Polar Pro’s Peter McKinnon Variable ND Filters

In this review, we will be taking a look at the PolarPro Variable ND 6-9 stops filter. An ND filter is not uncommon in a filmmaker’s kit. So even though it is quite an important piece of equipment, surprisingly not all cameras have such a filter built-in. For example, the Blackmagic Pocket series has no such filter built-in, which is where these ND filters come in.  

So what is an ND filter all about? With these filters, you can control the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor. This has many applications. For example, you can use the ND filter to extend your exposure times, which in turn allows you to use a wider aperture. If you want to shoot video in bright conditions, an ND filter becomes a necessity.

Being a variable filter means you can adjust the strength of the filter on the fly, as illumination conditions change. So you don’t need to swap out the filter for a different one, you simply adjust it. The PolarPro filters are extremely well-built, use high-quality materials, and are actually pretty to look at. They come in different thread sizes, 67, 77 and 82 mm. Besides the filter, you are also given a metal hard filter case, a soft filter case, a “DefenderSlim” filter cover which is the lens cap, and a microfiber cloth for cleaning.

According to their specs they come with:

  • Available in 2-5 and 6-9 stop variations
  • Preset stop range eliminates any chance of cross-polarization
  • Zero vignetting down to 16mm focal length lenses
  • Fused Quartz Glass ensures superior optical clarity over any glass on the market
  • Includes a DefenderSlim Cover which provides fingerprint-free installation and rugged filter protection

As I mentioned before this is a variable filter and you can control the density, which is done by rotating it. We found that it performed excellently. Adjusting it when needed was smooth and easy. The filter also has some preset stop settings, which are etched on the sides and provide easy and quick access to these exposure settings. We could not disprove the PolarPro claim that there is zero vignetting, even though we tested on a number of different lenses. In short, the high-quality filter So the filter really did live up to (our) expectations and image quality remained excellent overall. 

Keep in mind that the PolarPro VND filters are more expensive than others. But these are still more than very good value, considering their impressive performance, high-quality construction, preset filter settings, and design.