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View Full Version : ND-filtering for the FS100EK: advise needed...



moldcad
06-30-2011, 06:34 AM
In preparation for my (hopefully soon) FS100 purchase, I'd like to ask the fellow users for advise on ND filtering.... Here are my main concerns:

1. Screw-on variable ND filter: which one offers the best price/performance ratio (Heliopan, Tiffen)? Also, the largest filter diameter lens I currently have is 72mm (see below) - should I go with a 72mm ND variable filter, or pick the 77mm one?

2. Reduction rings: using my rig without a matte box, I'll be using the following filter sizes (including the kit 18200 and several Canon still lenses I have): 72, 67, 55, 52mm. Any good source for reduction rings? Any considerations re unwanted side effects of using them (vignetting)?

3. 4x5.65" ND filters: using my RR mattebox (mainly with the tripod rig), I'd like to be able to get as wide ND range as possible without ill effects of stacking 2 filters. I already have an ND0.6 4x5.65" filter; which densities should I be getting to achieve 8-10 f-Stop Reduction (needed for fully opening my F1.4 lens in bright sunshine), and anything between 2 stops (that I have now) and the 8-10 maximum?

Please bear in mind I have no particular experience in this aspect of videography, so I'd appreciate exhaustive answers a lot :) Also of some importance is suggesting a single on-line source for getting all this stuff (shipment charges, and import hassle). TIA

Piotr

mico
06-30-2011, 08:30 AM
!. Seeing as both the tiffen( which I heard was recalled for some threading issue) and the heliopan are almost impossible to get we need the few who have gotten ones to speak up. I also heard that the heliopan does not have any front threads so using a lens hood isn't possible. I am holding out for the tiffen hoping its quality is up there and that it has front threads. I would go with a 77mm as alot of lenses are of this size and it might help on the wide lenses to prevent vingetting.

2. Ebay is the best source for step up rings. Very cheap and free shipping most of the time. Try and get your vari ND as thin as possible and with one step up ring and a wide angle lens hood you just might be able to avoid vignetting. I am still trying to get a nikon 12-24mm to work with a vari ND but I get vignettingon the widest end because I also want a lens hood to be attached.

3. Tiffen and others are now making some very large range ND's like 2.1's, 1.8's, 1.5's and 1.2's. B&H photo video in the US has the stop range for each size on their site. Personally I have a 1.5 a .9 and .6 in 4x4.

moldcad
06-30-2011, 09:41 AM
Thanks @mico.

ad 1. So 77mm is the size to go - probably you're right, I might be buying more lenses in the future so limiting myself to the largest dimater of those I already have wouldn't be wise

ad 2. The disadvantage of eBay is that you cannot test before you buy (but same applies to any on-line shopping), therefore I'm still counting on some tested and approved solution of step-up rings for my glass

ad 3. This is a naive question, but how do I "calculate" the f-Stop Reduction resulting from stacking say 2 ND filters? Is it a simple sum (e.g. will my ND.6 plus an ND2.4 filters yield 10 stops of reduction)?

mico
06-30-2011, 09:45 AM
Heres a pic of a setup with a lightcraft vari ND 77mm. It has a 82mm front thread. It was good idea light craft had to have a wider front end to prevent vignetting but the glass is not top shelf. This is a sony emount 16mm lens with 82mm lens hood. The sony lens is 49mm so one step up ring to 77mm was needed. No vignetting.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/17/rigrz.jpg/

All the ebay rings I have bought have worked and we're talking 3 to 4 US dollars for each. Considering B&H and others charge 15-20 US dollars for each I think the risk of them not working is worth it. Just get all your lens filter threads sizes and order appropriate step up rings all to 77mm of course only If you are going to go with the 77mm vari ND.

Yes just add up the ND stop reduction total.

moldcad
06-30-2011, 10:26 AM
Thanks again :)

Looking at the pics of my current shoulder-support rig, do you think it would work with the FS100 replacing the EX1, without any major modifications (apart from probably making it shorter, depending on the lens used)? Of course, I realize I'll have to put my Marshall monitor on the left handle -before I'm able to fork $1,000 for the Zacuto EVF :huh:...

mico
06-30-2011, 10:59 AM
The one thing I've enjoyed with the Fs100 is that it can be molded into whatever configuration I can dream up with my existing accessories and only added Berkey systems stuff to make it even more configurable that wasn't possible with my EX1. So I think you will be fine.

speedracerlo
06-30-2011, 01:57 PM
3. This is a naive question, but how do I "calculate" the f-Stop Reduction resulting from stacking say 2 ND filters? Is it a simple sum (e.g. will my ND.6 plus an ND2.4 filters yield 10 stops of reduction)?

