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Variable ND filter Issue Solution / possible alternative
  • I Purchased a Variable ND LCW MK2 Filter and have recently noticed some hazy reflection i have tried a lens hood to see if this would resolve but no luck soon as direct sunlight hits the ND i get a smear appear in my footage. both lens and ND are crystal clear so the only assumption i have is the reflective coating isn't up to scratch.

    Im open to Solutions of suggestion for possible replacements around the £100 Mark if anyone has had experience with any other brand. just want to get my options before i go buy another filter and realise i was missing a simple solution :)

    Much appreciation in advance.

  • 14 Replies sorted by
  • Use a hood or a matte box.

  • @LiamOwen I have found that too. Haven't tried a matte box but it is more an internal reflection than a flare. I don't know if this would be solved even with a matte box as you would effectively need one that blocked out the entire sky! Also matte box on GH2 always seems like overkill. I think there are other more expensive Vari ND solutions that reduce this considerably like the Singh Ray one.

  • Try Heliopan. They seem to be very good. Tested one briefly at a Philip Bloom Workshop. He recommends them. The website is in German, but they have an English Version of the broschure.

  • @stonebat Tried a hood but as Rsquires suggests its like an reflection, Going to be getting a Matt box from a friend to try out this week.

    @rsquires My thoughts entirely i assumed these ND filters had anti reflection coatings on them, but from testing today iam entirely convinced its an internal reflection, When I hold it up to a light bulb there is a second green ghosting light bulb in the opposite region of the screen which is upside down.

    @Tobsen Currently looking at a Heliopan. but Im reluctant to invest the amount of money the filters are demanding even on Ebay. I will eventually have to make that investment i suspect.

  • Heliopan is the best out there, but since filters consist of parallel glass planes, under extreme conditions any of them can give you some nasty reflections. Get a MB!

  • @nomad MB is this weeks attempt at minimising the reflections.

    allot of these shots are panning from the camera being level to about a 45deg angle towards the sky, I might have to accept i am going to get some reflections for the shots and not be a fussy about it.

  • @LiamOwen yup, they are quite expensive. That's why I don't own one yet ;)

  • I had less issues with that with a fixed multi-coated ND filter than the vari-ND ones. Try a Hoya in person and see if it performs differently.

    If you go the vari-ND route, I`d lean Heliopan too (but only based on pics and opinions, not experience).

  • IMO vari-NDs are lazy. You lose quality by sticking them in front of your lens. i.e.- using two polarizing pieces of glass to cut exposure is by definition dumb and lazy. Any light that gets in there is going to ghost around with a greenish cast. Get a proper set of NDs or just start with a .6 and a separate polarizer (which you'll want anyways) and play with them to see what you really need. Problem with matte boxes is they're 4X4s, ie- way too big for our little camera. And the filters are deemed professional and, as with all 'pro' film gear, are way too expensive. You'd think one of these great manufacturing companies would get with the small camera game and produce an appropriate MB and filter collection. In time, no doubt. For now, for me, it's threaded filters and flagging with a hat!

  • Why in the world would you lock yourself into some micro matte box specifically for the GH2? Is the the only camera that you will ever own? Even if its cheap with a set of say, 4 NDs, you're still going to waste $ on something that won't benefit you, should you need to switch cameras.

  • Not buying a Mattbox as of yet, was just going to borrow one to test out my options, but taking on @thepalalias and what @davhar says its logical that purchasing a Mattbox isn't the correct option if i want to keep my kit small as the GH2 is.

    I think i will give up on the Vari route and used fixed as suggested.

    Many thanks all your time has been appreciated but im sure my pocket will not appreciate the eventual outlay once again.

  • I second the suggestion of fixed NDs, but it's not a cheap route either. Polarizer (which are used in all Vari-NDs) have side effects and you double the number of surfaces which increases the risk of flare or ghosts.

  • I don't know the rates in your area, but my Hoya 400x was only around $100 U.S. (too strong for your work, but you get the idea). Also, the fixed ones vignette less than normal varis, so that's a side-benefit.

    Good luck!

  • Yea my shooting is mainly shooting Bmx riding and the riders lifestyle in the woods where light difference varies dramatically from area to area.

    Reasoning for the Vari. I Think a set of 2 to 8 would be sufficient. might invest in some 4x4 filters as i can always use a Cokin mount system.

    Thanks once again guys. much appreciated