“Polar Pro is slowly becoming one of my favorite companies. As with Aputure and Blackmagic Design, it seems they’re doing this crazy thing where they listen to their customers and make products that actually help people. So, that being said, the new “Peter McKinnon” branded filters are, quite frankly, super dope….
The filter is a fused, quartz glass, variable ND filter with apparently the lowest refractive index currently available….
The stop indicators are pretty rad, and they can really help you get the shot you want — perfectly exposed and consistent (as all things should be)….”
- Available in 2-5 and 6-9 stop variations.
- Preset stop range eliminates any chance of cross polarization.
- Zero vignetting down to 16mm focal length lenses.
- Pure Fused Quartz ensures superior optical clarity over any glass on the market.
- Includes a DefenderSlim cover for fingerprint-free installation.
PolarPro Variable ND Filter, Peter McKinnon Edition
Variable neutral density filters aka VNDs are a mainstay of independent documentary movie production and the best are anything but cheap.
Given that one or two VNDs can replace five or more fixed density value neutral density filters, prices of the best VNDs compare well with those of sets of fixed NDs, so sticker price shock should not be a consideration if one is going for the best and most versatile production kit, one that will last for years through thick and thin.
PolarPro’s QuartzLine range of UV filters, fixed density ND filters and Circular Polarizers has been quietly satisfying the needs of drone operators, photographers and videographers with its brass traction-framed filters, and the company recently came to my attention with advance mention of a new concept in VND filters.
That new type of VND was shown off at NAB 2019, was covered by The Beat, and has been selling like crazy direct from the PolarPro online store.
I have never had the pleasure of using or seeing any PolarPro products in real life, but from what I have read they are outstanding.
I have been researching possible replacements for my ageing VND, a Genustech 77mm Eclipse ND Fader that was the most-recommended when I got back into moviemaking, and have decided to standardize on 82mm filters with step-up rings to help minimize vignetting when using them on wide lenses.
I began replacing my aluminium step-up rings with the excellent knurled brass traction frame step-up rings made by Breakthrough Photography a while ago, and have some Breakthrough Photography fixed ND, UV and CPL filters with which I am well pleased.
I discovered that brass filter frames are far less prone to binding than aluminium ones, and that knurled frames are better than non-knurled, the more knurling the better.
It was a little disappointing to learn that PolarPro’s Peter McKinnon Variable ND Filter comes with aluminium frames rather than brass ones but I am hoping for the best with their performance in the field and am waiting for reviews by well-qualified professional users to appear.
I am impressed that PolarPro has chosen to issue its VND in two densities, 2-5 and 6-9 stops, a wise move given the high base ISOs of many contemporary hybrid cameras.
Aurora-Aperture followed a similar path with its 1-7 and 4-11 VND pair while SLR Magic took another path again with its SLR Magic 82mm Self-Locking VND 0.4-1.8 plus 86mm Solid Neutral Density 1.2 Image Enhance Filter Kit providing a range of 1.3 to 10 stops with both filters combined.
The question now is going to be which pro-quality VND brand to opt for – PolarPro, Aurora-Aperture or SLR Magic?
- Breakthrough Photography – makers of brass and titanium traction-framed filters, step-up rings and more.
- Peter McKinnon – THIS is how you get THE BEST CINEMATIC Footage/Photos! BEST on the market!! – video
- PolarPro – Peter McKinnon Variable ND Filter (Launch Video) – video
- PolarPro – Step-Up Rings – product page
- PolarPro – Variable ND Filter – Peter McKinnon Edition – product page