Step Filter + Variable ND Filter + Rubber Hood

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).

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.

find-price-button Lens Metal Threaded Step Up Filter Rings

9 thoughts on “Step Filter + Variable ND Filter + Rubber Hood

  1. Emm

    Post author

    @karl burchill - Wide lenses normally have a petal hood (shorter on the sides). A larger hood should fix the problem, or try a large and shallow one.

  2. hello i have a nikon d3000 dslr with a 18-55mm lens
    ive just purchased a 52mm rubber lens hood but the problem is i get vignetting in all 4 corners at 18mm to 30mm focal i was wondering should i get a 52-77mm step up ring and will a 77mm rubber lens hood fit over the step up ring and would this bigger sized hood solve the vignetting problem.....any suggestions would be very helpful thankyou

  3. alex

    A few months ago I saw a guy online who did this: changed all of his lenses to 77mm. He put step up rings and filters on all his lenses to keep them at 77mm. He then bought all new (cheap) lens caps at 77mm for all his lenses. I did this a few months ago and although it sounds so simple and dumb, its saved me a huge amount of time on a shoot. All lens caps fit all lenses. All filters fit all lenses (I only now use 77mm filters). No more searching for "hey, where the heck did I put that 58mm cap" when you are on a shoot outside in the freezing dark in Shanghai (or wherever) and the clock is not in your favor. Works great.

    The change makes life on the shooting road a lot easier.

    Also, FYI, I stopped using vari-ND filters last year and bought Shane Hurlburt-designed Tiffen ND set and am so much happier with the results. Much sharper images without much color shift.


  4. Emm

    Post author

    @Eric - The problem with that 7pack you found is they need to 'stack' one on top of the other in order to get to 77mm. If I used that set on my 58mm, I would need to first add the 58-62mm followed by the 62-67mm followed by the 67-72mm and finally the 72-77mm. This stacking method will have the ND filter sit way too far from the lens, not to mention a bit tedious to assemble.

    The filters I chose are directly 58mm-77mm with a very slim profile. You can get these direct step up filters for all the other sizes as well.

  5. That is a pretty nice setup. I came close to picking these up when you first reviewed the rubber lens hood, but opted for the Cokin P system eBay knock off with stackable hoods. I got step up rings for all my lenses, so the whole thing slides on and off really easily to any lens without ever having to unscrew anything. I can also drop in my CPL and one or more very inexpensive static NDs. I'm not sure you could double up CPL and Variable ND on a screw-in setup, but overall, both are nice options and definitely beat buying an overpriced matte box.

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @Jason H. - I'm flying out to CES (Las Vegas) soon, so not sure if i'll have time right now. This is supposed to have better quality, but I can tell you that you'll never get as sharp an image from a variable ND as you would a static ND filter. These variable ND filters are normally used for their convenience when you're required to adjust quickly.

  7. When will you post a full review on the Digi Pro ND Fader? We all know ND faders are great until 85mm and beyond, is this one any different?

Comments are closed.