Which is the Best DJI X5 ND Filter? – 6 Filters on DJI Inspire & Osmo

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The DJI Inspire 1 is an incredible drone. In my tests and comparison of the X3, X5 and X5R cameras on the DJI Inspire 1 Pro I found that especially the Zenmuse X5R RAW camera delivers amazing images in 4K. But what about X5 ND filtration? On sunny days just closing the iris is not enough. So which is the best ND Filter for the DJI Zenmuse X5 and Zenmuse X5R cameras used on the DJI Inspire drone and DJI Osmo handheld gimbal?

The Best DJI X5 ND Filter

I found 5 6 different ND filters I could test both with the DJI Inspire 1 RAW and with the DJI Osmo RAW and compared them to each other that is both compatible withe the Zenmuse X5 and the Zenmuse X5R camera. First I compared the filters in the field under varying light conditions, then I did another comparison in our test lab. Check out the video to see the results.

Here’s an overview of the different filters I tested and their properties explained. In the conclusion I will summarize my findings and recommendations.

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Polraoid VariND

The Polaroid VariND is the most affordable of all the filters. It performed well, just had a slight orange tint. There are no hard stops, so it is not as convenient to use as the B+W. In order to be ok with gimbal weight you should use an extension ring and 49mm lens hood. The original DJI lens hood can not be used when this filter is on. The filter has no IR cut.

US: BUY HERE
EU: BUY HERE

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B+W XS-Pro MRC VariND

The B+W XS-Pro MRC VariND is a lot more expensive than the Polaroid, but build quality is excellent, it has hard stops and it looks quite neutral with a slight orange shift similar to the Polaroid. In order to be ok with gimbal weight you should use 49mm lens hood. The original DJI lens hood can not be used when this filter is on. The filter has no IR cut.

US: BUY HERE
EU: BUY HERE

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Heliopan VariND

  • Weight: 49g
  • ND filtration: 1-6 stops
  • Weight balancing: Too heavy. Filter is not recommeneded.

The Heliopan VariND feels like a solid product. It has hard stops and accurate markings and the image looks very neutral. Only at the far end I noticed an ND cross, so the ND filtration was not even. Unfortunately this filter is too heavy as an X5 ND or X5R ND. The filter has no IR cut.

BUY HERE

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Tiffen XLE Series Intermediate 3.0 IRND

  • Weight: 13g
  • ND filtration: 10 stops
  • Weight balancing: filter, DJI weight ring, and 46mm fotasy lens hood

The Tiffen XLE Intermediate IRND filters 10 stops of light and has an IR cut built in. This was too much even for a sunny day and the IR cut turned my image green to counter magenta shift. The result was not neutral, so this option is not for me.

BUY HERE

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Tiffen XLE Series Premiere IRND 3.0 Hot Mirror

  • Weight: 13g
  • ND filtration: 10 stops
  • Also available in:
  • Weight balancing: filter, DJI weight ring, and 46mm fotasy lens hood

Just like the intermediate, this Tiffen XLE Hot Mirror IRND filters 10 stops of light. Too much exposure reduction for my tastes and the IR cut turned my image green. I was not happy with the result. If you need a good IR cut filter this Hot Mirror seems better suited than the intermediate option though.

BUY HERE

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Formatt Hitech Firecrest IRND 1.5

  • Weight: 8g
  • ND filtration: 5 stops
  • Also available in: 1 stop, 2 stops, 3 stops, 4 stops, 6 stops, 7 stops, 8 stops, 9 stops, 10 stops
  • Weight balancing: filter, DJI weight ring, and 46mm fotasy lens hood

Just like the two Tiffen filters, this Formatt Hitech Firecrest filter has no variable ND functionality. It filters 5 stops of light and according to the manufacturer there is also an Infrared filtration built in. The image was very neutral and had a slight blue shift that I liked. It is the lightest of all the filters tested and not too expensive.

US: BUY HERE
EU: BUY HERE

Conclusion

For me the Formatt Hitech Firecrest IRND 1.5 was the ideal filter for sunny shoots. The neutral image looks clean, it is light and affordable and even has some IR reduction, though I did not seem to need that when testing the other filters. As a VariND the B+W seemed like the best option. Especially for the DJI Osmo as an X5 ND it would be ideal with hard stops and a clean image. As a budget option the Polraoid would also do the job, but another adapter ring is needed to balance it properly.

I hope this review was helpful for you. If it was please consider buying your gear through our recommended retailer’s links. And if you worked with any of the filters or other X5 ND filters please let me know about your experience in the comments.

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 Mathias Häcki Reply
Mathias Häcki October 6, 2016

Most people use the PolarPro kits, which aren’t to bad.
But the X5 and X5r really needs an IR cut filter due of the heavy red spill in sunlight.
Most of the time I use a Firecrest SuperSlim UV IR Cut Filter along B&W or PolarPro ND’s. Sometimes I use a B&W IR cut filter (DJI Europe uses B&W IR cut filters), which works better than the Firecrest, but is pretty heavy. So in the end it depends on which lense configuration you use together with which filters and lens hood. Some combinations can be rebalanced in pitch, yaw and roll pretty easy, while others require lighter or heavier filters and lense hoods to offer optimal performance and manageable rebalance by adding weights.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 13, 2016

Hi Mathias,
You told me about the heavy red spill before, but as mentioned in my test I did not encounter that same phenomenon. I would not recommend to use multiple filters stacked on top of each other as this will increase light reflections and potentially make for some ugly flares. I’d recommend the firecrest IRND combo as mentioned in my article to be on the safe side.

Benjamin Corwin Reply
Benjamin Corwin October 7, 2016

Excellent post! Thanks!