Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Detailed comparison of commonly used ND filters

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by msinger, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. msinger

    Approved Vendor

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Messages:
    18,928
    Likes Received:
    5,575
    Location:
    US
    Detailed comparison of commonly used ND filters (for the Phantom 3 & Phantom 4)

    Overview

    The goal of this thread is to compare the size, weight, type, and quality of commonly used ND filters for the Phantom 3. Since there isn't one best filter for every situation, this comparison should help everyone choose a filter that works best for them.

    Since filters from the same sets have the same build quality, only one filter from each filter set was considered. Here's a list of the filters compared below:
    The above filters were chosen for the following reasons:
    • Most can be purchased on Amazon and/or eBay
    • They are commonly discussed in forums on the Internet
    • They have good reviews, so you should also have a good experience if you choose one of these brands
    The following types of filters were compared:
    • Glass filter: This is the most common type of filter. It has a single glass lens and is only designed to be used in a specific lighting condition (e.g. cloudy, sunny, sunrise/sunset). These filters often come in sets since one is not right for all situations.

    • Gel filter: This filter has a thin, flexible plastic lens. Since the lenses are very thin, they can be layered as needed to block out more light. They can be easily scratched and/or bent, so they require more care than glass filters.

    • Adjustable ND filter: This filter is made of two layers of glass and has a top and bottom section. When the filter is twisted, more or less light is blocked. The advantage is that you can use one filter for any situation. A commonly discussed disadvantage is that they might not produce as clear of a picture as regular ND filters that contain a single layer of glass.
    Note: All of the above filters will fit the Phantom 3 Professional, Phantom 3 Advanced, Phantom 3 4K, and Phantom 4. Only the slide-on filters will fit the Phantom 3 Standard since it does not have a removable filter.


    ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────


    Close-Up Photos

    DJI UV (screw-on stock filter)
    Filter-DJI-UV.jpg



    DJI ND8 (screw-on)
    Filter-DJI-ND8.jpg


    Anbee/BTG ND16 (screw-on)
    Filter-Anbee-ND16.jpg



    DitzCo ND8 (slide-on)
    Filter-Ditzco-ND8.jpg



    Freewell ND2-400 (screw-on adjustable)
    Filter-Freewell-Adjustable.jpg



    Mudder ND2-400 (screw-on adjustable)
    Filter-Mudder-Adjustable.jpg



    Neewer ND16 (screw-on)
    Filter-Neewer-ND16.jpg



    Polar Pro ND8 (screw-on)
    Filter-PolarPro-ND8-ScrewOn.jpg



    Polar Pro ND8 (slide-on)
    [​IMG]


    SRP ND16/CP (slide-on)
    [​IMG]



    TACO-RC ND16 (screw-on)
    [​IMG]

    ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────


    ND Filter Specs
    • DJI UV--(screw-on/glass lens/metal rim 0.05 oz)
    • DJI ND8--(screw-on/glass lens/metal rim 0.05 oz same size as DJI UV filter)
    • Anbee/BTG ND16--(screw-on/glass lens/metal rim 0.05 oz same size as DJI UV filter)
    • DitzCo ND8--(slide-on/gel filter/plastic rim 0.01 oz)
    • Freewell ND2-400--(screw-on/glass lens/metal rim 0.20 oz)
    • Mudder ND2-400--(screw-on/glass lens/metal rim 0.35 oz)
    • Neewer ND16--(screw-on/glass lens/metal rim 0.10 oz)
    • Polar Pro ND8--(screw-on/glass lens/metal rim 0.15 oz)
    • Polar Pro ND8--(slide-on/glass lens/plastic rim 0.25 oz)
    • SRP ND16/CP--(slide-on/glass lens/metal rim 0.25 oz)
    • TACO-RC ND16--(screw-on/glass lens/metal rim 0.05 oz same size as DJI UV filter)
    Note: Slide-on filters are used along with the stock UV filter. So, they add extra weight on top of the weight of the UV filter.


    ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────


    Color & Sharpness Comparison

    The following photos were taken indoors to ensure the same lighting was used for each photo. The Phantom was not designed to take detailed close-up photos, but it's a great way to compare the color and sharpness produced when using various filters.

    Filter-Magazine-Comparison.jpg

    Note: The color differences above aren't really that important if you're planning on editing your photos/video in a program like Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Premiere.


    ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────


    Likes & Dislikes

    While these filters all produce nearly the same end result, here are some things that set them apart:
    • All: Filters that are not the same size as the DJI UV filter might need to be removed in order to use your camera lens cap and/or gimbal lock.

    • DitzCo: These lenses attract more lint/dust than filters with glass lenses.

    • DJI: These filters have no marking on the outside, so you'll need to somehow label them or label the storage case so you're able to easily tell them apart.

    • Freewell: This filter has tick marks on the outside to show the selected ND level. This could come in handy if you want to use a similar setting again for a specific flying condition/location.

    • Polar Pro: Many of the lenses have traces of glue on the edges where they were glued in place. This does not affect the picture quality, but it's something you will visually notice when viewing the inside of the filters close up.

