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10-14-2011, 10:16 AM   #1
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3 Piece Hoya ND filter set or Tiffen variable???

At the local camera store, I went in to buy some neutral density filters, got a 3piece Hoya HMC 67mm nd filter set in .3 .6 and .9 for sale at $120 (in a later date, I plan to also buy a 10stop). But the salesman was also trying to steer me to a Tiffen 2-8stop variable nd filter for $159 to save on carrying multiple filters..........This intrigued me, and so I put off the purchase till I find out all pros/cons and way them against each other before deciding.

I'm not a pro, nor a payed amateur, and don't own any pro level equipment (probably never will either)..........just an enthusiast looking to improve on his abilities/skills to broaden my horizons. Please keep this in mind when submitting replies.


Last edited by nms_photog; 10-14-2011 at 10:21 AM.
10-14-2011, 11:50 AM   #2
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How difficult is it to carry 3 filters? You'll probably settle on one density in the end :-)
10-14-2011, 12:27 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by nms_photog Quote
At the local camera store, I went in to buy some neutral density filters, got a 3piece Hoya HMC 67mm nd filter set in .3 .6 and .9 for sale at $120 (in a later date, I plan to also buy a 10stop). But the salesman was also trying to steer me to a Tiffen 2-8stop variable nd filter for $159 to save on carrying multiple filters..........This intrigued me, and so I put off the purchase till I find out all pros/cons and way them against each other before deciding.

I'm not a pro, nor a payed amateur, and don't own any pro level equipment (probably never will either)..........just an enthusiast looking to improve on his abilities/skills to broaden my horizons. Please keep this in mind when submitting replies.
I think its a good question. I use filters for motion blur on vehicles and also for water flow bluring. The problem is: with daylight, its often hard to slow down the camera shutter enough (by lowering iso and going to a small shutter) to get the exact amount of blur one would like. going thru multiple pockets to fiind the ND filter you want can be a pain. In addition, if you get more lenses, you may have many more filters. A one filter solution would be advantageous to be sure

What i don't know is how good these adjustable ND filters are. If they are fairly good, i'd be tempted to buy the more expensive solution. Any operating experinece out there???
10-14-2011, 12:37 PM   #4
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I talked to a guy at the local camera store to get more information as I was curious about this as well. Basically what he told me was that a variable ND filter is not a "true" ND filter. It is actually two polarizing filters stuck together. The only real downside he mentioned was that they tend to give a colour cast to your photos.

I'm still undecided about which one suits me better. Add in the fact that you can go with a square filter system that works with all your lenses, and it gets even more complicated.

10-14-2011, 02:39 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sol Invictus Quote
I talked to a guy at the local camera store to get more information as I was curious about this as well. Basically what he told me was that a variable ND filter is not a "true" ND filter. It is actually two polarizing filters stuck together. The only real downside he mentioned was that they tend to give a colour cast to your photos.

I'm still undecided about which one suits me better. Add in the fact that you can go with a square filter system that works with all your lenses, and it gets even more complicated.
The problem is, that that "only colour cast" is hard to get by in post processing. Tiffen filters (except for the expensive professional series) are mostly crap and have usually poor coating, much worse than any other reputable brand. Polarizers are particularily easy to spoil and need be very well made, to be useful.

I would suggest something completely different: Buy a cheap Chinese Cokin P-System filter holder clone with the matching adaptor rings for your lenses. Then buy the P-sized set of ND filters from HighTech. HighTech is a British manufacturer, that delivers very good quality at a still very sensible price (much cheaper than for instance the Lee filters). If you want to go really cheap, buy the P-sized filters from Kood. These are Chinese made, but nevertheless quite acceptable.

Using a filter holder-based system, you will cover the different lens sizes with one single set of filters. And if you use NDs you will sooner or later discover, how useful graduated NDs are - and these make realy only sense, when used in a square format filter holder.

Ben
10-14-2011, 05:44 PM   #6
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Last time I checked, Tiffen made crappy consumer filters, from poorly made rims to broken & missing glass OOB. I won't touch Tiffen at any price.
10-14-2011, 10:03 PM   #7
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Thanks! This is why I waited to consult the experts here first. I'm actually gonna get a Hoya HMC CP (found out these work as effective 2stop nd's), their x400 nd, and a 1.2 nd. Cost will be a bit more than the single Tiffen vari nd, but have much more versatility.
10-17-2011, 05:29 PM   #8
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well, variable nd filter is usually for video guy..
for photography..I do not think it is a lot of trouble to switch between different stop nd filter..

10-18-2011, 02:38 AM   #9
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My personal opinion is that the only nd filter that u will really need on the field is the 3 stop nd filter and the nd400 and perhaps a grad. I find that my 1 stop and 2 stop filters are almost never used.

I have the nd400 and the cokin and both will give a colour cast to the photos.
10-18-2011, 11:07 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by raider Quote
My personal opinion is that the only nd filter that u will really need on the field is the 3 stop nd filter and the nd400 and perhaps a grad. I find that my 1 stop and 2 stop filters are almost never used.

I have the nd400 and the cokin and both will give a colour cast to the photos.

Yeh, I realized that also.........thankfully before I spent unnecessary money on the 1 and 2stop nd's. I got a 4stop and the CPL to go along with my new B&W 110, seems the store doesn't stock the ndx400 and takes 2weeks to get..........hence I just went with a B&W.
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