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2012 Variable ND Update

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Danny Grizzle
2012 Variable ND Update
on Mar 22, 2012 at 9:19:52 pm

What's the verdict?

  • Polaroid Variable ND

  • Kenko-Tokina NDX Variable Neutral Density Filter

  • Lightcraft Workshop Fader ND Mk II

  • Lightcraft Workshop Fader ND DigiPro-HD

  • Singh-Ray Vari-ND

  • Tiffen Variable ND

  • Heliopan Variable ND


  • Has anyone done any testing?

    Do any of these have hard stops on the rotation?

    Bonus points for use in combination with Mosaic Engineering VAF-5D.


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    DV Dude
    Re: 2012 Variable ND Update
    on Mar 22, 2012 at 11:53:01 pm

    Adam Wilt has tested 3 - the Tiffen, Kenko and Formatt. Read his review at Pro Video Coalition:


    http://provideocoalition.com/index.php/awilt/story/quick_look_variable_nd_f...

    In our quick tests, we haven't seen any difference in picture quality between the various ones we've tested - Polaroid, Tiffen, Genus and Heliopan. But I don't want to make an absolute statement without doing much more extensive testing. The differences are more in build quality and packaging. The Genus is the easiest to use, the Polaroid is the cheapest, the Tiffen comes with a really nice case, and the Helipoan is the most expensive, but German :)

    Adam Wilt is a god, and whatever he says I'll defer to.

    DV Dude
    The DV Shop
    Toronto, Canada
    http://www.dvshop.ca


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    Danny Grizzle
    Re: 2012 Variable ND Update
    on Mar 23, 2012 at 6:54:41 pm

    Thanks to the link to the Adam Wilt piece -- he is always worth a read. That said, I only scanned the article for now, not seeing anything authoritative far as resolution tests, which is what these filters get dinged for in a lot of comments, especially when used with telephoto lenses.

    Light Craft Workshop is partly to blame for my loss of confidence because they have introduced a new high end series, which would seem to indicate their own products, which I am currently using, needed a fix.

    My concern with the Mosaic Engineering filter is the same. One of their marketing videos, or one by the Glenn Przyborski, who was an early adopter, there is a CG super over some of the footage indicating 700 lines of resolution. Well, that doesn't sound so great unless he is referring to line pairs or whatever -- not 1080p.

    Totally anecdotal report, but I've got 4 Light Craft Workshop Fader ND Mk II filters, and I am reasonably pleased with my footage. I understand the dangers present at the extreme limits of density, and I try to avoid them. I really wish there were hard stops because it is very difficult to quickly reset these filters to minimum density for purposes of focus or changing shots or camera positions. So many times, the camera setup makes getting an eye on the filter to align the minimum marks almost impossible.

    My Mosiac Engineering filter has just been delivered. I have not yet inserted it into the camera, much less done any testing.

    I am considering purchase of a Tiffen Variable ND for testing purposes. Even though I am not unhappy with the Light Craft Workshop filters, it would be reassuring to know I am getting the most quality possible out of my 5D Mk II.

    BTW - I have purchased thousands of dollars with of expensive European filters, and my experience with neutral density is that Tiffen is more neutral, and a certain big European brand costing over twice as much has a pronounced color cast. Not that the principle of operation in variable ND is the same, but fact remains I have never been disappointed in a Tiffen filter, so that bit of brand loyalty has made them my candidate to challenge Light Craft Workshop since I can't justify buying one of everything to do a comprehensive test.


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    Jorden Mosley
    Re: 2012 Variable ND Update
    on Mar 23, 2012 at 10:22:15 pm

    I can only comment on the Polaroid ND filters, since they're the only ones I've used on my minolta lenses (GH2). I bought them used on amazon and was presently surprised that I couldn't see them taking much if any sharpness away from my primes.


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    Danny Grizzle
    Re: 2012 Variable ND Update
    on Mar 25, 2012 at 9:05:25 pm

    There's a review of the Polariod Variable ND on YouTube







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