Home Cinematography Filtration: Beware Of The Reaper Of Cheap Glass

Filtration: Beware Of The Reaper Of Cheap Glass

written by Shane Hurlbut, ASC


Making HD look like film has a cocktail and one of the essential ingredients to this flavorful recipe is Neutral Density.  You have to keep your exposure on a 5D around a 5.6 to get that beautiful shallow depth of field.  The 7D should be around a 2.8, and the 1D around a 4.0.  This gives the focus puller a chance and still keep a beautiful fall off of focus.

The Canon cameras allow what has never been achieved before with most of the HD platform cameras.  They never had a vista-vision sensor in them.  It was always a 2/3 chip sensor or a 35mm sensor size with more depth of field than anyone would want or know what to do with.

I recently did a slew of tests for the Bandito Brothers Production Company and we discovered how cheap ND (Neutral Density) limited our color correction options.  Green is one of my favorite colors but not what bad green filtration does to a beautiful image with depth and color.

Hoya ND

Hoya ND


We had a test where I was shooting five 5D’s side by side with different ND filtration from a variety of manufacturers.  The color difference was astounding.  Muddy, green and flat was the feeling I was getting from an $11.00 HOYA filter. www.hoyafilter.com/products/hoya/oef-05.html

Schneider ND

Schneider ND

Schneider logo

When I moved to the next camera it had a Schneider that seemed somewhat clean, but not perfect. www.schneideroptics.com/industrial/filters/Neutral_Density.htm?gclid=CM_NhqTH258CFRJinAodS1XdGQ

B + W 77mm

B + W Filter

Then onto the B+W, which has a color that was very close to the Schneider.www.schneideroptics.com/filters/bw.htm

Cameras 4 and 5 had Tiffen Water White  1.2ND’s which looked the cleanest of all of them.  This filter was specifically designed for the HD world.  When you ND so much to get the exposure that you love it increases the IR levels that your sensor is taking in.  This filter counteracts that. BUT what I have found is that the Canon DSLR’s have very powerful IR filters on their sensors so the standard IR filtration in the HD world is not needed.  Testing has shown that when you go into the 1.5 to 2.1 range you do need a little IR compensation but no where near what the filter manufacturer’s have laid in there.  So my go to is the HV Tiffen Water White 77mm ND’s Indie: 3,6,9,1.2, Indie Plus:1.5,1.8,2.1 pola, or the HV Tiffen Water White 4 x 5 Pro: 3,6,9,1.2 and Pro Plus: 1.5, 1.8, 2.1 with 138mm Pola Kits.  For detailed information, please contact Jill Conrad at NYC Tiffen at 1-631-609-3215 or email [email protected] or Robert Oralndo in LA at [email protected], they both will be able to direct you to a dealer to get you all set-up. The kits come with belt pouches that hold the 77mm or the 4×5 filters.  They are sweet and very user friendly.    Tiffen has also up their ND levels to 5, 6, and 7 stops.  These are now available in WW IR ND and WW Straight ND  1.5, 1.8, and a 2.1.  This is essential for getting that amazing shallow depth of field out of your Canon 5D, 7D, and 1D cameras.

HV Indie and Indie Plus Kits are 77mm Water White Straight ND’s

HV Pro and Pro Plus Kits are 4 x 5 Water White Straight ND’s

When we compared all the cameras in the color correction bay, the Tiffen Water White  ND quickly moved to the top. The Water White filtration is expensive, but you get what you pay for. What a difference!  So, my recipe for filming is to use the Tiffen Water Whites ND’s across the board.

What types of ND filtration do you use?  What gives you the best results?  What problems have you dealt with?

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keidrych wasley February 10, 2010 at 7:13 PM

Great post!

I’ve been changing the shutter speed to achieve my desired stop. I understand this changes for example the way rain appears (though i don’t mind it), but what other downsides are there when using this method? In other words, why not change shutter speed to achieve the desired stop rather than ND? (sorry for the ignorance, i should know this already!)

thanks again for the great blog and info

Shane February 11, 2010 at 2:28 AM

keidrych wasley, by changing the shutter you make your video look like video. I never shoot higher than a 1/50 of a second. This gives you the equivalent of a 200 degreee shutter in 35mm motion picture. By staying a 1/50 your HD will look more filmic and cinematic.

Justin Cerato February 10, 2010 at 7:47 PM

I once tried experimented using a cheap 4×4 ND filter kit from Ebay which included a N3 / N6 / N9. The filters were OK, while using wide lenses, but as soon as I jumped to a longer lens I noticed a great deal of vertical or horizontal streaking depending on the orientation of the filter. Now I test all filters with a variety of lenses! The high end Tiffen filters rock!

Shane February 11, 2010 at 2:29 AM

Justin Cerato, The Tiffen Water White IR is by far the best. Very clean

Carlos February 10, 2010 at 8:27 PM

I know phil bloom and others use those fader ND’s that have adjustable density by turning the filter. I’m curious to know what you think of those. My guess is that they are not as clean. They are pricey too

Coby February 11, 2010 at 1:10 AM

I’m interested to see the effects of the IR reduction in ND filters, I was recently told that IR pollution was only a concern when shooting under tungsten lights and it increases exponentially with each stop of ND. Have you seen the effects of IR pollution in different lighting situations?


Shane February 11, 2010 at 2:34 AM

Coby, IR pollution happens especially in early morning and late afternoon, it is just a good practice to fly with these ND’s always in my experience. I have dealt with it especially at the end of day.

James Warren February 11, 2010 at 3:29 PM

I have been using Lee filters for ND and they hold up really well. The vari Nd’s are really easy to use and great for getting a quick exposure but for high end work don’t hold us as well. They are basically 2x polarize filters mounted together.

Shane February 11, 2010 at 10:56 PM

James Warren, I am not hot on the Vari Nd’s at all. They are not that clean and take skin tones and matte them, you loose all the life on a person’s skin, it takes the reflection away with the dueling polas.

Jason February 11, 2010 at 3:56 PM

I agree with Carlos. I was planning to buy the fader NDs that Philip Bloom recommends. I’m interested on your opinion of those.

Shane February 11, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Jason, The Vari- ND’s are not happening in my book. I love skin that has life, reflection not a matte image, because of the dueling pola’s.

Scott February 11, 2010 at 6:11 PM


In your newsletter you made mention of the fact that a 5D at 5.6 is equivalent to 1.4 on 35mm film and that nobody shoots at that aperture due to keeping focus. In this post, you mentioned trying to keep it at 5.6 (or 2.8 on a 7D). Can you clarify a bit?

Also, you mention you never shoot higher than 1/50. I assume you mean if you shoot at 24fps, yes? If I shoot at 30fps, I should have my shutter at 1/60 or 1/50?


Shane February 11, 2010 at 10:52 PM

Scott, The 7D has close to a 35mm sensor so you would shoot around a 2.0/2.8 split to give a decent focus range but keep the background out of focus enough to battle aliasing and moiré issues. 1/50 or 1/40 all the time. I do not like to go above it. When you go at a 1/60 or higher it starts to look like video, its too sharp for me. I use the motion blur at a 1/50 and 1/40 to help with the crispness of HD and make it look more like film.

