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.