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Question About ND Filters
2968 31 2015-5-29
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carlcronejr
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United States
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For all of you that have ND Filters, in what situation would they come in handy/useful for, and which do you recommend? I've seen some single filters sold as well as 3 packs with different filters inside. Any input is welcomed!
2015-5-29
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Arvy55
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United States
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The purpose of neutral density filters is to reduce the amount of light that gets to the camera and thus decrease the shutter speed and increase exposure time. These types of filters are particularly useful in daytime, because of the abundance of light that cannot be significantly reduced by stopping down the lens aperture and decreasing ISO.
2015-5-29
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carlcronejr
lvl.1
United States
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Awesome, so basically, they're good for use in the daytime, both picture and video? If I got one, does it require any setting changes or should I leave it all default
2015-5-29
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Fulgerite
First Officer

United States
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Unlike your typical DSLR or point & shoot camera... The DJI camera has a FIXED aperture.  It is a very fast lens around f2.  It does not have an iris control.

Therefore...  On bright sunny days it will attempt to shoot at extremely fast shutter speeds around 1/3200 of a second at ISO 100.  This fast shutter integration time can cause rolling shutter artifacts.  (Jello effect)  These fast shutter speeds also can cause a strobing effect if the sunlight is filtered through the propellors.

Using a neutral density filter makes less light enter the camera.  Less light means the shutter speeds slow down.  The slower shutter speeds are closer to what we are used to seeing on a motion picture camera.  1/100th to 1/200th is ideal.  These slower shutter speeds also help smooth out rolling shutter (jello) and flickering, strobing effects caused by the propellors.  It also helps add some slight motion blur that is generally considered "more professional" looking.

Although this video shows a GoPro comparison...  the exact same physics apply to the DJI camera.



And here is some ND enhanced Phantom 3 footage demonstrated by a well known filter company.  (Notice NO jello.)


2015-5-29
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JtrJr-Droner
Captain
Flight distance : 4341 ft
United States
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Fulgerite Posted at 2015-5-30 09:04
Unlike your typical DSLR or point & shoot camera... The DJI camera has a FIXED aperture.  It is a ve ...

Fulgerite,

You and FantomDK need to team up and write a book! You guys are a Godsend for idiots like me. I just wish you guys could (may not be possible) dumb it down for guys like me. Tell us what we should use as an all-purpose setting, so you don't have to watch our horrible videos!

Jerry
2015-5-29
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fiskld
lvl.2

United States
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I just ordered the 3 filter set from PolarPro.  I can't wait to try them.
2015-5-30
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FantomDK
Second Officer

Denmark
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Check out www.phantomfilters.com for a lightweight solution. That is my site and is what I use.
2015-6-12
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HunterBrooks
Second Officer

United States
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Hey FantomDK.  I've read a lot of your posts, and I'm a fan.  Just make sure one thing - full disclosure on the sites.  lol  It could come back to haunt you later .... : )

Keep those cards and letters comin'.
2015-6-12
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Philliplloyd20
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Flight distance : 690607 ft
United Kingdom
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FantomDK Posted at 2015-6-13 09:35
Check out www.phantomfilters.com for a lightweight solution. This is what I use.

Just ordered a set, free delivery. Quick and easy to order. Hope they arrive soon. Thanks
2015-6-13
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Albert Jr.
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Flight distance : 2422041 ft
United States
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FantomDK Posted at 2015-6-13 09:35
Check out www.phantomfilters.com for a lightweight solution. That is my site and is what I use.

Definitely a quick solution. What are these made of sir... gels? or something else?

Thanks,

Albert
2015-6-13
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Daninho
Second Officer

Germany
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Actioncams like the Gopro have fast shutterspeeds for a reason, they wanna show fast moving objects. With slow shutterspeeds everyhting will be blurred out. Those ND filters are very useful for normal cameras because video filmers often want a shallow depth of field and this is reached with opening the aperture on normal cameras. When you open the aperture you have the problem that to much light comes to the sensor and the video will get overexposed. Normally you could just close the aperture but than you dont have the effect of shallow depth of field. So thats the normal purpose of ND filters.

However action cams like Gopro or the Phantom3 camera have a fixed aperture which is fully opened at F2.8. So you cant reduce the light by closing the aperture maybe to F8 or something like that, its always F2.8.
You can make the sensor less sensitive for light with the ISO setting while ISO 100 is the least sensitive (Phantom3). Finally you can increase the shutterspeeds and that is what those actioncams do to prevent the video or photo from beeing overexposed. If you want slow shutter speeds you have to use ND filters but you can easily simulate an ND Filter in the evening when you go to manual settings and chose ISO 100 Shutterspeed 1/120 when you film in 1080/60. Not the ND filter will do the trick, the settings will do the magic. You can even test if a ND will remove your jello problem when you film in bright daylight at ISO 100 1/120 1080/60. Your video will be totally overexposed but you can still see if it helped or not.

