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View Full Version : ND Filtering: How do you do it?



TheReverend
08-20-2011, 05:22 PM
Currently we use AF100s in our production environment and are very happy with them and the HDSDI output specifically. But being that as it may, I really have awesome respect (and some jealously:love4:) for the FS100 and it's 1) lowlight capability, 2) S35 sensor. But the one thing I think of everytime that still makes me glad we use the AF100 is the ND filters. I can't even imagine what to do for ND filtering with different lenses coming in and out. I suppose a mattebox with ND is the best way? But then, that also means that you need ALL the gear that goes with that including the glass and a swing away matte box.

Anyways, I'm curious how you guys solve ND.

Stephen Mick
08-20-2011, 05:24 PM
For run-and-gun work, I use my Singh-Ray Vari-ND, usually on the 18-200mm kit lens.

For narrative work, it's the O'Connor O-Box Matte Box with a variety of 4x4 and 4x5.65 filters.

alaskacameradude
08-20-2011, 05:36 PM
Heliopan variable ND filter. It is absolutely, completely the BOMB. I was lucky enough to read about it on Philip Bloom's blog (where he called it the best variable ND he has ever used)
and happy I did, because I then bought it for the FS-100. It is even BETTER (in some ways) than built in ND because you can dial in EXACTLY what you want as far as exposure. With built
in ND, you have 4 choices, and you might not be able to get the exact F stop you want. With the Heliopan, you can get the exact F stop you want, it works like a iris ring on a broadcast
TV lens, smooth exposure change, just sweet as all get out. However, it is not nearly as convenient as the built in ND as you have to screw it on whatever lens you are using. That is
a royal pain sometimes. But far as quality, it is the best I've seen (in variable ND's) for not introducing any color cast or any loss of sharpness. It is really close to being
as good as a 4x4 flat filter! Course, it cost upwards of $400 as well. Other downside is it is hard to get, as every FS 100 shooter around is buying one......I was lucky to get one
of the first FS-100's so I beat the wave to buy the Heliopan. Now, looking on their website, they say the following:

Please Note: the first TWO shipment of filters have been sold out. Please contact us before purchasing so we may advise of the next shipment dates.
Sorry for the inconvenience, as Heliopan themselves did not anticipate this incredible demand.

Bottom line, the FS-100 is a great camera, but...so is the AF100! I sometimes wish I had chosen the AF 100 with it's built in ND filters as well :-) But we make our best
informed choice on what we think will work for us, and then use the camera we chose. I think you can't go wrong either way. I know my FS-100 paid itself off in less than
two months.

eheath
08-20-2011, 06:09 PM
I used the Light Craft Workshop Fader ND mk2 and i have a couple different step down rings to use it with separate lenses. so far no hassle yet, but i also haven't been in any time presses situation and never really am usually. I did a small test with the kit lens and i notices a very very very small color shift and very very small sharpness diference, only noticeable at 1080p on my 27" screen.

I chose this over the heliopan because of price, the lcw is 300 dollars less and 300 dollars to me is another lens i need so i went with the budget route and i am very pleased.

billygraydon
08-20-2011, 07:21 PM
I read that the Schneider True Match -- http://blog.abelcine.com/2011/05/04/schneider-true-match-vari-nd-kit/ is a great match for the FS100. Anyone hear the same?

DM_rider
08-20-2011, 07:35 PM
Been using the heliopan for 2 weeks and I'm liking it. Probably going to buy it, renting at the moment. Otherwise it's a couple of .6 and 1.8 circular nds.

morgan_moore
08-20-2011, 10:27 PM
$30 on lens fixed 4 stop nd

one per lens

for the moment

S

robmneilson
08-21-2011, 04:56 PM
Got an old arri 4x4 mattebox on ebay for $200 and an ND set. Today was stacking a pol and ND9, actually missed my GH2/7D for a moment knowing I could set the ISO down to 100/160, this camera is SENSATIVE!

