What I'm reviewing today is the "Hoya PRO1 Digital ND8 filter" which comes from a manufacture with a good name for quality optics.
A ND (Neutral Density) filter is an "add on" for DSLR as well as older film cameras, designed (in this types case) to simply screw on to the front of your lens. Their purpose is to reduce the amount of light that passes through the lens to the camera sensor. This has a number of applications for photography. It allows you to use longer shutter speeds (for when you want to create movement in a waterfall for example instead of a static shot) without suffering blow out or over exposed images. It reduces very bright light when you require a narrow depth of field. Extending exposure times, and if your still using film it allows you to use a higher speed film in bright light.
The filter also has a knock-on effect of protecting the front of your lens from any damage that may occur (being much cheaper to replace the filter than your lens.) You may not want to keep this filter attached the entire time for the effect it has on photographs (an UV filter would be better.)
This filter has a thread size of 55mm which means it will only fit lens that have the same size on their front element (most lens have the filter size printed on them). Unless your using stepping rings please ensure you purchase the correct size (the model does come in different sizes from 52-88mm should you need it.)
The ND8 number with this filter refers to it's F-Stop reduction (with other filters ranging from ND2 to ND64 and beyond). In technical terms this "8" means it offers a F-Stop reduction of "3" with a transmittance of 12.5% I often find that this level is perfect for most uses, unless your planning a very long shutter time or time lapse photograph.
Build quality is very good and there is no noticeable effect on image quality (some people would argue that another piece of glass on your lens would have that effect.) It's quick and easy to fit to your lens requiring a matter of seconds, however it is pretty slim so those with big fingers may struggle. It's important to remember not to over tighten the filter as it can very easily become stuck. There are special tools you can buy in case this ever happens to you. It's worth noting that you can also still use a lens hood with the filter if you want to.
The filter comes in a small plastic Petri dish like carry case, which I do have my doubts about as it allows the filter to move around a lot. I keep mine in a filter wallet which offers more protection as well as being able to store all your filters together.
Using this ND filter will allow your photography to expand and develop into new realms, without having to spend hundreds. It's biggest use would be with landscape photography but can be used with so other fields as well.
Hoya filters do seem to be very popular and common, to be honest I'm not surprised as they do exactly what their built to do for a very reasonable price and this PRO1 Digital filter is no exception. There are cheaper ND filters in the market but you always take a chance on quality.
If your looking for a great ND filter then this is one of the best at this price range (at time of publishing you can purchase this ND filter online for £27.50)
(I'm a reviewer on Amazon, and some my reviews are copied from there to dooyoo. Please feel free to check out my Amazon profile under my real name of Mr Andrew M Kerr.)
This ND8 filter reduce the amount of light entering the lens so wider apertures can be selected, which is perfect for portraiture to reduce depth of field. Subject appears crisp and clear while the background becomes a soft blur. Also widely used for photographs of waterfalls and other nature scenes to emphasize movement.