Takeshi Fukushima February 12, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Hello Shane,

First of all, I like to thank you for all the information and inspiration you have given us. It’s great that you have made it possible for Us regular people to communicate directly to a big time DPs such as you. Such a great blog!!
My question… I have a 5dmkii, use a bunch of screw on NDs, but hate the “blow offf dust, screw in, screw out, blow dust off filter screw another in” process. That’s why I (was) thinking of getting faderNDs (now not so much after reading your comments), or matte box with 4x4s. Matte boxes are great, but it will make the camera bigger, and for certain shoots it could get in the way of a shot,,, What setup do you use when shooting dslr? For the navy seals production? Documentary on the dslr seems to be really tough, especially if you shoot out doors and want the shutter speed the same…
takeshi fukushima

Shane February 12, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Takeshi Fukushima, Thank you so much for all of your kind words and support. You guys rock!!!!! http://www.birnsandsawyer.com/%5Fsales/camera%2Daccessories/ This is a link from the Birns and Sawyer website. I use the MB-105 4×5 clamp-on matte box that is lightweight, small and keeps you nimble. The matte box is on the top of that page. In regards to the screw on filters, I use them a lot. I love keeping the camera small. I have not had the dust problems that you describe and we have battled the dust on this Navy Seal movie. I would suggest a good cloth to clean them with, one that does not create static so that your dust doesn’t cling to the glass.

Takeshi Fukushima February 12, 2010 at 10:52 AM

I’ve been on Red productions but even overhere in Japan tiffen’s IR NDs seems defacto standard…

Shane February 12, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Takeshi Fukushima, they have to be the Water Whites, the straight Tiffen IR were all over the place in quality. The WW series is very consistent.

Smari February 12, 2010 at 11:08 AM

B & H only carries the Tiffen Water White IR ND in 1 – 4 stops. Are you stacking them in daylight, or is there another place that has more variety? Love the blog! Great info.

Shane February 12, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Smari, I am stacking them, but just to get me to a 4.0/5.6 split at 160 ISO and 1/50 sec shutter for my day exteriors.

Sho1 February 13, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Agree again. Tiffen filters always- for the prices you pay you get a lot(superb filtration that are made tough and last years). Tiffen is about to release an affordable ND kit(N6-12), with an IR filter(if you can) and a Pola, maybe along with N3 and all are good to go.
Mr. Hurlbut, awesome thread as always. I’m curious about your take on diffusion filters. I’m not even sure if you carry those in squares when you shoot on film or other HD alternatives(as some DPs are filter nerds while some only use color corrections, Pola and NDs), but I personally noticed the other day that it works similarly even on HDSLRs(i.e. 1/4 Mitchell Classic Soft or 1/4 Gold FX for CU of actress face), except that anything beyond 1/2 would actually soften overall image too much. Though there are several ways to manipulate images digitally, good make up person and maybe a glass filter or two still feel right…!

Federico February 13, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Hi shane! nice filter review but you don’t speak about the lee filter, they also sell a very small mounting filter kit http://www.leefilters.com/camera/products/finder/ref:C4756775B6C7AE/ I was thinink to buy this one and some 4×4 nd, Mb are to big for me!

I wanna ask you something else, I’m gonna shot a lot of car scene whit a 5d but I don’t know what kind of suction cup I could buy to use it (I’m not intrestead in any kind of gyros beacuse i want the vibration from the car, like in collateral), you think that the cullman clamp set could be ok? or it’s better to take bigger suction cup? I will use mostly lens between 21 and 85 all still lens.

Thanks in advice!

Shane February 14, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Federico, the Cullmann clamp suction is not beefy enough you have to go with a 6″ or an 9″ suction. You will still get the vibration you want.

Shane February 14, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Federico, I have never been a Lee filter guy. But I will look into it. My favorites are Schneider and now Tiffen.

ivan marasco February 16, 2010 at 9:14 AM

hi shane,
two questions:

A:i have read that under 0.9 nd grade there is not a lot of problem with IR pollution.
do you think so?

B:tiffen made two IR filters:
Tiffen Full Spectrum IRND filters and the new T1 filter that is expecially used for cameras like sony ex1,ex3,f35 that have IR problems also without ND filter.
i have read that T1 filter can be stacked with standard ND’s up to a 0.9(ALSO 1.2 I HAVE READ) and be effective in blocking the far red pollution. From a 1.2 and upwards, you will most likely see some IR pollution and therefore IS recommended using the Tiffen Full Spectrum IRND filters.
do you have tested if canon 5d has the same problems even without nd filters?
if all what i have wrote is true ,don’t you think that is more cheap to buy T1 tiffen filter and normal nd filters(under 1.2 grade)?
i wait your opinion

Shane February 16, 2010 at 12:37 PM

ivan marasco, it seems to make sense but stacking filters is a recipe for disaster. The more glass you put in front of the lens the more you degrade the image. Then when you stack 2 you are asking for weird flaring issues and internal reflection issues. The Water White filters are the ones that I feel are the best. Yes, I have found that the 5D has some of this IR contamination.

Dexter Dekorne February 18, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Hey I like your blog found you on google and its good to see that there are honest people out there.

diffid February 19, 2010 at 8:58 PM

Just caught your FXGuide Red Centre podcast, fantastic.

I was warned about cheap filters so I went for HOYA Pro1 Digital ND DMC Range, although you did a cheap HOYA did you test the DMC range, just wondering how they faired.

Cheers, great blog.

Shane February 21, 2010 at 12:43 AM

diffid, thank you so much. No I did not test the Hoya Pro1 Digital. I was trying more to prove a point that you need to spend some cash for good filtration, and the Tiffen IR Water Whites impressed me. How do you find the Hoya Pro deals with the IR pollution.

Rob February 21, 2010 at 12:53 AM

Hi Shane,
Any advice on the use of a circular polarizer for the dslr? I like the polarizer because of the control it allows for reflected light and it cuts a stop or more.

Shane February 21, 2010 at 8:18 AM

Rob, the Pola is an awesome tool, jut watch if you have a subject in the frame it tends to take the reflection off of their skin and make them lifeless, matte, but for landscapes it is amazing. I use it for wide shots and then when I get in close on a face I lose it. On The Greatest Game I chose to use it all the time to create a period look and feel with the matting of the skin tones. It’s your creative choice.

huski February 22, 2010 at 4:09 PM


I’m before buying ND’s, so this is great I found this post. In europe I haven’t found a Tiffen dealer in Europe, but I also picked the b+w filters. What do you think, combined with an IrCut filter, could it give the same performance as the Tiffen?


Shane February 22, 2010 at 10:21 PM

huski, yes, but when you double stack filtration and you are dealing with sun flares you can get double imaging other than that I think you should be fine. I have been using my Tiffen White Water IR ND’s down in the Dominican Republic at sunrise and sunset and it cleans up the IR so well, also using tungsten light mixed with daylight the filter really delivers.

huski February 23, 2010 at 5:17 AM

thanks:) Well…I’ll order a few filters, lets see:)

Marco March 20, 2010 at 3:57 AM

Thanks for the information. Do you have a recommended place for ordering? Also what is the price range for the cheapos and what is expensive? Thanks.

Shane March 24, 2010 at 2:27 AM

Marco, Abel cine, B and H, Film Tools, for a 77mm IR WW ND, $140.00 for one piece of glass. Cheapos are $11.00

dtmp March 21, 2010 at 10:34 PM

The guys over at FXguide seem to like the faderND, here’s their review:


thanks for the info!

Shane March 22, 2010 at 2:38 AM

dtmp, I am not a big fan of the fader ND. Check it out on a face, because it is 2 polarizing filters it will suck all the refelection and sheen off of one’s face and render it lifeless. I love the glow, the sheen that comes from one’s face. Experiment and see what works best for your project.

Kevin March 24, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Hey Shane,

I understand that there’s a tradeoff in quality that comes in price, and I would love to buy the Water Whites if I could afford them. However – it’s really not a possibility, and I was wondering if you had other ND filters you could recommend that are more within an indie filmmaker’s budget – with the understanding, of course that I’d be trading off quality for price.

Shane March 27, 2010 at 12:35 AM

Kevin, try getting a straight Tiffen IR filter and then some Schneider or B & W ND.

