How Is This New ND Filter From Panavision Special? It's Electronic.

ND filters range from useful in landscape photography to bordering on necessary for filmmakers to keep control of your aperture while under any lighting condition. This new ND filter from Panavision is special - it is electronic and fits into a standard matte box. 

Variable ND filters are usually the go to tool for photographers rather than cinematographers, as the latter often use matte box with a standard-sized drop-in filter for ND, diffusion, and other needed effects. The LCND, which is a bomb-diggity name by the way, is a new drop-in filter from Panavision. It's special because it merges the best of both worlds and the result is greater than the sum of its parts, though with this being such a unique item, and being from Panavision, its cost is probably also going to be greater than the sum of its parts. 

The new Panavision filter has up to 6 stops of light-blocking capabilities with super fine control, fine enough that you can pull your ND like you can pull focus allowing you to keep your depth of field constant in changing lighting conditions — either by a wheel on the side of the filter or wirelessly with a wireless follow-focus. While there are no details on exactly how it works, we do know that it is by a small battery that is running a charge through the glass to change its properties so it is likely some sort of electrochromic glass

Now we just have to wait 6 months for a cheap knockoff we can actually afford, and a year or two for a good knockoff from Hoya or B+W to show up! 

David J. Fulde's picture

David J. Fulde photographs people. Based in Toronto, ON, he uses bold lighting and vibrant colours to tell people's stories. His work in the film industry lends a cinematic energy to his photographs and makes for an always-colourful studio -- whether he's shooting portraits, fashion, or beauty.

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I'm wondering about image quality issues with LC filters such as being bad with angled light and such. I'm wondering more about how it works.

Great idea!

The caption says 'or wirelessly' - and a fat plug appears plugged right into the filter unit. Is that a special wireless cable?

Likely connecting it to a wireless transmitter/receiver. (sold separately for even more $$ ;) )

I always thought that this kind of filter (and most of the filters) should be placed behind the lens and not in front of it

Yes, I was thinking of such a solution.
I am waiting for a "variable" solution, IMHO very useful for video (to easily maintain your shutter speed at 1/48s or 1/60s)