Rick Burnett
08-21-2011, 08:24 PM
I am using the Lightcraft on my 30mm at the moment, but I am going to order the heliopan soon.

alaskacameradude
08-21-2011, 11:48 PM
I am using the Lightcraft on my 30mm at the moment, but I am going to order the heliopan soon. If you see one in stock you should jump on it, they are selling out pretty quick, and they have to be imported and go through customs and all that which can take awhile from what I hear.

MattDavis
08-22-2011, 03:08 AM
+1 on ordering soon.

My UK supplier says end of September. Sigh.

Finding 77mm variable NDs in the UK - HelioPan, Vari-ND, LightCraft, all sorts of makes - feels like finding rocking-horse poo on an interstate motorway.

I've been putting up with a Genus matte box on the DSLR rails but looking forward to the lighter, more elegant and flexible solution.

Eggmeng
08-22-2011, 07:29 AM
I have a set of Lee graduated ND filters with screw-on adapters for each of my lenses, but for situations where I will need to work fast and without assistance, I bought a little bitty circular ND filter from Edmund Optics, that has an outside diameter that is just slightly smaller than the inside of my Novaflex lens adaptor. I will attach it to a threaded plastic ring that I will have my machinist make to size from PVC or nylon, and then when need be, I will pull the Novaflex and drop them inside as a single piece.

Edmund makes all their circular filters in .3 .6 .9 versions and in many diameters, at about $30 each in this diameter.

moldcad
08-22-2011, 07:30 AM
You can buy it in Poland with no probs, like here: http://www.stopfoto.pl/Strona-Glowna(24,,).aspx

But:

I have tested my 77mm Heliopan for just a couple of days, and mainly with my fast Canon FD primes. Today for the time I put it on the (otherwise surprisingly good) kit zoom lens, and - unfortunately - there is some vignetting at the lens' widest, and the Heliopan "closed down" more than half way...

Anyone noticed that before? Strange I didn't come across any such comments - I'd have bought an even larger diameter (if it exists, that is).

Opinions?

eheath
08-22-2011, 11:56 AM
Today for the time I put it on the (otherwise surprisingly good) kit zoom lens, and - unfortunately - there is some vignetting at the lens' widest, and the Heliopan "closed down" more than half way...

Anyone noticed that before? Strange I didn't come across any such comments - I'd have bought an even larger diameter (if it exists, that is).

Opinions?

My 77mm LCW fader ND doesn't vignette on my kit lens...

LiamR
08-22-2011, 06:34 PM
Hoya 52mm ND filter, easy and does not create any coloring artifacts of any kind.

moldcad
08-22-2011, 11:57 PM
Today for the time I put it on the (otherwise surprisingly good) kit zoom lens, and - unfortunately - there is some vignetting at the lens' widest, and the Heliopan "closed down" more than half way...

I wonder what the thickness is of your 67-77mm step-up rings, Guys? Please post your measurements here, if you will. Mine is the the Marumi brand (made in Japan), and is only some 3,5 mm thick (excluding the thread) - and yet I can see shadows at the frame extremities...

Rick Burnett
08-23-2011, 05:04 AM
Phillip Bloom did mention that he saw vignetting with the heliopan when used on the Tokina 11-16, so it doesn't surprise me.

NeedCreative
08-25-2011, 09:13 AM
I'm using a Genus matte box with Tiffen Pro 4x4 NDs. It looks great and sharp with no color cast, but it's a pain to set up and not great for run-n-gun. I have a LCW Fader ND at 77mm but I'm not too happy with it; there's a discernable sharpness loss and some color cast. I'm going to get the Heliopan when I can for those situations where the Matte Box isn't reasonable (mostly run n gun). In the meantime, I will rarely suffer with the LCW when I have to and try to cover its deficiencies up in post.

MattDavis
08-25-2011, 09:22 AM
I will rarely suffer with the LCW when I have to and try to cover its deficiencies up in post.

Thanks for that. My Genus matte box is a right royal pain, but it gets the job done - your experience helps the wait for a HelioPan.

