Welcome to my test review of the Haida NanoPro ND kit. Designed specifically for use with DJI Mavic 2 Pro. The pack includes four solid neutral density (ND) filters (3,4,5 & 6 stops).
This is all very new to me having never used a drone before and knew very little about videography. Fast forward three months, the main problem has been fighting weather, which here in Scotland is no easy fate. We get a lot of rain, wind, snow and sub-zero temperatures, all do not go hand in hand with flying a drone. On a more positive note- Two things which must be earnt and not simply paid for is “experience & perseverance “. So, overall I’ve put these filters through their paces and learnt a ton which Id like to share with you.
What made me want to buy a drone?
As a landscape photographer, I felt restricted and frustrated from many missed unique perspectives my DSLR couldn’t possibly reach, desperate for that “something” to reignite my creative fires and quite honestly I`d lost my mo-jo. Inspiration was in great need. December 2020 I had a eureka moment to get a drone as an early Christmas present. I couldn’t wait to see the bird-eye views, the whole cinematic look really excited me, this brand new world was ready to burst open in front of me during the dismal dark days of the global pandemic.
As a Haida Ambassador, my first port of call after ordering the drone was speaking to Haida as I knew they did filters for the DJI Mavic 2 Pro & Mavic Air 2. They kindly sent a filter set to fit my drone. I’ve been using Haida filters for the past three years now for all my landscape portfolio work, therefore only natural I wanted the same quality for my drone imagery. Let me tell you guys the dark clouds have lifted and I’m back to the early days when I first started photography, excitingly wanting to learn everything and eager to put into practice.
What’s in the box?
Four neutral density (ND) filters in total- ND8, ND16, ND32 & ND64. In a very neat hand-sized/ convenient plastic box that easily fits in your jacket pocket. The packaging of a product can sometimes be as important as the product itself as you will most likely be using a lot switching different filters in the field.
What is a Neutral Density (ND) Filter?
ND stands for neutral density. Commonly described as expensive sunglasses for your camera. However, there’s a bit more to it than that without too much techy-talk. Basically, on the photography side, they absorb light by limiting unwanted light from reaching the camera sensor without effecting colour, hue, sharpness, contrast and clarity. And for videography, they provide smooth/softer transitions and more natural professional-looking footage. Overall, provide the user with more creative freedom and viewer more eye-candy.
What do the numbers mean?
All ND filters come in different strengths, the lower the value the lighter opacity the glass is and less light is absorbed. The higher the value the darker the glass, the more light it absorbs.
How do I know which filter to use?
|ND strength||ND 8 ( 3 stop)||ND 16 (4 stops)||ND 32 (5 stops)||ND 64 (6 stops)|
|When to use||Reduces glare||Sunset & low light situations||Bright days with direct sun||Extreme sun, snow &/or water.|
How to attach the filter?
First, remember to turn off your drone to avoid damaging the gimbal. Support the gimbal with one hand, remove the DJI Mavic 2 Pro lens by gently pushing down and twisting till it lifts off. Then replace with the Haida ND filter at a slight angle with your other hand and twist. You will feel it lock in place, now your filter is firmly attached to the lens, switch the drone on and you’re ready to fly.
Video below showing Haida ND8 filter on DJI Mavic 2 Pro.
Long exposure photography isn’t for me therefore I don’t need any ND filters? Wrong!!
Let me explain- These days our eyes have become accustomed to a more polished aerial cinematography and photography look/feel from watching movies and such over the years. If you think back 20 years how movie standards have progressed in terms of footage quality. Even as little as 15 yrs ago, 4K stabilised footage was un-thinkable, its what we saw only at the movies, technology is moving fast! However, we all now expect far more than we did back in the day. This is achieved by something called the “180-degree shutter angle rule”- which mimics motion the same way a human eye experiences in real life. It helps reduce your shutter speed whilst maintaining proper exposure. For example- shutter speed should be double your frame rate for smooth motion blur, producing more natural and professional-looking footage- rather than harsh/ robotic movements. So, for instance, if shooting at 25 frames per second you need to move your shutter speed to 1/50- Or, 30 frames per second would be 1/60 shutter speed. Also, post-production is easier, especially with colour grading. Without ND filters you would have to increase your shutter speed to maintain exposure in your shots which will effect the footage quality in a really bad way making it over sharp and jittery. Hence why I can’t stress highly enough the importance of ND filters for a drone, it’s not about doing long exposures- Although you can still use them the same way you would on a DSLR as I will demonstrate in the images below in the Scottish Highlands.
Images below- taken with DJI Mavic 2 Pro in tripod mode. Raw format. Without/with Haida NanoPro ND8 (3 stops) filter. Same settings used for both images. Camera manual mode- ISO 200, F6, 1/4 sec.
