Disclaimer: Light Craft Workshop is now a sponsor of Canon5dTips.com. If you read the sponsorship page, you know that I only agree to promote products that I actually use and love. So if it wasn’t good, I would not recommend you to buy one, as my painful Pocket Wizard TTL experience proved.
If you don’t know what a ND filter is or why you need one, take a look at this post on the subject (coming soon).
The price! At about 110$ for the 77mm, this product is cheap for the results it yields. Basically, without it you can’t shoot outside on a bright day and expect to get a cinematic looking image. You will either be stuck at f22 or use a super high shutter speed. With this puppy, you can block up to about 8 stops of light from coming in which allow you to shoot wide open at a eye pleasing f2.8 right in the middle of the day.
I tested the 77mm version, a small detail that eluded me at fight is that the front glass element is a bit bigger. In the case of the 77mm, the front is 82mm. A bigger front element makes the filter easier to grab and adjust than let say a circular polarizer.
Adjustments are quite easy to do thanks to the gradation on the side of the filter and there is nothing preventing you from using in between values if needed.
I have been playing with the filter for a while now and contrary to my variable polarizer, rotating the filter does not accidentally unscrew the filter from the lens. This caused a few accident with my other variable circular filters so I am happy to see that it is not the case with the one from LCW.
I am impressed. I can barely see any difference in image quality when using the filter for video. For still images, which are much higher resolution, I could see some differences in the overall sharpness but nothing to worry about. Of course the filter will change the image color but then again, it is going to be adjusted in post anyways so I dont really see this as an issue.
Now the question: how can you protect against flares? While standard lens hood can’t be used (they dont fit or block access to the filter), rubber lens hood are a perfect alternative since they screw on the front element. The only problem is that I have not found a manufacturer who makes 82mm version of these but for smaller filters you should be fine.
Of course, even with a hood you have to be careful of the sun and other bright light sources else it will flare, hood or not.
The filter comes with a carrying box, a 82mm lens cap and a small string to attach the lens cap. Unfortunately, the filter box is not big enough to carry both the filter and the lens cap. This is a minor annoyance but I would have preferred to stash everything in the same box for convenience and to make sure I do not lose anything.
This is a must have product for anyone serious about his videography work. I would even pick this before a Z-Finder. I have not used it much to stills yet but I am planning to do some super long exposure this weekend, if the weather is cooperative.
And if 8 stop is not enough…
LCW also sells a a model, the Ultra, that reduces light between 9 and 12 stops. That is a lot!
If you are in Canada and want one…
Contact me at: boss @ thiswebsite.com