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ND Filters: Am I Doing it Right?

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  • ND Filters: Am I Doing it Right?

    I recently bought myself a small Cavision matte box for my Pocket camera and I would like some filters for outdoor shooting at lower apertures. I just wanted to double check a few points before I spent a chunk on some filters. I'm looking into getting a 0.6 ND, 0.9 ND, 1.2 Hot Mirror ND, and a linear polarizer. My matte box has 2 stages, one of which rotates.

    From what I've gathered, it is recommended have an IR cut filter with 1.2 ND or greater. Will buying a 1.2 Hot Mirror ND be ok for shooting outdoors? I'm getting the 0.9 and 0.6 NDs for additional ND if the 1.2 isn't enough. Can these be stacked behind the 1.2 IR ND without any additional pollution? Would I be better off buying a different density Hot Mirror ND or is my thinking more or less correct in getting the 1.2?

    Finally, what's up with matte box + filter prices?

  • #2
    Why not just get a variable ND filter?


    • #3
      I did get a very low quality fader ND to try it out and, yes, while it would work in some cases (like running and gunning), I don't like working with it since it polarizes the light at the same time. It's also somewhat annoying to screw on and off when I change lenses or don't need ND. Not to mention I've noticed it's also hard to clean the inside of a fader when dust creeps in...

      Using a matte box will make it much quicker and easier for me to manage filtration. I can also use a graduated ND filter - something I forgot to add to my list in the OP.

      Besides, for the price of a good fader ND I can get most of the filters I mentioned above with more control over my image.


      • #4
        Yeah, if you have a matte box, go with actual filters.

        I personally have been using the Formatt IRND filters, and besides them being a tad small for my matte box, I love them (just added some gaffers tape to the top of one of the filters to make it fit in the tray). I have an .3, .9, and 1.5. That covers the majority of situations for me.


        • #5
          Actually, I'm now starting to wonder if I could just leave a UV/IR cut screw in filter in front of my lens all the time. That would leave me with more options with my matte box when I do need IR control, right? Other than increasing the possibility of flaring, are there any downsides to doing this?

          By the way, do you guys have any brand opinions for filters (Tiffen/Formatt/Schneider/etc)? I'm pretty much going to be stuck with whatever filters I choose anyway since hardly anyone uses 3 x 3" filters (I know, I should have bought a 4x4 matte box). Whatever I get I pretty much have to live with, so I'd like to make sure I only have to buy once! I'm leaning towards Tiffen since they're cheaper, but I'm open to suggestions.


          • #6
            Schneider Tru Cut


            • #7
              The only problem for me is I'm using a not so standard 3 x 3" matte box. I don't think Schneider makes the Tru Cut filters that small. My options are basically Cavision Hot Mirror filters, Formatt Hot Mirrors (Which are about $400 each), or a screw on UV + IR cut filter, which I'm not even sure would work well on the Blackmagic cameras or not...