Choice:

 

 

 

Trying out BENRO ND16 and GND 0.9 rectangular filters

 

 

 

Filters play important roles in landscape photography and photographers are also paying more attention to those magical tools for capturing spectacular scenes, which have led to the explosion of filter market in recent years. However, general circular filters have couldn’t meet the increased need and photographers have started to keep their eyes on those new rectangular filters which are more flexible and can yield pictures they want with better performance and more chances. BENRO who has engaged in the R&D of photo accessories for 19 years launched her first neutral density (ND)16 filter and graduated neutral density (GND)0.9 rectangular filter this year after the official announcement of the launch of 5 type filters in 2013.

 

When refers to circular filters and rectangular filters, it is believed that not all photographers can tell clearly the difference between them. Briefly, the rectangular filter can be removed freely to create more chances for composition while the circular one is fixed. What’s more, helped by a filter holder, one rectangular filter can be fitted on lens of 52mm-82mm diameters.

 

Now, I’d like to introduce BENRO GND0.9 filter, ND16 filter, FH-100 filter holder to you.

 

BENRO GND0.9/ND16 filter and FH-100 filter holder

 

Before the review text, let’s have a look at the specifications of the two rectangular filters first.

 


Product name

BENRO GND0.9

BENRO ND16

Brand

BENRO

BENRO

Model NO.

GND0.9

ND16

Type

Square GND filter

Square ND filter

Multi-coated

Yes

Yes

Depth

2mm

2mm

Size

150mm x 100mm

100mm x 100mm

Materials

Schott glass

                    Schott glass

Stops

3

4

Lens size

≦82mm

≦82mm

Filter holder

International standard

International universal standard

Price

127.9

120

 

BENRO announced officially the launch of filter products in April, 2013, including UV, CPL, ND and etc. five types in all. Recently, BENRO announced the launch of graduated neutral density (GND) 0.9 filter and ND16 filter and some filter accessories, such as the launched FH-100 filter holder which is compatible with both rectangular filters and circular filters. GND0.9 filter is BENRO’s first initiation into GND filter market and the ND16 is a new number of the former ND range. For this review, I tried out both the GND and ND filters, the FH-100 filter holder included. 

 

·BENRO GND0.9 filter

 

BENRO GND0.9 filter is packed in a white-toned paper package with a spectacular landscape picture printed on. The bottom right corner shows the filter’s property.

 

 

 

Package of BENRO GND0.9 filter

 

Constructed from high quality Schott glass and coated multi-coating for high transmission and anti-reflections, the BENRO GND0.9 is available in 1, 2, 3 stops to suit different situations and can achieve greater effect when cooperating with the mentioned ND filter.

 

 

 

BENRO 150mm x 100mm GND0.9 filter

 

 

 

BENRO 150mm x 100mm GND0.9 filter(details)
The GND0.9 is 150mm long and 100mm wide. The multi-coating extends from the opaque side to the clear side. It allows you to adjust the filter in individual light situations to yield ideal effect when shooting in the open air. The very upper edge prints brand name, product type and its size with white letters.

 

·BENRO ND16 filter

 

With a size of 100mm x 100mm, the ND16 filter is a little smaller than the GND0.9. So the package is smaller than that of the GND0.9 though designed with the same white-toned color and image style.

 

 

 

Package of BENRO ND 16

 

 

 

BENRO 100mm x 100mm ND16

 

The ND16 is constructed from precision DND engineered glass which is double-side coated one layer WMC coating and seven layers ULCA coating for high transmission, water & oil repellence, anti-scratch and reducing reflections and flare by lens and other filters, available in 1, 2, 3 and 4 four stops.

 

 

 

BENRO ND16 (details at the rear)

 

The slim margin gasket at the rear of the filter helps to prevent light leaking into lens when slowing exposure time to yield envisioned shot.

 

· BENRO CPL filter

 

Distinguished from other brands, the BENRO filter holder is compatible with circular filter. So this time, I added the BENRO 82mm CPL-HD WMC/SLIM filter to the test too.

