ND Filters to Control Video Shutter Speed

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

find-price-button Adjustable Variable Density Fader ND Filters

10 thoughts on “ND Filters to Control Video Shutter Speed

  1. Before the Lightcraft faders we got the Polaroid and they work great, we tested them and they are very sharp and nto shift in color. A small difference in saturation was the only thing we did found on the images, about a 15% loss in saturation we calculated but that was nto a big issue.

  2. Emm

    Post author

    @JT - You might have to look into 4x4 or larger Filters and a Filter holder. Not sure if a 4x4 filter is going to cover the field of view on a fisheye, but they also have larger filters available.

  3. JT

    I have had an ND fader for a while, but can anyone point me in the right direction on where to pick up some ND gels for my fisheye? Thats the only lens where I am cranking up the shutter speed, because my aperature is stuck at 3.5 at the moment.

  4. Emm

    Post author

    @field305 - At 35mm it will be hard to see a difference, unless you close down the aperture quite a bit and have everything in focus. You can run some photo tests with it on and off, but I doubt you will notice much.

  5. Mickey Jones

    The LightCraft Workshop NDs are a compromise between the cheap Polaroid or Chinese ones and the very expensive name brand ones.

    I have one and use it all the time with no problems. Great for keeping your aperture wide on sunny days. Softens a little bit but the effect isn't bad.

    Get a big one and get cheap adapters for smaller lenses.

  6. Got a question for you guys. Just bought the Rokinon 35mm and shoul be here next week. It came with a cheap Vivitar 77mm uv filter.

    I really just want the filter to protect the lens and keep it clean, but Im not too interested in FD filters. Will the cheap Vivitar take away any sharpness of the lens? Thanks guys!

  7. Matthew Carr

    I have heard mixed reviews about the Polaroid.

    There seem to be lots of cheap filters labeled Green.L. I have no experience though.

    I have used the Nature Varible ND and it seemed okay at wide angles.

    Right now I have a 49mm one from Nicana. It started to leak oil recently.

    I have considered going with B+W, Tiffen or Hoya and getting 1 or 2 single density filters. What density or range of densities do people recommend?

  8. Just picked up this guy on Amazon:


    Just under $64 with 3-5 day (expedited, which was $7 as compared to $5 for 10-14 days) shipping on Amazon. I hate waiting for the Chinese shipping (the Ebay one is estimated at between July 28 and August 9th).

    I had the Ebay one as well but accidentally ran it through the washing machine. I'll let you know how it compares.

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