A bit of time ago I’ve tested the NiSi ND-VARIO Pro Nano 1.5-5 Stops Enhanced Variable ND, and I’ve founded to be a really good ND filter, despite variable ND are not real Neutral Density filters (spoiler: they’re two polariser rotating). Still, the quality of the NiSi ND-VARIO 1.5-5 Stops was high and without the absurd “x effect”, an aberration that ruins your photos of video.
A new 5-9 Stop ND-VARIO
Since I take photos more than videos, 5 stops as the maximum intensity was a bit short to me. Fortunately, NiSi decided to also create the 5-9 stops version. I’ve decided to take it with me in a recent trip to Sardinia and try it out with some long exposures.
A variable ND filters is still more suitable for video than photo, but 5 to 9 stops are just the sweet spot for landscape photography in my opinion, so this filter is very welcomed in my photographic bag. Let’s check a photo took without any filter:
Now, below a shot with the filter at its minimum intensity (5 stops).
The last shot is takenat 9 stops (max).
First thing I realised, is that the quality of the glass is the same as any other NiSi filter: spectacular. There is no visible loss of details, and also the colour cast is under control (really difficult in a variable ND filter).
I’ve also noticed that the reflections on water change while rotating the filter, this is quite normal, as said before a variable filter is made adding 2 polarisers on top of each other (simplifying). For this reason, an effect on the reflections is expected.
Another small flow I’ve noticed is at maximum intensity, 9 stops, as you can see in the lower-left corner, there is a darker “spot”. This is due, again, to the fact this is not a real ND filter (like any other variable filter) so we cannot expect a precise and even density. Also, I shoot at 16mm full-frame, the worst situation. However, this small flaw can be easily even out in post-production. Below I’ve done quick post-production of the 9 stops photo, showing how is possible to easily correct the darker spot. Fortunately, there is no colour cast or uneven tonalities.
Having a filter like this always in a bag can make a difference between making a photo and not. NiSi completes the range from 1.5 to 9 stops in its ND Variable range, a great product that even out every flaw possible with variable filters. It can’t be better than that. In my opinion, 4.5 stars are really well deserved.
Shop NiSi Variable ND filters on the official NiSi UK Store. You’ll find the Vario-ND 1.5-5 Stop and Vario-ND 5-9 Stop.