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Heliopan ships Vario ND variable filters in sizes from 55 to 82mm

By dpreview staff on Aug 12, 2011 at 01:20 GMT

Heliopan has started shipping variants of its Vario ND variable neutral density filters in sizes from 55 to 82mm, according to its US distributor, HP Marketing. The filters provide 1–6.6EV filtration and include numerical markings to allow you to precisely dial-in the desired density. The filters feature brass construction and are shallow enough to be used with lenses as wide as 16mm equivalent.

Press Release:

NEW HELIOPAN VARIO ND FILTERS NOW AVAILABLE IN SIZES UP TO 82MM

August 11, 2011: Heliopan has just begun shipments of their new Vario ND filter in 82mm size. Like the 52 to 77mm sizes it is adjustable from 1 to 6.6 stops of ND (0.3 to 2.0 density) by simply rotating the calibrated rim of the filter. The Heliopan Vario ND filter is totally neutral in color, it is mounted in a black anodized brass ring that is numerically calibrated for ease in repeating a desired density. The cali- bration scale has an index for added convenience and the adjustable range is hard stopped at each end to save time in set-up and use. The Heliopan Variable ND filter is very thin (8.7mm from the front edge to the front of the lens) to allow it to work on lenses as wide as 16mm without color shifts, vignetting or artifacts common in other variable ND filters.

The new Vario ND filter is now available in screw-in sizes from 52 to 82mm. The new Heliopan Vario ND filters are available from camera stores in the USA.

Comments

Total comments: 25
exposures
By exposures (Sep 1, 2011)

What about 82mm size ND filters (8-10 stops)?

0 upvotes
wijnands
By wijnands (Aug 17, 2011)

Well... **** me, these are expensive!

0 upvotes
razorfish
By razorfish (Aug 14, 2011)

Seems some guys here (Joseph in particular) are talking down a product they haven't actually tried. I bought one of these when they became available, and I can tell you it's the first time I've experienced a variable ND with no color cast whatsoever. Sharpness drop is only visible on the very best of primes. This is undoubtedly the best variable ND money can buy. I know Heliopan's reputation, so as soon as i heard they were making a variable ND I knew it had to be good. Actually, I never found variable ND filters to be usable until I got this one. Too many compromises in quality. Of course it's expensive, but you have to consider the fact that this filter replaces 4-5 standard ND filters in your bag. I'm always looking for ways to lighten my load, so to me, this is an excellent investment.

There is actually a review at this address:
http://philipbloom.net/2011/06/04/the-best-variable-nd-filter-i-have-used/

3 upvotes
RBFresno
By RBFresno (Aug 13, 2011)

JOseph:

Thanks for your very useful comments!

RB

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Aug 13, 2011)

I typically avoid "crossed polarizer" IR filters. They have a lot of problems...

* Most "prebuilt" stacked polarizers, like the Hoya, and (it appears) this Heliopan, don't let you adjust the angle of the rear polarizer, and that's important.
* Stacked polarizers and strong ND filters both suffer from color casts due to IR/UV contamination.
* "Prebuilt" stacked polarizers tend to get permanent dirt and hazy films (outgassed lubricants) trapped between the polarizers.

Oh, and I like the description of 8.7mm as a "very thin" filter that will cause no "vignetting".

1 upvote
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Aug 13, 2011)

When you cross two polarizers, you get a new polarizer with its axis effectively between those of the two polarizers. There's an optimal polariziing angle for your picture to give the foliage, water, and sky a certain look. You need to set the rear polarizer to one side of that angle, and the front polarizer to the other side of the angle. So, you need to be able to rotate _both_ polarizers. Can't do that with most one-piece setups, like the Hoya, and (it appears) like this Heliopan. You can with a Singh-Ray, but that thing is monstrously thick, you might as well screw together two polarizers.

My normal solution is to use my existing B+W MRC "pro" mount circular polarizers as the rear polarizer, in whatever size fits the lens I'm using, and then use a step-up ring with and a big linear polarizer as the front. No vignetting, and this combination is easier to adjust than a Singh-ray, because you can turn the rear polarizer from the back edge of the step-up ring.

1 upvote
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Aug 13, 2011)

Virtually all ND filters "leak" infrared. It doesn't matter if they're That's why filters that appear beautifully neutral to the human eye acquire a cast (typically magenta). It doesn't matter if they're conventional ND filters (ionically dyed glass) or crossed polarizers.

Most older cameras register that IR in the blue and red channels, making magenta. If you block 6-8 stops of visible light, even cameras with good IR rejection often respond to the increased IR to visible light ratio.

A good "hot mirror" IR filter should boost what IR rejection the camera already has and clear the casts right up. And it will improve your foliage colors, too.

