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DJI ND filters or is there a better one?

BSauce955

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So I have a few questions about filters for the DJI Air 2S. I got the normal package but do intend to buy a couple of extra batteries (that's all from the fly more package I really feel that I need). However, I'd like to have some filters on hand just in case I need them. So my question is: should I go with DJI's filters and buy one from someone who actually did get the Fly-More-Combo but don't want the filters or should I go with some other vendor like Freewell or PolarPro? Also, what range of filters would it be best to have. I think the DJI filters go from ND 4 to ND 32 so would I need a 64 filter too? Sorry if this has already been discussed. I haven't seen any threads on it so far. Thanks!
 

Dan AISCF

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So I have a few questions about filters for the DJI Air 2S. I got the normal package but do intend to buy a couple of extra batteries (that's all from the fly more package I really feel that I need). However, I'd like to have some filters on hand just in case I need them. So my question is: should I go with DJI's filters and buy one from someone who actually did get the Fly-More-Combo but don't want the filters or should I go with some other vendor like Freewell or PolarPro? Also, what range of filters would it be best to have. I think the DJI filters go from ND 4 to ND 32 so would I need a 64 filter too? Sorry if this has already been discussed. I haven't seen any threads on it so far. Thanks!
Like you I live in Fl as well and know it can get pretty bright. I shoot a bit of Gulf Coast beaches and it's super super bright there, so much so the ND32's included in the Fly More don't really cut it for how I like to film (30fps 60 shutter slowed 80% of actual). I normally had to shoot 60fps 120 shutter to cut down on the light.

I picked THESE FILTERS up a month or two ago and work well. Since they are variable, you always get the needed exposure ANDwithout weird color casts.

Below is the latest video I did with the variables on them, though I didn't use the ND64+ equivalent that day... I rate them a 5 star product...AND they even fit with the stock DJI Gimbal cover on.

 
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vindibona1

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So I have a few questions about filters for the DJI Air 2S. I got the normal package but do intend to buy a couple of extra batteries (that's all from the fly more package I really feel that I need). However, I'd like to have some filters on hand just in case I need them. So my question is: should I go with DJI's filters and buy one from someone who actually did get the Fly-More-Combo but don't want the filters or should I go with some other vendor like Freewell or PolarPro? Also, what range of filters would it be best to have. I think the DJI filters go from ND 4 to ND 32 so would I need a 64 filter too? Sorry if this has already been discussed. I haven't seen any threads on it so far. Thanks!
The brand that I will recommend to you is Skyreat. PolarPro makes great filters but are uber expensive for what they are. I have both Skyreat and PolarPro for my Mavic 2 pro and the difference is not the filter itself, but the PolarPro mount is *slightly* more refined. I have measured the filtration density of the Skyreat filters and they are spot on and do not induce any color shifts. I recommend the following set for you: Skyreat filters for Air2s
 
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eEridani

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The variables are usually two polarizers, so you might get some odd things happening as the drone turns on axis. Water brightness shifts, glare off metal shifts, etc. So if you go variable, just don't be surprised if some part of your scenes appear to have variable exposure during filming. Generally not a problem for still images, but video they do cause the occasional issue.
 
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CanadaDrone

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So I have a few questions about filters for the DJI Air 2S. I got the normal package but do intend to buy a couple of extra batteries (that's all from the fly more package I really feel that I need). However, I'd like to have some filters on hand just in case I need them. So my question is: should I go with DJI's filters and buy one from someone who actually did get the Fly-More-Combo but don't want the filters or should I go with some other vendor like Freewell or PolarPro? Also, what range of filters would it be best to have. I think the DJI filters go from ND 4 to ND 32 so would I need a 64 filter too? Sorry if this has already been discussed. I haven't seen any threads on it so far. Thanks!

4-32 are all commonly used, 64 usually only for incredibly bright scenarios such as direct sun on white sand or snow @ ISO 100 F2.8. When I had a drone limited to F2.8, ND 8 and 16 were used the most often by far. You can also increase your shutter speed slightly with no real negative effect on the final image (you may even prefer it as it will appear slightly sharper) to help if you don't quite have the strength of ND you need. This is where the variable aperture Mavics have a big advantage, since you don't need to land to swap NDs unless the lighting change is very extreme.

Filters in general are incredibly high margin products that cost pennies to manufacture, just don't buy the obvious knock-offs and you will be fine. Anything with good quality multi-coated glass will perform similarly. PolarPros are best, but they are overpriced. Skyreat turned me off as they came on here to publicly claim to be better than PolarPro, but when pressed for objective data, they refused to show any.

