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Filters. Photographers are all so familiar with it. Only the purists consider it a bane. After all, anything you put in front your lens does have an effect, one way or another. While most consider UV filters as staple to all the lenses they own, not everyone has or will ever think of owning a ND filter.
Neutral Density filter, ND filter for short, cuts the amount of the light that enters your lens. That’s about as easy a definition as it can get. Photographers who use this filter do it so that they can shoot a subject at a much slower shutter speed; at a wider aperture and, or at a lower ISO. There are various reasons for wanting to achieve these settings with a ND filter. For instance, the landscape photographer would use it show movement of a river or do motion blurring, by using slow shutter, in his photograph. A portrait photographer may use it so that he can sync his flash with the appropriate shutter speed at his desired aperture setting, or even a combination of both. If you want to learn more about ND filters, visit www.ndfilters.org
Recently, ND filters or Variable ND filters are widely used by digital filmmakers. They use these types of filters to lock in their shutter speed (usually at 1/50th) in order to achieve the “cinematic” feel to their videos.
As in all products, ND filters comes in varying strengths (expressed in stops) and of course different brands. What we have here with us today is a 10-stop ND filter from Camdiox. From what the text on the packaging reads, it’s quite impressive – “designed” and “tested” in Germany; High quality German Shott glass, Super Nano multi-layer coating, ultra-slim filter mount, etc. But does it really work or is it another one of those products made to rip us off?
This is not an “Unboxing” article. I will simply go straight to the point and try to answer the question if this ND filter from Camdiox will be a worthy investment or not.
The tests were executed from my hotel room during my recent “Staycation” in Makati. Using Nikon 24-70/AFS 2/8 on a Nikon D800, I pointed this setup through an open window from my hotel room towards another nearby Hotel. Images were taken late in the afternoon. I apologize if my composition lacks flare as my stomach then was grumbling and looking forward to a hearty meal with the family.
The Camdiox ND filter will be pitted against my respectable B+W ND filter 106, 6 stops. (Sorry this is the only ND filter I have.) We shall be looking at different image comparisons between the 2 as well as against the “Baseline -“ image taken without a filter.
|Baseline Image (No filter)||Image (B+W ND Filter)||Image (Camdiox NANO ND Filter)|
|Baseline Image (No filter)||Image (B+W ND Filter)||Image (Camdiox Nano ND Filter)|
These images are in no way altered. No adjustments in tone, color balance, sharpness whatsoever. The only guilty act I did was to slightly tilt and crop these images so as to make them look generally uniformed in composition.
Findings: B+W ND 106 filter exhibited a visible warm color cast, while surprisingly, the Camdiox ND filter has performed so much better compared to my B+W when it comes to color accuracy. It still has a slight warm tint compared to the baseline image.
Images below show the cropped, actual size of the following: Baseline, Image taken using B+W ND filter, and Image taken using the Camdiox ND filter. In the image quality department, both B+W and Camdiox ND filters did show visible loss in sharpness compared to the baseline image. Though, I must admit that I was taking these photographs at 0.6 and 8 secs. Shutter speed with a compact Gitzo 1541 tripod and a hungry stomach. Notwithstanding, the Camdiox, at 10 stops light reduction, seem to look much better compared to the image taken with the B+W 6 stops ND filter.
Camdiox is the victor! With Camdiox, I will be getting better performance in color accuracy compared to my expensive B+W. As to the image quality, I don’t see any differences between the 2 brands. Price wise, the Camdiox ND Filter 10 stops (77mm) retails for PhP 1,900 while the B+W ND 6 stops retail for approximately P 4,500 (USD 99 at Amazon). I am selling my B+W ND filter.