Today we are taking a look at NiSi Black Mist and VND Filters Review. Nisi optics has been working on developing filters and optical components since 2005, and last year we also reviewed their first ultra-wide-angle lens – the NiSi 15mm f/4.
NiSi Black Mist filter set
The black mist filters come with a special diffusion coating in a low-profile brass frame. There is micro etching on the top edge of the frame, but not on the sides. But that didn’t give us any issues with unscrewing the filter.
The black mist filters Nisi come in 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 strength. They are available in 5 different sizes (49mm, 67mm, 72mm, 77mm, 82mm). These are shipped in hard plastic boxes, and Nisi also offers an optional semi-hard pouch with 8 sections which is very useful and convenient to use.
The 3 NiSi mist filters
A black mist filter reduces contrast and creates a halation effect on lights. The effect of the black mist filter is best seen when there is a contrast of dark and light areas, it’s mostly used to create a dreamy look. But you can also use it to soften skin and reduce highlights.
We tested these filters at a concert, and here you can clearly see the effect. We felt that the 1/2 strength is a bit too much, but the other two filters keep just enough detail across the image while adding a nice diffusion on the highlights.
NiSi 1/8, 1/4, and 1/2 Black mist filters
Here’s a look at how these filters behave during daylight. Landscapes might not be the best scenario for this look, but this Black Mist filter can definitely help you get creative shots.
NiSi 1/8 Mist filter
NiSi 1/4 Mist filter
NiSi 1/2 Mist filter
We tested the Black Mist filters in the studio to check how they affect the color and light loss. It was great to see in the results that there is no color shift. (You lose about 1/3 of a stop of light with each filter.).
Some more examples – direct light – top left: no filter, top right: 1/8 Mist, bottom left: 1/4, bottom right: 1/2
Indirect light – top left: no filter, top right: 1/8 Mist, bottom left: 1/4, bottom right: 1/2
Nisi True Color Pro Nano VND filters
Nisi offers two options of the True Color Pro Nano VND filters. The one that we tested cuts out from 1 to 5 stops of light, and the second option is from 5 to 9 stops. Nisi offers plenty of sizes to choose from, up to 95mm (40.5, 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77, 82, 95) The filter is shipped in a hard plastic box, and there is a nice protective pouch that you can carry it in.
The filter is a bit bulky compared to some of the other VND’s that we’ve worked with. It features a grooved aluminum base to help with screwing it onto the lens.
For easier handling, the filter comes with a small metal lever that screws in. Since there is no etching on the side of the filter frame, rotating it without the lever isn’t very easy. Since this tiny part can easily be lost, we would prefer to see an integrated lever.
The filter comes with a plastic cap in case you want to keep it on the lens. One thing to note is that this cap doesn’t stay on if the filter has the lever installed. The filter has hard stops on both ends which is useful for preventing the user from over-turning the filter beyond its operational range.
In working with this VND filter, we tested for the X-pattern on our 15mm NISI lens, and we didn’t notice any darkening at the extremes of the filter rotation. We also didn’t find this glass to have any effect on the color or tint.
After using the filters In conclusion, these are quality filters that can definitely help in giving your image the right look and exposure. The protective pouch will keep the glass safe and easy to find in your bag.
As for pricing, Nisi’s Black Mist filters depending on the size and strength go from $65 to $110 apiece (see here on Amazon 1/8 mist, 1/4 mist, and 1/2 mist). The Nisi Pro Nano VND filter ranges from $120 dollars for the 40.5mm to $250 for their largest 95mm filter (see different sizes on Amazon). The Nisi 8-pocket pouch costs $30.
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