Micah Smith March 25, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Hi Shane,

I’m a little confused after reading all these comments. In response to one post you say you use screw on filters all the time for daylight. Then in response to another you say that stacking filters is a recipe for disaster. To be clear, “stacking” filters applies to both threaded screw-on filters as well as 4×4’s correct? So say I have a collection of lens, wouldn’t I be better off using a matte box with 4×4 Tiffen water white filters so that I don’t have to buy a bunch on screw-on’s for all my different lenses? And in order to get a proper exposure for daylight, wouldn’t I have to stack multiple Tiffen 4×4’s NDs?


Shane March 27, 2010 at 12:33 AM

Micah Smith, the stacking filter issue were in regards to stacking Pola’s, not ND’s. I use the 77mm WW IR ND’s when I want to be lightweight without a matte box and then 4 x 5 WW IR ND’s when I need a matte box, but I do not stack the IR ND’s, so it requires WW IR ND set and also WW ND without the IR set, double IR gives you a very weird color space.

Jesse March 26, 2010 at 12:03 PM

I have been trying to find the “77mm IR WW ND” with no luck on B&H Photo. Is this two separate filters or one? Can you post a direct link to it. Is it a 2×2 filter? if it is a 2×2 filter do you have to have a matte box or filter holder?

Shane March 27, 2010 at 12:13 AM

Jesse, Yes it is 77mm, not 2×2. I would try the Tiffen website to see where you can purchase them. I called Tiffen directly. You can buy them separately if you want. You can get a straight IR filter and then the WW ND filters.

PORTLAND FILM » Blog Archive » The DSLR Cinematography Guide March 29, 2010 at 3:17 AM

[…] Once you have your ND filters, there is a whole world of creative uses for filters beyond simple exposure correction. This could be its own guide, so for now here is an overview of some different types of lens filters. Note that filters are going in front of your lens, so they are one area where bargain-hunting can be risky; whereas a cheap shoulder support could give you a sore shoulder, a cheap filter could outright ruin your image; beware the reaper of cheap glass. […]

RJ March 29, 2010 at 11:41 PM

Hey Shane,

Thanks for your commitment to sharing – have you tried/tested the singh ray vari-nd. If yes, any thoughts?


Thomas April 2, 2010 at 1:15 PM


I love all these lens related articles, and have two suggestions/requests:

1) A discussion about and comparison of Focus Throw on various lens types, ie zeiss compared to nikon ai/ais, and on and on.

2) A discussion about (brace for shitstorm) zoom lenses to use with the 5d/7d for documentary work, ie manual v modern af, internal zoom lenses, etc…


Paul April 3, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Shane, I’ve been playing with various filters this week and also realizing how much of a difference they make, even basic UV Haze. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and democratizing our world of filmmaking.

I’ve also been on Tiffen’s website, B&H, AbelCine, and after spending some time searching can’t find the specific Tiffens you’re writing about. Do you have a model # on those, or a link?

Abel and B&H have a 77mm T1 IR Filter, which is what is described in the Tiffen ad at the top of your post, but it’s not combined with ND. They indicate you can stack one of their NDs on that, but I take it you don’t suggest doing that, or is that a viable option for when we’re not using a matte box and keeping it light?

There are 4×4’s or other drop-in filters that are both IR ND, so just wanting to see if you or others had some clarification on what you were using in the test, and what you recommend.

Shane April 3, 2010 at 12:15 PM

Paul, You are so welcome. The filtration that I am using is brand new. It is called White Water. It is a specific type of glass that does not contain all the browns and greens tones that their old filtration used to. It is a much cleaner glass for HD color space. Call a Tiffen Rep off of their website. Robert Orlando was my contact out of Glendale, CA. He is awesome and very accommodating. The 77mm are so easy. Tiffen makes this really cool Documentarian kit that straps to your belt and holds up to 4 ND filters. It kicks ass.

Paul April 3, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Also, appreciate your clarification on the Fader NDs. Everyone raves about them because they’re about as convenient as it gets, but I also can’t stand how it dulls the image. In fact, “Fader” ND is a good description, because it pulls the life out of my subjects. For vérité docs where at times you have to move so fast in and out of different lighting conditions and instinctively as to not miss the story (story is everything), I’m still trying to find better options.

Shane April 3, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Paul, I am sorry I cannot stand the Fader’s. Try this Tiffen pouch for your Doc’s. It works so well.

Paul April 4, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Shane, magnanimous artists like you are rare; don’t know if you’re getting recognition for it but I think that your passing on of knowledge will leave as big of a stamp and legacy as your own work. Few can make time to reply to blogs and messages when being so caught up in their craft. So much appreciated, mate!

Will definitely check that kit out and also give Tiffen a call. All the best, and happy shooting.

Shane April 5, 2010 at 1:40 AM

Paul, again you are so welcome. This is a personal blog, not an advertisement page. Everything that my Elite Team and I have learned in the field goes up on the page. I answer every blog personally. At Hurlbut Visuals we set ourselves apart from most of the 5D noise, by making a difference, going the distance, to educate and inspire.

Paul April 4, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Few artists are as magnanimous as you, Shane–the knowledge you’re sharing, while helping create a smaller footprint, might just leave a bigger legacy than your films. I hope everyone appreciates the time you’re taking from a busy professional schedule to help us out with invaluable suggestions as these.

Will definitely check out the kit and call up Tiffen. All the best!

Shane April 5, 2010 at 1:34 AM

Paul, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. That comment made my year. I sling it out there, with working as much as I can to educate and inspire people with all that I have learned as well as finding a balance with my two kids and beautiful wife. It has been an incredible year so far and I thank you and everyone that has supported me and embraced this technology. You now have a voice and I encourage you all to dream and create.

Paul April 6, 2010 at 11:32 PM

Sorry for the duplicate post. Definitely meant with unfeigned respect. Shane, in the exhausting MFA program I finished, we had many talented professionals come in who were so absorbed to the extent that their personal lives were a mess. That balance between art, family, and mentoring others to develop their talents is something I wasn’t taught or had access to, but have been in search of. So thanks for showing it can happen both on and off the screen. Keep on.

Shane April 7, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Paul, it is always great to hear from you and thank you.

Melissa Suffield April 7, 2010 at 9:05 AM

Hi, I am currently doing some research for an article that I am typing for my own website. I’ve found this post extremely useful and I would like to enquire if I may link to your post as it will be of great interest to my readers? Thanks. Melissa Suffield

Paul April 7, 2010 at 7:45 PM

For anyone interested, thought I’d drop another line to say that I put an order on a set of these filters, the 77mm IR ND’s. Sandie Stern from Tiffen–their specialist on filters out East–was a dream to work with and nailed down exactly what I needed. In case you think those are it, note that the Tiffen T1 filters aren’t the same ones Shane tested; they also have the hot mirror and Canon DSLRs already have that built in–so you don’t want to go that route. That would work well for like say your Sony XDCAM EX camcorders, and of course those have built in NDs.

She recommended two distributors: I ordered through Stan Wallace at the Filter Gallery in NY, a great place for all things filters if you want that specialization and nothing else. Abel Cine can also help place an order, and of course they’re great for all your production needs.

Can’t wait to try them out and dump the Fader ND.

Shane April 7, 2010 at 8:34 PM

Paul, I am glad you were able to track them down.

Tim April 11, 2010 at 1:00 PM


Great post, as usual. Thanks for all the generous help.

I’m resisting the hype machines of giant matte boxes and trying to stay light. You are reviewing screw-in round filters, which I’m assuming you’re also using. I’m trying to decide between a Cokin P or Z series filter holder and hood that fits on my different lenses with adaptor rings. FYI, the P series is for 3×3 inch filters which fit up to 86 mm sized lenses. The Tiffen Z series are 4×4 or 4×5 glass, what motion picture cameras use. I’ve found the Walter White tiffen ND filters 4×5 (Z sized), but none for 3×3 (P-sized) filters.

Specific questions:

1. do round, screw-on filters deliver better results than square filters?
2. the 3×3 filters and gear are cheaper and lighter than the 4×4 filters. Are there 3×3 filters that are as good as these Tiffens? Or do I need to go up to 4×4?