ND 3 = 1 Stop Loss (reduce ISO to 1/2)
ND 6 = 2 Stop Loss (reduce ISO to 1/4)
ND 9 = 3 Stop etc etc

Rick Burnett
06-30-2011, 02:11 PM
I use the FaderND from Lightcraft and have tested it on and off the camera. I have NO problem from 30mm to 85mm. Outside of that range I have heard other people having problems so I haven't used it there. I have NO issue with sharpness, but I do believe there is a tiny blue shift that I just fix in post.

I bought the 72, should have bought the 77.

I want to get the heliopan. The only issue I have heard with it is vignetting slightly at 11mm.

alaskacameradude
06-30-2011, 02:23 PM
I use the FaderND from Lightcraft and have tested it on and off the camera. I have NO problem from 30mm to 85mm. Outside of that range I have heard other people having problems so I haven't used it there. I have NO issue with sharpness, but I do believe there is a tiny blue shift that I just fix in post.

I bought the 72, should have bought the 77.

I want to get the heliopan. The only issue I have heard with it is vignetting slightly at 11mm.

I've ordered the 77mm Heliopan, it was shipped yesterday morning, so I should have it next week sometime. Once I getit
, I will take a day to shoot some stuff with the FS 100 and I'll post observations on how it is to have the filter
on the FS-100.

Rick Burnett
06-30-2011, 03:06 PM
EXCELLENT! What lenses will you be testing?

Postmaster
06-30-2011, 03:40 PM
Got the Heliopan since about 2 weeks (sometime it is a plus to live in Germany hehehe).

First of all, I never had a problem with the FS100, for not having build in ND filters.
No cinema camera has that,
nor does the RED and who ever complained about that?

Usually Iīm a man of the matte box, but I realized, that I would have to buy at least 3 or 4 more (pretty expensive) 4x4 NDs to cover most situations.
The Heliopan costs what one 4x4 costs, but gives me a very fine, almost seamless graduation in just one single unit.
That helps a lot in some run and gun situations, where you have to be very quick.

I have step down rings for all my lenses from ebay - works fine.
As long as the filter is bigger as your lens, you will see no vignetting.

Bottom line: Iīm extremely happy with it, would buy it again and can well recommend it, since the optical quality is superb and things donīt go soft even on my 135mm.

A bit of a down side is, the Heliopan has only one tread. I hoped that I could bolt a rubber sunshade in front of it and use that to dial the filter in - no dice.

hope that helps, Frank

alaskacameradude
06-30-2011, 03:53 PM
EXCELLENT! What lenses will you be testing?

Right away, I'll be testing the kit lens. Hopefully very soon after that, I will be testing either 24-70 or 28-75 F2.8 and
a 70-200 F 2.8. Not 100% sure yet what brand they will be, I have to check with the local camera shop here and see what he has
in. My inclination at this point, is to go for Sony A mount lenses as I am not a still photographer and do not have any
bodies I have to worry about the lenses working with, my main worry is getting as much control as possible on the FS-100.

alaskacameradude
06-30-2011, 03:55 PM
Ya, the sunshade thing is what I am trying to figure out a solution to right now.....I have heard there may be a third
party company coming up with something that will snap over the filter. I may try and cobble something up
myself in the meantime.

mico
06-30-2011, 04:23 PM
Curious if anyone has or has ordered the new tiffen variable ND. The new release date is July 15 from what I've read. It has front threads. 8 stops and thin outside optic is larger than the inner like the lightcraft to cut down vignetting. Whether it has quality glass like they say is the question. And its only $189.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFlfRt4SEp8

OldCorpse
06-30-2011, 06:01 PM
That Tiffen variable ND sounds very interesting. I was crying over having to fork out over $400 for the 77mm Helio. I hope the quality is comparable :). What sizes do the Tiffen VND come in?