 

 
BENRO 82mm CPL-HD WMC/SLIM filter

 

BENRO 82mm CPL-HD WMC/SLIM filter

 

Before telling in details how to use the CPL filter and the GND0.9/ND16 rectangular filters simultaneously, I’d like to introduce the BENRO FH-100 filter holder and some included filter accessories firstly.

 

·FH-100 filter holder and some other filter accessories

 

Though having similar appearance with holders from other makers, BENRO FH-100 filter holder operates differently in fact. I’ll introduce those details in the following text later. At first, the package is still white tone, clean and comfortable.

 

BENRO FH-100 filter holder package (front)

 

BENRO FH-100 filter holder package (rear)

 

The rear of the package shows how to mount the filter holder onto the lens.

 

BENRO FH-100 filter holder

 

The biggest difference between BENRO filter and that of other makers is that BENRO filter holder can hold both the rectangular filter and the circular filter simultaneously. The adapter ring in the middle is used to fit circular filter. With the included filter accessories can mount and dismount the ring quickly.

 

Circular filter dismounting tool

 

BENRO Filter pouch

 

The water- resistant filter pouch can hold securely filter holder, circular filters, rectangular filters and dismounting tools. Easy and portable for taking shot on the go.

 

·Directions for mounting the BENRO filter holder

 

It’s easy to fit the holder on the lens. Dismount the lens mount adapter from the holder and mount onto the lens, rotate and lock, only to ensure the adapter won’t fall off. It’s no need to use strong strength.

 

The included BENRO 77mm filter adapter ring

 

So far, the holder’s installation has been completed. Different from holders from other makers which only hold rectangular filters, the BENRO filter holder can hold circular filter too. After fitting the holder on, we can mount the circular filter onto the holder and lock securely.

 

Use the included screwdriver to dismount screw, mount the circular filter and then rotate and fasten the screw.

 

Fasten the lens mount adapter onto the lens

 

Anytime adjustable circular filter adapter ring design

 

Slide the rectangular filter adapter into the lens mount adapter and fix by rotating the two buttons on the side. This installation process is different greatly from holders of other manufacturers.

 

put the rectangular filter adapter on the lens mount adapter

 

Fasten by rotating the blue button

 

Slide the rectangular filter into the holder

 

After installation of holder, slide GND/ND filter into the slot. The BENRO FH-100 filter holder can hold three rectangular filters.

 

Besides the mentioned product features, what we care about the most is the potential reduction of image sharpness after the filter installation. So in this test, I shot the standard ISO12233 with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens by the same focal length and aperture.

 

Two red thumbnails for sharpness comparison

 

I took these pictures by adding only GND0.9 or ND16 or the combination of the two filters onto the lens. Now we take a look at the test result.

 

· Sharpness comparison before and after using BENRO GND0.9

 

 
We can see, the shot taken after the only fitting on the BENRO GND0.9 (the right) is as sharp as the shot taken without BENRO GND0.9 attached (the left). So the BENRO GND0.9 features high transmission and doesn’t affect the image sharpness.

 

· Sharpness comparison before and after using BENRO ND16

 

The right shot was taken after the installation of BENRO ND16. Compared with the shot without BENRO ND16 attached (the left), the image sharpness isn’t affected too. Later I’ll show you more sample pictures to prove this point.

 

After the comparison of sharpness, I took some pictures in the open air to test the actual performance of the two filters.

 

Red thumbnail for comparison

 

· Comparison before and after using BENRO GND0.9

 

The left shot was taken without BENRO GND0.9 attached and the right one was taken with GND0.9 attached

 

·Comparison before and after using BENRO ND16

 

The left shot was taken without BENRO ND16 attached and the right one was taken with ND16 attached

 

According to the test, we can see sharpness of pictures shot with both BENRO GND0.9 and ND16 is not affected. The transition of sky and ground is more average and natural after attachment of BENRO GND0.9. So it’s definite that BENRO filters feature high light transmission and low optical dispersion and kelp to reduce reflections and flare. 

