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Kenko-Tokina launches NDX variable neutral density filter

By dpreview staff on Aug 1, 2011 at 19:09 GMT

Kenko-Tokina has announced a variable neutral density (ND) filter that can be adjusted fro ND2.5 to ND1000. The Kenko NDX filter can darken the scene by anywhere from 1.3 to 10 EV. The filter allows the use of wide apertures while keeping the correct exposure within the shutter speed range of your camera, or of very long shutter times to emphasise motion. The company suggests its use for shooting video with shallow depth-of-field, for instance. Its variable nature allows the amount of filtration to be reduced for focusing, then increased to the desired amount, without having to remove the filter. The filters can vignette when used with lenses wider than 28mm equivalent and are available in 77mm and 82mm filter thread sizes.

Click here to find out more (Google Translated from Japanese)

Comments

Total comments: 50
Tomek_C
By Tomek_C (Aug 4, 2011)

It is possible to improvise your own variable ND filter by stacking two polarizing filters. Keep the first one fixed and rotate the second to vary the density. Minimum density is when the axes of polarisation are aligned. Maximum when they are crossed at 90 degrees.

6 upvotes
anyurtan
By anyurtan (Aug 5, 2011)

yes, of course!

0 upvotes
glenneroo
By glenneroo (Aug 24, 2011)

thanks for that useless comment ;)

0 upvotes
Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (Aug 4, 2011)

Happy with my Lee Big Stopper, which costs about a quarter of this Kenko.

0 upvotes
watduzhkstand4
By watduzhkstand4 (Aug 2, 2011)

wow $700+ for this? I might just have to go for the singh ray lol

0 upvotes
kenyee
By kenyee (Aug 2, 2011)

$700 is probably list price so figure half that for mail order prices I'd hope. Still nuts though. A lot of them (including the Fader ND on Amazon) even affect sharpness at 1080p video resolutions according to Vincent LaForet.

DPReview needs to do a roundup/review of this, the Tiffen, the Singh Ray and the Heliopan. Heck, I'd do it and write i up for you guys if you want, but it needs to be done :-)

3 upvotes
HCR21
By HCR21 (Aug 2, 2011)

Ridiculously expensive. I guess its made for the video crowd used to cough up large sums for simple accessories. The Tiffen VND 77mm is only $200-239.

0 upvotes
expoboy52
By expoboy52 (Aug 2, 2011)

I bet it will be pretty pricey.

0 upvotes
Prime_Lens
By Prime_Lens (Aug 2, 2011)

Variable ND filter tends to be much inferior in overall optic quality, but I am very curious about this one. Who knows, this one might proves to be the one that fits all bill.

0 upvotes
S Staley
By S Staley (Aug 2, 2011)

How much are they asking for filter sounds kind of pricey

0 upvotes
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (Aug 2, 2011)

piqued... but very pricey (2011-Aug-02):
JPY55000 (77S = 77mm)
JPY65000 (82S = 82mm)
wow

0 upvotes
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (Aug 2, 2011)

Looks great, I never liked to stack filters!

0 upvotes
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Aug 2, 2011)

Spec. sound good.
I hope the price will be reasonable and quality without major drawbacks.

0 upvotes
zoom878
By zoom878 (Aug 2, 2011)

i buy hoya circular polarize ..i am not satisfied..

0 upvotes
Pepenillo
By Pepenillo (Aug 2, 2011)

Well it depends, the Hoya "HD" version are awesome, but those are not cheap.

0 upvotes
Gheghevic
By Gheghevic (Aug 2, 2011)

Great!

0 upvotes
Frenske
By Frenske (Aug 2, 2011)

I wish they still produced Cokin P155 so I can add it to other filters.

0 upvotes
dopravopat
By dopravopat (Aug 2, 2011)

Yeah, two polaritzers stacked on ech other, the front one being a linerar. It works fine, but the linear polarizer I had was a cheap one, with green color cast. If the price for this filter is more than the price of a linear and circular polarizer of equal quality and size, I wonder who will buy this.

