Impartial density filters open up potentialities for taking pictures gradual shutter speeds in the midst of the day or wide-open apertures with flash and vibrant daylight. But, a lot of them depart shade casts and vignetting of their wake — or at the least, that’s the case with a budget selections. Priced at $340, the Lee Components VND 6-9 cease filter actually doesn’t match the phrase low cost. Providing sufficient gentle dampening to shoot long-exposures mid-day, the filter supplies the flexibility of a variable impartial density filter, but goals to supply the standard of a sq. filter.
Lee Filters is greatest identified for its sq. drop-in kind filters. The corporate’s latest choices, nevertheless, embrace a pair of variable impartial density filters that enable photographers and videographers to chop the sunshine coming into the lens over a spread of a number of stops. I attempted the 6-9 cease filter to see if the worth tag is justified by skipping over the problems that plague low cost VNDs. (A 2-5 cease possibility can be accessible.)
Too Lengthy; Didn’t Learn
The Lee Components VND 6-9 cease filter is so good it’s laborious to inform the pictures had been even shot with a filter — with out wanting on the shutter pace, in fact. The filter is properly constructed, simple to make use of, and smothers vignettes and shade casts. If there’s something to complain about, it’s the included case that’s a little bit of ache to open.
Professionals and Cons
- No noticeable shade modifications
- No vignetting
- No X patterning
- Labeled, steel ring
- Fingerprints simply wipe clear
- Included case is plastic and tough to open.
I used the Lee Components VND with the next gear:
Adorama lists the next specs for the Lee Elements VND, 6-9 stop:
- Filter Sort: Variable ND
- Density: 6 to 9 Cease
- Coatings: Multi-Layer Coating
- Filter Dimension: 2.83” (72mm)
The Lee Components VND 6-9 cease is constructed with an anodized aluminum body. The rotating entrance steel fringe of the filter has a cross-hatched texture. Every cease of sunshine is labeled. A lock is in place to forestall the filter from turning previous 9 or six, although the filter can cease in-between the center numbers. The interior ring — the one which screws onto the lens — has a differing texture with straight traces creating the feel.
Whereas the Lee Components Little Stopper and Huge Stopper are designed to be stacked, the VND doesn’t share the identical attribute. The again has threads to screw into the lens, however the entrance doesn’t have further threads to screw one other filter into. There’s loads of light-stopping energy right here, although, so there’s little must stack.
The filter comes with a slim plastic case with a foam inside. This case will match simply right into a bag and it appears to do an excellent job of defending the filter when not in use. Nonetheless, the latch is a bit laborious to open. It’s not the nicest filter case I’ve used. The opposite VND I personal is the PolarPro Peter McKinnon 2-5 VND and it features a nicer steel case with a magnetic closure.
Construct High quality
With its steel construct, the Lee Components VND feels nice within the palms. The steel seems like it’s going to maintain as much as repeated use.
The filter makes use of a multi-layer coating. Fingerprints will nonetheless follow the entrance, however they wipe off simply with one swipe of a microfiber fabric. Equally, water droplets are additionally simply wiped off.
Ease of Use
By design, VNDs are a bit quicker and easier to make use of, and the Lee Components possibility is not any totally different. The filter twists onto the entrance of the lens. From there, utilizing the filter is so simple as turning the entrance to the specified cease.
The Lee Components VND is even potential to make use of with gloves on. I used to be capable of twist the entrance of the filter taking pictures icy landscapes. I did, nevertheless, must take away my gloves to take away the filter, however I may simply shoot with them on.
Picture High quality
VNDs are sometimes rife with issues: vignetting on the corners, shade casts, and X patterns, to call a couple of. However, wanting the longer publicity, pictures taken with the VND appeared almost like they had been shot with a unadorned lens.
Right here’s the shot with no VND:
And right here’s a shot with the VND at step 9, with the shutter pace adjusted:
The colours are shut sufficient that, if I stripped the metadata from these two pictures, I’d have problem figuring out which one got here from a unadorned lens.
Equally, I couldn’t discover vignetting when taking pictures at 16mm. That is on the crop sensor X-T4, so I can’t get wider than 24mm. My pictures additionally didn’t tackle that dreaded cross-hatch sample attribute of among the extra cheap VNDs.
General, if you happen to take away the slower shutter pace, it’s tough to inform whether or not pictures from the Lee Components VND 6-9 truly had a filter on them. That’s precisely what a VND ought to do — regulate the potential publicity settings whereas preserving the remainder of the picture impartial.
- The photographs don’t have any apparent shade solid.
- At 24mm, there was no vignetting.
- Pictures look nice.
- The steel construct feels and appears nice.
- The coatings assist fingerprints wipe off simply.
- It’s expensive.
- The case is simply meh. I want it got here with a nicer one for the worth.
The Lee Components VND 6-9 is a real impartial density filter (the key phrase being impartial). In addition to permitting for a slower shutter pace (or a wider aperture), the filter has minimal affect on the remainder of the picture. That permits for quicker edits, with out coping with shade casts or harsh vignettes. The construct high quality of the filter itself can be glorious.
Whereas the filter is superb, the included case is just a little finicky to open. I’ve tried filters which have nicer included circumstances. It’s actually not a deal-breaker, however for a $340 record worth, I don’t assume it’s an excessive amount of to ask.
I’m giving the Lee Components VND 6-9 filter 5 out of 5 stars. Need one? Chem them out at Adorama.