I know that staying light in the rig is a goal you advocate. Thanks again for all the help and knowledge.

Cedric Yu April 14, 2010 at 2:48 AM

Hello Shane,

Looking at the Zeiss CP2s, their lens diameters are just above 100mm, while the 4×5″ filters are 100mm on the shortest side. Will the 4×5″ filters fit the Zeiss CP2s nicely?

I’ve also noticed that the 4×5″ filters are more than a hundred dollars more expensive that the 4×5.65″ filters. Might you know why the larger filters are cheaper instead of being more expensive? The Redrock Micro mattboxes take the 4 x 5.65″ filters, so is there a reason why anyone shouldn’t buy the 4×5.65″ filters? I’d assume that if the 4×5″ filters can be used on the Zeiss CP2s, the 4×5.65″ filters would work as well.

Thanks very much for all your help.

Shane April 18, 2010 at 11:06 PM

Cedric Yu, I would go with the ones that fit the Red Rock matte box or the Birns and Sawyer clamp-on, which is the one that I use. The 4 x 5.65 is a Panavision size and works very well. They went with that bizarre size because they could use all of there Panavision glass as wide as a 14.5 with this size, where Arri has to go to a 6 x^ mattebox to cover that range. So it became the industry standard and that is why I think it is cheaper. Go for it. You are very welcome.

Steve April 16, 2010 at 5:46 PM


Is this the water white T1 IR ND. You are tlaking about. Sorry Im still new and been following your blog and help me a lot with this 5D.

Shane April 22, 2010 at 2:33 PM Reply
Steve April 16, 2010 at 5:48 PM


Is this the Filter you are talking about. I have a Mattebox and but also want the Circular filters. i been trying find one but they dont exist for some reason only for 4×4 and other size’s


Cedric Yu April 19, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Hello Shane,

thanks very much for your help! The inside-track newsletter is an awesome publication, I really appreciate all that you’re doing for everyone.

I have another filter related question for you;
if you could only have one or two Grad NDs, what would you go for?
I intend to do some landscape-heavy (thinking of attempting some natural and urban night timelapses), as well as general purpose, documentary style shoots, and was thinking of going with the:
Grad ND 1.2, both soft and hard graduation.

I heard the hard version is better for locked of, landscape distant shots, while the soft version is better for medium shots with movement. What are your thoughts and experience with the Grad NDs? Is 1.2 a good contrast for cloudy Vancouver? Or would you go with something more conservative like a 6 or 9 if you could only have one?

By the way, just to confirm, is this one of the IR ND Water Whites?

Or should I contact Jill for a kit as you suggested to Steve?

Thank you very much!

Shane April 20, 2010 at 3:06 AM

Cedric Yu, I am not a big grad guy. I used to be before the invention of the power window in post color correction. If I had to pick two it would the ND 9 Grad soft and hard. Then you can use your straight ND to bring the camera down where you want it.
That is the filter at B & H but give Jill a call and tell her that I sent you and see what kind of deal she can give you. Thanks, and you are very welcome. I am so glad you like the newsletter. I try to give you as much information through what I experience on a daily basis using this camera.

Shane April 21, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Cedric Yu, I wanted to give you a heads up that Jill from Tiffen just emailed me and the filters on the B&H site are incorrect. They are not IR ND they are straight ND filtration. I advise everyone to contact Tiffen tech support and Jill will be contacted through them to help get these filters in your kits. All the best.

Cedric Yu April 21, 2010 at 1:33 AM

Cool, was just thinking that for something like the 5D that hasn’t got a lot of post allowance, it might be better to do as much as possible in production. I’ll check out the power window and its equivalents. Thanks again for the suggestions referral Shane! (:

Shane April 21, 2010 at 1:51 AM

Cedric Yu, you are very welcome

ivan April 21, 2010 at 4:59 PM

hi shane,

do you have tested FORMATT HD ND FILTER?

THEY ARE NOT ANTI-IR,but without color shift.
i’m searching a good nd filter in circular size(82mm).
in this size i have only found FORMATT HD and TIFFEN DIGITAL HT filters.
what do you suggest me?
if i need two filters wich grade you can suggest me?

Steve April 22, 2010 at 2:10 AM


Thank you for all the information. I have been hunting these down since following you blogs and having late night hours surfing your website for valuable information of what you can do with the 5D. I learned a lot from your website and I appreciate all your help especially from a Big Name DP/Cinematographer in the business and sharing it to the Little People 🙂

Shane April 23, 2010 at 2:49 AM

Steve, you are all an inspiration to me, to go out and there and push the envelope, to crack this technology and to be a responsible filmmaker. I will always continue to share, the days when keeping things close to the chest are over. Onward and upward. Inspire and educate is what the Hurlblog is all about.

Steve April 22, 2010 at 8:40 PM

Awesome! thanks shane.

Im still waiting for the email back from tiffen. Just wondering how much do they cost.

Shane April 23, 2010 at 2:40 AM

Steve, I think the 77mm were 160 a piece. Ask Jill to give you a good deal. She is awesome. You contacted Jill directly, correct?

ivan April 23, 2010 at 3:15 PM

hi shane,
i have contacted jill and i answered me.
for now they don’t sell 82mm filter size,maybe next month.
he said me that you only use 77mm filter size using step-up and step-down ring.
do you have used the 77mm filter also to a 82mm lens?

Shane April 24, 2010 at 1:32 PM

ivan, That is great that Jill got back to you. Yes, I use the step-down ring from 82mm to 77mm, it does not vignette and works very well. That way you’re using one size which is 77mm for everything. It makes it easy and fast for changing filtration. We are putting a Indie kit together with Tiffen that gives you a set of 77mm WW IR ND’s 3,6,9,1.2 and then a set of 77mm WW Straight ND’s 3,6,9,1.2 so that you can double stack filtration and not be double stacking IR.

Jason F April 23, 2010 at 7:27 PM

Shane & everybody else-

Thanks for your guidance on this issue of ND for HDSLRs. I ran in to a severe problem earlier this week and was caught without any ND other than a couple of grads. So I quickly called Stan @ The Filter Gallery and the man is moving mountians to make sure that not only he can get his hands on the filters I need, but that he’ll get them to me in time for my shoot in NYC on Monday. These Tiffen WW IR’s are sure hard to come by, but Stan has been first rate. So thanks for the research on the filters, and then thank you for pointing out that Stan & Able Cine Tech are pretty much the only place to get these bad boys right now. (They’re actually so hard to come by that I’m purchasing the demo 1.2 that was used at NAB by Tiffen because it’s the last one that they have on hand in 77mm- crazy!)

Shane April 24, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Jason F, Hi, I want to help you quickly. Call Jill Conrad at Tiffen directly in NYC, her direct line is:631-609-3215 or email at [email protected]. I hope this helps. It is crazy. We are putting a Indie kit together that gives you a set of 77mm WW IR ND’s 3,6,9,1.2 and then a set of 77mm WW Straight ND’s 3,6,9,1.2 so that you can double stack filtration and not be double stacking IR.

Steve April 26, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Hi Shane,

I don’t wish to beat this issue into the ground, but is there a projected launch date for this Indie Kit of 77mm Tiffen WW IR ND filters?

That said, I shot some test footage with the 5D over the (very sunny) weekend and was pretty well hosed, without NDFs. I was able to compensate with a 1/100 shutter (Private Ryan lives!) and >10 F.Stop: the results (rivaling any off-the-shelf camcorder), as you can already guess, were somewhere South of “artsy.” Some top-flight NDs are a must — and fast!

Finally, been shooting with the 5D for a few short months: this site has been an immeasurable wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

Keep up the great work, sir.


Shane April 26, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Steve, they will be up hopefully by the end of May. You can go to filmtools.com and buy them right now. Get them quick, no more “Saving Private Ryan.” LOL!! You are so welcome. I will, and thank you for your support.

