Real Life Review of Haida ND Filter


edutilos-

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#1
I picked up a Haida ND8 filter from Photosphere recently. I've been wanting to buy an ND8 for the longest time, since I have the ND106 and ND110 (6 and 10 stops respectively) from B+W. These are useful at different times of the day to smoothen out water, introduce cloud motion, remove people through motion blur, etc, depending on what your needs are. As a clarification, I have never used other brands' ND8 so this is really just a sharing of thoughts of how the Haida ND8 matches up to my expectations. Note: ND106 and ND110 are stronger ND filters and the B+W versions introduce a warm cast to your photograph. I'm told that the Haida versions introduce a slightly cool cast, so the approach is probably closer to the Lee Big Stopper (which costs a bomb more).

For myself, I have tried GND filters stacked with ND filters throughout the years and ended up just using ND. Why? Unless you get mega-expensive Lee filters, the next level down, which is Hi-tech will give you color casts when stacking. And if you mix Lee with Hi-tech, you get color casts! To add to that, many scenes such as cityscapes do not work well with GND, owing to the fact that you would also darken the buildings which are in the section with the sky which the GND selectively darkens. So frankly, in my opinion, a set of good ND filters and a sturdy tripod is all one really needs, along with good know-how in Photoshop to manually blend your photographs. An alternative is HDR. Some may ask: "But what happens if you have a glorious sunset with moments to spare?" Then capture the sky first! Then handle the other details later on. It will merge fine. :)

That aside, let's cut to the chase. In the first post I'll just talk about the less important factors (for me), and in the second post some pictures taken with the filter.

Packaging
Just to get it out of the way, since some people find it a niggling point. I myself don't really care as long as the box doesn't fall apart after 3 uses. It won't be a pleasant experience carrying around the naked filter in your bag, hard to find and dig out and all that. The Haida packaging imitates (can't think of a better word) the B+W packaging pretty well. I can't see or feel a difference other than the "Haida" wording there. It also comes in a paper box (which I'll be throwing away after doing this review).


B+W ND110 in packaging on the far left, Haida ND8 in packaging in centre, Haida outer paper box packaging on right

Filter thickness
The Haida box came labelled "slim". It is indeed much slimmer than the B+W filters. I'll let the picture speak for itself. What this means for photographers, though, is if you're looking into stacking ND and GND, the B+W options matched with the cheaper Cokin P series sized Hi-tech filters yield minor amounts of vignetting. This is correctable of course. If you stack the Haida and P series GNDs (note: using the ultra wide angle filter ring of course), I wager that you won't see any vignetting whatsoever.


Cleanability
I found the Hoya ND400 when I had it to be a pain in the arse to clean. Yes, it could be cleaned but for some reason the multicoating always ended up looking smeared whenever I used lens cleaning solution to remove stubborn oil stains. The Haida ND8 is purportedly multicoated too, and you do see a bit of that, but it cleans off with one or two extra wipes (compared to the "polishing" you would have to do with the Hoya). I'd give this top marks for cleanability.
 

edutilos-

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#2
Sample Photographs and Real Life Use
These are some photographs taken over the past few weeks with the Haida ND8 filter. Camera/lens used was Pentax K5 and Tamron 10-24mm. The ND8 is best used for timings rightttt before sunrise or just after sunset, i.e. 10 minutes before/after. The ND106 will extend the exposure for too long for the changing light, so 3 stops is often just nice, and you can always play with the aperture a little. The Haida ND8 filter was easy to screw onto the lens and easy to take out too. This is no small thing if you have used cheap filters or filter rings before. Some of them will get stuck in the grooves so it's nice to know that the engineering and construction is done properly. Personally I did not see any casts from the filter using Auto WB in-camera. Image quality was not affected either. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.








Conclusion
The Haida ND8 filter comes highly recommended from me as a landscape photographer, especially considering the price. It is nearly half of what a B+W filter will cost you, and IIRC, about the third the price of a Lee Big Stopper. There is no effect on your photographs other than what an ND filter is intended to do, i.e. extend exposure. Superb value for money, good quality engineering makes this a winner.

Some links below for your reference/additional reading:
Photosphere Price List: http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/photosphere/1259209-haida-slim-pro-ii-neutral-density-filters.html
Other photographs taken with the filter: http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/photosphere/1261508-images-taken-haida-filters-panosaurus.html
 

ed9119

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#3
I have not heard much of this brand before, glad you're doing a review on it

This deserves to be on Front Page of the forum

done :)

more images !!
 

