When I was asked to try out this Tide Optics Variable ND Filter (ND2 - ND400) Neutral Density Lens Filter I saw the price and I have to be honest, my first thought was how it couldn't possibly compare with the high end filters I generally use for my photography. Well, I can definitely admit when I am wrong! Interested? Then read on...
Firstly when would you need a neutral density filter? When you want to trick the camera into thinking its darker than it actually is and therefore being able to keep the shutter open for longer. Its perfect for shooting long exposures involving clouds, oceans & rivers, waterfalls - anything water based for that matter! I use them to keep the shutter open long enough to create wave trails where it traces the water movement and records it all within one single image. You can instantly control the amount of light entering your lens and shoot at increased exposure times without your image being overexposed.
So, when I mentioned price you can purchase these from from £20.95. This is massively lower than those high end brands I also use! Each filter fits the individual thread so you really need to know the thread size of the lens you will be using for this type of photography so you can purchase the right one.
In respect of quality, the design is an 18-layer nano-coated Japanese glass encased in a robust Aluminium Alloy Frame. It also has anti-reflection technology and its easy to wipe clean being water and oil resistant.
It really is versatile, fast and easy to attach as well as being so small and lightweight and comes in a little travel case making it an easy one for the kit bag.
With it being a variable filter, that means you can literally move it from min to max levels allowing you to control the amount of light coming into the lens. If you go right up to the max level and beyond, you will see darker parts to the image. That's nothing wrong with the filters design or the build but something common with variable NDs
Another thing that really impresses me with Tide Optics is that they also donate a portion of the sale to an ocean charity.
Here you can see the difference in light that comes through the filter glass....
Something else that's massively important to me and all landscape photographers alike, is colour cast. Some budget brand filters will cause a casting of colour onto the image which can usually be fixed in post processing but for those of you that like me, prefer to get it right 'in camera' then I'm really pleased to say I have experienced no colour casting from this filter at all.
Lastly, of course I need to share with you a few of the images I have taken using the Tide Optics filter in the recent weeks... as you can see, some great results!
In summary, it's a really great quality product for an amazing price tag, making filters affordable for everyone. This in my eyes is a game changer. When I first got into landscape photography and didn't want to spend hundreds of £ I went for a cheap brand and the quality was terrible, really destroying the images I was taking. I have used a couple of the top brands and have ended up spending a lot of money. I get messages asking about filters all the time, especially from fairly new landscape photographers. Its great that now there's an affordable option without the worry of having to sell a kidney!
Anyway you can see more details on the Tide Optics website and even make a purchase here!
I'm so confident in the product that I have agreed to be an ambassador of Tide Optics. As an ambassador, I am pleased to be able to offer out a discount code for you - so be sure to use EMILY10 at the checkout!
I hope this review has been of use for those of you weighing up which filters you should invest in - please do let me know if this helps and if you decide to try this filter out for yourself!
As always, thanks for reading and happy shooting!