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02-16-2011, 08:38 AM   #1
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Fader ND filter

I've just seen a couple of adverts for these gadgets.
Seems that they are made up of two polarising glass sheets that are rotated to give variable 'density'.
Has any body any experience of these, i.e.
easy of use?
quality of resulting images?
problem like vignetting?
or other thoughts.

Just seems one of these could be cheaper than several fixed ND filters

02-16-2011, 10:32 AM   #2
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I have 77mm and 67mm versions of these:
Filter > Fader ND mark II -

They work quite well for ND filtering (more neutral than my Cokin NDs!), and are easy to use (like any round filter), and easier than stacking NDs because you can set up the shot through the viewfinder at the lowest ND amount, then dial it up to visual blackness for your long exposure without needing to add/remove anything. The LCW ones are wider at the front to minimize vignetting on wide-angle lenses, so they come with their own lens cap.

The image quality from the "LCW Mark 2" versions is great on my 12-24 and 50-135. Singh-Ray also makes a very good filter like this called the Vari-N-Duo. Apparently the longer the lens, the more critical the "flatness" of the filter becomes, and when you sandwich two polarizers together... well, some cheaper "me-too brand" filters are not very flat and cause blurriness.

One thing that all variable-ND filters like these have in common is that if you rotate beyond the marked scales for ND filtering, you will enter the point where the two polarizers "match up" and it causes a big, blurry dark "X" in your frame. Some folks who don't read the instructions think the filter is defective, so fair warning!

EDIT: Here's a shot from last summer with the 12-24 and LCW ND (2 sec. at f/11). The sunlight was quite bright, so I had to accept some blown out rocks with the motion-blur.

Last edited by panoguy; 02-16-2011 at 10:59 AM.
02-16-2011, 11:09 AM   #3
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Even home-made versions work well. If common polarizers are used there will likely be tinting as you approach complete extinction. That doesn't matter if you just avoid complete extinction.

Stack a linear or reversed circular polarizer on a circular polarizer. Here's an example with at least 8 usable ND stops...
02-17-2011, 07:22 PM   #4
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Read through this:

There are some issues to this type of filter.


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