If you want to save some money, I would suggest the Freewill or Neewer filters from Amazon. If not, I would get the DJI or PolarPros. It's very unlikely you will notice any actual difference between them all in terms of image quality.

Be careful to not buy ND/PL combos, polarizers are a nightmare to use on drones and many people use them without understanding the basics of how polarization works, ending up with ruined video footage. If you want to buy a separate polarizer to experiment with, that's great, but you don't want your general use ND filters to also be polarized.
 
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JetM

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The brand that I will recommend to you is Skyreat. PolarPro makes great filters but are uber expensive for what they are. I have both Skyreat and PolarPro for my Mavic 2 pro and the difference is not the filter itself, but the PolarPro mount is *slightly* more refined. I have measured the filtration density of the Skyreat filters and they are spot on and do not induce any color shifts. I recommend the following set for you: Skyreat filters for Air2s
Just curious are you in any way affiliated with Skyreat? It's an honest question...just want to understand the context of the advice.
 
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pommy

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the ND32's included in the Fly More don't really cut
I agree. The ND32 just isn't enough to get the right shutter speed when filming on bright days - which is most days of the year in Australia.

ClearUV/ND32/ND64 is what I wish it came with :)

Depending on what you're using the drone for - you can get an ND1000 or ND2000 for some creative long exposure shots, like waterfalls, waves, streams and light trails etc.

If you're filming, you will need ND filters at some point for sure. For stills, you don't need them Thumbswayup
 
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Dan AISCF

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...Be careful to not buy ND/PL combos, polarizers are a nightmare to use on drones and many people use them without understanding the basics of how polarization works, ending up with ruined video footage. If you want to buy a separate polarizer to experiment with, that's great, but you don't want your general use ND filters to also be polarized.
THIS cannot be stated enough /\ /\. Polarizing ND's are the absolute worse, lol. I learned my lesson on a set for my Autel evo. Worse thing ever if NOT just filming straight on. As the drone rotates while filming, there are occurrences of awful color casting and dark/light issues in abundance. Great point here on this one from CD.
 

JetM

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I agree. The ND32 just isn't enough to get the right shutter speed when filming on bright days - which is most days of the year in Australia.

ClearUV/ND32/ND64 is what I wish it came with :)

Depending on what you're using the drone for - you can get an ND1000 or ND2000 for some creative long exposure shots, like waterfalls, waves, streams and light trails etc.

If you're filming, you will need ND filters at some point for sure. For stills, you don't need them Thumbswayup
Just curious what is the value of a ClearUV filter?
 

pommy

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Just curious what is the value of a ClearUV filter?
That thing you twist off to attach your chosen filter is just a bezel to protect the mounting points for the filter - it's also for aesthetic reasons so the gimbal looks nice.

It has no glass in it, and therefore after a flight, say over water - you will wipe the ACTUAL glass that covers the lens. If you get a bug on it, same thing, you wipe the lens glass. After time (or you may have grit on your cloth) you end up scratching that glass and it's not an item you can simply pop off and replace.

The clear UV filter is simply to keep the clean look and protect the lens glass. Clear because an ND filter, if left on, will reduce the amount of light available to the sensor.

:)
 
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JetM

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That thing you twist off to attach your chosen filter is just a bezel to protect the mounting points for the filter - it's also for aesthetic reasons so the gimbal looks nice.

It has no glass in it, and therefore after a flight, say over water - you will wipe the ACTUAL glass that covers the lens. If you get a bug on it, same thing, you wipe the lens glass. After time (or you may have grit on your cloth) you end up scratching that glass and it's not an item you can simply pop off and replace.

The clear UV filter is simply to keep the clean look and protect the lens glass. Clear because an ND filter, if left on, will reduce the amount of light available to the sensor.

:)
Got it. Thanks for the explanation.
 
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offtheback

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THIS cannot be stated enough /\ /\. Polarizing ND's are the absolute worse, lol. I learned my lesson on a set for my Autel evo. Worse thing ever if NOT just filming straight on. As the drone rotates while filming, there are occurrences of awful color casting and dark/light issues in abundance. Great point here on this one from CD.
Even with filming straight on or any still photo the polarizer cannot cover the 22mm eqivalent angle of view on the 2S.So if your shooting a blue sky background about half of it will be polarized and the rest after a taper off will not.
 