Waterfall videos below showing without/with Haida NanoPro ND16 (4 stop) filter on DJI Mavic 2 Pro. Same settings used for both videos. Manual mode, ISO 100, F4, 1/8 sec @ 24 FPS. Location- Sutherland, Scotland.
Videos below showing without/with Haida NanoPro ND32 (5 stop) filter on DJI Mavic 2 Pro. Same settings used for both videos. Manual mode, ISO100, F6 1/30 sec @24FPS. Location- Sutherland, Scotland.
Drone footage over Ardvreck Castle including music ♬. Filter used= Haida NanoPro ND64 (6 stop) on DJI Mavic 2 Pro. Video setting- Manual mode, ISO100, F6, 1/30 @ 24 FPS ( frames per second).
Post-processed image below taken with DJI Mavic 2 Pro & Haida NanoPro-ND8 (3 stops). Camera settings- ISO 100, F4, 1/30 on tripod mode.
Design & build quality
- Glass = Unmatched Optic glass, multiple grinding for high definition images which reduces unwanted reflections without colour shifts.
- Frame = Aerospace Aluminium.
- Filter case = Plastic, with foam inserts to protect each individual filter for storage and transport. Easy to open.
- Extremely light-weight, yet robust, putting no negative effect on the drone gimbal.
Each double-coated filter features Haida’s waterproof NanoPro multicoating which repels water and to assure HD quality without colour cast or vignette. This is extremely useful as any water or moisture on the lens during flying can seriously distort &/or ruin your imagery. You may be thinking what does it matter if they aren’t waterproof I won’t be flying underwater? Agreed, certainly not, however when flying at high altitudes the air becomes moist so the last thing you need is water seeping in-between camera lens & filter. This also helps when wiping any excess moisture off your filter, it beads up & easily removed with a microfibre cloth.
Weight -V- gimbal error
After doing some research I discovered a common error with some aftermarket filters. The weight of the filters is too heavy for the gimbal/front of the camera resulting in the camera not working. This is something I needed to be sure didn’t happen with Haida filters. I’m very pleased to confirm none of the filters were a problem & worked perfectly~ Horray!
Of course, the price of a product is an important metric when considering any purchase. However, as the old saying goes- “Buy cheap buy twice”. With all things, photography/videography as I’m sure you’ve discovered doesn’t come cheap. As photographers, we know the importance of a good quality lens. Oftentimes it’s more important than the camera so why on earth would you stick a cheap filter in front of expensive glass? It makes no sense to me, a valuable lesson I’ve learnt over the years. Haida filters are by no means the most expensive on the market but not the cheapest, they sit somewhere in the middle. Available for purchase here.
Positive features (in no particular order).
- Specially designed for DJI Mavic 2 Pro.
- Consistence sharpness from corner to corner.
- Easy to attach and remove. You will likely have to make changes in the field therefore you need confidence knowing the filter is securely attached and doesn’t fall off mid-flight.
- Durable, compared to plastic alternatives.
- Neutral colour accuracy or colour shifts.
- No vignette at all.
- I think the addition of a Circular Polariser and/ or a combined ND/ CPL would be advantageous for Haida.
- Disappointed no filter cloth and no dedicated filter pouch~ Maybe that`s the female in me.
- Overall, Id like to see more drone accessories from Haida as I believe Videography is the future.
The Haida brand
As a landscape photographer, I know the importance of quality filters. Hand on heart, I firmly believe in the Haida brand. Yes, I am an Ambassador for them but in no way would I put my name to a brand I didn’t believe in. All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. “Haida” in English translates to “All rivers run into the sea, all rivers flow to one”. If you’d like to visit their website &/or Facebook .
So, if you’ve been admiring the amazing aerial footage seen online the past few years and thought to yourself — “I would really love to have a go at this drone malarkey but it looks too technical”. -My answer to you would be- “Go for it, absolutely”. Believe me, I’m a slow learner, if I can, then so can you. Its been the best photography purchase this past couple of years and boosted my creative flow immensely. Almost like visiting a new place, as even though you still in your local area everywhere looks very different.
Or- maybe you already own a drone but frequently return home disappointed from your footage and feel you would benefit from taking it to the next level. I personally as a friend would highly recommend the investment of this Haida NanoPro ND filter pack for the DJI Mavic 2 Pro.
For me personally- Each one serves its own purpose. In fact, most recently I’ve tended to leave the ND8 on permanently. Not only does it improve movement in video but enables extra control of the light for still images and video. I’m certainly very happy with all of the filters, had great fun and wouldn’t like being without them.
I hope this provides you with some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions- Contact me below or Facebook Messenger.