Thanks a lot for the input Guy. Do most cameras these days struggle with IR pollution? I don't ever really seem to get a consensus from what I've read. I primarily shoot with a 5D Mark IV... is the IR pollution on this camera something to be aware of? Have you had any experience with the vari-NDs that are at the high end of the price range? The Heliopan, Schneider, Singh-Ray, etc? Do they do any better with color casts and vignetting than the ~$200 range?
Thanks Liam. Yes, I am only really interested in using a vari-ND in those news gathering and run and gun documentary type of scenarios. I avoid NDs for things like interviews, etc, or use my set of single NDs if needed.
You are mostly correct, but I think the argument is a moot point for my question. I could benefit from a vari-ND which would allow me to focus more on content. Not all equipment purchases are or should be dictated by what my clients may or may not think. I have standards myself, and when it comes to lenses and optics, I put a high priority on this part of my equipment regardless of what clients think. I'm not looking for a vari-ND with zero optical flaws (which doesn't exist as far as I know,) just one that has the least image flaws in regards to the standard issues you deal with vari-NDs... because I care.
Thanks Guy. Actually the one you pulled as reference of chef Massimo Botura is one of the scenarios I didn't like too much. It looks more "standard" and a lot harsher on the key.
Here are some screen grabs I made of a few I remembered looking nice.
– This one might be natural window light as a key, but I wanted to get some second opinions. If this is lit or supplemented the natural with a light, what do you think they are using? It has such a beautiful natural wrap around the face, but somehow still feels crisp and not too muddy on the shadow side (obviously there is a bit of a edge light we are seeing that is helping that).
– This one is clearly more lit. But again, the key has such a nice wrap and falloff. What do you think is being used here? For some reason I am convinced that something like a Kino Celeb shooting through a 4x4 opal or 250 or something wouldn't look this good.
– A bit more stylized, and a touch harder edge on the shadows compared to the top three, but still getting some nice wrap, and obviously they have done a great job balancing with the practical lighting and using some warm fill on the right.
I guess my main question is more what are they using for a key light? If they are shooting through anything or bouncing into anything it seems like it would spill a lot more. But to get such a nice crisp but even wrap around the subjects face seems hard to do with a single direct light with an eggcrate etc.?