The good thing about the Phantom3 cameras is that you can adjust it manually, not like the gopros. When you put a ND Filter on a gopro it will increase ISO as well which is bad because it will create noise. With the P3 you can lock ISO at 100
2015-6-13
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HunterBrooks
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United States
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Daninho, if I read your explanation yesterday morning, I would have had no idea what you were talking about.  But I literally took a basic photography class yesterday afternoon, and what you said now makes perfect sense to me.  Thanks!!  (And who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?)

I finally got my extra batteries this week, and am about to head out the door to play with the camera settings.  I didn't before, not only cause I didn't know what the settings did, but with only one battery, I only had like 15 mins of real flying time.  So I didn't want to waste any valuable battery life.

Excellent explanation!!
2015-6-13
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FantomDK
Second Officer

Denmark
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Albert Jr. Posted at 2015-6-13 20:29
Definitely a quick solution. What are these made of sir... gels? or something else?

Thanks,

Yes, Albert, they are ND-filters of the 'gel'-type. More precisely, polyethylene with dye bonded to them. Unlike glass, they are thin and flexible - and light weight and fit behind the UV-filter which unscrews (note; it can be a bit tough to unscrew the first time. I used some rubber (a rubber glove) to get a good grip).

@Daninho
Excellent explanation and suggestions for experimenting
2015-6-13
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Albert Jr.
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Flight distance : 2422041 ft
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Thank you FantomDK.
I've been a photographer for many years (40+) and my experience with gels (Rosco or otherwise) is they scratch. So you just cut another round when they do.
But I've been using the Polar Pro's the last week.... and although my set was a bit too snug (on the threads) they sent me another set which works great.
I like the glass,,, easier to clean... and I can stack the UV filter in there as well.
Thanks for your contributions to this forum... I hope I can help as well!

Albert
2015-6-14
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john.lambert4
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Australia
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FantomDK Posted at 2015-6-13 09:35
Check out www.phantomfilters.com for a lightweight solution. That is my site and is what I use.

Thanks FantomDK for this info.  I've just placed an order for the P3Pro filter kit (Australia) - can you advise on roughly how long to receive these?  

Cheers!
2015-6-14
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FantomDK
Second Officer

Denmark
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john.lambert4@o Posted at 2015-6-15 11:54
Thanks FantomDK for this info.  I've just placed an order for the P3Pro filter kit (Australia) - c ...

John,

Jun 15, 2015 @ 5:50AM Payment completed
Jun 16, 2015 @ 4:23PM Marked as shipped

Shipped with First Class Mail (A Prioritaire), so I would expect 4-5 working days to Australia.

Thanks again!
2015-6-17
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john.lambert4
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Australia
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FantomDK Posted at 2015-6-18 10:02
John,

Jun 15, 2015 @ 5:50AM Payment completed

Awesome!  Thanks for responding back to me.  :-)

I'll let you know how I go with them!
2015-6-17
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PaulSimisterPho
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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Thanks FantomDK - the filters sound great. Just ordered a set to try in the UK.
2015-6-18
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groovy100
lvl.4
Flight distance : 1977986 ft
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Germany
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Any idea whether add-on filters such as those from Snake River Prototyping strain the gimbal excessively causing gradual overheating.and damage over time?
There have been people on this forum suggesting that counterbalancing is needed and that there's a risk of overheating the gimbal by using these.
2015-6-18
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cgl817
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United States
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Albert Jr. Posted at 2015-6-13 20:29
Definitely a quick solution. What are these made of sir... gels? or something else?

Thanks,

I'm shooting both photos and video, Would I need to unscrew the cap and take out the filters every time I want to shoot photos rather than video?  Or does it matter if they are in while shooting photos?
2015-6-18
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FantomDK
Second Officer

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cgl817@gmail.co Posted at 2015-6-19 08:18
I'm shooting both photos and video, Would I need to unscrew the cap and take out the filters every ...

