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Review: ND Filter Set for Osmo Pocket

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Neutral Density (short: “ND”) and polarized filters are an indispensable tool – not only for professionals, but also for amateur filmmakers. How do such filters work? How do you use them? And is the inexpensive Sunnylife filter set for the Osmo Pocket worth its money? Here’s the review.


Review: Sunnylife ND Filter Set for Osmo Pocket


Content:
Page 1: What are ND- and Pol Filters good for?
Page 2: Sunnylife Filter Set for Osmo Pocket

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Neutral density (ND) and polarized filters offer great possibilities to shoot impressive photos, or “cine-like” videos. There already are various filter sets available for the Osmo Pocket from various manufacturers (priced EUR 100 or more) but if you don’t want to spend big money for the little Osmo, it makes sense to try the inexpensive filter set from Sunnylife, which are sold at Banggood for moderate 35 EUR.

The Sunnylife filter set contains six different filters: two ND4, two ND8 and two ND16 – each in a normal and a polarized version. So the set actually covers all the filters you need in most cases. Only a ND32 is missing here, but that’s definitely acceptable for the very reasonable price.

Before we take a closer look at the set on the next page, here’s a (short) summary of the effect and use of ND- and pole filters:


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How do ND- and Pol filters work?

 

ND Filter


ND (Neutral Density) filters act like sunglasses – blocking or reducing the light that enters the camera lens. To prevent the picture from becoming underexposed, i.e. too dark, the camera is forced to increase the exposure time. And with a longer exposure time you can generate great effects, especially with moving subjects such as waterfalls, streams, passing clouds, etc. So generally, with an ND filter you can extend the exposure time of the camera.

If one would try the exposure time without usin an ND filter, the image would be overexposed in the end, especially in sunshine. The longer the shutter of the camera remains open, the more light falls on the image sensor and the brighter the image becomes. With high ND filters you can achieve long exposure times – and great photo effects – even in sunshine.

A very good example is the motif of a waterfall: in sunny weather the camera selects a very, very short exposure time in automatic mode so that the image is not overexposed. Due to this short exposure time, one sees every single drop on the finished image of the waterfall – as if one had simply stopped the time. This, however, completely loses the naturalness of the motif, its dynamics. If you now use a ND filter (which forces a long exposure time) the difference is dramatic: the waterfall looks “soft”, single drops blur to a fog or long streaks of water.

ND filters are also advantageous for filming videos. For example, if you film at 60 FPS and then look at the individual frames of the video, you will see that moving objects look razor sharp. However, this does not correspond to the viewing habits of the human eye. The eye expects moving objects to “blur” a bit. And exactly this motion blur can be created when filming with ND filters. This gives the video a “cine-look” style – because in cinema movies you can also see that moving objects appear blurred when you look at individual frames – the stronger, the faster the movement of the object is.

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Motion blur effect with ND filter

 

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Left without, right with ND filter and long exposure time

 

Polarized Filters


Polarized (or “pol” for short) filters work very much like ND filters – but they also have an additional advantage: they block light rays that fall from a certain direction. In plain language: they can be used to reduce or even completely eliminate reflections on shiny surfaces.

Anyone who has ever photographed a shop window, the surface of a calm lake or the windshield of a car faced that problem: the surface reflects light so strongly that it is no longer possible to see what is behind (or below) it. These reflections can be removed using polarized filters. The results, in some cases, almost look like magic.

Reflections are produced by light that bounces off surfaces and hits the camera from different directions (angles). Since polarized filters can only eliminate light of a certain polarization (i.e. from a certain angle), those filters usually have a rotatable attachment. By rotating this attachment you can block light from a certain direction. In practice: you rotate the attachment until the unwanted reflection has been eliminated as much as possible. Since the Osmo Pocket allows you to control the image via the display or the app at any time, it is quite easy to find the right angle here.

Polarized filters can be used for photography as well as for filming and are always an advantage when you want to make reflections disappear. But pol filters also offer another advantage: they increase the intensity of colors. As soon as light from a certain direction is eliminated, the diffuse light thrown onto the camera by a motif is amplified. The result: the ambient colors now appear much more intense. The green of the vegetation appears stronger, the blue of the sky deeper and the colour of flowers more intense.

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Left image without, right one shot with polarized filter

 

ND filters and polarized filters are therefore almost indispensable tools when photographing and filming and it is definitely worth to always have a set – or at least the most necessary filters – with you. The Sunnylife filters for the Osmo Pocket are in particular very easy to use as we will see on the next page.

On the next page: the Sunnylife Filter Set for the Osmo Pocket.

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