Steve April 26, 2010 at 10:39 PM

Hello again Shane,

Thank you for the referral.


P.S. Not a huge Will Ferrell fan, I recently watched Semi-Pro (you can surely guess why): the cinematography was stunning and totally not what I would have expected from a sports comedy. That one (Steadicam?) shot, where they come out of the tunnel for the big game … simply gorgeous.
Great job, man!

Shane April 27, 2010 at 12:56 AM

Steve, thank you so much. I am glad you liked the movie. I loved what the director and I came up with for the look. That steadicam guy, I flew all the way from Italy. His name is Roberto Deangelis. We have done 6 movies together. I love him and his passion.

Steve April 27, 2010 at 2:23 AM


I should have mentioned that, in the end, I enjoyed the overall film very much — one of Will’s funnier works, I’ll admit.

That said, where the cinematography is concerned, I was enraptured from the opening credits: the angles, the camera moves, the color palette … .
My gal (also a big fan, by the way) and I kept looking at each other and saying, “are you seeing this?” She had me rewind the aforementioned Steadicam shot a few times, too. True story. 🙂

On that note, I’ve seen a few of the films Roberto’s worked on — just didn’t know who he was, till you pointed him out. Now that I know his name, I’ll be paying closer attention. Thanks.

And thank you for taking the time to answer all these questions and offering so much insight into your craft — the world needs more Shane Hurlbuts.

All the best, sir.


Shane April 27, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Steve, wow!! You choked me up. Thank you for all those kind words. Whatever you need I will try my best to help.

Steve April 27, 2010 at 2:29 PM


You’re so very welcome.

I’ve never been one to withhold praise: when I truly appreciate something, whatever that may be, I say it loudly (just brought up that way, I guess) — often, at the risk of being written off as a gushing fanboy (or suck-up) by cynics.
… and so what?

The fact is your work (both on-screen and through this site) has knocked me on my ass, inspired me, and I ain’t afraid to let anyone know — least of all, the talent behind it all. 🙂

That said, you can expect a lot more flowery language from me in the future.
I trust you can handle it. 😉

As for whatever I need, it’s all about information, at this point in my development as a filmmaker. This site has done a fantastic job of filling knowledge gaps — and I can’t thank you enough.

Have a great day.


Shane April 27, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Steve. There is more on the way and the new newsletter has answers to most frequently asked questions during NAB.
Thank you again for those amazingly supportive words.

Steve April 28, 2010 at 11:05 AM


Received the latest newsletter two days ago. Thanx.

As for those “amazingly supportive words,” as always, you’re very welcome — just sayin’ it like it is. 🙂

Have a great day.


Ara May 3, 2010 at 5:22 PM


Why aren’t the WW IR NDs stackable?

If I’m adding a 77mm Tiffen WW IR ND .3 to a 1.2 aren’t I getting 1.5 worth of ND and IR protection?



Shane May 4, 2010 at 12:23 AM

Ara, It is fine to do. I was not reacting well to it. I felt it was a little heavy handed at times. But it all works beautifully, just like it is meant to do.

baffa May 3, 2010 at 7:26 PM

shane –
thanks so much for sharing – i’ve met mouse a few times through my friend wes brown & love what you are doing at bandito.

i just got back from shooting surfing and dust traveling lifestyle in baja with my 7d. i’ve been stacking my Tiffen 77mm ND8s & 9s to stay at 1/40th f2.8 in the hot desert sun.

i’m been super happy with the results – keeping my neutral setting very flat – i don’t see a big color shift but i have been warming up my white balance for that “desert feel”

i have had some issues with the “over heating warning” – not sure if others are experiencing this in challenging conditions. but for the most part – i am extremely happy with this system.

i can’t wait to check out your recommended tiffen water white IRs – sounds like another gem of info from you.

your generosity to other filmmakers embarking down this new HDSLR world of production is unprecedented. i truly do thank you for sharing in a world that often hordes. you rock. best. jb

Shane May 4, 2010 at 12:47 AM

baffa, you are very welcome. Sounds like you are doing the right thing putting all that ND in there. You will love the results with the WW IR ND. The overheating issue is a pain in the rear. It is the dual digi processor. It overheats so much more frequently than the 5D. Watch your blacks when the camera overheats. They tend to deliver this weird banding issue, where you see vertical and horizontal lines. Thank you so much for your kind words and support.

Paul Reuter May 3, 2010 at 8:26 PM


How are you? It been a long time. Glad you are doing all this work. The info here is really helpful

Was wondering if your tested any Polas? I did not see mention of them

Shane May 4, 2010 at 12:49 AM

Paul Reuter, Hi Paul, yes we did, the Schneider True-pola and the Tiffen Pola looked great. I tend to not use a pola that much for sky’s with this camera, because the blues seems to be saturated enough to my liking.

Paul Reuter May 4, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Yeah, I’ve been going with out a Pola, Something I feel the True-pola make the image look muddy. Most of the time I am happy wit out. Can’t wait to try the WW IR ND.

Shane May 4, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Paul Reuter, I don’t think you will be disappointed. Muddy is right.

ivan May 5, 2010 at 6:08 PM

i have received an email for jill conrad from tiffen about 82mm size WW IRND filters.
this is what he wrote:

“..We have been busy meeting the demand for the 77mm. Shane uses a step ring when shooting lenses requiring an 82mm. This is another option for you. I honestly don’t expect to have 82mm in stock for a few weeks. We have not have a real demand for it”

for me is strange that peopleS prefers a 77mm over 82mm size .
if i want to be sure to use the filters in all photographics lenses’ range i think that 82mm size is the best solution.
the maximum lens size of a photographic lenses is 82mm.
don’t you think so?
if yes why you don’t suggest to all peoples and Tiffen the 82mm size?

Steve K May 7, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Hello again, Shane,

Sincere apologies for still being stuck on this ND issue (you’re living in the past, man!!), but …

You said:
” … you can double stack filtration and not be double stacking IR.”

Does that mean that if I require 4 stops of reduction, for example (and assuming, of course, that I don’t have a 1.2), that I should stack a .9 IR ND and a .3 standard ND, as opposed to stacking two IR NDs?

What will happen if you double-stack the IR?
… I’m scared. :-S

Thanks again for your time.

As always, keep up the great work.


P.S. I have lots to say (and questions to ask) about “The making of the Janitor Sequence” … still organizing my thoughts. Please, stay tuned.

Shane May 7, 2010 at 2:10 PM

Steve K, You are o.k. to stack, but I just received word that Tiffen has made the INDIE filter kits and you can buy them in different varieties. They have expanded the WW IR ND line to 1.5, 1.8, 2.1 so they are doing 5 stops to 7 stops. Very exciting for a person like me that loves taking it way down. It was mainly not liking 2 pieces of glass in front of the lens.

Steve K May 7, 2010 at 2:23 PM


Yes, it’s still me. 🙂

Here’s an apropos question (concerning the Janitor Sequence):
What degree of ND filtration might you have used for those shots, if any?

Also, does IR filtration apply to both interior and exterior photography?

Thanks again.


Shane May 7, 2010 at 5:17 PM

Steve K, yes where ever you use ND, you will have IR pollution. I did not want to use ND on the Janitor sequence because I wanted to shoot with the lowest ISO possible.

Steve K May 7, 2010 at 2:31 PM


As to the first question (double-stacking IR filtration), thank you.
Not that I have much real experience with this, but I can understand the logic in NOT wanting any unnecessary glass in front of the lens.

As to the INDIE filter kits, am I reading you that they are now available?
Having still not seen them in Tiffen’s catalog, I was just about to place an order for individual filters with B&H.


All the best.