I'm just going to float this little air-biscuit: anyone tried Cokin or Lee filters in a stills-style holder?

My matte box experience says that every layer in front of the lens knocks back your expensive look, and that any filter that's 'unshaded' robs your lens of contrast and therefore perceived sharpness. And sharp colourful pictures are what earns money in the corporate world.

Screw-ins or slot-ins same quality as matte box filters? The best quality camera is the one you take with you. The best quality filters are the ones you use. I hate the clunkiness of my matte box, and lazily end up having it pre-filled with an ND grad and a Pola (which acts as ND if I am not rotating it).

I remember the ease and speed of using Cokin when I was but a humble photography student (making money on the side as a photographer). Anyone use the Lee or Cokin system over a matte box for Run & Gun?

Kraut69
08-25-2011, 10:54 AM
I used the LCW 82mm ND fader on the stock lens with step up rings, plus a 86 to 95 mm step up ring on top of that (which is not possible on the heliopan) to get a better finger hold. No vignetting so far. I am getting a cheap $20 95mm metal lens hood, round, to put on the outer step up ring, too for a even better finger hold. I am really pleased with how easily the ring on the LCW filter turns (I had a cheap Chinese fader before that had issues in that regard), that smooth turning feature is essential.

Rick, I see that you are changing brands. From what I have read, you shouldn't see any better results with a Heliopan at twice the price. My shooting requires a second ND filter, I will be getting the GENUS brand, I can't go above $200 per filter in my budget.

alaskacameradude
08-25-2011, 11:21 AM
I used the LCW 82mm ND fader on the stock lens with step up rings, plus a 86 to 95 mm step up ring on top of that (which is not possible on the heliopan) to get a better finger hold. No vignetting so far. I am getting a cheap $20 95mm metal lens hood, round, to put on the outer step up ring, too for a even better finger hold. I am really pleased with how easily the ring on the LCW filter turns (I had a cheap Chinese fader before that had issues in that regard), that smooth turning feature is essential.

Rick, I see that you are changing brands. From what I have read, you shouldn't see any better results with a Heliopan at twice the price. My shooting requires a second ND filter, I will be getting the GENUS brand, I can't go above $200 per filter in my budget.

Not sure where you read that. I can definitely see a difference between the Heliopan and ANY other variable ND (haven't tried the new Tiffen yet though).

Kraut69
08-25-2011, 02:43 PM
Another issue I had to deal with in the Heliopan vs others choice, I have one important lens that uses an 82mm filter, and that narrowed the choice. For a second variable ND, I can go lower than 82mm.

robmneilson
08-25-2011, 02:48 PM
Am I the only one that wants to see an Insane Clown Posse "ND Filters, how do they work" .gif in this thread?

alaskacameradude
08-25-2011, 04:10 PM
Another issue I had to deal with in the Heliopan vs others choice, I have one important lens that uses an 82mm filter, and that narrowed the choice. For a second variable ND, I can go lower than 82mm.

Yeah, the biggest they make the Heliopan is 77mm I think. The Tiffin which I've heard good things about is only in 77mm as well if I remember right. Really though, although I think
the Heliopan is just amazing, if what you have works for you, that's what matters most. I have just heard a lot of bashing on variable ND's in the past, because someone bought
a cheapo one and decided that 'variable ND's suck'. Some do, and some don't.....not surprisingly, when you spend more money on them, the quality of them improves
(as a general rule). So, I have been trying to point out that all variable ND's are NOT the same, some are pretty freaking good.

Kraut69
08-25-2011, 11:24 PM
Was thinking Heliopan didn't have an 82mm, but they do.

alaskacameradude
08-25-2011, 11:30 PM
Was thinking Heliopan didn't have an 82mm, but they do.

I just saw that. It is a new size, and available for preorder. It costs about $500.

Postmaster
08-26-2011, 01:20 AM
If you go longer than 120 mm a Heliopan is the only VND in the moment, that can handle this without getting mushy IMHO.

