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First Impressions: Light Craft Workshop Fader ND Mk II (Improved Version)

by Chris Gampat on 02/05/2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We previously reviewed the Light Craft Workshop Fader ND Mk II, but the company has issued an update to the product. In our emails with Light Craft Workshop, they stated that the new Fader ND Mk II has a minor cosmetic update in addition to what they claim are sharper optics.

We tried the new Fader ND Mk II in a very quick informal test to see how much of an improvement there was.

 

Gear Used

For this test we used the Canon 5D Mk II, Sigma 35mm f1.4 EX and the new version of the Fader ND Mk II.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the B&H Photo Video Pro Audio listing of the item

Type Fader ND Mark II Filter
Size 62mm
Grade Not Applicable
Filter Factor Depends on the degree of neutral density dialed
Multi-Coated Not Applicable
Rotating Yes
Effect
  • Reduce the amount of light reaching the film
  • To use high speed film in bright light
Application Outdoor, nature and scenic photography
Color Temperature Not Applicable
Construction Glass
Front Filter Thread Size 67mm
Front Lens Cap Size 67mm

Ergonomics

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The Fader ND Mk II is a variable neutral density filter, and from looking at it straight on, one would think that it would be a normal ND filter and nothing more.

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Upon picking it up though, one can notice that the new filter has green markings on the side for control of the Density effect. In the previous version, it had white markings.

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As you twist the front filter accordingly, the light stops are cut down. This is extremely valuable for filmmakers needing to keep their shutter speeds, aperture, and ISOs constant while having another way to cut down light. It is also important for many photographers using monolights.

Build Quality

The Fader ND Mk II (version 2) retains the excellent build quality and feel that the previous version did. The only thing they could do to make these even better is incorporate brass into the filter ring.

Ease of Use

These filters only need to be screwed onto your camera’s lens, and then twisted accordingly to cut down the light hitting the sensor or film plane. If used with a step down or step up ring, then consider going for the better quality rings as then you might not have as much trouble taking the Fader ND Mk II version 2 off.

Image Quality

Here’s a test at F2, ISO 360, and 1/50th with the Fader ND Mk II on the 5D Mk II.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Light Craft Workshop Fader ND still test from tea test (1 of 1)ISO 3201-50 sec at f - 2.0

 

And here is the video test:

Findings

We actually did multiple tests with this lens, camera, and filter only with RAW footage. No editing was done. Granted, if editing were done, then it wouldn’t make much of a difference.

Straight out of the camera though, we didn’t see much of a difference between this version and the former version. Light Craft Workshop told us that the newer version is supposed to have better optics. We really didn’t see these take shape until specular highlights were introduced into the picture. That can clearly be seen where the sunlight starts to hit the tea–even when the lens is this wide open.

We plan on testing this filter with a Medium Format camera and my Einstein E640 to see just how sharp the quality of the images remains. Stay tuned!

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