Shane May 7, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Steve K, hold off, they are coming out. This is what Jill Conrad sent me:
Indie Standard IR Neutral Density Kit (W77INDSTDKT)
IR Neutral Density 0.3, 0.6, 0.9 and 1.2

Indie Upgrade IR Neutral Density Kit (W77INDUGKT)
IR Neutral Density 1.5, 1.8 or 2.1

Indie Pro IR Neutral Density Kit (W77INDPROKT)
IR Neutral Density 0.3, 0.6, 0.9, 1.2, 1.5, 1.8 and 2.1

Indie Neutral Density Kit (W77INDNDKT)
Neutral Density 0.3, 0.6, 0.9 and 1.2

Ken Andrews May 7, 2010 at 4:56 PM

HI Shane,

Enjoy and use your blog as a reference. Thanks for all this effort you are putting in this. I’m about to load up on NDs and started wondering if this scenario would be valid: Getting one clear IR filter (no ND) and then putting standard ND in front of that, as needed. Seems like the IR pollution happens when you don’t need or want ND (interiors). I see redish noise in the shadows when shooting in interiors. Is this IR pollution?

Another quick question I had was what your ratio has been in terms of using a mattebox versus screw-on ND on your 5D shoots. Having looked through all the stills and BTS footage here, I rarely see a mattebox on the cameras.

Thanks again.


Steve K May 8, 2010 at 1:47 AM


Awesome! Thank you so much for the skinny on the Indie ND (say that 10 times, fast) kits and for clarifying that IR pollution issue.
No word of a lie, I learn something new every time I visit the blog. Cheers!

On an unrelated note, have you experienced any stuck frames with the 5D? I shot some footage this evening (perhaps, 60 shots), and wound up with a stuck frame (each one lasting four frames) on 3-4 of those. I’d read that this was a common problem but had yet to see it for myself.

Other than that, I’m still very pleased with what the 5D can do: it’s one mean machine, and I thank you, once again, for teaching me how to use it. 🙂

Have a great one.


Shane May 8, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Steve K, Never heard of a stuck frame, very bizarre. You are very welcome.

Steve K May 8, 2010 at 1:52 AM

Ok, “very pleased” was an abysmal choice of words — I’m delirious, ecstatic.


Steve May 19, 2010 at 11:11 PM


I might have a budget for a RED EPIC and Lenses. I would like to buy the Carl Zeiss Compact Primes (18mm, 21mm, 25mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm) with the RED EPIC Set-up. Would this be a good combination I would like to have your opinion on this set-up?

I have a 5D already and investing on another 5D for 2nd and 3rd camera….

Joe B. May 20, 2010 at 12:08 AM


Thanks again for the wealth of information and experience you share, much obliged. I have a question that may be more worthy of a separate post; apologies if I get longwinded:

It seems one of the main advantages of DSLR shooting is its low-profile nature–both in its diminutive size (can be rigged anywhere) and its not being an attention monger (you can gather doc. footage on the sly, or shoot permit-free, not that you or I would condone such behavior…). Acknowledging this strength, are screw-in filters a great way to go, assuming you can adapt your lens kit to all take the same size, over a mattebox? Do lens hoods provide similar stray light shade, when necessary, as french flags?

Of course a mattebox often helps to protect the lens and camera–Cinevate’s, for example, even provides an overhead handle and a rails block for building a cage. They also lend an air of professionalism, and are adaptable to any lens, once on the rails…but what about when you want to go low profile, handheld: you still absolutely need the NDs to get your shot, so wouldn’t a screw-in set, if you had to choose, be the best choice?

I ask because I own a mattebox, but feel conflicted about trying to use it regularly with my dslr for how it grabs attention, and for the difficulty in changing out filters on the move . Right now I’m working with Fader ND for handheld dslr work, knowing that for color critical shots I should likely be using my water white glass (Schneider 4x4s). But today I read this post that even the Schneider’s contaminate on the 5D…should I fully invest in screw-ins? Do they have front threads for adding polarizers, or pro mist or black frost? Should I scrap my mattebox for DSLR use (maybe sell it for money for screw-in filters, or even baseball cards?), or try to adapt it as an option into my kit? Help, o wise sage of feature film experience…

(my gut says go for the Tiffen Indie Pro kit and don’t look back, assuming I can screw on a polarizer or slap on that mattebox for pola if absolutely necessary.)

By the way, I didn’t know until recently that you shot “The Greatest Game Ever Played”–I love that story, one of the greatest moments in American sport. And now I will certainly check out the film.

All Best, Gracias, JB

Shane May 21, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Joe B. you are very welcome and thank you for your kind words and continued support. Screw-ins are my go to. I do not use a mattebox unless I am in a backlight scenario. I don’t like any mattebox that goes on the rails. It only slows you down. Looks good on a website and a trade show floor but is sucks in the field. Schneider do not preform well, you have to go with Tiffen WWIR ND filtration. Keep the mattebox for those backlight scenarios but keep it lean man. Thanks for the props for Greatest Game. That was and extraordinary experience and I felt I knocked it out visually. I would love to see what you think.

Joe B. May 20, 2010 at 12:20 AM

Apologies, just noticed the “older comments” replies–apparently you use B&S Clamp-On Mattebox and/or screw-in 77mm filters with 82mm step down rings when necessary. ‘Nuff said, but feel free to add more thoughts if and when you have the time. Thanks again, Joe

Will May 23, 2010 at 4:56 PM

Hi Shane,

Thank you so much for your generosity with your knowledge and inspiring spirit. I’d be interested to know how you typically handle white balance variations during hectic productions on these cameras, and especially when you’re using high levels of ND.

On occasion I use a TON of ND (8+ stops). Even great glass can have a slight color cast at those levels. I haven’t tried the new WW IRNDs yet (certainly planning to), but I know that Tiffen previously recommended white balancing out the yellow-green cast of its 2.1 IRND when using cameras like the Genesis and F23.

Do you shoot a grey card and use the auto white balance feature, or can you just set the Kelvin temperature and be fine? Do you approach white balance differently if you’ve got a lot of filtration?

Thanks in advance!

Shane May 24, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Will, You are welcome! Thank-you for your kind words. I love the slight yellow green that the ND filters add. The reason is that it being HD loves pink, magenta, and red. I hate pink and I hate magenta, so the WWIRND’s take that out. I never white balance. I use the color temp on the camera.

Bill Walsh July 18, 2010 at 10:14 PM


Thanks for this info. Did you run a similar test with Polarizers? I’m looking for something to compliment my new Zeiss ZE 50mm 1.4.

Shane July 19, 2010 at 11:02 AM

Bill Walsh, You are welcome, yes the WW Ultra Polarizer from Tiffen was very clean, it did not have all that green that you commonly see.

Sam Phibbs July 22, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Hi Shane,

I am looking to invest in some wwirnds but can only really afford 3, which strengths would you recommend? Also can you stack them? One other question do you have UV filters on your lenses for protection and if so what brand would you recommend? I bought a fader variable ND what a piece a junk the sharpness loss is a joke! Thanks for all your help you give us through your blog and newsletters, you are the man!

Shane July 22, 2010 at 11:40 PM

Sam Phibbs, I would go for a 6,9,1.2, stacking is not advised because it makes your image softer with the two layers of glass. I do not use the UV filters, they flare the lens to easy. I only use those when I am doing a crash housing or an explosion. If so, I would use the Tiffen Ultra Clears. Those ND faders are shit. You are very welcome. Thank you for those kind words.

Rod Cole August 4, 2010 at 9:19 AM


Thanks for your willingness to share your insight and your craft.

I had already decided to purchase the Tiffen IndyPro kit based upon your excellent article, but a friend (he is still photographer only) attempted to convince me to purchase a Singh Ray VariND ($350) instead. This is only $100 less than the Filmtools price for the IndyPro kit and I had seriously considered them for no reason other than convenience of use until I read your response to Sam Phibbs about ND Faders.

