Kolari Vision’s new neutral density filter works with both visible light and infrared cameras

Aug 12, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Kolari Vision’s new neutral density filter works with both visible light and infrared cameras

Aug 12, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Neutral density filters have long been in the bags of photographers. Whether it’s to bring your exposure down below flash sync speed or simply to be able to create long exposures during bright conditions. But infrared is often a problem. Many filters let in too much. So-called “IRND filters” were released to block all IR and alleviate the issue. But what if you want to shoot an infrared long exposure?

Kolari Vision’s new Kolari Pro IRND filter is not like the IRNDs we’re used to, which completely block infrared. This one blocks both infrared and the visible spectrum in equal amounts, meaning that you can use for both types of photography with (in theory at least) and should offer virtually none of the colour cast typically associated with strong ND filters.

You might recognise the name Kolari Vision. They’re the company that does all those really cool teardowns whenever they modify a new camera for the first time. But they also make their products as well, like this new filter; the Kolari Pro IRND. It has been designed specifically with infrared shooters in mind as finding ND filters that are accurate for infrared is very difficult (if not impossible, until now).

As I already mentioned, most ND filters on the market today either don’t block enough (or any) infrared light or they block too much (or all) of it. This is because most photographers are only worried on visible light. Anything that happens on the infrared spectrum isn’t their problem, unless it’s causing unwanted artifacts in their images.

The Kolari Pro IRND, however, is actually accurate for infrared. If you need to darken your IR exposures down by 10 stops, the Kolari Pro IRND 10 stop filter will do that. But it also works equally as well for the visible light spectrum, too, blocking both in equal amounts. This means that you can use it for both infrared or traditional visible-light photography. And in the case of the latter, you shouldn’t experience any of the weird colour shifts you typically see with neutral density filters that don’t block any infrared light at all.

Kolari sent DIYP some test images to show the a couple of scenes shot with the same exposure settings using both visible and infrared light, both using the same Kolario Pro IRND filters (stacked with the Kolari IR Chrome filter for the IR shot), and the results do appear to be very consistent.

Kolari says that they’re engineered to be the most neutral filter out there when it comes to both the visible light spectrum and infrared. They say they also work extremely well with wide-angle lenses with minimal vignetting and great colour cast performance.

Unlike many other ND filters today, which ade made with Schott B270 glass, the Kolari filters are made with “ultra-thin, ultra-strong” Corning Gorilla Glass, which is more easily able to withstand scratches and impact while offering a lower refractive index for sharper images. The filters also offer coatings to improve durability and increase resistance to scratches, water and oil while reducing reflectivity.

There are threads on both the front and back, allowing you to stack the filter with other filters, such as polarizers, or screw-on hoods, filter holders or matte boxes. Or the IR Chrome filter mentioned earlier.

The Kolari Pro IRND is available in 67mm, 77mm and 82mm diameters and you can buy yours now from the Kolari online store. The 4 and 5-stop versions are $130, the 10-stop is $160, the 15-stop is $170 and the whopping 20-stop version is $200. They all come with a lifetime warranty.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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3 responses to “Kolari Vision’s new neutral density filter works with both visible light and infrared cameras”

  1. Mathieu Carbou Avatar
    Mathieu Carbou

    The Kolari Pro IRND, however, is actually accurate for infrared

    I had the chance to extensively test all the new Kolari IRND filters in details and following my testing both Kolari and their filter manufacturer acknowledged the issues I saw.
    These filters are good for visible light and have a lot of issues for IR photography regarding color neutrality and transmission.
    My testing: https://www.mathieu.photography/Articles/IR-Neutral-Density-Filters/
    The new production batch that will fix these issues is not yet available as far as I know

  2. Nick Avatar
    Nick

    The only way to properly expose when shooting video out in the bright mid-day sun is by using an ND filter. It just takes a whole kit of them to make sure you have the right one.

  3. Mathieu Carbou Avatar
    Mathieu Carbou

    Hi,
    I was able to test the new Kolari ND filters and I must say they are awesome, both for visible and IR light from 5-stop to 15-stop. From my observations, they are even better than the Breakthrough X4 filters I was able to test.
    You can see my complete review here: https://www.mathieu.photography/Articles/IR-Neutral-Density-Filters