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spetersen

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So I have a few questions about filters for the DJI Air 2S. I got the normal package but do intend to buy a couple of extra batteries (that's all from the fly more package I really feel that I need). However, I'd like to have some filters on hand just in case I need them. So my question is: should I go with DJI's filters and buy one from someone who actually did get the Fly-More-Combo but don't want the filters or should I go with some other vendor like Freewell or PolarPro? Also, what range of filters would it be best to have. I think the DJI filters go from ND 4 to ND 32 so would I need a 64 filter too? Sorry if this has already been discussed. I haven't seen any threads on it so far. Thanks!
I got PGYTECH VND filters you can check them out here Amazon.com : pgytech vnd filter dji air 2s I like them as all the other products they have (PGYTECH.com) If you buy two filters 2-5 and 6-9 that will cover you copleatly, along with the filters that came with the drone . 2-5 is = 4,8,16,32. 6-9 = 64,128,256,512 , check out the ratings at Amzaon
 
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CanadaDrone

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Just curious what is the value of a ClearUV filter?

UV filters were actually designed for film cameras, and digital sensors have their own UV coatings on them, so a UV filter actually does nothing on a modern camera of any kind in terms of the image. In fact, in some rare cases it can actually create unpleasant color casts due to the unnecessary additional UV filtering. Also, just because the light passes through, it doesn't mean it passes through without distortion or aberration (this is why you want a decent quality filter). On top of that, any filter that has been coated to change the incoming light (including UV filters), reduce the amount of light hitting your camera sensor. This is typically minimal on a good quality UV filter (98-99% transmission) but lower quality UV filters can reduce light by as much as 10% which is significant. A polarizer, for example, reduces light by around 1 full stop so what that means is if your exposure without the filter is ISO 100, F2.8, 1/100sec, adding the filter would require you to either double the ISO to 200, half the shutter speed to 1/50, or drop the aperture to F2.0 (not possible) to maintain the same exposure with the polarizer as without.

UV filters have become somewhat of catch-all term for a lens protection filter, but they do actually have an active coating on them. If your goal is lens protection, look for a plain clear filter (not UV) - those are literally just glass with basic coatings to reduce reflections and flare and do not affect the incoming light in any meaningful way. As someone mentioned earlier, the point of these is when the lens gets dirty or covered in salt spray, for example, any potential damage as a result of cleaning will be done to a cheap filter rather than the irreplaceable front element of the actual camera lens. All of this applies to traditional non-drone cameras and lenses as well.
 
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JetM

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UV filters were actually designed for film cameras, and digital sensors have their own UV coatings on them, so a UV filter actually does nothing on a modern camera of any kind in terms of the image. In fact, in some rare cases it can actually create unpleasant color casts due to the unnecessary additional UV filtering. Also, just because the light passes through, it doesn't mean it passes through without distortion or aberration (this is why you want a decent quality filter). On top of that, any filter that has been coated to change the incoming light (including UV filters), reduce the amount of light hitting your camera sensor. This is typically minimal on a good quality UV filter (98-99% transmission) but lower quality UV filters can reduce light by as much as 10% which is significant. A polarizer, for example, reduces light by around 1 full stop so what that means is if your exposure without the filter is ISO 100, F2.8, 1/100sec, adding the filter would require you to either double the ISO to 200, half the shutter speed to 1/50, or drop the aperture to F2.0 (not possible) to maintain the same exposure with the polarizer as without.

UV filters have become somewhat of catch-all term for a lens protection filter, but they do actually have an active coating on them. If your goal is lens protection, look for a plain clear filter (not UV) - those are literally just glass with basic coatings to reduce reflections and flare and do not affect the incoming light in any meaningful way. As someone mentioned earlier, the point of these is when the lens gets dirty or covered in salt spray, for example, any potential damage as a result of cleaning will be done to a cheap filter rather than the irreplaceable front element of the actual camera lens. All of this applies to traditional non-drone cameras and lenses as well.
Thanks. Great information! Super helpful. Do you have recommendations for a good value plain clear filter that I could use with the Air 2S? If not a specific lens may be brands that you think are good quality and good value.
 
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CanadaDrone

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Thanks. Great information! Super helpful. Do you have recommendations for a good value plain clear filter that I could use with the Air 2S? If not a specific lens may be brands that you think are good quality and good value.

Glad you found it helpful.