Up to 80mm most VNDs work to some degree.

Frank

Kraut69
08-26-2011, 02:44 AM
Thanks for that observation, had not thought of evaluating VND's in reference to focal lengths, but it was indeed a zoom in shot that I first discovered that my cheapo Chinese VND was not as good as I had thought.

Rick Burnett
08-26-2011, 06:41 AM
If you go longer than 120 mm a Heliopan is the only VND in the moment, that can handle this without getting mushy IMHO.

Up to 80mm most VNDs work to some degree.

Frank

The problem I see is the Heliopan vignettes below a certain focal length, of which I have heard multiple things. It sounds like I need 2.

1) Heliopan for where there is no vignetting and up

2) My current one, Lightworks, for below that focal length.

Once question I had is if the heliopan has enough ND for the FS100 if I have a 30mm F1.4 on, out in sunshine, with 0dB gain.

moldcad
08-26-2011, 06:49 AM
Once question I had is if the heliopan has enough ND for the FS100 if I have a 30mm F1.4 on, out in sunshine, with 0dB gain.

Yes Rick, the Heliopan 0.3-2.0 will suffice. I'm using it with my 50 and 85mm F1.4 lens in bright sunshine with no probs, and can even fully open those lenses!

Rick Burnett
08-26-2011, 07:07 AM
Nice! That's what I wanted to know. I guess I'll just need to pick one up and do some testing to see at what focal length the vignetting is noticeable.

alaskacameradude
08-26-2011, 08:18 AM
Nice! That's what I wanted to know. I guess I'll just need to pick one up and do some testing to see at what focal length the vignetting is noticeable. Rick,

I have not really noticed vignetting with my Heliopan, if it's there it's pretty slight.....but you can check and see if you see it yourself on my test video I did with it at:

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

One of the issues, is that if you have the wrong size Heliopan filter, you need step up rings, which put the filter out further, making it easier for there to be some vignetting.
Of course, this depends somewhat on how thin your step up ring is as well as how 'wide' your lens is, which is why I think different people are getting different results.
I was wondering if getting the 82mm Heliopan would give some extra room on the wide end so you would not vignette. However, it may be that you would need TWO step rings
to get the filter on which may negate the extra size of it!

Rick Burnett
08-26-2011, 08:41 AM
I'm just going off of what Phillip Bloom said about the 11-16 Tokina. This lens is I believe 77mm so it wouldn't need a step up ring for a 77mm filter. I have this lens as well and use it quite a bit. What I don't know is if the 82mm would solve this problem or not.

How much it vignettes I don't know either. Might be so slight I don't care either.

JardaBar
08-30-2011, 12:40 AM
Some tests with Heliopan Vari ND 77mm

Tokina 11-16 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCpZlWqxS5E
Sigma 17-70, Canon 50 1.4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upgNX79nx9s
Sony 18-200 (kit lens) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viDz60IHpN0

I found this ND filter very usable. Although there is some inconsistency on dark end, it's very usefull ND filter when you don't have time to use your matte box.

NeedCreative
08-30-2011, 11:03 AM
Thanks for that. My Genus matte box is a right royal pain, but it gets the job done - your experience helps the wait for a HelioPan.

I'm just going to float this little air-biscuit: anyone tried Cokin or Lee filters in a stills-style holder?

My matte box experience says that every layer in front of the lens knocks back your expensive look, and that any filter that's 'unshaded' robs your lens of contrast and therefore perceived sharpness. And sharp colourful pictures are what earns money in the corporate world.

Screw-ins or slot-ins same quality as matte box filters? The best quality camera is the one you take with you. The best quality filters are the ones you use. I hate the clunkiness of my matte box, and lazily end up having it pre-filled with an ND grad and a Pola (which acts as ND if I am not rotating it).

I remember the ease and speed of using Cokin when I was but a humble photography student (making money on the side as a photographer). Anyone use the Lee or Cokin system over a matte box for Run & Gun?

I'm not sure anyone answered you but generally I feel the same way.