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BENRO GND0.9 and ND16 Square Filters Review

 

 

 

Filters are intimate friends of photographers who love landscape photography especially. They are used to compensate brightness between the ground surface and the sky and produce soft, silk-like water effect.

BENRO, a famous photography accessories producer in China showed its first set of square filter system designed to meet the increasing needs photographers towards square filters at the China P&E Fair 2014 held from April 24-28, 2014.

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The square filter system includes accessories like GND0.9, ND16, SD-CPL, FH-100 filter holder, filter unlocker and a filter pouch. The GND 0.9 and ND16 are the first set of square filters BENRO launched. So this time we’ll test out mainly the two filters. Certainly, the innovative FH-100 filter holder will be introduced in this test as well.

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package of the GND0.9(SOFT) filter

The soft edge GND filter is used to balance the brightness between the ground and the sky when taking landscape photography. The darker part is used to darken the high light from the sky and the clear part to show perfectly the details and the light from the ground surface to compensate the large brightness contrast caused by narrower dynamic range of cameras.

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BENRO GND0.9

The SD GND0.9 has a dimension of 150*100mm and is constructed from the B270 optical glass, coated ULCA coating and WMC three-resistance coating. It has a height of 2mm and the darkest part features three stops.

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Details of GND0.9

Square filters can fit to many aspects which reflects in the fitting to many lens sizes. For example, only by an applicable adapter ring, the filter is compatible with lens that is 82mm or smaller than 82mm. generally speaking, a square filter is longer than an ND filter which is intended to make photographers adjust light according to the current light condition to achieve what they want.

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ND filter is used to reduce light entering lens to slow down shutter speed, increase exposure time and reproduce the contrast. When it comes to landscape photography, such as the water, swashing rock and drifting clouds, ND filter is needed to enhance the artistic effect.

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BENRO ND16 filter

BENRO ND16 is constructed of DND glass, double coated seven layers ULCA coating and one layer WMC three-resistant coating (water & oil resistant, scratch resistant and anti-finger print) to ensure clear image and the filter’s high quality. The ND filter is 2mm thick and features four stops.

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Light- leaking resistance gasket

The four sides leak prevention sponge gasket can prevent unneeded light leaking into lens when shooting with wider aperture and long exposure and allow the filter fitting tightly to the holder. At the same time, it’s much better to fit the filter to the slot close to the lens.

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The package of the FH-100 filter holder is similar to that of square, compact and brief. Besides the holder, it includes an 82mm lens mount, a standard 77-82mm adapter ring. The metalwork is made of aircraft grade aluminum alloy, solid and durable.

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The spacer system is constructed of ABS/PP resin. The excellent elasticity makes the filter fitting solid and reduces scratch or some other damage to the filter to the least. The sponge gasket also reduces light leaking.

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Different from general holder, BENRO FH-100 filter holder is compatible with circular filter. To test the fitting result, we test the BENRO 82mm SD CPL-HD WMC too.

 

After introduction of the square filter system, now we come to the other two tests.

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BENRO circular filter unlocker

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The inside plastic bulge increases friction and makes the filter disassembly much easier.

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Demo of using the filter unlocker

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Filter pouch

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Besides filter, all other filter accessories can be put into the filter pouch together, making the outgoing photography more orderly and easily.

Here I’d like to introduce briefly the installation of the FH-100 filter.

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Turn the holder over and you can see two blue screws. Dismount them and you can split the adapter ring.

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The fitting of the included standard 77-82mm adapter ring is the same as the installation of the UV filter.

The following is the procedure of screwing the circular filter on.

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Actually it’s very simple to install the circular filter. It only needs to aim the filter to the screw and then screw it on. (the former design needs two screws to tighten and locate. The newly optimized is much easier to use)

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Perfect fitting of FH-100 holder and ultra thin CPL filter

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The CPL filter works by continuously rotating. There is a rotation ring covered densely sawtooth at the rear of the holder. The CPL rotates with the rotating of the rotation ring. I think it’s the most innovative filter holder.

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The FH-100 holder can fit two square filters and one CPL filter simultaneously

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Apart from the CPL filter, the holder can fit concurrently three square filters.

 

Picture sample

What we care about most is whether the fitting of the filter will affect the photo quality. We use Canon EOS 60D and SIGMA ART 18-35 F1.8 to photograph, aperture priority. When it’s sunny, the sky will be bluer and clearer with the use of soft GND filter. However, it was bad the day when we were having the test. Fortunately, the soft GND filter can balance the light contrast, so we had to regard this as the test result.

Effect with and without GND0.9 filter

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Aperture:F/8  exposure time: 1/100  ISO: 100        Aperture:F/8  exposure time: 1/40  ISO : 100

auto white balance(without filter)                    auto white balance (with BENRO GND0.9)

Click to enlarge the picture

 

As the picture shows, after screwing the filter on, the high light is darker and the transition of the sky to the ground is much natural.

Besides the image quality compare, we also expanded the picture to 100% to compare the details.

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Aperture:F/8  exposure time: 1/20s  ISO: 100        Aperture:F/8  exposure time: 1/10s  ISO : 100

auto white balance(without filter)                    auto white balance (with BENRO GND0.9)

Click to enlarge the picture

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Aperture:F/8  exposure time: 1/20s  ISO: 100        Aperture:F/8  exposure time: 1/10s  ISO : 100

auto white balance(without filter)                    auto white balance (with BENRO GND0.9)

Click to enlarge the picture

As the picture shows, after screwing the GND0.9 on, the further high light building shows more details by darkening the light and the 100% screenshot is also as clear and sharp as the original image.

Before and after screwing the ND16 on:

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Aperture:F/8  exposure time: 1/30s  ISO: 100        Aperture:F/8  exposure time: 1/2s  ISO : 100

auto white balance(without filter)                    auto white balance (with BENRO ND16)

Click to enlarge the picture

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Aperture:F/8  exposure time: 1/30s  ISO: 100        Aperture:F/8  exposure time: 1/2s  ISO : 100

auto white balance(without filter)                    auto white balance (with BENRO ND16)

Click to enlarge the picture

After screwing the ND16 on, the water is much quieter thanks to the 4 light reduction feature.

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Aperture:F/8  exposure time: 1/30s  ISO: 100        Aperture:F/8  exposure time: 1/2s  ISO : 100

auto white balance(without filter)                    auto white balance (with BENRO ND16)

Click to enlarge the picture

By the compare of the enlarged screen shot, we can see there is no obvious difference before and after fitting the ND16 on. The effect is achieved thanks to 7 layers ULCA coating which makes the color cast and dispersion be acceptable.

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Aperture:7.1  exposure time: 1/100  ISO: 100        Aperture:7.1  exposure time: 1/30  ISO : 100

auto white balance(without filter)                    auto white balance (with BENRO GND0.9)

Click to enlarge the picture

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Aperture:F/8  exposure time: 1.3S  ISO: 100   auto white balance(with BENRO GND0.9 &ND16)

 

Conclusion

During the whole photograph process, the BENRO GND0.9 filter and ND16 filter showed excellent performance and the pictures are gorgeous. The quality and performance of the filter accords with the official announce. The FH-100 filter holder applies to both square filters and circular filters, innovative and practical. The CPL filter can be adjusted by the adjustment ring, cooperated with the pouch and the unlocker, both the travel and the outgoing photography are much easier. Short in one word, the BENRO square filter system is very excellent, I like it and I recommend it to my friends.

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