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Cheap cheap 4x4 ND filters?

ND filters 4x4 Filters Fotga DP3000 Sony F3

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#1 David Peterson

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 10:12 AM

What 4x4 ND filters are recommended? (especially any more affordable ones!) Also interested in graduated ND 4x4 filters, and polariser 4x4 filters.

I know the cheaper ND filters often have issues, but I'm hopeful there are some options out there which can give at least "acceptable" results relevant to the no budget indie level. I'll be using this on a Fotga DP3000 M3 matte box with Rokinon DS lenses and a Sony F3.

These are the possible ones I'm looking at for now (open of course to other suggestions):
http://www.ebay.com/...x-/191191576133
http://www.ebay.com/...r-/261153861690
http://www.ebay.com/...0-/310953307707
http://www.ebay.com/...m-/261153856545
http://www.personal-...filters-holders


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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 11:17 AM

Recommended? Tiffen, or Lee I guess. I've never been picky enough to see any problems with Formatt. If you really need to save money, I have some Cokin ND grads in resin which seem fine but I'm not sure if they do them any more. Much, much cheaper than glass.

 

Edit: Apparently Cokin still do, under the Z-Pro range, which is available in either 100x100 or 100x150 (4x4 or 6x4). When I bought 4x4 grads and NDs, there was a horrendous waiting list, but that was a couple of years ago.

 

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#3 aapo lettinen

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 11:24 AM

I recommend used Tiffen or Schneider filters. you can maybe use screw filters also if you can get them affordably. 82mm with step down rings is usually a good choice, the step down are very cheap if you order them directly from China. 

 

You really don't want to cheap on filters, the plastic ones or the cheap glass ones are usually not quite usable even for amateur use...  a used quality stuff is your best choice I think. 

The cheapest 4x4 ND:s are those which have 85 filter combined in them, you can get very good quality used set very affordably. Of course you can't stack them because of the 85 and you will get more blue channel noise when colour balancing the 85 out. but you will save maybe at least 300% compared to used good quality normal nd because no one (except film guys) want to use those 85 nd:s so they are hard to sell :)


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#4 aapo lettinen

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 11:32 AM

I bought one set very similar to this, I use it with tungsten film stocks but can also be used on digital if the added channel noise is not an issue. 

I paid something like 60 or 70 USD plus shipping for the whole set if I remember correctly, including the (very very good!) case :)  

The seller was Visual Products, you can check ebay regularly if something similar pops up :) 

 

http://www.ebay.com/...Q4AAOSwU~FWDqiS


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#5 Albion Hockney

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 01:29 PM

the F3 has a .9 and 1.8 nd filter built in. to fill out a full set of ND you only need .3 and .6 ND filters and you will have everything from 3-2.5ND 

 

.3 and .6 filters since they are not very strong are less likely to have problems with color shift so you can probably get away with some cheaper filters.


Edited by Albion Hockney, 28 October 2015 - 01:30 PM.

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#6 Mikko Suomalainen

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 01:43 PM

For Rokinon's you can also use 77mm threaded ones. A Tiffen set (.6, .9 and 1.2) goes for 100usd at BHphoto. That's half of the price of one 4x4 Tiffen.


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#7 Albion Hockney

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 02:36 PM

..again you will only need .3 and .6 - no reason at all to buy anything else.


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#8 David Peterson

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 01:16 AM

How it ended up is I got on eBay a Tiffen 4x4 ND1.2 (four stops) for a hundred bucks, which I expect will be the most often used filter by me initially. (for when the internal ND filters on the F3 simply are not enough while shooting outdoors in summer time)

 

 

 

But also got three graduated ND filters of different strengths and one ND8 (three stops) filter, for the ridiculously low low price of only six bucks each!! I thought "why not?", it will at least allow me to muck about and compare them. And maybe operate as a back up set in a pinch. Curious to see just how bad these $6 4x4 filters will be!


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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 05:49 AM

At those prices, I'd have probably bought 'em too!

 

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#10 aapo lettinen

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 07:28 AM

I shoot a lot with tele lenses and the xcsource filters don't work for that at all, for example with 200mm they distort the image so much that it is unusable even for sd web use. maybe they could be used with lenses below 50mm or so with usable results. I don't know about the Fotga ones, never tested them.

