Long Exposures Made Easy: Haida 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter Review

The Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter is an invaluable tool for photographers specializing in daytime long exposure photography.

Shooting long exposures in broad daylight can be very challenging, and the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter was created with this in mind. Most conventional ND’s simply don’t provide enough light reduction. When photographing on a sunny day, you’re limited to exposures of a second or two at best. That’s barely enough time to blur out moving clouds or flowing water. Thanks to the whopping 17 stops of light reduction on the Haida Red Diamond Filter, significantly longer exposures become possible. For example, a 1/60 second filterless exposure would take 36 minutes and 16 seconds to complete. That’s a notable difference. We recently got to test the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter out in the wild. Check out how it fared in the real world after the jump.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Allows you to create long exposures even in broad daylight
  • No discernible color cast
  • Available in two form factors:
    • Industry-standard 100 × 100 mm square filter (that can be used with both the Haida M10 Filter Holder as well as most filter holders available on the market).
    • M10 Drop-In filter (for use with Haida’s own M10 Filter Holder).
  • Nano-coating on both sides keeps the filter waterproof and minimizes reflections, fingerprints, dust, and scratches

Cons

  • Precise exposure times are hard to calculate due to inconsistent cloud coverage or when the amount of ambient light changes erratically
  • Due to the extremely long exposure times required, you may need to enable Long Exposure Noise Reduction, but that will effectively reduce your shooting time in half

Gear Used

We tested the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND Filter using the following:

Tech Specs

Tech Specs for the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND Filter taken from Haida’s official press materials:

  • Size: 100 × 100 mm
  • Thickness: 2 mm
  • Can be mounted onto the Haida M10 Filter Holder’s Square Filter Slots
  • Also available as an M10 Drop-In Filter for the Haida M10 Filter Holder
  • Toughened, shockproof optical glass
  • ND 5.0 solid Neutral Density filter
  • 17 stop light reduction
  • Darkens entire image
  • Allows reduced shutter speed and wider aperture
  • Not only for long exposure but for shooting the sun
  • Nano coating on both sides, scratch-resistant
  • Water and oilproof

Ergonomics

The Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter is available in two form factors. It’s available as an industry-standard 100 × 100 mm square filter, and you can also get it as a proprietary M10 Drop-In filter if you’re using Haida’s M10 Filter Holder System.

The 100 × 100 mm square version of the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter comes with a metal storage tin. A semi-transparent plastic storage case is included with the M10 Drop-In. Both storage options have built-in foam padding to keep the filters protected.

The M10 Drop-In version of the filter is seen here attached to a Sony A7R IV and Sigma 35mm f1.2 DG DN Art using Haida’s own M10 Filter Holder.

Here’s the 100 × 100 mm version inserted into one of the square filter slots of the same M10 Filter Holder. This version of the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter is also compatible with most filter holders currently on the market.

Build Quality

We’ve been testing both versions of the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter around New York City. While they are well built, the M10 Drop-In version offers more protection since it’s encased in a plastic frame. The M10 Drop-In version is also easier to keep clean since there’s less direct contact with the filter surfaces. The coatings on the filters made prints, dust, and water droplets easy to clean. While both storage options kept the filters protected, the plastic case felt more durable than the metal tin. The metal tin was prone to dings and scratches. Comparatively, the plastic case was more resistant to damage thanks to it’s less rigid nature.

Ease of Use

The 100 × 100 mm version of the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter works like any other square or rectangular filter on the market. Simply attach a filter holder to your lens, then slide the 17 Stop ND into a filter slot on the holder: standard fare for any photographer who has used ND filters before. The M10 Drop-In version of the 17 Stop ND (pictured above) is even easier to use. Attach the Haida M10 Filter Holder onto your lens, then (as its name suggests) simply drop the M10 Drop-In filter into the holder.

The Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter significantly reduces light transmission through your lens (128,000 times to be precise). Long exposures will take substantially longer to complete using the 17 Stop ND compared to filters with less light blockage. They can sometimes take hours to finish. Calculating the appropriate duration of your long exposures can also be challenging when using either version of this filter. There are apps available for Android and iOS that can help you calculate this, including a free one offered by Haida. Unless the amount of light remains relatively constant throughout your long exposure, however, these calculations are suggestions at best.

“Sunrise, sunset, and other scenarios where there are noticeable shifts in the amount of ambient light available are especially challenging. Be prepared to adjust your exposure duration accordingly to compensate.”

Pauleth Ip, Reviews Editor

Sunrise, sunset, and other scenarios where there are noticeable shifts in the amount of ambient light available are especially challenging. Inconsistent cloud coverage could also be an issue. Be prepared to adjust your exposure duration accordingly to compensate. Due to the extended duration of some ultra-long exposures, noise and hot pixels can become problematic as well, so be prepared to do some post-processing to remove them. If you plan on using the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter on a DSLR, you’ll also want to cover the optical viewfinder. This will help prevent any potential light leaks. These aren’t faults with the filters themselves, but still worth mentioning.

Image Quality

Like the other Haida filters we’ve reviewed, the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter did not disappoint. As long as you’re photographing in broad daylight, you’re not going to have to worry about color casts or loss of contrast. However, noise and hot pixels can become an issue if you’re photographing extremely long exposures (an hour and up). Be prepared to do some post-processing accordingly.

Below is a comparison of the same scene shot with and without the Haida 17 Stop ND filter. Note the drastically different exposure durations between the two. Also, note that the warmer color cast seen in the long exposure was due to the sun beginning to set.

1/200 seconds
10 minutes 40 seconds exposure of the same scene, shot using the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter. The water almost look like it had frozen over even though this image was shot during the middle of the summer in New York.

Additional Image Samples

Here are some additional long exposure images we created using the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND Filters. These images were processed using Capture One 20 Pro (Build 13.1.2.35), ranging from color grading, levels adjustment, cropping, and/or perspective correction. As a matter of ethics, none of the sample images seen within this review have been retouched. We have done so to give you the opportunity to judge the image quality produced using these filters for yourself.

Conclusions

Likes

  • Cuts down on a lot of light
  • Makes long exposure photography possible even during the sunniest of days
  • Easy to clean
  • No color cast to worry about
  • Available in both 100 × 100 mm and M10 Drop-In variants

Dislikes

  • Nothing with the filters themselves
  • Be prepared to spend a lot of time waiting around while your long exposures finish
  • Also, be prepared to clean up noise and hot pixels if you plan on shooting extremely long exposures

Most Neutral Density filters on the market lack the light reduction power that the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter is capable of. They simply aren’t powerful enough to be used to create long exposure under brightly lit conditions. Thanks to the Haida’s 17 stops of light reduction, daytime long exposures lasting minutes or even hours become possible. This opens up a new world of creative possibilities that simply isn’t possible with weaker ND filters. It’s certainly not a tool for everyone. For landscape photographers who shoot in broad daylight often, however, the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter can be an invaluable tool.

The Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND Filter earns five out of five stars. They are available as industry-standard 100 × 100 mm square filters and in Haida’s proprietary M10 Drop-In filter form factor.