Loving the Fader ND and Singh Ray Vari ND. Life savers in New Delhi!

As you may know I have both the 82mm $400 Singh-Ray Vari-ND and the 72mm $100 Fader ND. Both of them have been brilliant on this Delhi shoot. They have changed the way I have shot stuff on the Canon 5dmkII


Before I had to compromise on shutter speed or iris to get the exposure I wanter, now I can get it exactly right with 1/60th shutter in and as wide open or closed down as I want more or less. Also the joy is the ability to gently adjust exposure by turning the variable ND wheel on the front of the lens which gives you what is missing from still camera 35mm lenses, smooth exposure change during a shot. With these you can.


I can’t recommend them enough. All the shots came out great. I was finally able to get the shutter and exposure spot on for every shot. Tough with these Video DSLRs.

The ungraded frame grabs below were done with the Fader ND or Vari ND on a variety of lenses. They only one that isn’t it the handlebar shot that was done stopped right down using a Sigma 14mm.

I was getting slight vignetting on the Singh Ray on my 24mm lens but that may be because I was using an 82mm Nd with a 77mm filter size and step up ring…

Is there a drop in colour reproduction or sharpness? Certainly not in video mode that I could tell….







20090722-15271620090722-15310220090722-15383620090722-174615-120090722-145559-120090722-172542Thanks To Gaurav again for the great photos!!


  1. Philip, I have the ND Fader, like you it is fantastic but a word of warning, be careful when using it on wide angle shots of the sky. As it is a polariser it will darken the sky but on wide angles it will polarise only part of the sky resulting in a section dark and the rest untouched.


            1. Hmm, can someone say (or show) how bad the vignetting is on the 11-16? I think you are talking about vignetting -> “it doesnt work”.
              And we are talking about the LCW Fader right? LCW states that it can be used with an UWA (10-12mm) on 1.6 crop…

  2. Hi Phil,
    Did you shoot any footage of the eclipse? Also how did the rolling shutter work out on the bike? The 5D seems to have a really problem with any kind of movement.

  3. Love the pics. 2 questions.
    [1] Where did you get that mini dolly from? I want one. 🙂
    [2] You say the greenpeace copyright pics have not been graded? They look beautiful. How come they look so much prettier than the behind the scenes pics? I mean take for example the pic with the guy (pic 4) compared to the behind the scenes shots of the building further below (not copyright greenpeace). The colours of the building at the top are more brown yet the real colour behind the scenes is more grey. Why is that? I know you’re good, but does the camera love you that much that it just melts in your hands and submits to your every whisper? Little browner please sweety Can you teach me that?

  4. Philip, did not you say in one of the prior entries that these vari-NDs screw the metering? Could you elaborate on this. Do you expose by the way it looks, or you can still use zebras, or you use a separate light meter? Do you think it will make any difference when used with a camcorder? Thanks.

    By the way, Sony and Canon consumer camcorders have built-in ND filters. These are not stepless by any means, 1/2-stop on the Sonys and 1/4-stop on the Canons. You cannot control them manually. Your HG21 should have a 4-stop filter, keeping aperture at around F4 most of the times. With a camcorder DOF is so huge that you would only want to reduce it, not increase, so keeping aperture from getting too narrow is a logical solution. And it prevents from aberration. Won’t work for a proper still camera though. The consumer Panasonics have no built-in ND filters. I have a Panasonic camcorder, so the variable ND seems like a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Not always, the metering was somewhat unreliable at times. Often it said it was very overexposed and it wasn’t. There is no easy answer. Just experience with the camera I guess.

      Of course I miss proper ND filters like I have been using for 20 years on my large pro cameras, will four strengths and the lesser cameras like the EX1 with two. That’s the downside of DSLRs!

      I have noticed that Fader NDS seem to completely sold out everywhere at moment!

  5. These filters are just two closely spaced polarizers anyway right? So if they’re sold out just get two thin polarizing filters and it’ll do the same thing.

  6. Hi Philip

    If you have the choice: The Singh-Ray Vari-ND or the Fader ND?
    Ok the price,more than 200€ in between… but in the end its a quetion of qualitie.
    I´v seen you DVD and the Vari ND is the besst tip for me ever 😉
    So do you think the Fader ND is good enough for the high qualitie Canon lens?
    Or spend the money for the Singh Ray?

    cu Stefan

      1. I just bought the ND Fader to use with my Sony EX3.
        There seem to be a color-shift issue.
        Turning the first ring (should create a certain polarizing effect) creates a very unwanted color-shift from greenish to magenta. Any similar experiences?


