High-quality, affordable accessories for photographers.
As I have worked to improve my skills as a photographer, I have discovered that I love taking long-exposure photographs. Last year, I found myself taking a long exposure at night on a busy highway. I loved how it turned out and wanted to do more. I attempted some light painting photos when I visited Florida later in 2019, but nothing compared to the ultimate challenge of freezing waterfalls during a long-exposure. You’ve probably seen this technique used before. The effect makes the water look frozen or silky smooth like milk rather than clear and rugged. In addition to wanting to capture a waterfall in that manner, I wanted to do it during the day. Since a long-exposure leaves the aperture of your camera open longer than normal, a large amount of light is let in for the development of the photo. If I were to achieve the frozen waterfall in the day time, I would need to use a really good ND filter so that my camera was able to process the photo correctly.
Moment, a company that began as a phone accessory designer, wants to provide quality products to creative photographers. Earlier this year, they released Variable ND Filters for DSLR cameras and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work with them. Until recently, Variable ND filters were primarily used in the video world. They are now being used more and more with still photography. Moment designed these filters to be affordable, functional, and of premium quality. If you aren’t familiar with ND filters, the simplest explanation is that they are like sunglasses for your camera lens. These filters are ‘variable’ and allow you to adjust the strength of the filter by rotating the filter ring. This is useful because it keeps you from having to cart around multiple filters for different lighting conditions.
Moment’s Variable ND Filters are available as a 2-5 stop or 6-9 stop option (you can also buy both as a bundle). The filters are made with B270 Pro Cinema Glass. They are crisp edge-to-edge without color fringing or cross-polarization. The rings are made from aerospace-grade metal and precision machined to deliver durability. The filter has a unique contour so that as you are shooting, you can see your ND number from behind the lens. In addition to being able to see which stop you are on, the filter rings also have hard stops on them to prevent that cross-polarization issue that a lot of ND filters experience.
Features & Compatibility
- German Schott B270 Pro Cinema Glass for superior optical clarity
- Available in both 2-5 stop (ND4 – ND32) and 6-9 stop (ND64- ND512) ranges
- Advanced optical coatings for cinematic color and rugged durability
- Precision tuned to never cross polarize
- Hard stops on both ends of the stop range for more precise control
- Works with any standard center pinch lens cap (like the one you already have for your camera lens)
- Works with step-up/step-down rings, like this 62mm-82mm one here
- Laser-etched markings allow you to see your stop from behind the viewfinder
- Body machined from aerospace-grade metal to withstand use, drops, and adventure
- Knurled grip texture for more control and easy removal from lenses
- Conical geometry acts as a microlens hood, cutting unwanted glare and reflections
- Includes a foam-lined, metal carrying tin for protection on the go and a microfiber cleaning cloth
What’s the Difference
Each of the Variable ND filters serves its own purpose. The table below outlines some of the reasons you might want one over the other.
|Works well in your standard outdoor conditions. Cloudy, partly sunny, sunrise/sunset.||Great for shooting in super bright lighting conditions|
|Great for shooting slow motion when you have to turn your shutter speed up.||Sunny beach days or bright snowy days on the slopes. Desert conditions.|
|Shoot with this one when there is less light available. In trees, in shade, or on a hike, when you are shooting indoors.||If you want to shoot at a high aperture like f/1.4|
|Works well in most lighting conditions to control shutter speed for photo or video.||Great for getting the slowest possible shutter speed for long exposure photos in the daytime.|
|Perfect for everyday videography, blogging, and YouTube style content creation.||If your camera has a high base ISO.|
|Filter Glass||Schott B270 Pro Cinema Glass|
|Filter Coatings||16 layer anti-reflective coating along with ‘Liquid Glass’ surface treatments for anti-static, hydrophobic, and scratch resistance|
|Adjustment||Rotation with hard stops to prevent cross polarizing within working range|
|Thread Size||67mm, 77mm, 82mm|
|Outer Diameter||67mm — 81.16mm 77mm — 91.16mm 82mm — 96.16mm|
|Depth||67mm — 9.05mm 77mm — 9.05mm 82mm — 9.05mm|
|Weight||67mm — 39.7g 77mm — 47.9g 82mm — 51.8g|
|Filter Range||2–5 Stop | ND4–ND32 6–9 Stop | ND64–ND512|
|Frame Material||Aerospace Grade Aluminum|
|Lens Cap Compatibility||Standard Center Pinch Caps|
|Compatible Focal Lengths||16mm and above|
The Moment filters are packaged in a heavyweight canister. I’ve seen some people compare it to an old film reel canister and while I can see the similarity, I actually just appreciate the robust protection it provides to the filter. That said if you are carrying several of these (I have two sets – one for 77mm lenses and the other for 82mm lenses), that can add a lot of weight to your bag. I would suggest getting a filter pouch like the Filter Nest Mini from Mindshift to carry these around in. It significantly reduces the amount of weight you are carrying and it still protects the filters.