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edutilos-

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#4
Excellent review. Thank you for taking the time to do this.
Thanks, glad you guys think it was a good enough review.. Wasn't sure what to cover.

Not much time taken la. Just wanted to share a viable option to B+W/Lee filters that works at a lower price. I hope to pick up at least the Haida 6 stop soon to try it out too.
I have not heard much of this brand before, glad you're doing a review on it

This deserves to be on Front Page of the forum

done :)

more images !!
Thanks. I'll post up a review of the ND1.8 (6 stop filter) when I manage to get my hands on one. That's why I kept the thread title open... :p Post #5 can also be used to hold the post on that.. When it's done. Lol!
 

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SkyStrike

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#6
Nice review! Finally another possible alternative to the B+W/Lee ND filters...

And the no-color cast sure sounds cool...
 

mrkumlan

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#7
Thanks for the review. We need more of such reviews on clubsnap :thumbsup:
 

ed9119

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#8
hope u guys dont mind if i silo all Haida review/feedback/comparison together...threads merged.... little point starting a new review thread to compare one aspect of the filter vs another brand's equivalent
 

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hyperFocal

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#9
Thanks! No problem at all! To be frank, I wasn't too sure where to put this initially. Haha...

hope u guys dont mind if i silo all Haida review/feedback/comparison together...threads merged.... little point starting a new review thread to compare one aspect of the filter vs another brand's equivalent
 

edutilos-

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#10
Good to know that the 10 stop filter performance is also laudable.

BTW not sure if it is possible but it may be better to arrange the review posts right at the front so that browsing people need not filter through all the other comments. :)
 

Aug 4, 2005
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#11
Hi all!

Just want to share a simple comparison between the Haida MC Slim Pro II 3.0 ND and the Lee Big Stopper. Was really glad to be able to loan the Haida filter for testing.

Camera used was the E-M5, the filters mounted on the Panasonic 7-14mm, zoomed to 9mm as the Haida is 82mm diameter (vignettes if wider than that). You can find more info on DIY rigs for mounting filters on the 7-14 here and here. All shots were taken in RAW, with custom white balance of 4700K, imported into PS, CA removed, resized and converted to JPEG. No other processing done. The ND shots were taken with exposure time of 8.4s for the Big Stopper and 8.5s for the Haida.

Amazingly, for a 10 stop ND, the Haida exhibits very little colour cast (slightly warm), easily corrected by adjusting the WB by 100K. In fact, the output from camera is really close to shooting without any filters! Impressive! Interestingly, it was reported that the Haida 10 stop NDs are slightly bluish at Talk Photography forum. Not too sure why. My WB setting could be a little bit on the warm side to begin with. On the other hand, the Big Stopper has a strong blue cast that requires more adjustment. For both filters, the colour cast can be corrected easily by adjusting the white balance during post processing.

Sharpness is only very very slightly affected in both cases. The 2 filters performed equally well.

In conclusion, the Haida 10 stop ND is great value for the money, especially considering its performance, high quality glass and build. And for 10 stoppers, screw in filters are a much better option. No worries about light leaks (other than your view finder, i.e.)!

Below are the sample pics taken, first the full images, and the center and side 100% crops.

No filter :


Big Stopper :


Haida 3.0 ND :


100% crops - center :


100% crops - side :
 

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edutilos-

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#12
I have not heard much of this brand before, glad you're doing a review on it

This deserves to be on Front Page of the forum

done :)

more images !!
Thanks. I'll post up a review of the ND1.8 (6 stop filter) when I manage to get my hands on one. That's why I kept the thread title open... :p Post #5 can also be used to hold the post on that.. When it's done. Lol!
 

xherion

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#13
Thanks to this review i ordered a set (UV, ND110, CPL) :)
 

thoongeng

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Jan 26, 2010
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#16
Thanks to Photosphere for the demo and sharing session!