trez
07-01-2011, 02:43 AM
I had two Genus vari-NDs. Got rid of them once I saw the footage. Very pronounced artifacts with some focal lenses :( Singh-Ray might be better...
I'm getting 4x5.65 glass filters for my mattebox. You won't be able to get 8-10 stops of reduction with single filter. I don't really think you need that much. 6 is enough for me. I don't shoot wide open in the sunlight anyway - think it's better to close the lens down to, say, f4.0 or even 5.6, more natural.
As far as ND1.2-ND1.8 range is concerned, I'd rather get IRNDs. You must be aware that higher grade NDs may introduce serious color shift due to infrared sensor sensitivity (pale asphalt, black clothes not longer black etc.). Tiffen IRNDs are not good. You probably get the same results stacking plain ND and IR. Schneider Platinum, released this year, are promising and not very expensive. Pancro are the best choice if you have $$$.

Rick Burnett
07-01-2011, 10:44 AM
Is there any site that really breaks down ND differences? I don't mind using non-vari screw on ND but for the life of me I cannot find a good source that compares them.

moldcad
07-01-2011, 10:44 PM
As far as ND1.2-ND1.8 range is concerned, I'd rather get IRNDs. You must be aware that higher grade NDs may introduce serious color shift due to infrared sensor sensitivity (pale asphalt, black clothes not longer black etc.). Tiffen IRNDs are not good. You probably get the same results stacking plain ND and IR. Schneider Platinum, released this year, are promising and not very expensive. Pancro are the best choice if you have $$$.

Witaj trez :)

Speaking of IR, I do have the Tiffen T1 long-red cutting, 4x5.35" filter. I do a lot of concert shooting under artificial light, and the musicians' black suits were rendered rust-coloured by my EX1, so I had to buy it... Will it also work with the FS100 when I stack it with say the ND1.8 in the mattebox? Or do I need a regular IR filter to use with heavy ND?

BTW. Prosze o PM - moze nawiazemy jakas wspolprace? Mialbym kilka pytan, anyway :)

alaskacameradude
07-02-2011, 02:49 PM
Ok, I just got in the Heliopan filter. I paid $400 for it, and was thinking that was kind of a steep price. But, I just put it on my camera, and I can safely say, that it was worth every penny and then some! You know how some things you buy, and they are really worth it? This is one of those things! Trust me, if you have a chance, run, don't walk, and buy it for your FS-100! It is SUCH a nice piece of glass, no color cast or softness, period, even at long focal lengths. And it is seamless when you turn it, no 'steppiness' it's like turning an iris ring on a shoulder mount video camera. WOW I am really, really impressed. You can pick any F stop you want, set the F-Stop, and dial in correct exposure with the ND filter. I know I'm raving, but it has impressed me as much as the FS-100 did when I got it. Having this on the front of your FS-100 is just a killer combination. It's cloudy out right now, so I can't test it in the sunshine, but it seems to have plenty of light reduction (I was testing in 1080 24P.) The ONLY downside that I can see, is that with the Heliopan on the front of your lens, you cannot have a sunshade on it as there are no screw in filters on the front of the Heliopan. I am going to look around at some video camera bolt on sunshades and see if I can figure anything out for that. If I can't, I'll probably just buy a cheap mattebox and use that as the sunshade. Man, this is one must have accessory, it's even BETTER than having built in ND filters! Instead of having the choice of 4 different ND strengths, you have a total seamless spectrum of choices. If you had a still lens with 'steppiness' in the iris (which I personally HATE) you could set your F-Stop, and then use
the Heliopan filter ring as your iris as it is so smooth, with hard stops at each end.

Here's a couple pictures (sorry, I bumped the focus on a couple of these by accident)

Without any ND filtering
36186

With some ND filtering

36187

A little less ND
36188

Maximum ND (To show there's some left over for brighter days)

36191

NeedCreative
07-02-2011, 08:48 PM
I have a Lightcraft Fader ND II at 77mm with step rings to use other lens sizes. It gives me 2-8 stops of reduction but really closer to 6 as with many lenses once I push past 6 or 7 I start to see the cross artifact or other weird issues show up. I also screwed in a B+W rubber lens hood (82mm) to it to get some control over flare/sun and still be able to rotate the filter. However, this is more for run and gun and for use with my HDSLR. As someone pointed out (and I have since discovered), the LCW filter reduces sharpness at some focal lengths and adds a color cast and other polarizing artifacts as all polarizers do.

