Tag Archives: variable ND filter

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Aputure has released several versions of their DEC Lens Adapters, but in case you're not familiar with what they are and how they work, i've put together this Product Overview video. This video specifically focuses on the brand new DEC Vari-ND Model (available in MFT and E-Mount), but is very similar to the other models - especially the LensRegain version which is a Focal Reducer (a.k.a Speed Booster) Lens adapter.


Who's it For?
The way the product DEC Lens Adapters are designed, I think primarily it should really appeal to camera operators that need the ability to adjust focus with a wireless remote. Obviously it's not at the level of a professional Wireless Follow Focus system, but it at least offers decent focus controls at a minimal cost in an incredibly compact form. Even cheap wireless follow focus systems can still run well over $1200 dollars and require additional rods to mount, and additional power to run the focus motors.

The wireless remote and clamp can be attached as a handle to your gimbal, on a Steadicam, end of a Jib, or even to just the Pan Handle of your Tripod. Additional features such as iris adjustment on your Canon EF (or compatible) lenses can be handy when you are transitioning a camera movement from indoors to outdoors, or to just change your DOF. But now with the new Vari-ND version (electronic variable ND Filter) you have another dimension in which you can control your exposure and all through a wireless remote.

About the Vari-ND Filter
Traditional Variable ND Filters placed on the front lenses use two rotating pieces of glass that cancel out light as you rotate. While this is simple and effective, there are some drawbacks to how much variation you can have, how much color shift happens, and most importantly how much softness occurs because of how the two additional pieces of glass affect the incoming light (image).

The ND Filter inside of the DEC Vari-ND Lens Adapter is NOT using two pieces of polarizing glass. and is instead using a single sheet of glass (with liquid crystals) and uses electricity to adjust and vary the amount of ND. This is similar to the technology found in the new Sony FS5 camera. Aputure also claims that there are no color shifts happening during the process of varying the amount of ND applied.

At the minimum ND8 you're looking at about 3 Stops of ND Applied. The darkest ND applied on the Vari-ND is about 11 stops. ND8 (3 Stops) is pretty dark and something you won't be using indoors. Outdoors, you'll find the the Vari-ND useful especially when shooting at F/2.8 or wider. You'll notice in my video test there are steps between what i'm actually calling out (stops between ND8 and ND16, etc). Aputure claims they may be able to add a firmware update that allows smooth ND transitions instead of the stepping it has now (similar to how the Sony FS5 operates).

Summary
The line of Aputure DEC Lens Adapters are certainly very unique and offers features in a form factor and price that can't be found in any other tool. You can visit their website for additional information about the complete line of Aputure DEC Lens Adapters (found here).

aputure dec vari-nd lens adapter lensregain
check latest pricing Aputure DEC - Lens Adapter + Vari-ND + Lens Regain

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I posted a short overview of the FotoDiox ND Throttle Fusion Adapter not too long ago. It's a clever lens adapter that will get your Canon EF Autofocus lenses mounted to your Sony camera bodies (like A7sII, A7RII) and allow you to fully communicate with the lens using the Sony dials buttons. The adapter supports autofocus, image stabilization, and adjustment of iris. But obviously the big difference is the built in Variable ND Filter that allows you to more ways to control your exposure. Check out the video below for more details.

Now there are times you may not need a variable ND filter on the camera, especially when shooting in dim lighting. So that makes this 24 Hour Flash Deal something to consider. With the purchase of an ND Throttle Auto Adapter, FotoDiox will throw in a Smart Adapter as well (basically same thing without the nd filter). This deal ends on Wednesday (8.17.16) at Midnight CST, and in order to get the deal you must ADD Both Items to Cart and use coupon code THROTTLEUP.

Click here to get your Smart Fusion ND Throttle AND Free Auto Adapter today (click here).

FotoDiox FLASH ND Throttle
FotoDiox 24 Hour FLASH DEAL. Purchase ND Throttle ND Auto and Receive FREE Smart Adapter.

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First off, let's state the obvious! Of course i'm bound to have IR Pollution issues without using a proper 'IR Cut Filter'. But the point of this video is to show that even basic ND Filters that are not advertised with IR Cut can all perform differently, so it's better to test out your filters with specific cameras before heading out to shoot a full project.