No, no need to take out the ND-filters for shooting photos. But since they do lower the amount of light going to the sensor which decreases the shutter speed, especially if you use the stronger ND-filters you could potentially risk the image to get shaky/blurred if the quadcopter was moving a lot when you took the picture - because instead of capturing the photo without the ND-filter in for example 1/800th of a second, with the ND it might take 1/60th of a second

In fact you could also use the ND-filters for a special effect that still photographers do, where they put very strong ND-filters (you could stack the ones from www.PhantomFilters.com to get a very strong effect) in front of the camera in order to take photos with long exposure - maybe several seconds - to create motion blur in something like flowing water or waves which can create an effect on a waterfall like this (maybe a bit exaggerated) example:


The challenge could be to keep the Phantom steady enough. But I do like to refer to my Phantom as my "tri-pod in the sky" so capturing such an effect on e.g. waves on a beach, could be an interesting challenge

You can read more on ND-filters on the Wikipedia page where I found the photo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_density_filter



In short; ND-filters can certainly have a function in still photos as well.
2015-6-19
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Paniza
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Canada
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I have limited time to fly. It is either end of the day or the weekend...if it is not snowing, raining or windy. But I guess that is most of us.

I have been playing/testing with ND Filters for about 2 weeks now... may be 10 flights.



I found them very useful when shooting during sunny days.

Video Summary:
- End of day / strong shade (ie sunset+) + P3P auto + nd filter => noisy video, camera is limited (no surprise here)
- Mid day + P3P auto + nd filter => great flying around video (shade, light, shade, etc). It holds glare and contrast pretty good
-  Mid day + P3P auto + NO nd filter => "flat" video


I have done many manual shots BUT:
- Tablet looks great, end product is either too dark or too washed out (I need to practice more here to establish a recipe)
- Video, camera is looking down, then you move up, boom... mess. Never as good as automatic. Unless you are filming where the lighting doens't change much.


So, during a sunny day, I'm pro of NF filters. I'm yet to test 6 stops for slow moving filming. I'm yet to post the great videos with ND filters... just collecting now.


For pictures and no ND filters, as long as you have no glare, take 3 brakets and lightroom (or whatever your HDR software is) should take care of it... pending camera limits.


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2015-6-19
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DanH
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France
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FantomDK Posted at 2015-6-13 09:35
Check out www.phantomfilters.com for a lightweight solution. That is my site and is what I use.

I ordered and received the phantomfilters and am very pleased with those.
They don't load the gimbal and could be left in place !

At the price of 15 US$, it's a real bargain !
2015-6-20
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cgl817
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United States
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FantomDK Posted at 2015-6-20 09:05
No, no need to take out the ND-filters for shooting photos. But since they do lower the amount of  ...

Thank you! Just ordered.
2015-6-22
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flyingviking
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Flight distance : 151693 ft
Canada
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I also ordered the Phantom filters from PhantomDK. $18 vs PolarPro's $70. Not a difficult choice there. PhantomDK, when can I expect my filters, put the order in withing the past hour, shipping to Canada?
2015-6-26
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Fant0mas
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Canada
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flyingviking Posted at 2015-6-26 20:00
I also ordered the Phantom filters from PhantomDK. $18 vs PolarPro's $70. Not a difficult choice the ...

Just ordered mine and yep they ship to Canada...at least I hope so, otherwise I won't get my order
2015-6-26
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david.varhol
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United States
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FantomDK Posted at 2015-6-13 09:35
Check out www.phantomfilters.com for a lightweight solution. That is my site and is what I use.

What do you suggest to use to remove your filters once you have them inside your lens cap? I have these but am wondering if I want to swap out filters and use my fingers it will leave fingerprints on them?
2015-7-27
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laurence.barton
Second Officer
Flight distance : 53458 ft
United States
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I'm trying to find a polarizing filter instead of an ND. Any ideas?
2015-7-27
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Phantom Help
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laurence.barton, there are different options here:
http://www.PhantomHelp.com/#CameraP3





www.PhantomHelp.com
Find the latest must-haves, fixes, mods, how-tos, guides, and accessories for your Phantom.
Phantoms in stock and ready to ship worldwide! (see availability)
                                                
2015-7-27
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jack1144
lvl.4

Canada
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I ordered the Phantom Filter Full set. Great delivery to Canada. Nice little labelled sleeve for each one.
Thanks
2015-7-27
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jack1144
lvl.4

Canada
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laurence.barton  the Phantom Filters has the polarize and can be used in combination with the ND's
2015-7-27
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shango
lvl.2
United Kingdom
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I ordered a set of the phantomfilters.com filters but not going to use them, they are too flexible, don't really fit in correctly, if you sit them on top the rubber seal they bend/buckle when you tighten up the lens cap which would probably create distortion, if you put them under the seal they make contact with the glass which creates a weird pattern effect, they are also a pain in the ass to get out again.

Service was very good and they are a cheap option.
2015-7-30
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