Even so, before making my decision, I had wanted to check with you as I was still concerned about color shift issues even with the Singh Ray, but the softness issue is a cause for great concern. Thanks for helping me to make the right decision.

Shane August 4, 2010 at 3:08 PM

Rod Cole,You are so welcome and thank you for your kind words and support, but it is very simple, go with the indy kit from Tiffen, the fader ND suck. If you want soft images and lifeless skin tones, have at it and save $100.00.

Rod Cole August 6, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Shane, thanks for confirming my gut-level sense that the Tiffen Indy Kit is the only way to go. I was not so much concerned about saving $100 but the siren song of having one convenient solution instead of having to change filters was quite compelling.

I had previously tried the Coken filters left over from still photography years ago, but the magenta shift was intolerable thus I began looking for a better solution when I discovered your timely article.

All the best and I am looking forward to your continued posts.

Shane August 7, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Rod Cole, you are very welcome, I am selling Hurlbut Visuals Indie kits at the bootcamp for discounted prices. Are you coming? This is going to kick ass, never before has there been a course like this. Would love to see you.

Patrick Jaeger January 27, 2011 at 6:53 AM

Hi Shane,

I have been looking for the IRND indie filter kit on Tiffen’s website but cannot find it? The only place I can find it on is B&H. This makes me a bit concerned, has the filter kit been released?

Aviv Vana January 30, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Shane, my Hero!
I have a million questions but for now I’m just dropping a hello and expressing my gratitude as I continue to visit your site and continue to find answers to so many of my questions as I learn to master my 7D.
Thanks, you are making me look good out here as I’m hired out to film in my neck of the woods . . . Israel – the hold land. 🙂

Shane January 30, 2011 at 9:36 PM

Aviv Vana, you are very welcome and thank you for those kind words. Keep on fueling the revolution from the Holy Land.

Jim Weise January 31, 2011 at 1:27 AM

I have been planning out my ND purchase over a few weeks, and been drifting along on the siren song of the “variable” ND options from various sources. After looking at some demo footage I was not impressed but unable to make sense of the pros/cons of such a route.

I finally saw the light (yuck yuck) upon finding your great post. I will definitely grab one of the WWIR sets, having found that the science of the optics engineered by Tiffen makes good sense. Why degrade an image at the sake of convenience, since you gain back so much in time during post (and possibly overall).

I know it is in part due to the demand of professionals like you, Shane, that we are lucky enough to have these tools available. Keep fighting the good fight!

Shane January 31, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Jim Weise, the variable ND will bury you. We have designed a wonderful little pouch that you can velcro to your belt and have all the necessary tools to take ordinary footage and make it look extraordinary with the use of Tiffen WW IR ND or just straight WW ND.

Tosh Xiong February 17, 2011 at 8:52 PM

It’s great to get such a valued education from your blog, keep it up! I’m looking at the Tiffen Indie Upgrade Kit which includes (1.5, 1.8, 2.1 IR/ND Filters) Would these strengths be too much for outdoor shooting and some indoors? I assume the benefits of these ND’s apply to other camera’s (GH2) besides Canon only? Also, is there a difference between Water White Glass and ColorCore Glass? Thanks so much!

Shane February 18, 2011 at 12:28 AM

Tosh Xiong, thank you so much for your kind words. The Tiffen Water Whites are the purest Neutral Density filters out there. I use the Indie Plus kit for all of my day exterior shooting, using ND to take the Canon 5D down 6-7 stops is where you turn an image from ordinary to extraordinary.

Menno February 17, 2012 at 3:03 AM

Hi Shane,
love reading your articles, please don’t ever stop 🙂
After all the good words about the Tiffen Waterwhite IRND filters I bought a Indie Pro kit. They come in two nice pouches, but the first thing I noticed is the huge green color shift between the various filters on my 5D. Do you know if this is normal? Or you have to white balance everytime another filter is put in front of the lens?

Shane March 5, 2012 at 10:59 PM

The Water White non-IRs have the least amount of color shift, and the IR’s have a green color shift.

John Tucker March 7, 2011 at 6:06 AM

Hey Shane. I just got my IRND kit but there seems to be a slight colour shift towards green/blue. Is this normal? I thought they were meant to be completely clean?

Shane March 7, 2011 at 6:17 PM

John Tucker, here is my comment on this. I have shot with both WW IR ND’s as well as WW ND’s. Both I have in my arsenal. The IR to use when I want a slightly golder feel and if I want more of a white quality I go with the straight ND’s without the IR. I love a slightly yellow feel overall. This is why I shoot with Panavision Primo primes, and Leica Still glass, they deliver this.

John Tucker March 8, 2011 at 8:53 AM

But my WW IR ND’s have a slight cool colour cast, not a warm one like you describe.

Shane March 9, 2011 at 9:47 PM

John Tucker, what type of lenses are you using? Let’s get to the bottom of this. Thanks

John tucker March 11, 2011 at 2:58 AM

Shane, I noticed these effects on the Canon EF 50mm f1.4.

Shane March 11, 2011 at 6:56 AM

John Tucker, that is very weird. I will call Tiffen to see what they think. Thanks for giving us a heads up

John Novotny April 25, 2011 at 4:39 AM

What do you think of the Fader ND’s?

Schneider recently had one at NAB 2011 with a 10 stop range.

Shane April 25, 2011 at 11:25 AM

John Novotny, fader ND’s suck. They are double polarizers. This takes reflection off of everything. Which is great if you are shooting through a window of a car, or you want to shoot fish in a lake, but in general polarization is a bad thing, in my book. On skin it removes all of the reflection, which leaves a face lifeless.

John Novotny May 9, 2011 at 11:57 PM

I see, only good for ENG, docs and maybe event coverage. Thanks!

John Novotny April 25, 2011 at 4:55 AM

Currently I’m using a Kenko ND filter.

Shane April 25, 2011 at 11:26 AM

John Novotny, I would try the Tiffen WW ND’s, they will not disappoint.

John Novotny May 9, 2011 at 11:56 PM

Thanks Shane, will definitely check them out.

John Novotny May 23, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Picked up a set of the Tiffen 77mm Indie Plus HV Kit at Filmtools for over $100 off for anyone who’s interested.


Color cast with ND filters June 10, 2011 at 4:30 PM

[…] filter, but the weaker ones do not have any color cast. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for. Filtration: Beware Of The Reaper Of Cheap Glass | Hurlbut Visuals __________________ Canon XS with 18-55 kit flickr "You can't be young forever, but you can […]

Greg Greenhaw June 28, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Hey shane the Tiffen water white IR ND filters cause a major green cast.


When I talked to you in person you said avoid the IR ND filters and only use the ND filters but you have a image above showing the Full spectrum IR ND filters. Also BH has the IR ND in their Tiffen Inde ND packs.


This is super confusing now I’m stuck changing the white balance color offset in my 5d’s control panel per filter

Shane June 28, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Greg Greenhaw, I am very sorry about any confusion. I have both and use both. I find sometimes I love the golden feel, like on Case IH that was all WWIRND’s When I did the AM Resorts job I found that I needed the IR in the pools and the straights in the rooms and the beach. On Marines I used IR’s for the morning and afternoon light. If you are buying and investing in one set then I would make it the WW Straight ND filters. These will be your best bet. If I can help in any other way please email me. If you are looking for these specific kits they are HV Tiffen Indie and Indie Plus Kits.

