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Variable ND filter for 12-40 Pro

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by StefanKruse, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Anyone that has any experience with variable ND filter and in using them with the 12-40 pro. I am bringing the 12-40 pro to Indonesia this summer and I would like to be able to shoot wide open for some candid street portraits. Maybe I can do with a ND 4 or 6? I would like to keep costs down and from what I can judge a good quality variable ND filter is more than $100?
     
  2. popiT

    popiT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    601
    Mar 20, 2014
    BayArea, CA
    Yang
    I use a Tiffen 2-8 stop variable ND filter for video. It does a good enough job for around $100. The only complaint is the x cross (whatever they call it,) when turn to the max. I was based on this review:

    Hope this helped.
     
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  3. adamsmt2013

    adamsmt2013 Mu-43 Regular

    61
    Aug 31, 2013
    I have the Tiffen 2-8 as well - I love this filter. There ar two catches, though. On mine, you cannot use the lens hood when this is in use. Also, roughly the 4-6X range, I saw moire in the viewfinder that impaired focusing. It is easy to get around this using the right ISO value in combination with a filter setting other than 4-6X.

    I love this filter!!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror!

    941
    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Clint
    If you can find them...look for Haida filters. I use their 10 stop along with reverse GND 100x150 filters. I know they make a variable ND, but I've not tried it.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Thanks but it seems to me that the 2 catches are pretty significant for a filter that costs USD 125? plus delivery (Amazon.co.uk)

    Is the hood thing a general thing with variable filters? because I do not have an issue with the UV filter and I guess that situations n which you need a filter i.e. very bright conditions (I am not looking to use it for Long exposure).

    Also it seems that the 4-6 range is a rather useful range, so having AF issues is quite a nuisance it would seem, I guess you choose a higher ND setting and then up the iso a notch or 2?
     
  6. Joe Smith

    Joe Smith Mu-43 Regular

    124
    Mar 6, 2016
    If you buy a variable ND filter, then make sure you have the right to return it. I've once tried an – admittedly cheap – one and found it utterly unusable. Uneven density across the frame, severe colour cast which was uneven across the frame hence not easily correctable, polarizing effects which were an issue at the wide angle range, and probably other artefacts which I've forgotten. I ended up buying two fixed value ND filters (one 10 stop and one 3 stop) and am happy since. As I said this was a cheap no name filter, an expensive one from a reputed brand may work better.
     
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    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. zensu

    zensu An Old Fool

    Aug 8, 2012
    Southeastern USA
    Bobby
    Thanks for the link, it was very informative. I'd like to comment, a little off topic please. I also use step up rings to adapt my larger filters for all my lenses and have found that 90% of filter adapters are either plastic threads or aluminum threads. Both of these materials can easily bind up and be difficult to remove in a wide variety of situations. To avoid this binding altogether you'll need to spend a few more dollars and get brass threads which never cause binding in my experience. B+W used to have filter adapters with brass threads (their actual filters still do) but some years ago they changed their thread material on their filter adapters to aluminum. The only filter adapters that I can currently find (Mar., 2016) that have brass filter threads are Heliopan and they cost much more than any other brand. I decided years ago that the hassle of binding up filter adapters was not worth the hassle to me. I still have some old B+W adapters that have brass threads but sadly I must pay much more currently for a Heliopan brass threaded filter adapter.
    Bobby
     
  8. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    I bought a very low cost (less than $20 USD) Fotga 62mm ND Neutral Density Fader that works great.

    The quality of variable ND filters from the same manufacture seem to vary in IQ year to year, even the highend B&Ws.
     
  9. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Veteran

    333
    Apr 7, 2015
    I'm confused.
    Do you really need a ND filter to shoot wide open portraits at summer with 12-04 2.8?
     
  10. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    Not really. If shooting in full sun and using the Sunny 16 is used as a guide, at ISO 200, exposure at 1/200 and f/16 will net a decent exposure. If you change that f/16 to f/2.8, you will now need a shutter speed of 1/6400. So still doable, but if you have a lens and want to shoot at f/2, 1/.8 or wider, the real challenges start coming.

    Shooting video is more restive and the use of 1/6400 shutter speeds is not possible, so one needs to lower the shutter speed.

