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Why do I need an ND filter for my drone or handheld camera?

ND filters, or Neutral Density Filters, Neutral Density Filters or Grey Filters, are often used by professional photographers to ensure even lighting of the images. This is a lens that is coloured in a light shade of grey and can be screwed or clicked in front of the lens. There are also some slide-in filters available, but we cannot recommend them because light can penetrate through the slits on the side of the lens, which often has a negative effect on the image.

With such a neutral density filter, very good photos can be taken regardless of the incidence of light and sunlight. We offer many different models that differ in sound and light transmission. Another reason for using such filters is the reproduction of a surrealistic image effect due to the increased exposure time. As a result, movements can be "fixed" and so-called wiping and flowing movements, such as the flow of water, cloud movements or moving cars in a big city, can be created.

How does an ND filter work?

In principle, an ND filter is nothing more than sunglasses for your camera and allows less light to enter the lens. This reduces the amount of light hitting the sensor and artificially lengthens the exposure time of the camera by a fixed factor. Grey filters are available in various thicknesses, which allow you to achieve different exposure times. Even if most of these filters appear grey or black, colours and sharpness are not affected by the grey filters we offer. Just like the polarizing filter, the effect of an ND filter cannot be reproduced digitally.

What ND filter strengths should I buy for the DJI OSMO Pocket and DJI Mavic 2 PRO / ZOOM and when should I use them? 

When photographing with a drone or handheld camera, five different filter strengths are generally used. These are ND4, ND8, ND16, ND32 and ND64 filters. The ND4 filter has 2 apertures, the ND8 filter has 3, the ND16 has 4 apertures, the ND32 has 5 apertures and the ND64 filter has 6 apertures. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that the exposure time doubles per aperture. From this it follows that the ND4 filter, for example, has four times the exposure time and the ND64 has sixty-four times. With long exposures, more infrared radiation comes through, which changes the coloration of the photos and makes them appear in shades of blue.

Table about the ND filters we offer:

Neutral density Aperture stops

Correction factor Shutter speed

Filter description
0,6 2 4x ND4
0,9 3 8x ND8
1,2 4 16x ND16
1,5 5 32x ND32
1,8 6 64x ND64

The various filters are designed to take the best possible pictures in different everyday situations and at different times of day. Besides the grey filters, there are also so-called polarizing filters. These do not reduce the incidence of light, but serve to avoid reflections. Polarizing filters are especially popular for green and blue tones, i.e. mainly in landscape photography. 

In which situation is which neutral density filter used? 


ND4 Filter The ND4 filter is used in moderate light conditions and is suitable for rainy and stormy days. They are also used at sunsets, sunrises and when the sun is at its zenith.
ND8 Filter The ND8 filter is used on sunny days and when the sky is slightly cloudy.
ND16 Filter The ND16 filter is the standard filter for sunny days.
ND32 Filter The ND32 filter is used on sunny days when there is a lot of light.
ND64 Filter

The ND64 filter should be used for snowy landscapes on sunny days, reflective water surfaces or similar.

ND1000 Filter

The ND1000 filter is mainly used in landscape photography to create blurred clouds and soft water. 

What can you do with a grey filter and how does it affect photography?

As already described, depending on its density, an ND-filter enables significantly longer exposure times. Thus, it enables shutter speeds of partly several minutes. But also the depth of field can be positively influenced by using an ND filter. In addition, an ND filter makes it possible to increase the sharpness of the image. Many photographers know the pictures of velvety soft streams and snow-white smooth waterfalls. In most cases, these images are created with an ND filter. The long exposure time causes the water to blur and appear soft.

To achieve exposure times of several seconds, one would be forced to close the aperture as much as possible without a grey filter. During the day, it is often not possible to expose for a long time without the images becoming much too bright, even with the aperture closed and ISO100. This is where the grey filter comes into play. On the one hand, by using the ND filter, the exposure time can be increased to several seconds to minutes, while at the same time the aperture value can be lowered to get more sharpness in the picture. This is related to the so-called diffraction. Each lens has an optimal focus range, which is about half of its aperture value.

Does an ND filter pay off for the drone or handheld camera?

As a conclusion, ND filters are part of a successful photography and also drone photography, which have very positive effects especially with landscape pictures or city panoramas. With these filters, colors can be corrected, reflections can be avoided and wipe effects can be achieved for an imaginative and dreamy picture. Depending on your needs, we offer different filters, whereby we have put together different sets for you.