0 upvotes
Victor Engel
By Victor Engel (Aug 2, 2011)

If the front one were linear, you would see an effect of the polarization on the photo. They must both be circular polarizers oriented in opposite directions:

1/4 wave filter, linear polarizer, adjustment space between layers, linear polarizer, 1/4 wave filter.

The first and last layers "randomize" the polarity so that you don't get a polarizing effect, such as cutting reflections, darkening a band in the sky, etc.

0 upvotes
D Gnatat
By D Gnatat (Aug 2, 2011)

long a waiting

0 upvotes
Tiago Degaspari
By Tiago Degaspari (Aug 2, 2011)

Fantastic filter.

0 upvotes
Swordfish
By Swordfish (Aug 1, 2011)

Rip-off. Just get the Kenko ND400 for less than $80 -- no color cast and no gray splotches across the image at ultra-wide angles.

1 upvote
Ranger 9
By Ranger 9 (Aug 1, 2011)

The Tiffen has less range -- 2 to 8 stops, vs 1.3 to 10 stops for the Kenko unit. (I assume Kenko's 2.5 to 1000 spec is for "filter factors," rather than the log density units we old-timers are accustomed to seeing for ND filters.)

Still, considering the price difference, I'll probably spring for the Tiffen when more sizes appear.

0 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (Aug 1, 2011)

Funny, I just bought and used one of those yesterday. Very useful and helpful to get the exact exposure in different situations.

The one drawback I could see was due to the polarizer. The sky was getting really dark towards one corner of the image. Landscape photographers need to be careful.

0 upvotes
Steve Balcombe
By Steve Balcombe (Aug 2, 2011)

In theory there is a solution to the sky problem. If the front polariser is a reversed circular PL instead of a linear PL, the dark band doesn't occur because the quarter-wave plate on the back of the CPL (now facing forwards) 'depolarises' the incoming light.

Do any of the variable NDs on the market use this trick? I don't know, but it seems this one doesn't.

1 upvote
Silvarum
By Silvarum (Aug 2, 2011)

Why would landscape photographers want wide aperture with slow shutter anyway?
I haven't seen any of them even with simple ND filter, many with gradient filters, though.

0 upvotes
Steve Balcombe
By Steve Balcombe (Aug 2, 2011)

To get the misty water effect of a very long exposure.

2 upvotes
Oldvic
By Oldvic (Aug 3, 2011)

Also, to blur the blades of wind turbines, regardless of the rotation speed.

0 upvotes
Silvarum
By Silvarum (Aug 13, 2011)

But they don't need wide aperture for that. I mean they used low ISO number and narrow aperture. Some of them even had film camera with 25 ISO film in it. And they always could use polarizer as ND filter.
I wish manufacturers would stop that highest ISO race (which is useless anyway) and would lower minimum ISO numbers.

0 upvotes
Donato M Rondinelli
By Donato M Rondinelli (Aug 1, 2011)

For video, these are a must have. Especially if you shoot outdoors on a partly cloudy day as these allow you adjust while you're recording.

I have two Sigh Rays. One accepts the Canon lens cap but does have vignette issues because it's thick. The other is thinner but you have to use their cheap lens cap that doesn't stay on.

While your lens hood is on, you have to be careful adjusting it on the fly while recording so you don't see your fingers. So I prefer the thicker because there is more to grab on to and less chance of accidentally touching the glass. I just avoid the wider end of the lens.
You definitely have to take off your UV because it adds thickness.

The new Tiffen variable ND is supposed to be really thin and may fix the vignette issue
http://www.tiffen.com/displayproduct.html?tablename=filters&itemnum=77VND
and it's only $200 at Adorama. Anyone have it?

The Ebay and other cheap ones are usually plastic.

-dMR

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Aug 1, 2011)

Hopefully these will be better quality than then Chinese ones on eBay. But when you cross polarizers, you usually get artifacts. Better to get a Hoya/Kenko ND400. These are available at BIC and Yodabashi (even Amazon.jp has them), in 77 and 82. Tough to find in the US, though.

