April 29, 2015 at 5:08AM, Edited April 29, 5:08AM


Good quality ND filters?

Hi there,

I've just purchased a Rokinon 35mm cine lens and I'm now looking at getting an ND filter for shooting outdoors. My problem is that good quality filters like Tiffen are quite expensive.

Could anyone recommend a more affordable yet quality alternative?

Also, would I best getting a variable ND filter? Obviously these are more expensive, so if I could get away with an NDx8 or NDx10, that would be handy!




Most ND filters do not block IR ( infrared light ) contamination, which can be a big problem with the darker ND filters where the black areas in your shot are turning rusty-red from the IR contamination.

Check out the black clothes hanging on the left part of the frame
( the lower image shows IR contamination )

Because of this, I now only buy the Hoya Pro ND filters which are not cheap, but they block most IR light from ruining your shots.


April 29, 2015 at 11:16AM, Edited April 29, 11:20AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Thanks, wasn't aware of the infrared contamination, but now I know why some shots have a funny colour!

How many stops would you recommend getting for general-purpose outdoor shooting? Would 6 stops be enough to shoot in bright sunlight with a fairly wide aperture? Obviously, I'd want it to be useful on overcast days too (which is often the case in Ireland...) so I don't want to go too dark.


April 30, 2015 at 5:18AM


It depends on the aperture you want to shoot at. I carry 0.6 ND ( 2 F-stops ) and 1.2 ND ( 4 F-stops ) filters with me, which gives me a range of 2 / 4 / 6 F-stops of neutral density.

May 4, 2015 at 3:56PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Variable ND works great... if you get a cheap variable ND you will see a slight X mark in your shot. Spend the money and get a high quality variable. If you are not picky about perfect skin tones, then go this route. (Be sure to select the right MM size.)


NOTE: This does not have IR, you need a HM filter (Hot Mirror) to get the right skin tones. You can purchase one here: (not cheap)


The HM will give you a truer digital image (better skin tones) and prevent excessive infrared filtration from reaching the digital sensor of your camera.


April 29, 2015 at 1:18PM

Devin Edwards
Director / Producer

Variable NDs are good in a pinch, but they have a big problem with them in that they are essentially polarizing filters that will remove the "sheen" from skin tones ( not a good look ) and will often mess up how the sky appears in your shots. The cheaper ones show distinct color-casts that will change color as you adjust the amount of ND.

They also have a maximum focal length limit, and will make some telephoto shots very soft compared to using a standard ND filter.

I own a GenusTech Eclipse Variable ND which is one of the better ones ( thin, no color casts, works well with telephoto lenses ), but I only use it when I have to.


May 5, 2015 at 8:18AM, Edited May 5, 8:17AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Things to consider:

1) Vari vs Standard ND: I personally only use Vari-ND's as a "last option". Why? 1) You don't know how much light your actually reducing by and 2) possible color shift (though good VariND's have almost done away with that.

I like using standard 4x4 or 4x5.65 filters. Instead of constantly adjusting the VariND, I just pick a working stop, place the appropriate ND, and shoot away (Tip: on a normal sunny day, the metered light will be around a T90, so the get that down to say a T4 you would need a 9-stop filter = ND2.7).

2) IR Pollution: One of the worse things about using ND's is IR Pollution, which is a bi-product of allowing more light into the sensor (opening up aperture) but only blocking the visible spectrum if using standard ND's. To counter-act this, you could use an ND filter that reduces IR. However, most IRND's also introduce a color cast, much easier to remove than IR Pollution but still a pain in the ...

I've found two IRND's that almost reduces all color cast: NiSi Nano ND's and True ND. I prefer the NiSi ND (also cheaper).


July 5, 2016 at 8:54AM

John Dimalanta
Freelance Photographer/Cinematographer

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