          1. Hi Philip.
            I am from Holland. Bought it from http://www.cameranu.nl/

            The issue is familiar to me, because I had the same problem with an polafilter from Mamiya(belonged to my RZ67 camera). For stills photography ..perfect.. no problems, but placing it on my EX3 the colorshift issue suddenly appears. I solved the problem buying a BW-polafilter and no colorshift anymore. This because of experimenting with other pola-filters i own.
            Now with the ND-Fader it seems to be the same problem. It has to do something with polarizing system of this filter and using it with videocamera’s (?). The white mark on the first ring (closest to lens) stops on my camera on about 14.00 hours (using a clock as position measure)and the colorshift is than to much magenta. Could be solved via picture profiles?
            Would like to know if anyone else has this experience and if this issue also appears using the Singh Ray?


            1. ive bought the Mark 2 Fader ND recently and it is very very green! Didnt have that experience before with the older 52mm i was using.. maybe their production standards are getting sloppy?

  7. Lovely lovely work.

    Now very interested in a Fader ND. Would there be any issues when making quite an extreme stepping change between filter and lens? Thinking about buying a 67mm Fader primarily for use with a 52mm thread lens, in order to keep options open for future lenses.

    I imagine this would only be an issue with graduated ND..

  8. Hi Philip,

    I am wondering if it is more cost-effective to buy this solution from Singh-Ray versus using a matte box in front of the 7D (with Zacuto DSLR shooter rig) which contains two ND filters (one fixed, the other circularly adjustable) to control the amount of incoming light without sacrificing exposure.

    I can imagine that adding a Singh-Ray ring will make the camera less heavy than using a matte box, but the latter appears to be a solution for all lens types, whereas with the Singh-Ray it all depends on how it fits.

    Let me know what you think.


  9. I think this is the one from Light Craft Workshop?
    Seems like there is some Fake Fader ND around!

    Here is my experience.

    I got one from a shop called hkcarxxx.com (please kindly delete it if it is not allowed to publish), terrible build and quality, I contacted Light Craft Workshop, trying to reflect my comment. They claimed they never sell at any other online shop!!!

    They then send me another 52mm to proof their quality (SURPRISED!!) and GOD! Probably the one I paid is a fake one. That is just another quality.

    Though I just suspect the one I purchased is a fake one, but personally recommend not to get those “fader nd” at the other shops, just in case it is not a real one.



  10. I can recomend Lightcraftworkshop.
    Why. I order 2 different filters two times (for two cameras), but just got one each.
    I thaught, this will get messy but no!
    I emailed and they sent me the missing parts within 3 Days with DHL from Hongkong to Switzerland and included two free Filtercaps for the 58mm.
    Good customerservices – mistakes allways are possible, but thats the way to deal with them.

  11. hi philip, you mentioned to me that the canon 24-105 vignettes using an nd fader, do you have any idea if it would disappear if i bought an 82mm and fitted it using a stepper ring?

  12. Since the Tokina 11-16 is effectively a 17-25 on the 7D, is it safe to assume that an 82mm Vari ND would vignette on the Zeiss 21/2.8 prime? I want to be wrong here. The filter diameter of the 21 is 82mm and it would be mounted to a 5D Mark II.

    Philip, you stated that you purchased the 82mm for use on all of your lenses. Are any of the big ones wides?


  13. Hey Phil
    I really want to film with my Tokina 11-16mm on – and I need a fader ND. Is there any that works with a lens this wide? If not: what other options should I consider (besides an expensive matte box)?

  14. Hey Phil
    I really want to film with my Tokin 11-16mm on – and I need a fader ND. Is there any that works with a lens this wide? If not: what other options should I consider (besides an expensive matte box)?

      1. I’ve heard mostly great things about the LCW Fader ND, but mostly from guys shooting video. Have you done any still photography with it? I’m wondering how the image quality will hold up at high resolutions. Also, in video forum, one person claimed that it gets really soft when you shoot at longer focal lengths. I have no idea why this would be, but have you experienced anything like that? I’d really love to get this for $125 if the image quality is good, because it would be so much more convenient than swapping out several different ND filters.

        Thanks for any info you can provide.

      2. hello philip sir?
        i want to buy a 5o mm for my 7d so can u PLZ sugest me which combination will be good for video
        with the variable nd?;and also which nd filter is suitable to shoot in afternoon ND 8 OR ND 6 OR ND 4?
        and will the hoya nd nd-8 filter be useful for video coz its made for photography(75$)

        which combination will be the best with nd filter?
        1.zeiss 50 mm 1.4 plannar (full manual lens wih 1/2 stop)
        2.sigma 50 1.4
        3.canon 50 mm 1.4

        will the 1/2 stop of zeiss cause problems to set the exposure?
        or shud i buy the sigma 1.4?
        i din like the 50 1.4 as the front element comes out as we focus like 50 1.8 but still want a suggestion
        from u

  15. Hey Philip,
    Were you using the FaderND that is Mark II? LCW says they have a Mark II that is intended to reduce vignetting. I already have a Fader ND but want to get the Tokina 11-16mm and would want to use a Fader on it (like many of us). I have heard that it is only at 11mm and if you just go to 12mm, that takes care of the problem. Is this true? I’m hoping the Mark II fixes the problem but maybe that is what you were already using. If you got their 82mm and a step up, would that be safer, or worse because you are giving it more distance from the lens at such a wide angle?

