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? Variable ND filters + Polarizer ?

Started 2 months ago | Questions
RUcrAZ
RUcrAZ Veteran Member • Posts: 6,057
? Variable ND filters + Polarizer ?

I assume that variable ND (neutral density) filters are made by using two polarizing filters, rotating against each other. (Yes, no?) If yes, does this mean that one cannot use a circular polarizing filter, in combination with a variable ND filter? Bottom line question: can both be used simultaneously? Thank you.

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Horoscope Fish
Horoscope Fish Contributing Member • Posts: 913
Re: ? Variable ND filters + Polarizer ?

RUcrAZ wrote:

I assume that variable ND (neutral density) filters are made by using two polarizing filters, rotating against each other. (Yes, no?)

No. Neutral Density does not equate to polarization.

If yes, does this mean that one cannot use a circular polarizing filter, in combination with a variable ND filter? Bottom line question: can both be used simultaneously? Thank you.

Yes, they can be used together, Breakthrough Photography even offers a CPL/ND combo filter.

https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Breakthrough-Photography-X4-Dark-CPL-Filter.aspx

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RUcrAZ
OP RUcrAZ Veteran Member • Posts: 6,057
Re: ? Variable ND filters + Polarizer ?

I am not sure that my question (about "variable" ND filters) was answered. In the past, I have successfully used ND filters in combination with plain ND filters.

ZodiacPhoto
ZodiacPhoto Senior Member • Posts: 2,767
Re: ? Variable ND filters + Polarizer ?
2

RUcrAZ wrote:

I assume that variable ND (neutral density) filters are made by using two polarizing filters, rotating against each other. (Yes, no?) If yes, does this mean that one cannot use a circular polarizing filter, in combination with a variable ND filter? Bottom line question: can both be used simultaneously? Thank you.

Yes, variable NDs are made of two polarizers. Adding a third polarizer will lead to unpredictable and undesirable results.

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FrancoD Forum Pro • Posts: 11,204
Re: ? Variable ND filters + Polarizer ?
1

Your first comment is correct.

From Hoya :

The variable neutral density effect is created by employing two polarizing filters within one filter design. That is 2 pieces of glass and 2 layers of polarizing film creating 8 surfaces within the filter. As light passes through a low-quality filter it will bounce around those 8 layers within the filter degrading sharpness, contrast, and clarity. So using low quality glass, polarizing films, and little to no multi-coatings, like most low-cost competitors, will wreak havoc on your pictures.

The Solas NDX uses the highest quality optical glass, super-thin optical grade polarizing films, and multiple layers of Hoya’s patented multi-coatings on each of the 4 sides of glass. The result is a sharp, glare-free filter that produces superior quality images you can trust.

http://solasndx.hoyafilterusa.com/

BTW, there is at least one type that clims to offer variable ND and full PL at the same time but it comes in only two sizes :

https://www.genustech.tv/Polarizer-ND-Variable-Filter-s/177.htm

from the depolarisation comments I read on the first Hoya link I posted, my assumption is that using VND and PL on top is not a good idea, but I don't have direct experience with this.

FrancoD Forum Pro • Posts: 11,204
Re: ? Variable ND filters + Polarizer ?

Horoscope Fish wrote:

RUcrAZ wrote:

I assume that variable ND (neutral density) filters are made by using two polarizing filters, rotating against each other. (Yes, no?)

No. Neutral Density does not equate to polarization.

If yes, does this mean that one cannot use a circular polarizing filter, in combination with a variable ND filter? Bottom line question: can both be used simultaneously? Thank you.

Yes, they can be used together, Breakthrough Photography even offers a CPL/ND combo filter.

https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Breakthrough-Photography-X4-Dark-CPL-Filter.aspx

ND and Variable ND filters are not made the same way.

24Peter
24Peter Veteran Member • Posts: 3,553
Re: ? Variable ND filters + Polarizer ?

ZodiacPhoto wrote:

RUcrAZ wrote:

I assume that variable ND (neutral density) filters are made by using two polarizing filters, rotating against each other. (Yes, no?) If yes, does this mean that one cannot use a circular polarizing filter, in combination with a variable ND filter? Bottom line question: can both be used simultaneously? Thank you.

Yes, variable NDs are made of two polarizers. Adding a third polarizer will lead to unpredictable and undesirable results.

I believe Zodiac is correct.

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DeathArrow Senior Member • Posts: 2,313
Re: ? Variable ND filters + Polarizer ?

RUcrAZ wrote:

I assume that variable ND (neutral density) filters are made by using two polarizing filters, rotating against each other. (Yes, no?) If yes, does this mean that one cannot use a circular polarizing filter, in combination with a variable ND filter? Bottom line question: can both be used simultaneously? Thank you.

I did use a CPL filter on top of a variable ND filter. Not that I needed polarization very much but the CPL darkened the exposure a bit and I needed a longer exposure time.

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Mark B. Forum Pro • Posts: 26,259
Re: ? Variable ND filters + Polarizer ?

Horoscope Fish wrote:

RUcrAZ wrote:

I assume that variable ND (neutral density) filters are made by using two polarizing filters, rotating against each other. (Yes, no?)

No. Neutral Density does not equate to polarization.

Actually the OP is correct - variable ND filters are essentially 2 CP filters stacked.

BBbuilder467 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,816
Re: ? Variable ND filters + Polarizer ?

RUcrAZ wrote:

I assume that variable ND (neutral density) filters are made by using two polarizing filters, rotating against each other. (Yes, no?) If yes, does this mean that one cannot use a circular polarizing filter, in combination with a variable ND filter? Bottom line question: can both be used simultaneously? Thank you.

I have stacked a variable ND over a CPL and it worked, but it was such a pain to adjust and control that  I prefer using the standard ND for stacking.

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