So for narrative and more planned, less gorilla style shots, I have purchased a Genus Wide Matte box kit and will be using Tiffen ND 4X4 solids in different combinations of .6, .9, and 1.8. I also got a grad 0.9 ND and a linear polarizer (which works with the F3 so it should work here). From what I have read and seen, the Tiffen have little to no noticeable color cast or reduction in resolution associated with using them.

The .6 is a 2 stop reduction, the .9 is a 3 stop reduction. Stacking those two would give a 5 stop reduction. I don't want to stack if I have a choice though, so I also got a 1.8 which is 6 stops of reduction for a very sunny/bright day. I found with the FS100, shooting fast glass say at F1.4 or F2 at 48fps you need a min of 6-8 stops of ND. Moving up to F4 you can probably get away with 5 stops depending on the environment. In a pinch I could also stack the 1.8 and .6 to get 8 stops, and the 1.8 and .9 to get 9 stops if I am shooting the sun or something at F2.8 lol

I'll test this all further when I get some time.

For those who need a handy chart as to how many stops is what, the progression goes like this, each a 1 full stop increment: 1 - 1.4 - 2 - 2.8 - 4 - 5.6 - 8 - 11 - 16 - 22

So for example if I normally had to shoot at F22 to get a good exposure at 48 or 50 fps, I can use that ND 1.8 to get down to F2.8. Or stack the 1.8 and .6 and go down to F1.4. Most of my lenses are F2.8 but my Zeiss are F1.4 and F2 respectively so lots of ND helps.

How much does the FS100 need? Well, in practice, shooting at F2 with my Zeiss 35 on an extremely bright day by the water with 0 db of gain I needed about 8 stops. Couldn't get there with the LCW filter, so I backed off to 6 or 7 stops and managed. Its an incredibly sensitive camera.

Postmaster
07-03-2011, 03:17 AM
My rubber sunshades have two threads, so I first bolt the shade on the lens and than the Heliopan to to the sunshade.
Itīs not super comfortable to dial in the filter, but I take picture quality over convenience any day.

Frank

alaskacameradude
07-03-2011, 12:37 PM
My rubber sunshades have two threads, so I first bolt the shade on the lens and than the Heliopan to to the sunshade.
Itīs not super comfortable to dial in the filter, but I take picture quality over convenience any day.

Frank

Funny you should say this. After a ton of searching online, I came across some obscure video of someone promoting this very type of lens shade you are talkinga
bout. He then promised links at the end of the video, but never posted them! But after I knew what to look for, I found several types of these sunshades on Amazon,
and ordered one. Looks like a pretty decent option, or at least one of the best ones available that I have been able to find.
Just for others who may be searching, here are a couple links. Please be advised, this is for a 77mm lens and front thread. I bought a 67 to 77 step up ring
and 77mm Heliopan so this should work for me.

Cheap option
http://www.amazon.com/Fotodiox-3-Section-Rubber-Lens-Shade/dp/B002K4IFY2/ref=pd_sim_p_8

More expensive
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=Mamiya+%231+lens+hood&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&biw=1514&bih=845&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=1196514010069920620&sa=X&ei=cjgQToj9G-vXiAKj9dj3DQ&ved=0CEwQ8wIwAw

Postmaster
07-03-2011, 01:52 PM
I have that cheap Fotodiox 3-Sectionhood. Make sure you get that one, cause you can pull it back in 3 steps to avoid vignetting on wider lenses.

Frank

alaskacameradude
07-03-2011, 02:31 PM
I have that cheap Fotodiox 3-Sectionhood. Make sure you get that one, cause you can pull it back in 3 steps to avoid vignetting on wider lenses.

Frank

Whew......that's the one I got, and that was my reasoning as well. Kind of hard to tell for sure when buying online, sight unseen, but that was
what I thought by looking at it. Also, I just got an email from my contact at Heliopan and he said they are aware a sunshade is needed for the
Heliopan filter so they will probably have a solution before too long.

