Heliopan 10 Stop ND Filter Testing

I have always wanted to try long exposure shots in daylight so I finally decided to bite the bullet and splurge on a 10 stop ND filter. The Hoya ND400 and B+W 110 are the ND filters of choice for most people on Flickr and the forums. I could’ve gotten the Hoya locally but it was only a 9 stop ND filter, so I decided on the B+W 110.  Do you think I could find one? These suckers are in high demand as there appears to be a worldwide shortage until further notice.



ISO 100 | 50mm | f/22 @ 77secs

After some more research I found another 10 stop ND filter from a company called Heliopan, apparently these guys are huge in the cinema world but I’ve never heard of them. Anyway, to cut a long story short, they have an excellent reputation for quality and they make decent ND filters and CPL filters.  They were not cheap at $158 AUD shipped to my front door from the UK (Teamwork ).


ISO 100 | 50mm | f/22 @ 25secs

It has been hard to get out and test them as it has been raining heavily in Sydney for the last few weeks. Finally managed to out on Saturday afternoon when the weather was sunny instead of the forecasted rain all weekend. However, the change did come later in the day.


ISO 100 | 50mm | f/22 @ 25secs


ISO 100 | 50mm | f/22 @ 25secs

I cranked down the ISO on my D700 to 100 (Lo1.0) instead of the default ISO 200 so that I could doubled my exposure time. I also used f/16 – f/22 to maximise my exposure time.



ISO 100 | 50mm | f/22 @ 75secs

I put the D700 into manual mode. I then compose/focus without the ND filter and take note of the exposure time. I turn AF off and screwed the ND filter on. Using the NDCalc app on my iPhone, I enter the exposure reading (without filter) and select ND 3.0 (10 stops) and it calculates the optimum exposure time required for a 10 stop ND filter.

I use bulb mode with the aid of a remote release cable with the aid of a countdown timer (NDCalc) to let me know when to release the trigger.



ISO 100 | 50mm | f/22 @ 30secs


ISO 100 | 50mm | f/22 @ 30secs

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test it with my Nikon 14-24mm lens for obvious reasons. The only other options were either my Sigma 70-200mm or Nikon 50mm lens. I decided on the 50mm, as the 70-200m was too long, but had to get a 52mm to 77mm step-up ring. I am seriously considering getting the Nikon 16-35mm f/4 lens.

I have to say so far I am super impressed with the results and there is no colour cast,  which I do get when using Cokin ND or ND Grad filters. I really love the LE effect on the water. Further testing will be required with an UWA lens. :-)

Bare Island  –  La Perouse


Map picture


Andy said...

16-35 is indeed tempting because of such filters. There's a very cheap solution for 14-24 - welding glass. You do get strong green colour cast, but if you shoot raw then it's easy to correct in post or with a custom white balance preset (better than in post I think). Obviously optically it isn't on par with B+W, Hoya or Helio, but it's still a solution.. until maybe Lee comes out with a 150x170 ND 3.0 for their new 14-24 holder.


Maybe there is also some pro grade welding glass somewhere that offers better quality and less colour casting. :S

lozzmann said...

Hi Andy,

Thanks for dropping by. Yeah, I considered using the welding glass method but could not find any in Sydney big enough for my 14-24mm at the time.

My interests really peaked when Lee released their Big Stopper. I emailed them and asked if they had plans on releasing one for their Lee X-Pro size range and they said not at the moment.

Anyway, I picked up my Nikon 16-35mm f/4 today. So there will be some serious testing this weekend.

Thanks for the links to Amazon.