Are you looking for the best ND filters to take your photography to the next level?
Numerous types of photography gear are available to make photography easier and also help you capture high quality images. These can be tripods, lighting equipment, battery packs and so on. Filters are one such item that can be very useful to certain types of photographers.
This article talks about how filters are useful, also lists out some of the best Neutral Density filters and their features!
See also: Best Tripod for Landscape Photography
Best ND Filters: Our Top Three
What are ND Filters
An ND or Neutral Density filter is one that when placed in front of a lens, reduces the amount of light that enters the camera. You can think of ND filters as a type of sunglasses for your camera. The only difference is that the ND filter will not change the color of the light that is entering the camera like sunglasses.
There are two functions that ND filters help control.
Aperture: In photography, almost always, more light is preferred. In certain cases, such as when you are shooting in broad daylight and want to achieve a shallow depth of field, overexposure can be an issue. ND filters help in this regard and can lower the amount of light entering the camera at these wide apertures. With these filters, you can create a shallow depth of field as well as selective focus in even the most brightly lit scenarios.
Shutter Speed: The other popular use of ND filters is to enable a slow shutter speed for blurred effects. A camera blur is undesirable in most cases. In photography where you want to emphasize movement, whether it is that of water, vehicular lights, or even smoke, a camera blur is useful. Note that for such photography a tripod is necessary.
Specifications of ND Filters
Stops of Light: For every stop of light on a filter, the amount of light entering the camera is halved. So, in order to have the same exposure as before, you need to double the shutter speed. For instance, if you use an ND filter with 4 stops, it means that your camera will only get 1/16th of the original light.
Filter Factor Number: This refers to the factor by which light is reduced. For a filter with 6 stops, the filter factor number will be 64.
Filter Shape: A majority of ND filters are circular in shape, and can be screwed over the lens. Square shaped and rectangular filter are also available, which can be inserted onto a special holder.
ND Filters Summary Table
Best ND Filters
Main features of Cokin ND Nuances
- Color Accuracy is Flawless
- Absolutely No Sharpness Reduction
- Perfect Accuracy with f/stop
- Available in 6-stop and 10-stop densities
- Lowers Shutter Speeds and Widens Apertures
- 1000x Filter Factor
Main features of Hoya ND Filters
- Filter Diameters from 49mm to 82mm
- Excellent Exposure Accuracy
- Metallic ACCU-ND Coating on Both Sides of Glass
- 10 Stop Light Reduction
- Single-Piece Aluminium Ring Eliminates Vignetting
Main features of B+W F-Pro 110 ND Filter 3.0 MRC
- Reduces Light by 10 Stops
- 1000x Filter Factor
- 8 Layer Multi-Resistant Coating For Anti Reflection and Easy Cleaning
- High Level of Neutral Density Allows For Super Long Shutter Speeds
- Constructed Using High-Quality Schott Glass
- Brass Filter Ring for Jamming PRevention and Increased Durability
Main features of Formatt-Hitech Firecrest ND
- 77mm ND Filter
- Reduces Light by 13 Stops
- Hyper Neutral Across Spectrums
- Crafted with 2mm Schott Super White Glass
- Single Stop Increments Available
- Available in Square and Circular Shapes
Main features of Marumi DHG Super ND
- Great Construction
- Good Choices of Diameters from 49mm to 82mm
- Multiple Useful Density Options
- Scratch Resistant Coating on Filter Glass
- Satin finish for Reduced Reflections
- Shallow Frame Depth that Avoid Vignetting with Ultrawide Lenses
Main features of LEE Filters 100 x 100mm
- Superb Image Quality
- Multiple Density Options
- Numerous Filter Sizes
- Scratch Resistant 2mm Thick Optical Glass
- Padded Pouch For Easy Transport and Storage
Main features of Nisi ND Filter
- Oil Resistant and Waterproof Nano Coating for Reduced Fingerprints
- Two-Sided Anti Glare Coating
- Light Reduction by 10 Stops
- 100mm by 100mm Size
- High Definition Optical Glass of 2mm Thickness
- Incredible Color Fidelity
With knowledge on the best neutral density filters, you can use them to capture better-looking photographs on your next shoot!
Stefano Caioni is a photographer from Sydney, Australia. Founder and editor of Pixinfocus, his passion for photography helps him explore new places and live new adventures. Thanks to photography he reconnected with the outdoors and was able to travel the world and take photos of some of the most beautiful places on Earth.