Photo hacker and drone pilot Rui M. Leal was a little disappointed “Jell-O effect” and dark corners on his new DJI Phantom 3. After reading about how a neutral density filter can help reduce or eliminate this, he set about finding one. However, as he soon discovered, there aren’t currently a whole lot of accessories for the stock camera, so he set about creating some himself.
What You’ll Need
- A Pen (or similar marking device)
- A Coin (or other circular object measuring a similar diameter to the lens protector ring for tracing a pattern)
- A Rosco Cinegel Sample Pack (or similar selection of plastic gels)
- Small plastic bag or storage container (optional…to keep your finished ND filters from going AWOL)
How It’s Done
- Carefully remove the lens protector ring and set it aside.
- Remove the rubber seal inside the ring taking special care to not damage it. Set it aside, you’ll need it for later.
- Measure the diameter of the protector ring and create your pattern.
- Trace your pattern onto the desired gels, and cut them out.
- Simply place the new ND filter inside the lens protector ring, making sure there are no bends or twists or bubbles.
- Place the small rubber seal/gasket and re-attach the ring to the camera.
While not an earth-shattering hack, it is a simple way to add a neutral density filter to the Phantom’s camera for next to no cost (about $6 for the sample pack, including shipping, should you decide to go that route). And, from what I’ve seen from much of the low-contrast, washed-out drone footage and images out there, this one works pretty well!
Head out to Rui M. Leal’s blog for the full tutorial.
[DIY: DJI Phantom 3 Vision ND Filters for Lens | Lighting Mods]