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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Variable ND Filters

    Simple post here. One photographic item I have been playing with in 2023 is variable ND filters. All my previous filters had been fixed, usually 6 or 10 stops. As I have yet to buy a RF lens and I have an EF-RF adapter that allows drop in filters, I am playing with using those drop in filters to decrease the volume I travel with. I.e, 2 drop in filters instead of 6 different filters (CPL, 6 stop, and 10 stop NDs in 77 mm and 82 mm threads). At least, that was the initial idea.

    In addition to taking up less space in my pack, I am also noticing that I shoot differently. For waterfalls, with a variable ND, I am setting my exposure, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc to what I want for creative effect, but then I am adjusting the variable ND to ETTR in the image. A nice little change.

    An example:

    1 sec, f/11, ISO 100

    537A7077 by kayaker72, on Flickr

    I currently have Canon's CPL and variable ND. I am noticing some color shift, especially at higher NDs. So, I might try breakthrough's variable ND, as it is finally in stock.

  2. #2
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    I opted for a kit made be Freewell on a kick starter campaign. Includes a set of variable ND, fixed ND, as well as, a couple of graduated NDs. Which I used for the NC valley sunrise shots I will post soon.
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

  3. #3
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    My most-used filters are CPL and 10-stop ND, which I have in 77mm and 82mm. I also have 6- and 3-stop NDs in 77mm. I like that the RF 14-35, RF 24-105 and RF 100-500 all take 77mm filters, it’s a great travel setup. I'd never tried a vND until getting the Canon drop-in adapter, which I use mainly with my TS-E 17/24 and EF 11-24.

    The drop-in adapter is very nice, but you also need the clear insert unless you want to swap out for the vanilla adapter when you don't want a filter. There are 3rd party covers, but the drop-in adapter is very slightly longer than the vanilla adapter (to account for the glass thickness) and that means unless there's a filter in there infinity focus is lost (at least, it is with my TS-E 17 – perhaps other lenses focus further out).

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Busted Knuckles View Post
    I opted for a kit made be Freewell on a kick starter campaign. Includes a set of variable ND, fixed ND, as well as, a couple of graduated NDs. Which I used for the NC valley sunrise shots I will post soon.
    Hey Mike....are these drop in filters? Or screw in/magnetic. I looked and didn't see where Freewell had drop in filters, but easily could have missed it.

    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    My most-used filters are CPL and 10-stop ND, which I have in 77mm and 82mm. I also have 6- and 3-stop NDs in 77mm. I like that the RF 14-35, RF 24-105 and RF 100-500 all take 77mm filters, it’s a great travel setup. I'd never tried a vND until getting the Canon drop-in adapter, which I use mainly with my TS-E 17/24 and EF 11-24.

    The drop-in adapter is very nice, but you also need the clear insert unless you want to swap out for the vanilla adapter when you don't want a filter. There are 3rd party covers, but the drop-in adapter is very slightly longer than the vanilla adapter (to account for the glass thickness) and that means unless there's a filter in there infinity focus is lost (at least, it is with my TS-E 17 – perhaps other lenses focus further out).
    So, I actually have 3 filters: CPL, variable ND, and the clear. I haven't seen a 3rd party covers, so I am actually using the clear filter when not using the others. I do have other adapters that I can pivot too, but at the time I bought the R5 only the drop in filter RF-EF adapter was available, so I am putting it to some use.

    Having all your lenses be the same filter size would be the other way to decrease what I carry. But, love my EF 24-70 II, which is 82 mm. Most used lens by far. Thus, I have carried both 77 mm (for 100-400 II and 16-35) and 82 mm (for 24-70 II) when traveling.

    So, Breakthough finally got me with their ads, and I do have their variable ND coming. I'll do a quick comparison and if better I'll keep it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayaker72 View Post
    Having all your lenses be the same filter size would be the other way to decrease what I carry. But, love my EF 24-70 II, which is 82 mm. Most used lens by far. Thus, I have carried both 77 mm (for 100-400 II and 16-35) and 82 mm (for 24-70 II) when traveling.
    I did that when I had the EF 24-70/2.8 II. The TS-E 24L II also takes 82mm filters as did the EF 16-35/2.8 II that I had for a while, so for a period of time all I needed were the 82mm filters. Now that I have the RF 100-400 that takes 67mm filters (of which I have none, though I do have a step-up ring that precludes the hood), I need to decide if I'll get 67mm filters or just not use filters with the 100-400 (I haven't yet used them with the 100-500).

    Quote Originally Posted by Kayaker72 View Post
    So, Breakthough finally got me with their ads, and I do have their variable ND coming. I'll do a quick comparison and if better I'll keep it.
    After my interactions with their founder on CR, I won't buy anything from them. But I hope they perform well for you.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    After my interactions with their founder on CR, I won't buy anything from them. But I hope they perform well for you.
    They have twice had my money while I waited for products. Twice, upon my request, I was refunded. I will not pre-order from them again. I have seen some of their founders comments. So, yeah, combative. That said, the filters are great, as you can see in Bryan's review. My experience is the same, I prefer the Breakthrough ND filters over my B+W filters, but not so much that I replaced all my B+W filters. I am about 50/50 at this point. But, when I saw color cast in the Canon variable ND filter, I wanted to see if Breakthrough can do better.

  7. #7
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    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ic_filter.html

    Got it in kickstarter phase and got 3 of the gradient NDs as well
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

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