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Best camera filter for protection + cinematic footage on Mavic Air?
776 18 2018-4-26
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djiuser_YQ4txgpwqhvM
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Hi guys,

I will be bringing my Mavic Air for my overseas trip next week, and need a filter mainly to protect the lens. However, on further research, I read that an ND filter helps to make footage better and smoother. I assume (correct me if I'm mistaken), that it protects the lens as well?

The problem, though is that there're different kinds of ND filters (2, 4, 8, 16), which confuses me a lot. More importantly, having to change between different filters when I am out travelling takes up too much time and poses inconvenience.

In light of the above, does anyone have any recommendations on what's best to use? Would it be fine if I were to use the mildest ND filter? Or should I just get a UV filter instead?

Thanks!


2018-4-26
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A CW
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ND4 - Sunset/sunrise and heavy cloud
ND8 - Bright with broken cloud
ND16 - Light cloud/blue sky
ND32 - Cloudless/very bright days
ND64 - Extremely bright days, long exposure shots

If you are flying on a bright day and need a shutter speed of 1/1000th to expose the image correctly and use an ND4 you will still need a shutter speed of around 1/800th which will not give you the motion blur you need to create that cinematic feel to your footage. If you only intend on buying 1 ND filter then I'd get the ND16 but buying a set to cover as many environmental conditions as possible is better. The normal set up is ND4, 8, 16 but I find an ND32 very useful too. Creating the best footage you can is a big part of why you fly these things in the first place and shouldn't be 'inconvenient'.  
2018-4-26
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DJI Diana
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A CW Posted at 2018-4-26 23:37
ND4 - sunset/sunrise and heavy cloud
ND8 - bright with broken cloud
ND16 - Light cloud/blue sky

Useful information, thanks for sharing
2018-4-27
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Montfrooij
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A CW Posted at 2018-4-26 23:37
ND4 - Sunset/sunrise and heavy cloud
ND8 - Bright with broken cloud
ND16 - Light cloud/blue sky

Good summary!
2018-4-27
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M2Wair
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A CW Posted at 2018-4-26 23:37
ND4 - Sunset/sunrise and heavy cloud
ND8 - Bright with broken cloud
ND16 - Light cloud/blue sky

^^^This^^^^

Nothing needs adding covered fully by A CW
2018-4-27
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A CW
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Thanks Monty   
2018-4-27
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A CW
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M2Wair Posted at 2018-4-27 03:51
^^^This^^^^

Nothing needs adding covered fully by A CW

Cheers mate I guess I covered the bulk of it LOL      
2018-4-27
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A CW
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DJI Diana Posted at 2018-4-27 00:44
Useful information, thanks for sharing

Thank you Diana
2018-4-27
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Breezer74
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A CW Posted at 2018-4-26 23:37
ND4 - Sunset/sunrise and heavy cloud
ND8 - Bright with broken cloud
ND16 - Light cloud/blue sky

Excellent, many thanks.  For a long term photographer (stills with full frame dslr) and newbie to video and drones this helps a lot.
2018-4-27
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A CW
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Breezer74 Posted at 2018-4-27 05:35
Excellent, many thanks.  For a long term photographer (stills with full frame dslr) and newbie to video and drones this helps a lot.

No probs - glad to help   
2018-4-27
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Montfrooij
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You're welcome!
2018-4-27
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djiuser_YQ4txgpwqhvM
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A CW Posted at 2018-4-26 23:37
ND4 - Sunset/sunrise and heavy cloud
ND8 - Bright with broken cloud
ND16 - Light cloud/blue sky

Hi A CW,

Thanks so much for your helpful comments!

Do you have any recommendations on what brand of ND filter to purchase?

Also, I have a few quick clarifications:

1. The ND filter would also serve as a protection for the camera lens right?

2. Is it alright to take photos with an ND filter? Would the quality of the photo be affected in any significant way?

3. Do you guys always remove your ND filters after flight when you pack your drones? If you leave the filters capped on, how do you protect it from scratches?