I've used my Tiffen Static ND Filters happily on many of my cameras without issues. It's a nice sharp image. But as the BlackMagic Design Ursa Mini 4.6K is more sensitive to IR Pollution this (non-IR Cut) Tiffen ND 1.2 is probably the worst ND Filter you can use with the Ursa Mini 4.6K or other IR Sensitive cameras.

Again, I know none of these filters are advertised as IR Cut and you could probably spend a good amount of money on some special filters. But in this case, the URSA Mini 'without' a filter doesn't seem too bad so you may get away without one. And the LCW Fader ND MKII (though not advertised as IR cut) seems to handle IR Pollution extremely well, so it's a variable ND I can highly recommend. You can find the LCW Fader ND MKII Variable ND via B&H (click here).

Or you can also find the LCW Fader ND MKII Variable ND via Amazon (click here)
Ursa Mini IR Cut Filter Pollution Light Craft Workshop Fader ND MKII
Learn-More-smLight Craft WorkShop Fader ND MKII

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While I see many people switching over to the Panasonic GH4 and Sony A7 series cameras (like the A7sII/A7RII), there's one product that I wanted to remind people about - the FotoDiox ND Throttle. When shooting with Sony cameras, especially in SLOG, the minimum ISO could be anywhere from 1600-3200. SLOG is such a great option to have, but means you really have to deal with ND Filters to keep a wide aperture and proper shutter speed.

The easiest and most simple solution that I know of is the FotoDiox ND Throttle. The FotoDiox ND Throttle is a variable ND Filter built right into a lens adapter, and allows you to dial in your exposure without changing your ISO, Shutter, and Aperture. Of course this only works if you are adapting a Full Frame lens to the Sony or Panasonic, and not using a native lens.

It doesn't matter if you're working with a Canon EF autofocus lens, a manual Rokinon Lens, or even high end Cinema Prime Lenses like the
XEEN, Canon CN-E, Zeiss CP.2, etc. The FotoDiox ND Throttle is one simple adapter that I highly suggest all Sony A7 series or GH4 shooters look into and find the time to try it out. Even if you're not using it all the time, I think you'll find it's worth keeping in the gear bag.

fotodiox nd throttle adapter sony a7s a7rii nex fe mountpanasonic gh4 nd throttle lens adapter canon ef variable nd filter
VIEW-ITEM FotoDiox ND Throttle Variable ND Filter + Lens Adapter

So while I think Canon L lenses offer great image quality, you can get a (4) piece Rokinon Cine DS Lens Bundle Set for about the price of one Canon L Lens. The DS line from Rokinon are designed to be color matched, same exposure ranges, common focus and iris gear positions, a de-clicked aperture, etc. For me personally I feel they are better for video than standard Autofocus Photo Lenses (image quality aside). If you're looking into a set of Rokinon Cine lenses, I highly suggest starting with the 'Cine DS' line for the reasons stated above.

The image quality is great, and I think you'll really appreciate the longer focus (pull) throw, and de-clicked aperture which lets you set F-stops in smaller increments than you can with auto focus lenses. The built in gear ring is great for follow focuses, and the standard positions make it easier to swap lenses without moving your FF around each time.

Rokinon Cine DS Lens Canon EF
VIEW-ITEM Rokinon Cine DS Lens Bundle for Canon EF Mount

Now if you really want to step it up a bit, the Rokinon XEEN Cinema Prime lenses have a standard physical size, lens diameter, better optics, less breathing, etc. To date they are probably the most affordable Cinema Prime Lenses that cover a full frame sensor. They have a 114mm Diameter which is exactly the same as a Canon CN-E Prime, or Zeiss CP.2. You can find great deals on XEEN Lens Sets via eBay (click here).

Rokinon XEEN 3 Lens Bundle Set
VIEW-ITEM Rokinon XEEN Lens Bundle

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If you're shooting video outdoors on a bright day with a DSLR or Mirrorless camera, chances are you're working with ND filters. ND Filters are essential to keep your shutter speeds down, while keeping your lens aperture wide open. One of the most annoying things of course is working with different lenses that each require different filter sizes and step up rings.

