Tiffen 82mm Variable ND Filter Test

January 1, 20146 Comments

Tiffen ND

I wanted to get one variable ND filter to fit all my lenses, so I went for this massive  Tiffen 82mm Variable ND Filter. It is BIG but for a reason. The wider outer optic  helps reduce vignetting at wide angles. I have several step down rings so I can use the filter with all my other lenses too. This is a very economical approach. Check out the quickest video I’ve ever done for YouTube. This thing is a beast!

Okay maybe it’s not a beast but it is a very big filter and the build is nice. I like the feel of the filter. It has a nice dampened feel to it when rotating and will stay in place. Much better than the insanely expensive Heliopan that feels like two ND filters on top of each other. I forgive the Heliopan because it’s a very good filter, but at $489 for the 82mm I had to look elsewhere. I would’ve compared them but I have a 58mm version for my MFT Lumix lenses. If you really want me to do it I’ll buy a huge step up ring. It would have to be a 52 to 82mm for the Canon 40mm 2.8 STM! That alone would be fun to see! Okay! Why not. I ordered it. Update to this post is pending.

A friend on Facebook asked me if the Tiffen 82mm Variable ND Filter made the image soft, so I decided to go ahead and see if it would and how much if any color shift I would get. I mounted the Tiffen 82mm Variable ND Filter on the Sigma 18-35 and did a custom white balance without the filter on. I set the f-stop at 5.6 and ISO to 1250. I changed the shutter to get exposure.  Here is the full size image or click on the image to see them full size. I shot these in RAW with the Canon 70D and cropped the images at 100% in Photoshop’s RAW converter.

 

No filter was used.

 

100% Crop

As you can see a slight color shift is showing up. Pushing a shift green, but the sharpness is very good. I’ll take that! Very easy to fix color but not good if sharpness is affected. I also tested with auto white balance and the two shots look identical. In short if you white balance with the filter on no color cast will appear. Below is a sample shot with a normal ND filter.

I also tested a B+W 1.8 (6 stops) on the Canon 40mm 2.8 to see if it gets a color shift and yes it does. I white balanced without the filter on the lense and kept the same balance when the ND was used. The shift is even stronger but this could also be from using a 6 stop ND. I do feel all neutral density filters will shift the color, so always white balance after you add a filter and if you aren’t going with a variable I would at least get a set from the same brand to keep it consistent.
I feel pretty good about the Tiffen 82mm Variable ND Filter, and it isn’t the most expensive one on the market. For the 82mm it cost $154.95. One thing to watch out for. When shooting stills you will get a X in the image when the filter is at full HD. This wont occur in video mode. This is a common issue– it’s the law of physics when combining two polarizing filters; however, this issue can be eliminated. First, adjust your focal length and then reduce the density (stop value) setting by rotating the filter ring until the color shift disappears.

Tiffen-Variable-ND-on-the-Sigma-18-35

 

The small indexed dots on the filter ring between “MIN” and “MAX” density settings are intended for reference only. They are not representative of a specific density (stops).

A few features that stand out.

  • Provides 2 to 8 stops of light control
  • Thin profile 9mm ring
  • Wider outer optic to help reduce vignetting at wide angles
  • Eliminates Buying Many ND Filters
  • Comes with padded black nylon pouch
  • Made with high quality optical glass using Tiffen’s ColorCore™ technology
  • 10 year warranty

Available from B&H for $154.95

Available from Amazon.com for $154.95

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Im just a guy with cameras that likes to shoot and edit stuff.

Comments (6)

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  1. JP says:

    What? 70D? Did I miss your 70D review? I’m thinking about getting one too for the run & gun auto focus…inquiring minds want a review ;)

    Thanks Erik & Happy New Year!

    • Erik Naso says:

      HA! Jp I’m working on the review. Lots to talk about with the 70D and trying to condense it down. Still need to get out and shoot for real instead of quick test shots. Thats the tough part with my work schedule. It’s a fun camera and the Dual Pixel CMOS AF is pretty dang cool!

  2. Dale says:

    Thanks for this Eric.

    After shooting a news type job with my C100 I have noticed its a little tricky to change exposure smoothly. I am thinking this variable ND will help change that. I have bookmarked this link and will buy when needed….

    Happy New year

  3. John Jones says:

    Thank you for posting this article. I just learned of this filter this weekend and was intrigued. I noticed you stated that this filter works because it employs polarizing filters in it’s design. But I’m assuming this lens is strictly ND and does not offer the benefits of a polarizer.

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