    And in many full light situations I want to use flash for fill. So if HSS or Super FP flash (as Olympus calls it) is possible, you need a lot of light because of the way HSS works - flash power output is reduced by several stops - so now one needs stronger flash or strobes. Which becomes much more expensive with more weight and size.

    In any of those cases the second least costly alternative is to use ND filters to reduce shutter speed or aperture to where one needs to be. The best solution is not shoot in that bright of light! But not always possible and maybe not the best alternative.

    There are other reasons for ND filters as well.
     
    • Informative Informative x 3
  11. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Yeah, for taking still shots all you really need is a 3-stop ND filter. Video is a different animal, since you typically want a 1/50, 1/60, or 1/125 shutter speed, which in broad daylight, requires a lot of ND, and that ND needs to be adjusted based on the metering.

    I'd recommend you look for a Haida 3-stop ND, preferably one of the Pro Slim II MRC models. I have the 10-stop version of that filter, and it's magnificent. I also have a Haida MRC variable ND for when I shoot video, and it too is a fantastic filter and value.
     
  12. popiT

    popiT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    601
    Mar 20, 2014
    BayArea, CA
    Yang
    That's so true, Bobby. It happened to me once with some unbranded aluminum rings. I did a little search that they have those filter wrenches to help removing jammed filters, but I'm not sure how well they work as I have never tried. Thanks for bringing up the brass type. Yang
     
  13. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Did not know about the sunny 16 rule :) but applying that I would need a ND filter as 1/6400 speed is not attainable with my e-m10 or? (My memory says 1/4000) and even if it was I would like to have a bit of margin and not shoot at the edge. Going by the sunny 16 then I would need a 3 stop filter to bring the shutter speed to 800 and 4 stop to 400. So maybe the solution is to just get a 3 or 4 stop filter that way I can get a better filter quality for less money?

    Did anyone have any experience with variable filters and using the hood?
     
  14. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Interesting does it work with the lens hood. What about all the issues people report with cheap filters?
     
  15. zensu

    zensu An Old Fool

    Aug 8, 2012
    Southeastern USA
    Bobby
    I've used those "filter wrenches" and sometimes they are effective and sometimes my grip is just not secure enough to have enough strength to get them to turn. I have arthritis in my hands. One trick I've discovered that works most of the time is to get one of those rubber/silicone jar openers in the kitchen and lay it flat on a table. Then I place the bound up filters on top and press down all around the filters edges while turning. This is sometimes the solution. The absolute easiest way is to set the bound up filter down in your camera bag and wait a day or so to give the temperature and humidity a chance to change. Then take out the bound up filters and it will unscrew with great ease. I'm not joking here. I've had what I thought were permanently bound up filters that I pick up by accident a few days later and given them an almost effortless twist and they come right off. Good luck and I sincerely wish that you never have this problem.
    Bobby
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Just read this
    ND Filter. Don’t go Variable!
    Makes me think I should opt for a fixed ND filter probably 4 stops - I seems like a bad idea to invest in an expensive pro lens and the ruin the image quality by using a variable filter.

    But then ne guys opinion on the internet does not make something a fact - anyone in here that have the same experience with variable filters
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  17. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    So for all of these shots where videographers use a variable ND filter, you're saying that they have ruined the image quality of their cinema lenses which cost thousands of dollars? I highly doubt that, it comes down to using a good quality filter, just like everything else in photography.

    For your use, just buy a Haida Slim Pro II 3-stop ND filter. It will give you the ND you need to shoot portraits outdoors in strong sun light. But don't think that all variable ND filters ruin image quality, because they don't.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    No I am not saying that - the guy from the article is :) I am just trying to figure out what to do and what to buy.

    Is there a particular reason you would go for a 3 stop rather than a 4 stop?
     
  19. popiT

    popiT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    601
    Mar 20, 2014
    BayArea, CA
    Yang
    A couple notes: the Tiffen's rotating (front) ring is wider than the screw-in thread size. I cannot use the hood with my P12-35. The front is also thinner and cannot accommodate a lens cap.
     
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  20. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Thanks - I guess if I do go variable filter I will have buy it from my local Camera dealer to make sure it goes with the hood and cap.