 

Most of the cheap filters have either green or magenta cast, the xcsources were heavily towards magenta I think. I have never had the distortion problems with glass filters and the Cokin ones were usually OK although they scratch very easily, cannot be cleaned with lens fluid and are oddball size and thus difficult to fit to a real matte box. I used self made cardboard 4x4 frames with the filter taped on top of them when I used the Cokins. they didn't work well with long tele lenses either but at least they mostly managed 100mm range :/


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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 12:35 PM

The cokins I have are four inch.
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#12 Albion Hockney

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 01:18 PM

How it ended up is I got on eBay a Tiffen 4x4 ND1.2 (four stops) for a hundred bucks, which I expect will be the most often used filter by me initially. (for when the internal ND filters on the F3 simply are not enough while shooting outdoors in summer time)

 

 

 

But also got three graduated ND filters of different strengths and one ND8 (three stops) filter, for the ridiculously low low price of only six bucks each!! I thought "why not?", it will at least allow me to muck about and compare them. And maybe operate as a back up set in a pinch. Curious to see just how bad these $6 4x4 filters will be!

 

 

if you had just bought an ND.3 and ND.6  you would have stronger ND options still. the two internal filters are .9 and 1.8 ...1.8 + a .6 is a 2.4 which I have never even had to use before (2.1 is the highest I have ever gone) to shoot basically wide open in direct sun.

 

now instead you have ND .9 + 1.2 = 2.1 and ND.1.8 + 1.2 = ND 3 which I have never even heard of its so many stops direct sun will probably be underexposed at a t1.0

 

 

for $60.00 you can get formatt 4x4 nd filters and in .3 and .6 variations the color shift is not a big concern. you want to rely on the internal filters as they will be much better with color and IR pollution.


Edited by Albion Hockney, 30 October 2015 - 01:25 PM.

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#13 David Peterson

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 04:40 PM

Don't think I should've got one as weak as 0.3, but yeah I kinda wonder if I should've got one as weak as 0.9 and maybe maybe even 0.6 (but I'm skeptical), however there was not Tiffen ND 4x4 at that strength going very cheaply on eBay at this time. Thus went for 1.2


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#14 Albion Hockney

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 04:58 PM

Hey David I think you are missing the point, because an ND .9 filter would literally be almost useless because your camera already has a .9 and 1.8 ND filter built in.... so unless you want to achieve ND 2.7 (9 stops of light reduction) which again is a lot of stops and only necessary if you want achieve something like f1.4 outside on a sunny day, not needed.

 

ND filters work in 1 stop increments - .3 is one stop - Built into the f3 are .9 and 1.8 filters - if you have an additional .3 and .6 nd filter you have every stop covered from .3 to 2.4

 

Generally when you shoot you want to achieve a certain stop and having a full set of ND in .3 increments allows you get any stop you want regardless of the lighting.

 

this is how it breaks down if you buy .3 and .6 filters going from 1 stop of light reduction up to 8 stops of light reduction.

 

.3, .6, in camera .9 ND, in camera .9 + .3 (1.2), in camera .9 + .6 (1.5), In camera 1.8, In camera 1.8 + .3 (2.1), in camera 1.8 + .6 (2.4).

 

 

and again with .3 and .6 you don't need to worry so much about the quality of the filter ....although some would disagree... but for your purposes formatt's should be fine.


Edited by Albion Hockney, 30 October 2015 - 05:00 PM.

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#15 David Peterson

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 08:26 AM

Yup, I know the math. But...

 

...necessary if you want achieve something like f1.4 outside on a sunny day...

 

....you just described a reason why I want as much as even ND1.2! As I want my maximum ND total to be high enough I can even shoot wide open on a sunny day (and it can get very bright in summer here!). However, I did spot another decently good deal on ebay for a Tiffen 0.6 so I've now got that one on its way as well now, to add to the Tiffen ND1.2 I got beforehand. 


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#16 stewart addison

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 05:58 PM

I wouldn't use cheap-cheap ND filters, why put a $10 filter on a mega-dollar camera and lens setup? It becomes the weak-link..


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#17 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 07:09 PM

Because it isn't always a mega-dollar camera and lens setup. And because many productions, particularly including low-budget ones using low-cost camera equipment, are far better served by putting hundreds of units of currency into a really interesting location, costume or hair and makeup job than chasing a microscopic amount of MTF.

 

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