0 upvotes
R BELTRAN
By R BELTRAN (Aug 1, 2011)

CHECK OUT THIS WEB SITE.
http://www.singh-ray.com/varind.html
USING THIS ONE FOR FOUR YEARS NOW.

2 upvotes
chiane
By chiane (Aug 1, 2011)

It says the filters can vignette with lenses wider than 28mm. I would think a big use for this would be with UWA lenses for landscape and architecture shots, but I guess not.

0 upvotes
AV Janus
By AV Janus (Aug 1, 2011)

Price???
Does it come with free lifetime replacements!!??

0 upvotes
JakeJones
By JakeJones (Aug 1, 2011)

I've used something similar before. I've found that when including the sky (or other polarized light sources) that the two polarizers work against each other, and give a 'splotchy' exposure in different areas across the whole frame. I wonder if they've been able to resolve that issue.

1 upvote
Ernest Beinrohr
By Ernest Beinrohr (Aug 1, 2011)

i have just made such from 2 CPs. about 10euros with shipping. 3min of "work". the result however is blueish ;-)

0 upvotes
jgardia
By jgardia (Aug 1, 2011)

Hi,
You should try with 2 linear polarizers (for compacts or EVILs), or 1 LP and 1 CP if you have a slr (LP - CP - Lens, in this order).
Cheers.

1 upvote
steve_hoge
By steve_hoge (Aug 1, 2011)

I'd be amazed if they could get 10 stops out of a polarizer - some other trick?

0 upvotes
Philip Goh
By Philip Goh (Aug 1, 2011)

It's probably a combination of 2 polarizers. Such things already exist, see Singh Ray (http://www.singh-ray.com/varind.html)

0 upvotes
futile32
By futile32 (Aug 1, 2011)

nice idea, but expensive if prices are true.. I would guess at $70 not $700

0 upvotes
LensLineup
By LensLineup (Aug 1, 2011)

yeah, must be a typo!

0 upvotes
Philip Goh
By Philip Goh (Aug 1, 2011)

While $700 is expensive, it's not going to be $70. Singh Ray charge about $400 for a 77mm version of their Vari ND filter, so I assume that these Kenko-Tokina filters will eventually be priced similarly.

0 upvotes
photonius
By photonius (Aug 1, 2011)

read the specs:
suggested retail for 77mm: 55,000 yen, currently 700$, 500 Euro, ugh...

0 upvotes
rockjano
By rockjano (Aug 1, 2011)

You can buy similar from E-bay. From $15-$25 including free delivery.

How that is possible?

http://stores.ebay.com/photoseller2007store/category2512940017-/_i.html?_fsub=2512940017&_sid=664503017&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322

http://stores.ebay.com/digital-winway/Fader-ND-Filter-/_i.html?_fsub=3069754018&_sid=656036388&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322

0 upvotes
role_of_72
By role_of_72 (Aug 2, 2011)

Price is one thing but quality is an other.. I have a ND filter from that 'Green L' brand from ebay and to tell the truth it is awful.

I don't have huge expectations but that filter ruins the sharpness and colors as well. It has a strong reddish effect on my images. We ended with a refund.

I don't know this version but it has twice as many glass elements than my ordinary ND filter so I'm afraid quality isn't that great. :)

0 upvotes
Prognathous
By Prognathous (Aug 1, 2011)

Probably just a couple of polarizer filters. Not much new new here, except for marketing such combination as a single product.

Prog.

0 upvotes
huyzer
By huyzer (Aug 1, 2011)

My goodness, that is a huge range. Nice!

0 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (Aug 1, 2011)

I like my Cameron Fader ND for $70.

0 upvotes
backayonder
By backayonder (Aug 6, 2011)

I've still got a Cokin in my bag that I haven't used yet. I keep meaning to go out with it and take some milky water shots.
$700 for this is ridiculous. I thought the SinghRay was expensive!
Kenko isn't even a good brand, or am I being harsh?

Cheers

0 upvotes
Mauragon
By Mauragon (Aug 17, 2011)

Maybe the price is in Japanese Yen hahahaha

0 upvotes
Total comments: 50