If you understand the frustration, then you'll be interested in checking out the new Fotodiox Vizelex ND Throttle Lens Mount Adapter. Instead of placing a variable ND filter on the front of the lens, the variable ND filter is actually built into the lens adapter (located behind the lens).

The first version of the Fotodiox Vizelex ND Throttle available is only for Canon EOS to Sony E Mount. Example compatible cameras listed are the Sony NEX-3, NEX-5, NEX-C3, NEX-5N, NEX-7, NEX-F3, NEX-5R, NEX-6, Sony NEX-VG10, NEX-VG20, NEX-VG30, NEX-VG900, NEX-FS100, NEX-FS700, NEX-EA50.

I don't see why a variable ND filter lens mount can't be made with M4/3 adapters, so hopefully that will follow up soon. Check out the product page for additional photos and specs for the new Fotodiox Vizelex ND Throttle (click here).

Canon eos-nex-pro-vzlx-thrtl-01 ND throttleCanon EOS EF to Sony NEX ND Variable lens Mount Vizelexeos-nex-pro-vzlx-thrtl-02 Cheesycam Fotodiox Lens Mount
find-price-button FotoDiox Vizelex Variable ND Throttle Canon EOS EF to Sony NEX E Mount Lens Adapter

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What happened to cheap Variable ND filters? So I recently picked up the Sigma 30mm lens for the Sony NEX-7 camera and it's been the only lens on the camera since. Today I decided I needed a Variable ND filter and did some online shopping. For cheap, normally the Nature ND filter (seen here on eBay) was pretty good, but today it's going for around $50 bucks. Even the purplish color casting Polaroid Variable ND filter on Amazon is now being listed for more than $35 dollars (seen here)..

Now the option for a cheap Variable ND Filter for under $13.00 dollars is the Slim Variable Fader ND version from Fotga. The listing on the product details claim to use high quality glass from Japan that avoids color shift when changing densities. I doubt it's that good, but I can correct a little color cast through a WB shift or in post. I know Fotga has some decent products, but so far there's no talk about these Variable ND Filters. Not many options now for cheap Variable ND filters, so to find out if it's any good, I went ahead and ordered a 46mm.

Fotga Variable ND Filter
find-price-button Fotga Slim Variable ND Filters

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A few days ago I posted about using Rubber Hoods as an inexpensive solution to shading your glass (as opposed to Matte Boxes). The LCW - Light Craft Workshop Digi Pro ND Filter starts with a 77mm thread and cones out to an 82mm thread. Since these ND filters can be pretty expensive, you can adapt one ND to several lenses by using cheap step up filter rings. The same idea goes for other filters like a CPL - Circular Polarizer. If you plan to do this, you want to make sure that you get the largest ND filter available to cover all your lenses. The one problem you'll run into is that you can no longer use the stock lens hood, so a cheap fix is to use these folding rubber lens hoods. Here's a look at how it all comes together.

When shopping for Step Up filters, make sure the first number is smaller than the second. There is such a thing as 'Step Down Filters' which you probably won't have much use for. Not sure about the thread size of your lens? Normally you'll find the information on the lens itself, but another tip is to look carefully for tiny numbers on the back of your Lens Cap. Rubber lens hoods can be for under $5 bucks (click here).

folding-lens-hoodfolding-lens-hood-rubber
find-price-button Rubber Lens Hoods - via Amazon

Cheaper of course if you check on eBay

Folding Rubber Lens HoodFolding Rubber Lens Hood
find-price-button Folding Rubber Lens Hoods

I don't suggest stacking a step up on top of another step up. This could work in a pinch, but it will have a slimmer profile if you use just one. I'm using a 77mm LCW Digi Pro Variable ND filter, so to save myself the headache, I ended up purchasing (2) of every filter size up to 77mm. There's only about 7 common sizes to cover most DSLR lenses you'll come across from 49mm-77mm, 52mm-77mm, 55mm-77mm, 58mm-77mm, 62mm-77mm, 67mm-77mm, and 72mm-77mm.. Depending on the size of the ND or CPL you're trying to adapt to, you might want to do the same. For Step up filter rings, they run as low as $1 dollar + Free shipping.