I have a M2P, so I haven't looked into Air 2S filters specifically, but many DJI drones actually include one as the default filter from the factory (for example the M2P has this) so purchasing a separate clear filter would be unnecessary unless you damage the OEM one. The Air 2S looks exactly the same to me in that respect, but you can verify this yourself by simply removing the stock filter (what you would have to do anyway to install a ND filter or any other), and if there is glass in it, you already have one and you don't need to buy a separate clear filter.

I actually think this is the reason why most aftermarket clear filters are marketed as "UV" filters, so that the customer thinks they are getting something extra in addition to what DJI includes from the factory.
 
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JetM

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Glad you found it helpful.

I have a M2P, so I haven't looked into Air 2S filters specifically, but many DJI drones actually include one as the default filter from the factory (for example the M2P has this) so purchasing a separate clear filter would be unnecessary unless you damage the OEM one. The Air 2S looks exactly the same to me in that respect, but you can verify this yourself by simply removing the stock filter (what you would have to do anyway to install a ND filter or any other), and if there is glass in it, you already have one and you don't need to buy a separate clear filter.

I actually think this is the reason why most aftermarket clear filters are marketed as "UV" filters, so that the customer thinks they are getting something extra in addition to what DJI includes from the factory.
Thanks. @pommy's (post above) seems to say that the Air 2S doesn't provide any "glass" to protect the lens. I'm waiting for my Air 2S to arrive so I can't verify. But if he is correct it sounds like I'll need to buy one.
 

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You might want to consider these also. I love mine.

 
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CanadaDrone

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Thanks. @pommy's (post above) seems to say that the Air 2S doesn't provide any "glass" to protect the lens. I'm waiting for my Air 2S to arrive so I can't verify. But if he is correct it sounds like I'll need to buy one.

Sometimes DJI just makes it look like there is a clear filter installed, like on the original Air and I guess maybe the Air 2S also. The M2P does in fact have glass inside the OEM filter ring, and I assumed it would be the same as the Air 2S and M2P gimbal housings are virtually identical.

If that's the case, and the OEM filter ring is purely decorative with no glass inside, than anything from brands like Neewer, Freewill, PGYTech or Tiffen on the cheaper side, and PolarPro if you want the best, but I just took a quick look and I don't think PolarPro even offers a clear filter. DJI themselves doesn't even make a clear or UV filter from what I can see. Finding an actual clear filter appears to be very difficult as virtually all of them are labeled as UV filters, but don't worry about that too much - it's only in very rare scenarios that it could have a negative impact on your image and as long as the filter is decent quality, that's what will matter most. I highly suspect most of them come out of the same factory anyway, and a different brand name is simply printed on.

It looks like Neewer and PGYTech both offer UV filters at least. Again, make sure you are not buying anything with polarization also built in if you choose to also buy some ND filters.

Also, almost for sure, the front 'element' of the camera is still just protective and not actually part of the optical group making up the actual camera lens, but the fact that you can't remove/replace it still means it's worthwhile to protect.
 
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JetM

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Sometimes DJI just makes it look like there is a clear filter installed, like on the original Air and I guess maybe the Air 2S also. The M2P does in fact have glass inside the OEM filter ring, and I assumed it would be the same as the Air 2S and M2P gimbal housings are virtually identical.

If that's the case, and the OEM filter ring is purely decorative with no glass inside, than anything from brands like Neewer, Freewill, PGYTech or Tiffen on the cheaper side, and PolarPro if you want the best, but I just took a quick look and I don't think PolarPro even offers a clear filter. DJI themselves doesn't even make a clear or UV filter from what I can see. Finding an actual clear filter appears to be very difficult as virtually all of them are labeled as UV filters, but don't worry about that too much - it's only in very rare scenarios that it could have a negative impact on your image and as long as the filter is decent quality, that's what will matter most. I highly suspect most of them come out of the same factory anyway, and a different brand name is simply printed on.

It looks like Neewer and PGYTech both offer UV filters at least. Again, make sure you are not buying anything with polarization also built in if you choose to also buy some ND filters.

Also, almost for sure, the front 'element' of the camera is still just protective and not actually part of the optical group making up the actual camera lens, but the fact that you can't remove/replace it still means it's worthwhile to protect.
Awesome...thank you I'll check out the brands you mentioned and see what I can find.
Do you happen to have an opinion about "fixed" vs "variable" ND filters? I like the idea of having just Variable ND filters rather than a whole slew of "fixed" ND filters. Do you feel like ND filters are needed to get smooth cinematic footage in bright sunny conditions. I still need to do my own research but thought I would ask different people's opinnions on the topic.
 
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