Scott Robert Variable Neutral Density Filter

Using the Scott Robert vND Filter to create shallow depth of field in bright light when using flash manually!


vND Filter Life Changing?

I’m not sure a variable neutral density filter is life changing but it certainly has changed the way I photograph! I like to use my flash manually, which means I figure out the light and not my camera. This is a much more accurate way to control your light and achieves extremely consistent exposures. However when using a flash manually, it only works at the X-Sync speed of the camera or below which is 1/250 or slower. This makes it impossible to use low fstops in bright light using your flash.

For Example

In bright sun situations a typical exposure to capture blue in the sky is: F16, 1/100, ISO 100

Equivalent exposures to shoot at lower fstops:

  • F11, 1/200, ISO 100
  • F8, 1/400, ISO 100
  • F5.6, 1/800, ISO 100
  • F4.0, 1/1600, ISO 100
  • F2.8, 1/3200, ISO 100
  • F2.0, 1/6400, ISO 100

According to the chart above, anything in red is above current X-Sync speeds of most DSLR cameras. Consequently using lower Fstops with manual flash is not possible.

Introducing the vND Filter

The vND filter is a game changer because it allows the use of manual flash with low shutter speeds because it limits light into the camera, anywhere from two to 10 stops- the Fstop can be lowered without raising the shutter speed.  The vND Filter has a rotating piece of glass that varies the amount of light and can be adjusted to create a two to 10 stop difference in exposure.

Consequently, on a bright day, if light entering camers is reduced by 5 stops, the camera can be set at F2.8, 1/100, ISO 100, which is well within the X-sync speed.

Sony A77 and the vND Filter

Another reason why I LOVE shooting with Sony A77 is the electronic viewfinder or OLED which allows me to SEE the effect of the vND Filter in real time. Here is my workflow…

Workflow: Shooting in bright light with vND Filter

Set camera to F2.8, 1/100, ISO 100 and leave it there the entire time shooting in bright light. I adjust vND filter according to how dark or light I want my exposure and then fill in with flash on subject as needed. On a bright day I use multiple flashes so I can over power the sun and create a higher quality of light source. I usually keep sun behind subject to give me a nice highlight and use flash to expose the darker subject.

If you enjoy shooting with flash in manual, you’re going to love using my vND filter for a variety of creative lighting and shallow depth of field effects.

Scott Robert Variable ND Filter $69

Order now! Download this FREE PDF to find your correct filter size from my DropBox. See more examples below. 


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 Related Products

Images using Scott Robert vND Filter

Sony A77 16-55 at F2.8, 1/100, ISO 100

Picture taken without using flash, colors are less saturated and background is over exposed

vND filter can create night lighting effects in bright light


View more images

May 1, 2012 - 5:07 am

Bandele Zuberi - We need to launch SRs products in the UK soon!!!!

May 13, 2012 - 9:20 pm

Scott Robert Lim’s Flash Hero » Scott Robert LA - […] Scott Robert Variable Neutral Density Filter […]

August 20, 2012 - 1:13 pm

Top 5 Flash Tips » Scott Robert LA - […] Scott Robert Variable Neutral Density Filter […]

October 18, 2012 - 11:10 am

Rey Coronado - Enjoyed your teaching last night in San Antonio, TX.

May 7, 2013 - 4:23 am

7May13 Before/After at Fuji Speedway - Ferrari 458 | BackFromLeave PhotoBlogBackFromLeave PhotoBlog - […] but I decided to experiment a little with the sweet variable ND filter I had just picked up from Scott Robert Lim.  By stopping down the exposure significantly, I was able to keep the shutter open longer, […]

May 15, 2013 - 3:44 pm

Peggy - I have a Nikon AF-S 18-200 3.5-5.6 G II ED. DX VR lens that I would like with a vND . Do you have one that will fit?

June 8, 2013 - 11:29 pm

Sheyi - How long does it take to ship your products? Just curious as I ordered an item last week but don’t know if it’s been shipped or not and would like to order this variable ND filter as well as I need it by the 19th.

August 15, 2013 - 8:43 am

Dare Johnson - Does this work with Canon lenses?

August 15, 2013 - 9:15 am

admin - YES

August 15, 2013 - 9:17 am

admin - Usually ships within 72 hours, you will get a tracking when it goes out. if you have a specific deadline contact me first for exact shipping timeframe.

August 15, 2013 - 9:18 am

admin - Yes! Contact me.

October 18, 2013 - 8:15 am

Ideas to fire you up , Photography Angie , - […] available at Scott Robert from L.A. He is an amazing photographer and a master of the light. Visit Scott Robert’s website to learn more about his products and […]

August 22, 2014 - 5:31 pm

shawn - I have a 82mm ND filter do you have step down rings I would like to try and use on my Sony FE 55MM F1.8 which has 49MM filter size

August 23, 2014 - 5:20 pm

admin - Yes, I have some, contact me if you want a set

September 26, 2016 - 9:34 am

Ramchandra J Phatak - What is the shipping time to Dallas texas

September 26, 2016 - 11:00 am

admin - Two to three days

December 26, 2016 - 8:38 pm

Lisa Warren - Do you have step down filters?

May 1, 2017 - 8:01 pm

Esther Gambrell - Does this filter affect the sharpness of the image?

May 2, 2017 - 8:09 am

admin - It may depending on how you use it. I have had some good results with it but there are two pieces of glass added to your lens. However if you want sharpest possible, I suggest going to a single 4 stop filter with high quality glass

May 2, 2017 - 8:11 am

admin - Yes, i do believe you want step up filters. It will fit any larger lens filter to any smaller filter. So if you lens is 58mm and you want to use a 77mm filter, you have to use a step up filter. Hope this makes sense!

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