    • SRP: These filters fit very tightly, so they are not as convenient to use if you'll be changing them often. I found they are easier to remove if you wiggle them from side-to-side as you slide them off.
    ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────


    Tips
    • When using slide-on filters, make sure they are fully depressed. Otherwise, you might see dark spots in the corners of your video/photos (AKA vignetting) or your camera might hit the ground as it rotates when your Phantom is starting up.

    • With the exception of the Freewell, SRP, and TACO-RC filters, all filters come with a pretty poorly designed storage case. The TACO-RC filter case works well for DJI filters and those that are the same size as the DJI filters. For all other filters, this 3-pocket or 6-pocket filter case works well.

    • You'll definitely need a camera lens cleaner (like this one) to clean fingerprints and/or dust/lint that often clings to the surface of the lenses.

    • The Phantom 4 gimbal lock cannot be used if you have filters that are not the same size as the DJI UV filter -- unless you modify it like this.

    • Make sure you have the appropriate filters to handle all of the usual lighting conditions where you fly. The following chart will help you figure out which filters you'll need:

      [​IMG]
     
    #1 msinger, Apr 1, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
    Schnoidz, ADP591, STAINLESS and 22 others like this.
  2. Air Ontario

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2016
    Messages:
    1,271
    Likes Received:
    493
    Location:
    U.S./ Canada
    Good deal Mike.
    Thanks for taking the time and initiative to tackle this comparison.
    I am happy with my choice and how it compared to the others.

    Also great insight and tips for pre purchase consideration.
     
  3. EddieG

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    7
    Very informative...thx!
    Still wanting to pick up some Taco's
     
  4. fastsmiles

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2014
    Messages:
    844
    Likes Received:
    130
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Tx
    Nice write up, thanks for sharing. I would be interested on your feedback on the adjustable filters.
     
  5. m0j0

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,533
    Likes Received:
    530
    That's what I use I like them. No issues


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  6. 2nd2non

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    208
    Location:
    Orange County, California
    Mike- color shift is an issue for me especially when mixing clips from different shoots using different ND filters. I prefer to avoid 'matching in post'. Which ones would you say had the most significant color shift? Adjustable ND filters? Seems you would not want to mix brands to avoid matching in post later
     
  7. msinger

    Approved Vendor

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Messages:
    18,928
    Likes Received:
    5,575
    Location:
    US
    Any that don't look close to the color of the DJI UV filter above.

    If you have an adjustable filter, you simply adjust it as needed. There would be no need to swap it.
     
  8. exit 4

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    97
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    Love my Tacos too.
    Thanks, very well done.
     
  9. 2nd2non

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    208
    Location:
    Orange County, California
    Ok it's hard to see color shift vs just darker shade unless I'm not getting it
     
  10. msinger

    Approved Vendor

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Messages:
    18,928
    Likes Received:
    5,575
    Location:
    US
    The colors and sharpness are pretty close, but it allows you to see how they differ from the clear UV filter. The test simply shows that you should be able to use any of these filters and get pretty good results -- even more so if you're editing your photos/video and not trying to use them straight off of the memory card.
     
    2nd2non likes this.
  11. StevenQX

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2015
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    185
    Location:
    Italy
    Here a picture of the neewer package i bought. This include UV, CPL, ND16, ND2-ND400 filters.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. 2nd2non

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    208
    Location:
    Orange County, California
    Makes sense. Great write up
     
  13. Boost3devo

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2016
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    I bought a polar pro 3-set for P3P, but i found after unboxing them that they are the slide-on type, does the added oz. can affect the gimbal? Or is fine? Im thinking to exchange them for the screw ones.
     
  14. yardbird

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    A-1 Job indeed
    All the Specs to review and compare
    Thank-you Mike
     
  15. DefaultIT

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    74
    Wow this is great. Thanks!

    At a quick glance the SRP seems to have a notable sharpness advantage over just about everything else. Given the extra functionality, I'm also impressed by the mudder, which for $25, just made my Amazon prime cart.

    (hopefully not too off-topic side note) Anyone know of lenscap/gimbal guards that fit over these larger filters yet?
     
  16. Jcarlson1701

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    13
  17. John Locke

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    Messages:
    2,934
    Likes Received:
    1,105
    Location:
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Mike, awesome info. The incompatibility with the P4 gimbal lock for some filters may be worth mentioning. The ones with a lip won't work.
     
  18. alokbhargava

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Messages:
    5,132
    Likes Received:
    1,655
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Msinger, you spent so much money on buying those filters, I wish you had really done detailed quality optical evaluation rather than just visual comparison.

    No doubt it's very useful collection of information at one place. Thx
     
  19. LOONEYHD

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thank you for your detailed post! This issue is one of my most sought after questions. Your visual comparison is more than adequate and if SOMEBODY else wants a "quality optical evaluation" no one is stopping them. I am a professional photographer and new pilot. Thanks for helping me with this as I will now make an informed decision on what to research further and pick up. You did 90% of an inquiry that had me itching!


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
    Excavator99 likes this.
  20. msinger

    Approved Vendor

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Messages:
    18,928
    Likes Received:
    5,575
    Location:
    US
    Great point! I added this in my tips above.