Blog disclaimer: Although I did not pay for this filter, I was sent it for review, I have not been paid by Mosaic Engineering for this test nor do I receive any affiliate from them through sales.
EDIT: I have finally done my tests. It is in the form of a rather long video but it’s the best way to see how well it copes. Below the video are the key plusses and minuses.
Be very careful with old Nikon lenses like the one below. It has a piece of metal, which was needed for film cameras, not needed any more that can hook onto the filter. If you want to use these lenses with the filter, remove the bit of metal.
PLUSSES: Removes most of the visible moire, only the most stubborn stuff it cannot remove. Big success on aliasing. A massive improvement on image quality for video compared to shooting without it.
NEGATIVES; Not good with wide angle lenses. Some lenses work better with it than others. Not parfocal. Slight image softening. Close up focus changed. Be careful with old Nikon lenses with the bit of metal that sticks out. It can damage your filter and if you are not careful like me…your camera too!
SUMMARY: Well worth it! I wish it had came out 2 years ago!
I don’t normally do charts but I was at CVP today so I made use of the test room and knocked off some stuff. Here are two charts. One tests colour the other shows the improvement in moire and aliasing.
Colour shift? Image one is with filter out and image two is filter in…
Image one is filter out at 135mm on 70-200 F2.8 at f4. Image two is same lens
A few months ago I got to test out an anti-aliasing/ moire filter designed and made by Dave Cubanski of Mosaic Engineering. The VAF-5D2. I am sure all of you who have shot with a DSLR know exactly what moire and aliasing are. It’s the bane of shooting with DSLRs and the single biggest problem, much more than rolling shutter or sound. It’s all down to the way the camera downscales the image from its huge 21MP sensor to the much smaller 1920×1080 size of around 2MP. Line skipping, throwing away lines of information.
Below are the photos from March when I tested it out.
This line skipping causes these issues on fine fabrics, hair, bricks, water, lines. Especially when shooting with deeper depth of field. Shallow depth of field hides much of this but we can’t shoot like that the whole time. I have tried many solutions. Zeiss Softar filters, plug ins (only one that works well is the Marvels Moire one but all that fixes is the colour issues, not the moire or anti-aliasing)
The filter fits between the lens and the sensor. It pops in and out very easily. This is not a destructive fix. You put it in when shooting video (take it out when shooting stills as it lessens the quality of the stills) and as long as your lens is not wider than 24mm you will get more or less a moire and anti-aliasing free image…and it works.
When I tested it at 50mm and above it was perfect, 35mm was ok. At 24mm I had soft edges. Below is the test video I shot at 24mm on the 5DmkII. You can see the moire patterning of the carpet gone even when I turn the sharpness up to +4. I also showed how the Marvels DSLR moire post filter coped with it compared to the optical filter. As you can see the edges are soft at 24mm. This has now been fixed, so I can now talk about it!
The VAF 5D2 filter consists of multiple layers of birefringent optical material including lithium niobate and crystalline quartz. How it exactly works and what it exactly does, well you will have to ask the inventor about that! But roughly the interference with details that is caused by the line skipping is removed, changing the pattern of the incoming image so whole lines are not whole lines any more…or something like that!
Director/ Cinematographer Glen Przybowski has shot some videos showing examples of it and how to install it. He has been testing it with Mosaic Engineering over the past 9 months.
Price wise it’s going to be around $385. Not cheap, but then again it suddenly cures your camera or its biggest issue in video mode and with no sign of the 5DmkIII yet this will give your beautiful full frame Canon a new lease of life! It is not properly for sale yet. A small test batch has been made. Then it will go into full production.
There is a 1/8th stop of light loss and the flange distance is altered, meaning the focus measurements on the lens are no longer accurate. Also the minimum focal distance is a tiny bit longer but infinity is reachable which is key. Changing focal lengths on a zoom lens will mean refocusing every time too.
An APS-C version for the 7D is being worked on now. I don’t know it that will be usable in say a 60D, but I will find out soon.
I am hoping to get a production version soon to test out. As soon as I do, I will do a full series of tests, with and without. I am very curious to see how well it works at different f-stops. In the meantime check out Glen’s videos including two commercial spots he shot with the filter in.
You know one day, maybe 20 years down the line we will be downloading plug ins for our edit systems to emulate that much missed moire and anti-aliasing look of old…like we do now for Super 8…actually we probably won’t…the sooner it’s gone the better!!!