Danespina
07-04-2011, 10:09 AM
Ok, I just got in the Heliopan filter. I paid $400 for it, and was thinking that was kind of a steep price. But, I just put it on my camera, and I can safely say, that it was worth every penny and then some! You know how some things you buy, and they are really worth it? This is one of those things! Trust me, if you have a chance, run, don't walk, and buy it for your FS-100! It is SUCH a nice piece of glass, no color cast or softness, period, even at long focal lengths. And it is seamless when you turn it, no 'steppiness' it's like turning an iris ring on a shoulder

Sounds exciting. Does something like this attach to the camera out of the box, then boom you've got a FS100 with ND? $400 seems very cheap for something that works as good as your saying it does.

alaskacameradude
07-04-2011, 12:03 PM
Sounds exciting. Does something like this attach to the camera out of the box, then boom you've got a FS100 with ND? $400 seems very cheap for something that works as good as your saying it does.

Well, yes and no. It attaches to the lens. So what that means, is that you need to figure out what lenses you have and are likely to get and THEN figure out
which size ND to get. I have the 67mm kit lens. However, I am looking at a 24-70 F2.8 and 70-200 F 2.8 lens. They have 77mm threads. So, I bought a 67 to 77
step up ring, and bought the 77mm sized Heliopan, so that I can use it with any of the lenses I am likely to buy. That is the one 'gotcha' is that you need
to figure that out. I would recommend buying the 77mm Heliopan (I think it's the biggest one they make) because adding step up rings is easy, but it it's too
small, you are out of luck.

Danespina
07-04-2011, 12:17 PM
Oh okay great. Thanks for that. I'm still saving for the camera itself, but this takes away the concern of needing a mattebox for some regular day to day shooting. I'm coming from DVX which had built in ND, but this actually sounds just about as convienient. Is this the product your referring to? http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/765517-REG/Heliopan_707790_77mm_VARIABLE_GRAY_ND.html

alaskacameradude
07-04-2011, 09:51 PM
Oh okay great. Thanks for that. I'm still saving for the camera itself, but this takes away the concern of needing a mattebox for some regular day to day shooting. I'm coming from DVX which had built in ND, but this actually sounds just about as convienient. Is this the product your referring to? http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/765517-REG/Heliopan_707790_77mm_VARIABLE_GRAY_ND.html

That's it. I bought it direct from their website and it is actually in stock right now (as opposed to a 6-10 week wait from B&H) but stock goes quick. I watched
their website for a couple weeks until I saw it was back in stock and bought one right away. From talking with their rep, stock tends to go quick, and it comes
over from Germany so they have to deal with customs and so on.....when I ordered, he contacted me the next day to tell me it was going to be an extra two or
three days until they shipped as it had to go through customs still. But even with that, I got it within 8-10 days which was pretty fast. I'd almost call
this a must have add on for a FS-100, unless you are going to have a mattebox on all the time. I will post some examples, and pictures tomorrow to show the
different depth of field and F Stop it allows you to use with this filter.

alarch
07-07-2011, 04:50 AM
Hello,
I been shooting in very bright day light for a few days and using ā workshop vr nd plus a ruber sun shade screwed on top of it and it works great
I had to cut off some ruber on the shade to avoid vigneting at 18mm.

In very bright day light its really necessay and this set up is actually very handy to use. Your hand can easily play and turn the vr nd smoothly without getting in the way

alaskacameradude
07-07-2011, 06:52 PM
OK, after some help from another member on the 'other' board, I have revised and improved my tests. For a link to a video comparing the FS-100 with and without the Heliopan filter on at different focal lengths, see here:

http://exposureroom.com/members/alaskacameradude/14d879d0c3924609974edd0388478689/

Rick Burnett
07-07-2011, 08:23 PM
Looks great. Did you do any tests around 11mm? I've heard the Heliopan vignette's on the smaller focal lengths, but just not sure where that starts.

alaskacameradude
07-07-2011, 08:44 PM
Looks great. Did you do any tests around 11mm? I've heard the Heliopan vignette's on the smaller focal lengths, but just not sure where that starts.