The filters are easily installed. You just screw them onto the end of the lens and the outer ring twists so that you can adjust the filter’s density. I did find that the Moment filters have a stronger color cast than some others I’ve used and they shift a little to the warm color spectrum. If you shoot in RAW (and I do), then the color cast can be adjusted as you edit with color correction (based on a color checker). I did not notice much, if any, vignetting caused by the filters.
I want to point out that the filters do not have any sort of cap on them. They do however have a cleaning cloth included in their canister so that you can keep them print-free and remove any smudges that might occur. One cool feature is the filters provide is that they are compatible with standard center pinch caps. I exclusively use Tamron lenses and they use pinch caps. So, the Moment Variable ND filters worked with there caps without any issues.
The filters themselves feel very premium. I’ve used some generic ND filters before and while they work, they feel ‘cheap’ and the Moment filters do not. The metal ring is solid and has easy movement as you switch from stop-to-stop. Even though I didn’t have any issues changing settings on the ring, I noticed that once it was locked in place, the ring won’t easily switch simply by being bumped. You have to make an effort to adjust the stop on the filter. One of the biggest advantages of the Moment filters over other Variable ND filters is the hard stop that it provides. Moment was smart when they designed these filters. First, they spilt them into filters so that the dreaded “X pattern,” or cross-polarization, doesn’t happen. Second, they put a hard stop on the filters. They don’t spin around 360 degrees and you can only go so far. That is something that is definitely appreciated as far as the design goes.
Now, as I mentioned, I was hoping to ‘freeze’ a waterfall and create a dreamy, silky photo from that experience. Armed with my Canon EOS-R and the Moment filters, I ventured out to find a waterfall. In my part of the country, they can be a little hard to come by, but I found a water feature within driving distance that worked perfectly. In this setting, I was able to find several areas with running water that allowed me to demonstrate what the Moment Variable ND Filters are capable of. The first waterfall I captured is shown below. There are four photos that show 1) the waterfall with no long-exposure, 2) a long-exposure of the waterfall without a filter, 3) a long-exposure of the waterfall with an ND filter, but not the correct one, and 4) a long-exposure of the waterfall with the correct ND filter setting being used. You can definitely tell a big difference between the natural running water and how it can look with the special effect caused by the use of long-exposure and an ND filter.
The following two photos were taken again as a long-exposure but in a different part of the water feature. The first shot is a small creek where water was gently flowing across some rocks. The Moment filter helped me to create this foggy look. The second photo below shows yet another part of the water feature where again, water was simply flowing from a larger pool across some rocks and into a smaller pool. I was able to capture this super milky effect because the Variable ND filter blocked enough of the natural daylight to slow the water down as the camera processed the photo.
In order to capture unique photos, you need the right equipment. And while one might think that any ole’ ND filter will get the job done, I highly recommend that you evaluate the quality of the filters you are using and invest in the Variable ND Filters by Moment. They are built really well and with features like the hard-stop adjustment, the fact that you can see the ND number while you are behind the lens, and the ability to use your own center-pinch lens cap, they are hard to beat. Additionally, they are competitively priced with other high-quality Variable ND filters in the market. I’ve been very happy with the Moment filters and am excited for the next adventure with them.