    1. I have the Tokina 11-16mm and would also like to buy the Fader ND markII.

      The filter Philip is showing in the image above doesn’t seem to be the markII-filter (at least it doesn’t say so on the ring compared to the pictures on the lcw-site).

      I guess I’ll just have to try it out and order one…I’ll report back as soon as it arrives!

  16. hi, people if i want to use a canon 10-22 and canon 17-40 wich filter is the best without vignetting o i need to buy 2 filters…?
    i’m stuck here

  17. what size thread would you recommend, for somebody that just bought a T2i and haven’t decide what lenses to buy for it, to shoot video, would appreciate any info

  18. Hi Philip,

    Random slightly related question – what filter pouch do you keep your fader ND in when not using (glimpse of it on your 5D video when you are repacking your bag on the lawn).

    Trying to find a good protective pouch and haven’t found what I need yet.

    Incidentally, I see you are trying out the H&Y fader NDs. My guess is the are identical to the LCW ones yes?



  19. Hi Philip

    Thanks for all your work you’ve been doing to demonstrate the 7d & lenses. I’m new to the canon 7d/filtering stuff….Planning on getting the Singh Fader thin 77mm for the tokina 11-16mm. But in the meantime can’t I just thrown on a swap a couple of Hoya ND around? If so got any recommendations??? Cheers dude:-)

  20. Mister Bloom,

    So I read that the Fader ND reduces sharpness making it it more difficult to manually focus – even when using live-view. Also read about the harsh ugly noise patterns in the bokeh.

    Have you experienced any of this?

    Thank you in advanced. 🙂

  21. Love what you all say about the LCW nd fader mk 11…has any one got any experience with adding a polarizer to the front… vigneting on canon 17m/40m zoom
    28/70 zoom. thanks jon

  22. Hi Philip,

    Have you used either of these on the canon 16-35mm on the 5dm2? I’ve been reading and seen some samples of the “X” effect where you can see polarizing on some parts of the frame but not on others….but I’ve seen samples on other lenses, not on the 16…?

    1. Hi Philip,

      Do you have any recommendations on a Fader ND brand? It looks like Genus and Light Works are the two most visible brands. Which Fader ND did you use in India? From what I’ve read the Light Works brand works well with the 24-105L, and that’s the lens I’m trying to outfit.

      Thanks for the post!

  23. Has anyone tried these Fader Filters from B&H?

    I believe these are NOT the LCW filters, but something new–Seem more expensive then the LCW, but less then Singh Ray…Anyone try them or reviews?

    I need ND filter to shoot with canon 24mm and 70-2002.8L and some old Zeiss glass that I can’t use at all outside in Bright daylight. My sizes are 77mm, 52mm and one 49mm lens…WOndering if I should just get one high-quality and step up rings…Advice?

  24. Just bought the LCW Fader ND 52mm for my Canon 50mm 1.8, have you used that one mr Bloom? And witch lense did you use with the fader in this video?

    Ever since I bought the 7D I have been watching your videos, love your style. Rock’n roll!



  25. Has anyone used these filters on lenses over 200mm?
    I’m interested in using one on my 100-400mm zoom.
    However, the LCW website specifically states “Image quality may drop when focal length above 200mm.”
    Singh Ray makes no mention of maximum focal length (at least not that I could find).

    I would appreciate any info from anyone with experience using either of these filters on a lens over 200mm.

    1. exactly the same question here. would really love to use an VND filter on my 7d and the canon 100-400m. i used the 1st LC Fader on the last surftrip, but it ruined the footage above 200mm… i’m really interested if there’s any solution. would also spend more money. i’m thinking of the Singh Ray or the Heliopan Variable ND. Any advice?


  26. Phil I’ve got a dilemma. Looking to buy my first ND filter to go on my Sigma 30mm 1.4 on the 7D.

    I seem to have a choice, pretty much entirely based on comments you’ve made on this post between the Lightcraft Mk II (65 quid) or the Heliopan ND 3.0 10 stop (55 quid). Lightcraft worth the extra tenner?

    I’m planning on getting the Tamron 17-50 2.8 at some point to get my first zoom lens, and I already have the ‘thrifty fifty’ 50mm f/1.8: is there a cheapish way to just buy one filter and use it across different lenses? Some kind of step up/down ring perhaps?

    Appreciate the advice as always!

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