Draganche August 3, 2011 at 7:58 AM

Hi Shane,
First of, I wish you all the best in life.
I think you are an exceptional person and I am delighted with the enthusiasm that you answer all the questions and of course your amazing work.
This is my first post here, although I read you blog every morning with a couple of tea.
To the point …
I live in Serbia, where these things are Exotic :-)) as for the money, because of our closeness, unfortunately.
I bought a 24-70 and mark 2 barely,do not ask me how, but I am more than satisfied, it was my dream ….
Now, I need this filter, badly ..
I have no money to buy something expensive, so I thought I buy LCV fader nd mark II,only through some friends in Europe if they are willing to help.
My question is, what do you think of Light Craft Workshop?
Once again a big greeting to you and your family and do not mind if I was a bit boring :-))

Draganche August 9, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Someone seems to have a good joke with me…
A few days ago I received a very nice mail from Mr. Shane.
Sorry if you got the mail from me that said something you did not have a clue 🙂
But hey,thanks to someone there,It was one of that day for which you think that is not happening.
However,if anyone still recommended LCV fader?


Shane August 9, 2011 at 1:22 PM

Draganche, your package will be on its way very soon. Thank you so much for your kind email. Enjoy, be inspired and follow your passion.

Draganche August 10, 2011 at 3:19 PM


Draganche September 14, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Shane,my Man!
Just to tell you that the filters arrived today!
I immediately went to the testing and I have to tell you and everyone here,this is a serious thing…
For now I am very satisfied and I found no flaws like people who use other filters.
So far for the first day of testing. I can not wait for some larger projects to feel the full potential of these filters.
I will continue to follow your blog and to collect your knowledge.

Greatings from Serbia,where you are always welcome!

Shane September 22, 2011 at 3:18 AM

Draganche, yes, they arrived. WHew, I was sweating whether they would get through customs. I am glad they are working out for you. The Tiffen HV sets are unique in that they are designed for DSLR’s. I look forward to seeing your video’s soon. All the best.

Draganche November 28, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Trust me, it was densely :-))
Sorry I’m late with the answer…
I have a deal for a music video,just waiting for the weather conditions.
As soon as I have something in hand,I will be glad to hear your feedback!

Shane December 11, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Draganche, sounds great, would love that. Happy shooting.

Robertt September 19, 2011 at 5:54 AM

Hi Shane,

Did you test the Heliopan Vario ND filter praised by Philip Bloom?

Shane September 22, 2011 at 3:04 AM

Robertt, no I haven’t but if it uses dueling Pola technology and I know it does I am not having it. Thanks

RyanB November 1, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Hi Shane, Thank you so much for your testing and working out this much needed system…. One question… you had wrote in a previous response…
‘stacking is not advised because it makes your image softer with the two layers of glass’
Will stacking the circ polarizer with an ND cause a softer image and is not advised? Or were you referring to stacking multiple Nd’s?

Shane November 2, 2011 at 11:16 AM

RyanB, I was referring to multiple ND’s. I know that you have to polarize and having one ND that gets you to your desired stop and then add the pola is what I was talking about. This is why Tiffen and I engineered the 7 stops of ND range so that one or possibly 2 filters with a pola would be all you would need to put in front of your lens.

Damien November 27, 2011 at 11:23 PM

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am certainly going to pick up the Tiffen ND Indie Plus kit. What are your thoughts about UV filters being used primarily as lens protection? I have the Hoya UV(o) and UV(c). Will I compromise my sharpness or have any other issues combining them with the Tiffen NDs? Thanks!

Shane December 11, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Damien, I never use a UV filter unless I am going to take some dirt or rocks in the face. They definitely soften the image if you are layering on top of a WWND. Just use the WW.

kai January 19, 2012 at 2:07 PM Reply
Shane January 20, 2012 at 3:28 AM

kai, yes this is correct.

Don’t Fear the Reaper | Trojan Horse Films March 29, 2013 at 11:39 AM

[…] http://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2010/02/filtration-beware-of-the-reaper-of-cheap-glass/ This entry was posted in Cameras, Lenses, Tutorials and tagged DSLR, filmmaking, filters, filtration, lens, lenses, neutral density, Shane Hurlbut, Tiffen. Bookmark the permalink. […]

Paul Abrahams April 26, 2013 at 6:09 AM

I picked up a Tiffen HV Indie set off amazon on special for a little over $200…. nice.

Shane April 27, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Paul Abrahams. Yeah baby! Those are gold with new digital sensors.

Paul Abrahams June 9, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Also got the Tiffen T1 to go with the indie set on my BMCC. Learning a ton here Shane, thanks.

Hur July 17, 2013 at 4:28 PM

I’ve noticed some color shift with the 77mm Tiffen Water White IRND’s on my 7d. This only becomes a problem for scenes where at some point there is no ND on the camera… i.e. a scene where there are a bunch of shots at .6 or .3 IRND but a few with no IRND. I’ve found that the filter-less shots are warmer than the others. Is this your experience?

Artiom July 18, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Thank you so much for this article and best regards from Germany.
The Tiffen HV Indie is unfortunately not available in Europe. At least I was not able to find it after my long search. I was considering getting the fader ND, but the previous comments made me realize that it is not a good idea at all.

Here comes my question: Is there any other possibility of getting the HV Indie kit in Europe/Germany or is my only possibility of ordering the kit over Amazon.com and paying the international shipping plus additional taxes? I am really thankful for any advice.

Shane July 31, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Artiom, you are very welcome and thank you for your support. I think Amazon is your best bet, so sorry for the inconvenience. I have mentioned this to Tiffen before.

Artiom July 19, 2013 at 1:50 PM

I have another question: Can you give any advice which would be the most appropriate exposure on the Canon T3i to gain that beautiful shallow depth of field you were speaking of with the Canon 5d and 7d? I recently bought a Canon EF 50mm 1:1.8 II in order to obtain a shallow depth of field. However, setting the exposure at 1.8 makes it really difficult to focus on the talent, so I guess there must be a nice trade-off between shallow depth of field and proper focusing. Thank you for your advice.

Shane July 31, 2013 at 5:11 PM

Artiom, yes. I would set your lens around a 2.8 f-stop and try that. Yes that 1.8 is very shallow and hard to find anything in focus. Remember, when shooting a face is is very distracting for their nose and ears to be out of focus. Looks great on a still photo but not when its moving. You need to be able to grab that emotional contact with your character.

Jeremy January 15, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Hi Shane, wonderful site. Thanks so much for all the help you give to filmmakers and DP’s.

I have two questions. I’m going to be shooting a project soon with the 5DmIII with the Magic Lantern upgrade and the Zeiss CP.2 Primes. I’m very aware of how important filters are for the cinematic look. However, the CP.2’s have a 114mm front lens diameter. There doesn’t seem to be any alternatives for screw-in filters at that diameter and the plate filters aren’t reasonable on a budget. Is it best to ditch the CP.2’s or is the image quality worth going the plate filter route?

And the last question: For this project there are scenes that require a bright, white light shooting toward the lens from behind an actor to create a silhouette with little to no detail. ND is an absolute must but I’m also afraid of blowing out the image so that it looks very digital. Is this look possible with the 5DmIII? Is it just about stopping the camera down to control that bright white light and letting everything else go into the shadows?

Thanks again for your time!

Shane January 15, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Jeremy, thank you very much for the kind words. The 5D MK III hack is very good. Keep those CP2’s, they will be great. Get some 4.5R filters and there is a 114mm clamp on that receives the 4.5R filters if you do not want to go with a matte box. Yes stop the 5D MK III down so that it feels hot but not that clippy video look. The 5D blows window out very cinematically so you should be fine.

Brahm July 23, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Hey Shane, I made the call that there is no shelf life or “necro-posting” rule on blog articles that are so “living” and pertinent.

I understand everything you are saying and am ready to pull the trigger except I am shooting almost exclusively with the Canon 35mm L which is a “72mm” filter size.

How do you feel about the following products from Tiffen – and will the IR portion of them really affect me that much? (Shooting a western in the Mojave dessert)?


Thanks for your time!

CHRISTIAN M November 16, 2014 at 6:12 AM


Amazing website, learn sooo much. I appreciate your giving spirit.

Not sure if you answer to old posts, but if you do, the in question is: Have you used the Singh-Ray filters? specifically their Mor-slo 10 or 15? what’s your take?


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