Thanks so much!
2018-4-28
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A CW
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djiuser_YQ4txgpwqhvM Posted at 2018-4-28 04:54
Hi A CW,

Thanks so much for your helpful comments!

No probs.

1. Yes, the ND filter completely covers the lens of the camera so if scratched you can remove the ND filter and replace - the lens on the MA is not detachable so you'd need a new camera which will be hundreds to replace.

2. ND filters are specifically designed to reduce the shutter speed to increase the motion blur to make videos appear more cinematic - ideally aiming to set the shutter speed at double the chosen frame rate to create what is referred to as the 180 degree rule - this will give you the perfect motion blur in your footage. So, as an example, manually setting the shutter speed at 1/60th against a framerate of 30p keeping the ISO as low as possible (100 on the MA) and the image pefectly exposed.
ND filters are not generally needed for stills. However, long exposure shots (shutter speed at around 1-2 seconds) will require a strong ND filter to stop overexposure when lining up these type of images. There is also minor harm using ND's when taking stills as the motion blur effect can take out the depth and sharpness of the still.

3. I always remove my ND filters and use the stock gimbal clamp to protect the camera during transport/storage. ND filters are not designed purely to protect the lens which seems to be what you are more concerned about.  
2018-4-28
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djiuser_YQ4txgpwqhvM
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A CW Posted at 2018-4-28 05:06
No probs.

1. Yes, the ND filter completely covers the lens of the camera so if scratched you can remove the ND filter and replace - the lens on the MA is not detachable so you'd need a new camera which will be hundreds to replace.

Thanks so much once again for your very helpful comments.

Do you have any brands of ND filters to recommend? Or is any brand generally fine to use?
2018-4-28
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A CW
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djiuser_YQ4txgpwqhvM Posted at 2018-4-28 05:22
Thanks so much once again for your very helpful comments.

Do you have any brands of ND filters to recommend? Or is any brand generally fine to use?

Polar Pro cinema series and DJI as the only one's I have used on my drones - highly recommend either though quite expensive. That said, don't buy cheap ones as they can damage the gimbal motors (too heavy), interfere with the gimbal calibration on start up (too big) and/or not actually stop the amount of light they are advertised to do (too crap)
2018-4-28
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djiuser_YQ4txgpwqhvM
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Does anyone have any experience with PGY ND filters? There doesn’t seem to be any affordable PolarPro ND filters here, and ordering online will take too long to reach :/
2018-4-29
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djiuser_YQ4txgpwqhvM
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A CW Posted at 2018-4-26 23:37
ND4 - Sunset/sunrise and heavy cloud
ND8 - Bright with broken cloud
ND16 - Light cloud/blue sky

Hello A CW, apologies for bothering you again.

The local retailers here sell the Polar Pro ND filters but only the 4 8 16 is available.

Conversely, there are other retailers selling PGYTECH ND filters, with 4 8 16 and 32. This is priced more cheaply than the PolarPro set above.

Any advice which to take?
2018-4-29
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djiuser_YQ4txgpwqhvM
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djiuser_YQ4txgpwqhvM Posted at 2018-4-29 20:51
Hello A CW, apologies for bothering you again.

The local retailers here sell the Polar Pro ND filters but only the 4 8 16 is available.

Oh sorry, there're now 3 options available.

(1) PolarPro 4 8 16
(2) PGY Tech 4 8 16 32
(3) DJI ND filters 4 8 16

(1) is the most expensive, followed by (2) and (3).

Is it worth getting the PolarPro even if that means I won't get the ND 32?
2018-4-29
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A CW
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djiuser_YQ4txgpwqhvM Posted at 2018-4-29 20:59
Oh sorry, there're now 3 options available.

(1) PolarPro 4 8 16

Polar Pro do make exceptional ND filters with the highest quality and a lifetime guarantee but the DJI ones will not impact on the warranty, are cheaper and will do the job as also good quality. I've never used PGYTech filters so can not comment on those but an ND32 will come in handy over the summer.
2018-4-29
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