Step-up-filter-ring
find-price-button Lens Metal Threaded Step Up Filter Rings

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LCW-ND-Filter (1 of 16)LCW-ND-Filter (4 of 16)

If you love to shoot outdoors on bright sunny days with a shallow DOF, you'll need to get yourself an ND (neutral density) Filter. The ND filter will cut down the amount of light that comes in through the lens so that you can tame that shutter speed, and use a wide aperture without blowing out the image. Still confused? Olivia has a short video that explains how shutter can change the look of your video here: http://vimeo.com/25851113.

LCW-ND-Filter (5 of 16)LCW-ND-Filter (12 of 16)

There are static ND filters in various sizes and densities, and then there are Variable ND filters. The convenience of a Variable type ND filter is you can simply dial in how much light you need to block out. Variable ND filters are a two piece glass filter design. Rotate the outer glass, and it will increase/decrease the amount of light passing through.

One important thing to know is that you will get different results from different Variable ND filters on the market. Because the filters are using two pieces of polarizing glass, you could suffer from color cast (reddish/purplish), also color shifting (color temp changes as you rotate the filter), and more importantly Softness of image. The more expensive ones don't suffer as much with these problems, but they can be out of reach for most hobbyist. Of course, I use what I can afford, because in some situations I feel anything is better than nothing. If you're a stickler on quality, or invested thousands of dollars on that Zeiss and Canon 'L series' glass, I think you'll want to try to maintain the best image possible by using something of higher caliber.

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Shown throughout this article is the latest 77mm LCW Digi Pro HD, which on the outer end terminates to a larger 82mm. This step up from 77mm-82mm design prevents obstruction when used on wider lenses. Packaged well, the LCW Digi Pro HD comes with it's own padded case and an 82mm Lens cap if you choose to leave the filter on during storage. To ensure the filter does not accidentally rotate during use and changing exposure, there's a locking pin to hold position.

LCW-ND-Filter (16 of 16)LCW-ND-Filter (15 of 16)

Light Craft Workshop was one of the first companies to really hit the DSLR Video market with a quality Variable ND filter about 3 years ago. Since then, they've improved with an Ultra Mark II version, and now has released a much more improved Fader ND Digi Pro HD. The Digi Pro HD filter was first released in a 4x4 filter used in Matte Boxes, and has now been adapted to this variable threaded filter.

I was lucky enough to have this sent over from LCW [Thanks Guys], and will be taking it out for some use. There's no question in my mind that it will provide top quality results, and i'll try to provide some still images at different focal lengths for you all. The new Digi Pro HD filter was just announced a few days ago, and may not yet be available, but you can see all their announcements at their website here: http://LightCraftWorkshop.com. As this Digi Pro HD is not a replacement for some of their other Variable ND products, you can find those products and prices already available at their official store via eBay (click here).

lcw-fader
find-price-button Light Craft Workshop Variable ND & CPL Filters

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I know there's a good amount of new DSLR shooters who haven't invested in ND filters yet, so here's a good example of the difference it can make to improve your DSLR video. To properly exposure on your DSLR you'll primarily be changing either Aperture or Shutter Speed. Since the majority of people love to shoot with a shallow depth of field (wide open aperture), changing the shutter speed is the only other option in bright days. This is where you could really compromise the video quality (unless you're going for that fast shutter look specifically). Get invested into some ND (neutral density) filters to cut down on the light so you can maintain that 'double framerate' rule.

To maintain the sharpest image possible, a single piece of ND glass is your best bet. The problem is that you need to have 1 filter for every sized lens, and you'll also need different densities according to the lighting. If you want to save time in swapping densities, you could get into Variable or Fader ND filters. These are adjustable filters that change densities as you rotate them giving you up to 9 stops in one single filter. Just be careful about the uber cheap ones. Here's a good article about those Variables http://cheesycam.com/variable-nd-filters-fader-filters/.

Here's a variable that i've been using with good results, but price has gone up a bit: http://cheesycam.com/nature-fader-nd-variable-neutral-density-filters/

Single Density ND Filter
find-price-button Single Density ND FIlters ND2, ND4, ND6, ND8

nature-fader-ND-filters
find-price-button Adjustable Variable Density Fader ND Filters

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