Rick,

I don't have a lens that wide yet. I will say, my guess is that it WOULD vignette on a lens that wide. The 18mm seems pretty wide to me, I can't adjust
the fader filter without my fingers getting into the shot. My setup is a 67-77 step up ring, then the 77mm Heliopan variable ND.....I wanted to get the
77mm Heliopan to offer more options with more lenses, after all I can always use step up rings right? Well, I've now found, that the step up rings
put the variable ND filter further out in front on a wide angle lens, increasing chances for vignetting. So if I was going to use a 11mm lens, I
would figure out what size threads it had, and get that EXACT size for my variable ND filter.....AND make sure you get the 'thin' version as well!

Rick Burnett
07-07-2011, 10:32 PM
Most of the faders I have used, while the threads are say 77mm, the filter would actually be 82mm, is the heliopan different in this case? And yeah, I can see going with the same filter. I'm thinking I am still going to get this ND regardless because the results have been SO good.

kostas
07-08-2011, 12:06 AM
I have revised and improved my tests.

http://exposureroom.com/members/alaskacameradude/14d879d0c3924609974edd0388478689/

:thumbsup: Now that looks really great. Glad that I have ordered mine.
I opted for the 77mm since my ultrawide has that thread, but I hope it won't vignette on my other lenses where a 72mm would have been more appropriate.
Thanks for the test.

moldcad
07-08-2011, 12:31 AM
As the OP in this thread, I'd like to thank you all for your input. In particular, I think Gabe has hit the nail re: potential vignetting. The lesson taken is that it's not just the filter diameter which should be at least as large as your biggest lens' diameter; it's also about the distance that step-up ring(s) will put you vari-ND filter in front of a lens!

I think that with a collection of lenses with very wide focal lengths and filter diameters range, one needs more than a single vari-ND filter...

Piotr

alaskacameradude
07-08-2011, 12:37 AM
Most of the faders I have used, while the threads are say 77mm, the filter would actually be 82mm, is the heliopan different in this case? And yeah, I can see going with the same filter. I'm thinking I am still going to get this ND regardless because the results have been SO good.

Well, it seems to me, that the filter may be a little bigger than the threads....not sure how much. Also, it is significantly bigger than the step up ring. However,
I didn't realize how wide the lens was at 18mm until I noticed my fingers in the shot, when I totally thought they were out of it. I see why they build the sunshade with short shades on the side and longer ones on top and bottom, because if the side ones were any longer, they'd be in the shot!

That being said, I can't recommend the filter highly enough. Talk about a whole new level of control. One additional benefit, is that you could use still
lenses that are 'steppy' on the iris! To me, having smooth iris is a big deal. The kit lens has it, but some other still lenses don't. But with this
Heliopan filter, just set your iris to what you want it at (say F 2.8) and then use the filter to 'ride' exposure! I swear, the filter reminds me of a
iris ring on the Betacam SP I used to shoot on. Hard stops at both ends and butter smooth exposure adjustment, it's just awesome! And sharp, and great color,
yeah, I'd say grab it and be ready to be amazed at what it adds to your FS-100.

alaskacameradude
07-08-2011, 12:46 AM
As the OP in this thread, I'd like to thank you all for your input. In particular, I think Gabe has hit the nail re: potential vignetting. The lesson taken is that it's not just the filter diameter which should be at least as large as your biggest lens' diameter; it's also about the distance that step-up ring(s) will put you vari-ND filter in front of a lens!

I think that with a collection of filters with very wide focal lengths and filter diameters range, one needs more than a single vari-ND filter...

Piotr

Yup, get one for each lens would be the ideal way to do it.....if I was made of money :-) Not as big a deal probably on say a 70-200 lens, but stuff on the wide end,
be aware how much a step ring may put your filter out in front of the lens. And some step rings may be thinner than others, I don't know for sure. The one I
bought, just for everyone's info, is a Tiffin 67-77 step up ring that I found here:

http://www.amazon.com/TIFFEN-67mm-77...4&sr=8-3-spell (http://www.amazon.com/TIFFEN-67mm-77mm-Step-Filter-Ring/dp/B00016US9Q/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1310107374&sr=8-3-spell)

It's good and works fine, but may put the Heliopan out just a touch too far. Not a huge deal to me, because at that wide of an angle, you are not usually getting
much of a shallow depth of field with that lens anyways, so I could just step the iris down and take the Heliopan off.