Home > Technology > Singray Vari-ND Neuatral Density Filter: From 2 to 8 Stops

Singray Vari-ND Neuatral Density Filter: From 2 to 8 Stops

February 9th, 2008

This Singh-Ray Variable Neuatral Density filter is a very interesting piece of technology. It’s reported to be a little uneven at it’s higher light cutting settings, so beware. Still there is nothing like it and it has some interesting HDR possibilities. Sing-Ray has a real nice blog http://singhray.blogspot.com/search/label/Vari-ND.
Neutral Density(ND) filters are traditionally used for shallower depth of field or for more motion. I frequently use a 3stop ND filter on my 50MM 1.2 and my 85 1.2.. I love the shallow depth of field I get from shooting wide open on these lenses, but my Broncolor strobes are way too bright to get proper exposures.
I rarely use anything other than polarizers and graduated ND filters on digital cameras. There isn’t much use for color filters because the effects are better done in Photoshop. This is not a case of “Lazy-Shooter-Itis”, Photoshop just does many jobs better than the filters can. I do like to creating effects in camera as often as I can. There is merit in doing everything possible in camera to make the shot.

This image was made on slide film using a 24MM with: Polarizer, Enhancing, and NO.25 Yellow stacked. You can see how the filters vignette causeing a dark edge. I stacked filters to create looks on film, but the added glass degrades the image quality. Many of the same effects can be created in Photoshop with much greater control. The yellow can be added in Photoshop and the enhancing filter is replaced with Vibrance and Saturation controls. This effect is now easy in Photoshop, but back in 1990 when I shot this it took some imagination and a bag full of filters.


Shot with “Rock Star filter”
Cross and Star filters still come in handy. Star effects can be created in photoshop, but it’s a lot of work to get them in the right spot. I still keep Cross, 6 and 8 Point Star filters in the bag.
Infrared, Ultraviolet, and all kinds of spectrum narrowing filters are still fully in play with digial sensors. In many ways these filters have more play with chips that are very sensitive to spectral changes. I would love to here some comments on the use of filters and digital sensors.

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  1. Gerald Hiller
    October 10th, 2008 at 01:26 | #1

    Have you used the Singh Ray VD filter for HDR photos and what were your results? I’ve tried it and using Photomatix and I wasn’t pleased with the results.

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