little over picky" about image quality. The posters were complaining about very noticeable effects in the editing bay that made the footage almost unusable.

One filter?

If I'm packing light, the one I put in a corner of the small bag will be a 1.2ND (strongest single strength I currently have), that's 4 stop reduction and is usually enough to get me down into the f8-f5.6 range out in bright daylight or sunlight. That's where a lot of lenses have a "sweet spot", and get's away from the f22 range with it's unwanted "diffraction effect" that can also kill sharpness.

Lens quality has little to do with what "cheap" filters can do to you.
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Old May 15th, 2014, 02:43 PM   #11
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Re: ND filter...about to jump

Dont mean a thing if you aint got that creative swing ;)
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