Tried the Haida Slim Pro II ND 3, 6 and 10 stop filters, and I concur with the findings of edutilos- and hyperFocal
I was also interested to find out how is the cast when stacked with my Hitech 85mm 3 stop soft grad filter (I guess this combination would be good for value hunters)

You can see the results below, all done with the darker portion of the soft grad on top, auto white balance and straight conversion from RAW with Digital Photo Pro (pardon the vignetting, I was using cheapskate Cokin-compatible holders =p). The combination does have a warm cast, but still correctable in software. Of note is that the results of the Haida and B+W 10 stop filters were quite similar (at around half the price ;))


Test - Haida ND0.9 (3 stop) + Hitech soft grad 3 stop by knowenoughhappy, on Flickr


Test - Haida ND1.8 (6 stop) + Hitech soft grad 3 stop by knowenoughhappy, on Flickr


Test - Haida ND3.0 (10 stop) + Hitech soft grad 3 stop by knowenoughhappy, on Flickr


Test - B+W ND110 (10 stop) + Hitech soft grad 3 stop by knowenoughhappy, on Flickr
 

SilverPine

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Jul 8, 2007
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#17
Thank you for the review from edutilos and hyperFocal, surprise to me that Haida 3.0 ND produce photo with little color cast. :thumbsup:

I had try B+W ND 10 stop filter but found it had more color cast than the hyperFocal's photo posted here.

Also thank you for thoongeng's demo photo of stacking Hitech's GND filter with Haida ND 3.0 filter, which answer all my concern to the filters. :)
 

pinholecam

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#18
I've thought about moving up from my cheap Tianya ND which gave a green+magenta color cast which is so hard to remove.
But the high cost of 'a piece of dark glass' and my lack of dedicated time to do landscapes made me hold back on getting costly Lee or B+W ND filters.

Based on the samples shown here and the Photosphere sub-forum, I took the chance with getting one and got the 10 stop filter.
Got to try it out today.

I'm certainly impressed.
There is very little color cast (if any).
The performance of high end ND filters at a fraction of the price. :thumbsup:


 

hazmee

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May 9, 2004
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#19
Sorry to be late to the party. As they say, better late than never.

This is my review and thoughts of the Haida ND 3.0 (10 stops) filter. The objective of this review is to compare the Lee Big Stopper and the Haida ND 3.0. Both are marked as 10 stops filter and are made of glass. The main difference is the Lee is a slot-in filter while the Haida is a screw-on filter.

Build quality
As covered by others previously, build quality is surprisingly of good. The aluminium ring feels quite durable and of good quality though not quite B+W brass. Cleaning is also a breeze as you can see below.

Smeared (using my trusty and oily nose to smear the filter)


After cleaning (I used a simple cleaning cloth and voila. No need for any cleaning solution.)




Image quality
Again I would like to echo the rest of the folks here who have already tested it. It is that good. No wait, it is freaking awesome! For the price and performance, its almost dreamlike. Real life samples below.

No filter


With Haida ND 3.0


With Lee Big Stopper



At a quick glance, it almost looks like there isn’t any. I was quite in awe when I reviewed the images on my DSLR LCD screen. However, upon close inspection, there is a tiny blue cast on the Haida but it is not severe and obvious like the Lee’s bluish tint.

Also, it looks like the Haida is spot on with 10 stops underexposed. The Lee is somewhere around 10.5 to 11 stops underexposed.

In post-production, a simple Colour Balance adjustment in Photoshop is sufficient to keep the colour cast at bay. The Lee however needed a bit more massaging and guesswork in Photoshop to get the cast out but still quite manageable.


Safety
Like any untested brand coming from China, I am always wary about safety. So far I have not developed any unknown rashes, high fever or turn in a mutant with special powers when using the filters. Phew!


On the field usage
Even at half the price of the Lee Big Stopper, I haven’t had the balls to do a comprehensive drop test but I am sure it can withstand a few knocks. Other than that, no major complaints.

The only issue that I have using the Haida is the screw-on filter itself. As ridiculous as it might sound, coming from a slot-in filter system makes screwing in and out the Haida a chore if you want to make adjustments to your composition. The big advantage for me using the Lee is I can stack my filters easily in and out and remove the filters with a quick pull of the lock. Anyway, this is just me ranting like a spoiled brat because I am sure over time I will get used to it.


My final thoughts
Looks like Lee has a serious competitor to date. I have invested quite a bit on Lee’s filter system and one might wonder why I should consider another brand. Haida’s low price and the great performance of their filters makes my Lee filters looks somewhat pale in comparison. I am not aware of any other China branded filters out there in the market but I am sure there are aplenty. A big thank you to the kind folks at Photoshere for bringing in such great products here. We are blessed with more cost effective alternatives.

In future, I pray that Haida will make a similiar slot-in filter system like Lee and hopefully, glass filter ND Grads. I am sure it will sell like hotcakes. God bless China.
 

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hazmee

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#20
Still not convinced? Some more samples:

No filter


With Haida ND 3.0


With Lee Big Stopper



If you are too lazy to read the wall of text above and need to make a decision quick, this is it:

 

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