Crossed polarizers have an additional problems that a "normal" ND filter doesn't have, in that they also leak UV. That's why crossed polarizers are sometimes used as improvised IR/UV filters. Unlike IR, which registers as both red and blue, making magenta, UV tends to register as pure blue. Either color cast is hard to clean up.

2 upvotes
Stanley Hoffman
By Stanley Hoffman (Aug 13, 2011)

It allows you to slow down the shutter. I use one a lot.

0 upvotes
Andre Oliveira
By Andre Oliveira (Aug 12, 2011)

This is as expensive as a piece of gold. I guess it works with two superimposed polarizers

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Aug 13, 2011)

You are correct. I find two polarizers to be more versatile. The variable ND filters, whether Singh Ray, Tiffen, or Heliopan, don't let you adjust the polarization angle of the rear filter. I'll explain why this is important elsewhere in this discussion...

0 upvotes
Andre Oliveira
By Andre Oliveira (Aug 14, 2011)

So in this filters we're forced to have the light polarized even when we want it only attenuated. Looks like a serious drawback.

0 upvotes
IEBA1
By IEBA1 (Dec 27, 2011)

Well, if you want a variable ND, that's how this one is designed. If you want to carry 10 different straight ND filters and screw each one on and off individually, you can do that too. But some might consider that to be a serious drawback. :)

2 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Aug 12, 2011)

Not that I would ever question Bob Solomon, but these very thin filters look pretty thick to me. Then again, how thin can a double polarizer be?

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Aug 13, 2011)

I'd question him. I've caught out Mr. Salomon making bogus claims about many of the products he distributes, including Heliopan, Ansman, Novoflex, Rodenstock, BaLens, and Giottos. I can send you a list of discussion where he was dismantled and debunked, if you like.

That was before he was banned from dpReview for spamming. I wonder why they ran his "press release" now...

0 upvotes
goblin
By goblin (Aug 12, 2011)

$450 for the 77mm version ?!?

Nice try...

For anyone having problems with color cast - B&W 110 filters have a stable, repeatable magenta cast which is easilly corrected in raw. And it's usually available around $80.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Aug 13, 2011)

They won't have a magenta cast on a different camera. Magenta casts and ND filters are usually due to IR leakage in the filter. This is common, most strong filters let a lot of IR through, and most older cameras register that IR in the blue and red channels, making magenta. A good "hot mirror" IR filter should clear it right up. And it will improve your foliage colors, too.

2 upvotes
RBFresno
By RBFresno (Aug 12, 2011)

Hi Swordfish!

I've never used a ND filter (not counting polarizers!), so I appreciate hearing about and benefitting from your experience!

A few questions:

1) How does the color cast compare between the Kenko you've recommended and the Heliopan?
2) How do you adjust the level of neutral density on Kenko ND400?

Thanks!

0 upvotes
PaulTh
By PaulTh (Aug 12, 2011)

You have to be careful of heavy colour casts with ND filters - I bought a Hitech 9 stop ND which cost me £77 and has a blue cast which is very difficult (impossible) for me to get rid of, even from a RAW file in Lightroom.

Phillip Bloom recomends this filter as having no colour cast - I was wondering if anyone else has any experience of this filter. It's pretty expensive but if it has no colour cast then it'd be worth it.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Aug 13, 2011)

Every camera responds differently to variable ND filters (crossed polarizers, whether you cross your own or use something like the Heliopan) and also to actual ND filters. ND filters "leak" a lot of IR light. That's why crossed polarizers are sometimes used as improvised IR filters. Crossed polarizers have an additional problems that a "normal" ND filter, a single piece of dyed glass, won't have, in that they also leak UV. Cameras have good IR/UV blocking filters inside, but when you do something like blocking 8 stops of visible light, the leaked UV and IR start to cause problems. IR typically shows as a magenta cast, UV as a blue cast.

0 upvotes
MLebout
By MLebout (Apr 25, 2012)

I just came across this thread... Sorry, I didn't get through it all, can you recommend a good vari ND? A specific product with at least 1-5 range?

Thanks!

0 upvotes
Swordfish
By Swordfish (Aug 12, 2011)

Another rip-off. Get a Kenko ND400 and save your money for a lens.

1 upvote
sirlukas
By sirlukas (Aug 12, 2011)

Any information on price guys?

0 upvotes
Carsten Saager
By Carsten Saager (Aug 12, 2011)

€220 for the 77mm version - see all prices http://www.heliopan.de/Preisliste.pdf

0 upvotes
Jason Butler
By Jason Butler (Aug 14, 2011)

The 77mm is $443.99 from B&H:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/765517-REG/Heliopan_707790_77mm_Vario_Neutral_Density.html
OUCH!
I can buy a decent used Nikon prime for that much.

0 upvotes
exposures
By exposures (Sep 1, 2011)

Does anyone have a source for 82mm ND filters? I need an 8 to 10 stop so I can slow shutter speed for long exposures. Thanks!

0 upvotes
Total comments: 25