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ND Filter Strength?
  • I'm looking into buying a 4x4 ND filter for my Trusmt mattebox that is coming. I'm trying to decide what strength to start with. I plan to use it shooting outdoors in the summer. I'm also getting a polarizer. My experience with the GH2 outdoors is that the overexposure is very strong in the sun, sometimes requiring to stop the lens down to min aperture (f16 or f22). My feeling is that I should get one strong ND to go with my polarizer (polarizer should reduce about 1.5 stops). Was thinking about the Cavision ND 1.8 (equal to ND64... or 6 stops). That's a pretty strong one.... anyone have experience with this?

    PS - I'm not really interested in vari nd filters, so please don't recommend that. I'm using a mattebox.
  • 18 Replies sorted by
  • AF100 has built-in 2/4/6 ND filters, and some owners complained about lack of 8 stops ND for primes at f2 or faster.

    Yes you could use vari ND filters with a matte box. Usually I use no more than two lenses per scene. I got two vari ND filters on each lens and swap them fast. Then I can use those lenses that extend front barrel.
  • Most of my primes are F2... so I'm leaning on getting the strongest ND. If I still need to reduce the light, I can add my polarizer to the second tray, or get a 2nd ND. I didn't really want to buy a separate vari nd for each of my lenses if I can avoid it... want to take advantage of the mattebox filter trays.

    I heard you can make a vari-nd using two polarizers. Since the mattebox trays are rotatable, I could conceivably do that. Don't know about the quality though.
  • I have only 2 Fader ND filters. The filters are proven to work.

    Your lenses are inner focus?
  • My lenses don't rotate when focusing, but the front element does move in and out as you focus. Should still work with vari-nd.
  • Then the lenses are not matte box filters friendly. You'd need to replace the lenses. Otherwise you'd capture reflections on the filters. Also some inner focus SLR lenses have heavy breathing. One advantage of this route is that the matte box ring clamp can support a long and heavy lense.

    2nd option is Zacuto Universal Donut.

    3rd option is two Fader ND filters.

    It was easy for me to decide. I already have two Fader screw-in filters. 72mm and 52mm. 77mm would have been better. Fader filters are nice for run-n-gun style without a matte box. But you wouldn't find many using in this way with a matte box. Original Fader adjustable screw-in filters were introduced in 2008 for photo lenses.
  • I would start with an ND9 (3 stops). I rarely go over that. Then maybe get an ND6 (2 stops) next. That way you'd be covered for 2, 3, and 5 stops when both are used.
  • Has anyone had experience with the Cavision brand filters? Check them out here:

    They're pretty cheap, but they're made of glass. Anyone tried them?

    I realize the good 4x4 filters are around $180 each... so I was trying to avoid the steep cost, but maintain decent quality. Is it better to save for an expensive one?
  • You can get 3X3 size filters much cheaper, even in quality brands. Using a $9 conversion holder
    will put you in the game with quality stuff.
  • Those Cavision 4x4 glass filters do look quite good and the price would be a steal.

    Has anybody any experience with this brand?
  • @bubba What holder are you using?
  • Anyone tried the Schneider True-Pol Linear Polarizer? Looks like a really good filter.
  • The above is referencing: Century Schneider discontinuing their 3 x 3 to 4 x 4 conversion filter holders right now. These holders allow you to use the smaller (cheaper) filter in the larger size filter slots ( 4 x 4 ) commonly found in mattboxes.
    Last week on their website ...they had them on clearance for $9 a piece.

    Don't skimp on quality ND filters. However, smaller filter sizes are always cheaper. For example, I only use Tiffen/Wratten standard ND's for me, everything is 100 percent repeatable.


    Linear polarizers don't work well with auto focus lenses. Pure ND is always better.


    I have 4.5 inch round filter holders in the "matte boxes" & am standardized on 77mm (a third smaller) on everything else.

  • After searching shops in Germany, looking for e-shops in US and directly contacting Cavision, it looks like its not going to be cheap filters.
    Ordering from Adorama oder B&H is even cheaper than direct order from manufacturer - which is just stupid. I really don't understand why a company aiming for the low budget market has no online store and only ships very expensive (arround $40 shipping + $40 for handling).

    But it looks like there is another option: Tecpro 4x4 glass filters

    I bit more expensive, but still cheaper than Tiffen. Does anybody know about quality?

    I own a Tecpro 0.65 wide angle adapter and it is the same quality as my Century one (I'm going to sell both soon;-). So, looks promising.

    It would also be very interesting where Tecpro is located - I couldn't find a homepage or any information about the company.
  • For me price looks almost like Tiffen (if you buy in US and use Shipito for shipping).

    Cheaper Chinese ND glass filters must appear. I am fighting with few Chinese firms. :-)

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    JEAH! Keep on fighting for us:-)

    The problem is that non of the e-stores (like B&H, Adorama,..) wants to use cheap shipping. The are all using FedEx or USPS, which charge not only $40+ for shipping but also this strange $40-50 "handling fees". I will also have to pay 19% VAT on any import from outside the EU.
    This puts Tiffen filters at about 150-200 EUR (= 200-250 USD). And all the shops here sell the filters for that price, even if they will get them way cheaper due to importing large amounts.
    So, the TecPro don't look that bad.

    I already bought a Tiffen ND 0.9 - to have good quality strong ND, as the stronger the ND gets, the more problems you get with colour casts (does that sound resonable? I hope so.)

    But having cheap ($50-70 incl. shipping!) glass filters with good quality would be great.
  • @Psyco

    You heard my words about Shipito, right?
    Choose cheapest or free shipping inside the US.
    Combine parcels at Shipito (if you have multiple purchases).
    And send using cheaper options.
  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    Thanks, I will have a look - but extra costs (like the "handling" costs) are often hidden or even not known to the companies in the US, as some of it will be charged when they give the package to a partner in Germany. It is charged together with the VAT by the company filling in the import form (which is about 3 words and 1 signature!).

    But I will check...while waiting for an even better deal (hopefully soon;-)
  • @Psyco

    Your words sounds very strange. Some hidden costs.

    About customs declaration - you'll be writing this yourself using browser :-)