One Size Fits All

One Size Fits All

Q) You mentioned the Singh-Ray variable neutral-density filter (Vari-ND) in a previous OP column. If I have my information correct, it appears to be made only in a 77mm mount. I don't know if I can find an adapter to mount it on my lenses with smaller filter sizes, but if I can, will it work properly with such an adapter?

A) Filters are relatively expensive and heavy, so it helps to choose a size that matches the diameter of the largest lens you carry (for many of us, that's 77mm), and use a filter ring adapter ring to fit other lenses, for example, using a 62mm (lens) to 77mm (filter) step-up ring. They're readily available from camera stores or online from sources such as B&H Photo and Video. There can be a problem with using the adapter and filter on extremely wide-angle lenses because the adapter moves the filter away from the front of the lens and may cause slight vignetting.

The Vari-ND is relatively thick and can't be used on extremely wide-angle lenses on full-frame digital or film cameras. I carry a thinner warming polarizer from Singh-Ray that I use on my 17-40mm wide-angle zoom, which causes no vignetting, even at 17mm. This image of a river in Yosemite National Park was taken with the Singh-Ray Vari-ND at 26mm using a 17-40mm zoom lens and a Canon EOS-1Ds MKII. About 24mm is the widest this filter will allow on a full-frame D-SLR.

One of North America’s best-known contemporary outdoor and nature photographers and a leader in the field of digital imaging and photographic education, Lepp is the author of many books and the field editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine. One of Canon’s original Explorers of Light, Lepp finds inspiration in advancing technology that fuels creative innovation and expression of his life-long fascination with the natural world.

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