What are ND Filters?
Neutral Density (ND) filters are used by professional photographers and videographers to enhance the quality of their visuals, particularly when working in areas of bright or reduced natural light. ND filters are able to reduce the level of light that enters camera’s lens. The filter prevents overexposure, which allows the operator to adjust the ISO, aperture and shutter speed to get high-quality shots when highlighting movement such as people, cars or water.
In a nutshell, ND filters help you get the right level of motion blur when operating in specific high/low lighting, that you wouldn’t able to achieve by simply lowering the shutter speed.
Source: DJI, Mavic Air
Why Do Drone Pilots Use Them?
Similarly to professional photographers and videographers, drone pilots can benefit from using ND filters to enhance the quality of their visual work. If you’ve noticed that your aerial footage is either slightly blurred or a little too pixelated, an ND filter could provide the “fix” you need to smooth things out.
To give you an idea of how ND filters can soften an image without causing overexposure, here’s an example of three images taken from the DJI Phantom 4 Pro aircraft:
Source: DJI Support
The DJI GO4 App enables you to easily configure an ND filter after setting your camera to manual and applying the ISO and shutter speed (and aperture if possible).
Working Out Which ND Filter You Need
There are various ND filters available and they usually range from ND4 all the way up to ND128, however the most popular ND filters for drone pilots range from ND4 to ND32.
Choosing the right filter depends on the where you’re operating, what you’re filming, light levels and the visual effect you’re hoping to achieve.
The following graphic provides you with a guide to choosing the correct ND filter, but it’s important to remember that each outdoor setting is different, and you may find different filter requirements to those outlined below:
ND filters come in various tones including clear, grey and black, and there are plenty of brands on the market to cater for most consumer and professional drone models. If you have a DJI drone, you might want to stick with DJI’s ND filters specifically designed for your aircraft; because after all, they’re built to work seamlessly with your aircraft.
However, there are many other manufacturers that supply high quality ND filters for DJI aircraft that come in at both a higher and lower price point, such as PolarPro and Sandmarc. ND filters can prove a fantastic addition to your aerial kit when used correctly.
Source: DJI, Mavic Pro ND Filters 4/8/16/32
Where Can I Buy ND Filters?
We have a range of ND filters available to purchase, including:
If you’re not sure which filters are the best option for you or have any questions relating to ND filters and our products, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0330 111 8800. We’re open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm.