Using Singh-Ray’s New Vari-ND-Duo Filter

Back in early October I wrote a short post entitled Control the Light where I talked about using a Singh-Ray variable neutral density filter stacked with a warming polarizer to obtain a unique long exposure “look” in my images. While this technique works great, it can be a pain to setup properly and the stacked filters tend to vignette my wide angle lenses.

Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo

Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo Filter

Recently, Singh-Ray introduced their new Vari-ND-Duo filter which combines their variable neutral density filter with a circular polarizer filter in a single, very compact unit. The new Vari-ND-Duo is much easier to use and prevents the vignetting issues I had experienced before.

I took this shot at the McKinney Falls State Park while waiting for a group of families to clear my line of sight to the falls. Using the Vari-ND-Duo and my camera set on full manual, I was able to achieve this “motion”effect with a 6 second exposure.

Rock & Cypress

Rock & Cypress – Austin, Texas
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 58mm, f/16 for 6 seconds at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo neutral density and warming polarizer filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

8 thoughts on “Using Singh-Ray’s New Vari-ND-Duo Filter

      • Jeff,

        Have you had any experience using or seen images taken with a circular polarizer & linear polarizer stacked on top of each other to simulate what the vari-nd does?

        By the way, beautiful image of the stream & Cypress tree.

        • Doug,

          Thanks for reading and for your kind words. Stacking polarizers to block light is an age-old technique from back in the days of film. The only problem is that by the time you stack enough CPs or two LPs in combination you’ll run into vignetting issues. The Vari-ND is expensive but it does solve this problem.


  1. Oh how much I’d love to get one of these in the thin variant for my 5DII/24-105 combination but they have a pretty hefty price tag. Seems like quite an amount of money to save some time and post processing needed with my current 2-filter combination…

    • Nico,

      Compared to the cost of the 5D2 and 24-105mm, the Singh-Ray filter is a drop in the bucket. I own the previous Vari-ND and almost never use it now that I have the new “duo”.


    • Hey Sheldon,

      I use the thin mount to get the least amount of vignetting possible. Since there are no outer threads on the thin mount you’ll need a press-on cap to cover the filter.


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