Are ND filters necessary?

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I've had my Phantom 4 for about a week now and absolutely loving it, however I'm going to start using it to film some more important footage now and want to make sure it's capturing the best possible quality video. Are ND filters necessary? And if so, how cheap can you get away with buying them? I can't afford the $100 ones that I've seen some websites recommend but everything else is $10 on Amazon and I'm not sure if they're worth it or might actually even make things worse. They seem to get good reviews but then again none of them have more than 8-10 reviews anyway so not a huge sample size. Any help/advice would be much appreciated!
 

msinger

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Thanks, very helpful!

As far as I can see though no one mentions the cost, how much would you recommend spending on these? Can I get away with the $10 ones or are those pretty much useless? I guess my question is how little can I get away with spending on these?
 

msinger

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I'd recommend you get at least an ND8 and an ND16 filter. An ND32 might be needed too if you fly in very sunny locations. As far as which brand to buy, I compared a bunch of commonly used filters here and found the results to be pretty similar. If you're planning on using a program like Adobe Premiere Pro to edit your videos later, the small differences between the filters won't even matter.

Can I get away with the $10 ones or are those pretty much useless?
I'm not sure which $10 filters you're referring to. I found most of them to be priced between $15-$30 per filter.
 
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Make sure to check the weight of the filters when buying. When I was looking for filters some were a lot heavier than others.
 
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I found out that a good variable ND filter is easier to use. Just dial it at the beginning of a flight and you are ready to go. No need to change lenses. No need to carry extra lenses. No need to mess with the threads on the camera.


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Thanks, will take that into account and probably buy a cheap one then.

I'm not sure which $10 filters you're referring to. I found most of them to be priced between $15-$30 per filter.
Sorry, I was looking at prices in £ and didn't convert it so yes I meant about $15
 
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I use the filters from Polar Pro and they are very high quality and really make a difference in the content I create. Little more expensive but you get what you pay for as always...
 
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I just orders the polar pro vivid. Should be in tomorrow. I'm so excited.


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I found out that a good variable ND filter is easier to use. Just dial it at the beginning of a flight and you are ready to go. No need to change lenses. No need to carry extra lenses. No need to mess with the threads on the camera.


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Foosy which one specifically are you using? Also what is the "Range" of the variable one?
 
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Foosy which one specifically are you using? Also what is the "Range" of the variable one?
I am using Zomei ND2 to ND400
I leave it by default on ND2 which is minimal filtering. Price is now $25 in Amazon. I paid for it $35 a couple of months ago...
 
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Make sure u get the right one.. My first was heavier and gimbal coundlt take it so it would shake alot, cant use it. Second was better. Mine is freewell. First one was psn or something. It came in like a makeup box. Second cane in circle tin.
 

BigAl07

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I am using Zomei ND2 to ND400
I leave it by default on ND2 which is minimal filtering. Price is now $25 in Amazon. I paid for it $35 a couple of months ago...
Thank you. I just put that one in my shopping cart.

Any suggestions for a good universal filter for still images?


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Make sure u get the right one.. My first was heavier and gimbal coundlt take it so it would shake alot, cant use it. Second was better. Mine is freewell. First one was psn or something. It came in like a makeup box. Second cane in circle tin.
Did you do a gimbal calibration after installing the filter?
 

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Any suggestions for a good universal filter for still images?
Maybe a PL filter if you're shooting photos on reflective surfaces? Otherwise, you can shoot photos without a filter.
 
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I found out that a good variable ND filter is easier to use. Just dial it at the beginning of a flight and you are ready to go. No need to change lenses. No need to carry extra lenses. No need to mess with the threads on the camera.


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I disagree. Variable density filters are not very good and can cause banding and color variation. I am a photographer and I gave up using variable density filters years ago. Use them at your own risk.
 
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I disagree. Variable density filters are not very good and can cause banding and color variation. I am a photographer and I gave up using variable density filters years ago. Use them at your own risk.
I did not claim that you retain quality, so you can't really disagree with what I said. They are easier to use....

On the other hand, it is true that you may get banding and discoloration with a variable ND filter, but only at the higher extreme settings. Alas, we can't really use the phantom with those settings anyways since we wouldn't be able to see where we are flying to.
In other words I use it in the range ND2 to ND32, and not because I would not want to use the rest of the range, rather because the image gets too dark at ND64 and above. In the usable range I didn't notice a quality degradation.

Would be nice if DJI integrated an electronic variable ND filter. Then we could fly to a waterfall, dial in a value of ND400, and use that stable platform in the sky to get a veil shot of the falls....
I can keep on dreaming....


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