Marumi ND8 Filter Review

July 12, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

 I recently went through the process of evaluating ND filters for an upcoming trip I am taking. In my search I had the following requirements I was looking to attain.

Must be Glass
Must be Multi-Coated
Must be True 3 Stops
Must be Circular
Must have no color cast
Must not affect image quality

There are a lot of brands out there to chose from, once you remove all of the plastic/resin filters, your selection is much smaller. Many people have their preference and will never go with anything else. Me on the other hand, I am open to new products, objective information and good deals. I should note that I have never tried any other brand ND filter so I have nothing to compare this to, however, I thought I’d just share my thoughts and experiences with regards to the Marumi 77mm ND8.

Product Descripton
Marumi® brand. DHG Multi-coated Light Control 8 ND8 Neutral Density. Pro quality filter. Made in Japan. Ultra-low reflective coating minimizes reflection off internal CCD & CMOS sensors. Multicoated (6 coatings) optical glass filter. Black rim: Edge treated with black ink to eliminate reflections. Low profile: Just 5mm high (not inc rear threads). Great for Wide angle lenses, no vignetting. Non-reflective metal frame eliminates reflections. Metal, double threaded frame to allow additional filters or hoods. 4 main uses: 1. Enables slower shutter speeds to be used. To display movement instead of freezing motion. Example, creative waterfall shots. 2. Decreases depth of field. Effectively blurring the background. 3. Reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor, but with no affect on color balance. Reduces light intensity, (sunshine, snow etc). 4. Allow video cameras to operate in bright light. Brand new in package.  

Hands on Review

The filter was packed nice and feels very solid. It has a metal ring with a dull matte black finish to it. The optics look great and you can see the effects of the multi coating when pointing it at a light reflecting a green and magenta reflection.

Experiment Notes: 
Shots were taken indoors with florescent lighting and custom white balance on a Canon 60D.
Each shot was manually focused using 10x magnification in live view using Canon 50mm f/1.8 and step up ring from 52 to 77mm.
Shutter speed is the only difference in this test as it was necessary for proper exposure.
All shots taken at f/7.1
The only “modification” to the image was lens correction in Adobe Camera Raw
Please make note that you are viewing a  72dpi JPEG image with quality set to 12, then whatever Google does to them when uploading and posting them.

This review consists of 3 objectives, review image quality, test for a color cast and ensure a true 3 stops of filtering.

Image Quality
Here are 100% crops of the focus point I used when manually focusing the image.

 Use this as a reference when looking at the other images. I should note that with the step up adapter attached to the lens, it is very difficult to get my fingers in to focus the image. I think I did a pretty good job of lining them up, so take that for what it’s worth. 

I selected what I thought was a good representation for crisp lines. The printing on this bottle was better than the other and there is higher contrast between the dark bottle and the white label where you might notice a softer edge. As far as I can see, their is no discernible evidence of any image quality degradation.

Color Cast
I used a white cloth backdrop and shot a 1-stop over exposed image of it as reference for my in camera white balance setting. The images look very close. If I wanted to be picky, I would actually say the shot WITH the filter looks better and the one WITHOUT is sort of yellow. I would probably attribute that to changing ambient light coming in through my basement window(Cloudy/Windy/Sunny day). It also could have been due to the stupid yellow ball I put into the test also. With that said, I consider this is a true Neutral Density with no color cast.

Is it a true 3-stop ND
Yes. Whether shining it at a light, a flower, a white wall or my car, it always adjusted by 3 stops. I don’t know of any way to graphically display this other than taking a video using live view, but my camera phone needs a serious upgrade, so you will just have to take my word for it I guess.
Conclusion
Considering the favorites out there, Singh Ray, B&W and Hoya, I stumbled across this manufacturer while shopping for filters on Amazon. Searching Marumi I was only able to find but a couple reviews on Amazon and only a couple random forum posts. That is what prompted me to create this review. At nearly half the price of the big names, being multi-coated glass and a true 3 stop (a lot of reviews had the Hoya at 2 1/3 to 2 2/3 stops ) Overall I have been very happy with this filter thus far and in a couple weeks I will get to actually use it shooting real landscape scenes and not just flowers in my back yard.

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