 

It is announced that the ND16 is available in 1, 2, 3 and 4 four stops exposure reduction. Now I’ll show you the test result by showing pictures shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens. The lens was set at 70mm, F6.3, ISO100, shutter priority and adjusting shutter speed graduate.

 

·Effect without any filter attached

 

Focal length: 70mm     aperture: f/6.3      ISO:100

 

        Exposure time:1/160s    EV:0             white balance: auto

 

The picture (the above) was taken with M stop and the above parameter values. Then I’ll show you pictures shot with BENRO ND16. Pay attention to the change of the water stream.

 

· Exposure effect without BENRO ND16 filter attached

 

Focal length: 70mm     aperture: f/6.3      ISO:100

 

          Exposure time:1/15s     EV:0               white balance: auto

 

Attaching BENRO ND16 and with almost the similar values above (only changing the exposure time to 1/15s) to retain the normal exposure value, we can see that it achieve the 4 stop exposure reduction. In the sample picture, the slim water stream has been changed to misty waterfall.

 

It is said that the BENRO GND and ND filters can reduce reflections and flare or ghost by slowing exposure time or with a wide aperture. At the same time, both types of filters feature low color cast. So now let’s have a look at the sample pictures and test whether it is true or not.

 

Color chart shot without any filters attached

 

· Color comparison before and after GND0.9 attached

 

The left is shot without BENRO GND 0.9 attached and the right is shot with BENRO GND 0.9 attached.

 

·Color comparison before and after ND16 attached

 

The left is shot without BENRO ND16 attached and the right is shot with BENRO ND16 attached

 

According to the test, we can see that the color just has a slight difference before and after the BENRO GND0.9 and ND16 filters attached. Based on experience, the more the exposure reduction is, the more obvious the color cast is. The BENRO GND0.9 and ND16 provide individually a 3-stop and a 4-stop exposure reduction, and the color taken by ND16 is a slight warm tone.

 

· Sample pictures
The following sample pictures were taken with mainly BENRO GND0.9 and ND16 the two rectangular filters. Some are taken only with one filter and some are taken with the combination of two filters.

 

Focal length: 70mm     aperture: f/8.0      ISO: 50

 

         Exposure time:1/125s    EV:0      white balance: auto(without filter)

 

 

 

                                             Focal length: 70mm     aperture: f/8.0      ISO: 50

 

          Exposure time: 1/60s     EV: 0     white balance: auto (with BENRO GND0.9)

 

 

 

Focal length: 24mm     aperture: f/8.0      ISO: 50

 

Exposure time:1/50s     EV:0     white balance: auto (with BENRO GND0.9)

 

 

 

Focal length: 24mm     aperture: f/8.0      ISO: 100

 

 Exposure time:1/160s     EV:0     white balance: auto (with BENRO GND0.9)

 

 

 

Focal length: 24mm     aperture: f/8.0      ISO: 100

 

  Exposure time:1/125s     EV:0     white balance: auto (with BENRO GND0.9)

 

 

 

Focal length: 70mm     aperture: f/8.0      ISO: 100

 

 Exposure time: 1/3s     EV: 0     white balance: auto (with BENRO GND0.9+ND16)

 

 

 

Focal length: 70mm     aperture: f/22.0      ISO: 50

 

    Exposure time: S3.2     EV: 0      white balance: auto (with BENRO GND0.9+ND16)

 

 

 

· Conclusion

 

We are satisfied with the performance of BENRO GND0.9 and ND16 filters. As BENRO has announced, their filters are constructed from high quality Schott glass and coat multi-coating, featuring low color cast and high light transmission. Though the picture shot with ND16 is a little warm-toned, it doesn’t affect the overall image effect. The FH-100 filter holder is different from holders from other manufacturers. BENRO filter can hold rectangular and circular filters simultaneously and the CPL filter can be adjusted by adjusting the anytime adjustable adapter ring. In addition, the foam gasket design on the GND0.9/ND16 filter edge and holder margin prevent effectively light leaking into lens when shooting with wide aperture or long exposure time. I think it is much better to purchase a suite of the BENRO filter tools. It is worth your money and can really help you take spectacular pictures you’ve wanted.

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