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Thread: How good are Fader ND Filters?

  1. #1
    UKDivemaster's Avatar
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    How good are Fader ND Filters?

    I'm looking at options for ND filters. I could go the traditional route and buy a set or go with a fader, which adjusts from ND2 to ND400 through polarization angle modulation.

    Is this a good alternative: any thoughts on quality?

    Regards.

    Mark

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: How good are Fader ND Filters?

    Mark - Are you meaning something like the Singh Ray Vari-ND? If so, I think you'll find that someone like Colin (Southern) will tell you they are absolutely the best thing ever invented (or close to it).

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    Re: How good are Fader ND Filters?

    Hi Mark,

    There are good ones and bad ones. I use a couple of Singh-Ray Vari-NDs, and as Donald alluded to, I think they're very very good. In practice, they make life a LOT easier than using conventional ND filters; typically one uses them around water where one needs to have control over aperture to be able to control depth of field, but one also needs control over shutterspeed so that one can vary the motion effect - with a Vari-ND you simply set your aperture - set your shutterspeed - and then dial in just the amount of attenuation required for a correct exposure.

    I've written a few articles for Singh-Ray's blog - some of which are using the Vari-ND - so you might (or might not!) like to have a read.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: How good are Fader ND Filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by UKDivemaster View Post
    I'm looking at options for ND filters. I could go the traditional route and buy a set or go with a fader, which adjusts from ND2 to ND400 through polarization angle modulation.

    If you specifically mean the Light Craft Fader ND, then there are plusses and minuses (comparing it to the Singh-Ray).

    I haven’t read Colin’s reviews, but using both – the Singh-Ray Vari has better IQ/neutrality/no cast a real piece of quality gear - but it seemed to be a bugger on my 24/1.4L for optical vignette.

    On the other hand the Light Craft has less vignette but has (minimal) casts and can be very nasty with dark banding across large expanses of sky at various settings when used on a wide lens.

    Any cast I cannot abide, because my main use is for Portraiture - and mainly women in dresses and there has to be colour balance continuity - if there are significant casts which (usually) affect green or purple its a Royal PITA

    All in all I personally settled for a set of three: ND2, ND8 and ND400 and gave up with the variable versions.

    A lot has to do with what you are generally shooting and the lenses you tend to generally use – and if you want specific feedback, you should disclose the exact uses you intend.

    WW

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    Re: How good are Fader ND Filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    I haven’t read Colin’s reviews, but using both – the Singh-Ray Vari has better IQ/neutrality/no cast a real piece of quality gear - but it seemed to be a bugger on my 24/1.4L for optical vignette.
    Hi Bill,

    I'm guessing that you're probably using the standard, and not the WA/thin version of the Vari-ND?

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: How good are Fader ND Filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Bill, I'm guessing that you're probably using the standard, and not the WA/thin version of the Vari-ND?
    Ah OK! Thanks for that hint.

    Obvioulsy there is a difference.

    Could have been / most probably was the (original?)/standard version - about four five years ago I tried it.

    I have bookmarked your linked pages and will read in depth later - but as I mentioned the three ND's suit MY needs OK - and I think it best if Mark gives more info about what HIS USES are to be.

    Have a great weekend, cheers and beers

    WW

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    Hi Bill,

    They're not "reviews" per se - just user experiences.

    The WA/Thin variant (only in 77mm) doesn't have a front thread. On the 82mm version on a 16-35/2.8L it starts to vignette at about 22mm.

  8. #8
    UKDivemaster's Avatar
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    Re: How good are Fader ND Filters?

    Thanks guys.

    I have invested in two different fader brands - one for a 58mm EF-S 18-55mm & EF 28-70mm lenses, another for a 77mm EF-S 10 - 20mm.

    The instructions are clear about how far these devices can be pushed - which may limit what can be achieved. I'm going on a trip to the West Country (UK) in a couple of weeks and will publish the results.

    Regards.

    Mark

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    UKDivemaster's Avatar
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    Re: How good are Fader ND Filters?

    77mm Fader Filter (NDX):

    How good are Fader ND Filters?

    Canon EOS 400D
    EF-S 10-22mm @ 11mm
    6 Seconds @ f22, ISO 100

    58 mm (LCW):

    How good are Fader ND Filters?

    Canon EOS 400D
    EF 70-300mm IS USM @ 70mm
    15 Seconds @ f11, ISO 100

    Both images taken at dusk - with enough light to prevent longer exposures.

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