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Gear Review - Daisee Variable ND MRC Pro Slim

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by ijm5012, Aug 29, 2015.

  1. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    I figured I'd make a short review of a new piece of gear I just picked up, a Daisee Variable ND MRC Pro Slim (in short, a multicoated variable ND).

    A week or two ago, I was alerted to a deal on eBay gift cards, which were 10% off at Target online. I had been looking to purchase a Panasonic 42.5 f/1.7 as well as a variable ND filter, so I saw this as a "sign" that it was time to pull the trigger. The filter took less than two weeks to arrive, and I paid something like $65 for it. Typically cheap variable ND filters are crap, degrading IQ, low amount of ND before running in to cross polarization (the "black x" you hear people talk about), etc. However after having a great experience with a no-name Chinese brand 10-stop ND filter (Haida), I figured I'd take a shot on this brand. NOTE: the reason I went with this brand was because it has received some positive reviews out there, and the naming was very similar to the Haida filter I have (the name included MRC Pro Slim).

    Anywho, the filter arrived yesterday, so I wanted to put it through a test to see how well it performed. The three things I was looking for were:
    • Sharpness: does the filter make the image soft at all?
    • # of Stops: how many stops can I get before running in to cross polarization?
    • Color Shift: does the lens cause any significant color shifting?
    I wanted to pick up a variable ND filter because I'm trying to learn more about shooting video, and want to be able to shoot my lenses wide open, while still achieving the proper shutter speed (ideally 2X your frame rate). This is a problem when shooting outside mid-day, because there's no way in hell you're going to get a proper exposure shooting at ISO 200, f/2.8, with a shutter speed of 1/50 or 1/125. So, I need to stop the lenses WAY down, which then makes everything in focus and not that pleasing. The variable ND solves this. Now, on to the review:

    What I did was set my camera up on a tripod, focus (manually) on a static subject, take a shot with no filter, then put the filter on and adjust it one stop at a time, taking a shot at each stop. All images were shot on my GH4 with the 12-35 f/2.8. Here are the images:

    0 Stops (no filter)

    20953070346_c01a67db10_h.


    1 Stops

    20986808601_a17a8fa853_h.


    2 Stops

    20792555909_4aace24a96_h.


    3 Stops

    20979342305_3f12ddf28d_h.


    4 Stops

    20791410528_971c5d3b59_h.


    5 Stops

    20358272583_ca50022db5_h.


    6 Stops

    20356730284_a3f91892c8_h.


    7 Stops

    20792538859_539d53d287_h.


    In my opinion, the filter does not soften the image at all. The focus was in the middle of the metal bar, where there are multiple layers of paint chipping off. Comparing the no filter shot to any of the shots with a filter, I don't see any softening there. Good stuff.

    Looking at how many stops I can get, you can definitely get 5, maybe 6 stops before you start to the effects of cross polarization (it may just be starting at 6 stops, but is definitely usable IMO). You can see in the shot taken at 7 stops, cross polarization is definitely visible. The filter will do 8 stops, but it's completely useless at that point. But anyways, 5-6 stops of non-softening ND is great in my opinion, especially for $65.

    Lastly, I wanted to look at color shift. Was there any color shift between shooting with and without the ND filter, and also any shift between ND amount? All of the images were adjusted to the same WB in post (LR6), and I really don't see any significant color shift. There is a slight tinge of blue in the first image taken with the filter compared to the shot with no filter, however the 2 stop shot shows that the color shift is gone, back to where it was without any filter. I again think that this is excellent performance from a variable ND filter, especially for $65.


    So, what are my final thoughts? For $65, this filter offers fantastic quality and bang for buck. The image remains sharp, I get 5-6 stops of usable ND, and there is no significant color shift. My next task is taking the lens/filter outside, and shooting it with the sun in frame to see how the coating does with reducing glare/flare/reflections. However if the coating is as good as the stuff used on the Haida filter I have, I'll again be very happy.

    If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask!
     
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