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Stephen Perera

ND filter recommendation for film

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Hi all, would like recommendations for individual 4 x 5.65” or 4 x 4” ND filters for use with film camera mainly (Aaton XTR 16mm (standard gate) with a Cooke Varokinetal 9-50mm on it)

Price range: maximum 350 dollars / £300….looking to cut 4-5-6 stops…..

Haven’t got a clue whether IR or FS ND filters would suit me better cos all the marketing is now about 4k, 6k bla bla bla high end cameras

Being old school, Schneider appeals to me as a brand…..just cos I have their lenses on my 4x5 Sinar camera and darkroom enlarger but nothing more…..could not argue the case for any brand…..have been using variable ND filters until now…...

Thanks in advance…..also posted this question on Geoff Boyle's forums haha

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You won't need NDIRs, you just need some normal ND filters. Tiffen or Schneider will be fine. Mine were Tiffen when I had them.
If you want to cut 4, 5, and 6 stops you're looking at a 1.2/1.5/1.8, but honestly I have NEVER gone more than a 1.2 on a film camera because you probably won't see ANYTHING through the finder then-after. My normal ND pack when I was on my SR3 woudl've been .6/.9/1.2

If I had some special circumstance, such as 500T outside in daylight (which, hey i've been there before, with leftover stock) I'd stack a Pola in there as well for an extra stop loss.

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What is the thing requiring the NDs. Getting stuck with fast film in bright sunlight? Something else.


Much as I like and enjoy Adrian's voice on the forum, I was puzzled by the comment that NDs darken the viewfinder.


For a given film speed and exposure, any change in the NDs come with a change in T stop. The only thing affecting the brightness of the viewfinder (for most cameras) is film speed and the desired exposure.


Or did I brain fart?

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F16 or F4 with ND both are letting in the same amount of light; hence a dark finder. E.g if you're needing a ND1.5 you're probably on faster film and dropping out so much light that even if you're at a 1.3 you might not be letting enough light in to really see through the finder.

So yes it's the film speed and desired exposure which causes the problem. Imagine shooting 500T outside but wanting to be at a 2.8 or the like. You may have your iris open to 2.8 but you'll have so much ND in front of the lens that you probably won't see much ;)

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