PolarPro Launches Two New Filters | PMVND | Edition II & PMVND + Diffusion | Edition II Mini Review
Since 2011, PolarPro has been known for its premium and comprehensive range of ND and polarizing filters. In fact, they appear as the choice of preference at GoPro´s official website due to the high quality and durability of their glasses. On the other hand, if you’ve spent any time on YouTube looking at photography or videography tutorials, you’ve likely run across Peter McKinnon’s channel at some point. The Toronto-based vlogger has absolutely exploded onto the scene, amassing over 1.1 million subscribers in less than a year.
In 2017, the two parties collaborated and embarked on a joint venture to develop a versatile ND filter designed specifically for on-the-go photographers and videographers. The highly anticipated product made its debut in 2019, and just a year later, PolarPro unveiled the second generation of the filter.
What are the Highlights of the Peter McKinnon Edition NDs?
Featuring a laser-etched stop indicator, the filter boasts a meticulous alignment of two fused quartz glass elements, enabling precise control of light intake through the lens. This particular material is renowned for its unparalleled optical clarity, surpassing any other glass available in the market.
Furthermore, PolarPro incorporated 16 layers of anti-reflection coatings to safeguard against scratches, ghosting, and reflections. These coatings not only facilitate easy cleaning but also provide protection against water and oil. Notably, this filter is believed to possess the lowest refractive index compared to any alternative options.
The VND filters are available in two variations, each offering a distinct range of light reduction. The first model provides a reduction of two to five stops (ND4 to ND32), while the second model offers a reduction of six to nine stops (ND64 to ND512). These filters are conveniently sized with diameters of 67mm, 77mm, and 82mm. Numerous third-party product reviews are readily accessible, providing valuable insights into their performance and features.
What Are The Upgrades In The Second Generation?
In the second generation of the filter, PolarPro introduced a notable enhancement by incorporating a haptic feedback mechanism, reminiscent of an aperture ring. This innovative addition allows users to seamlessly adjust between stops without needing to visually check the filter. Importantly, while this update improves usability, there are no compromises made in terms of optical performance. The second generation filter guarantees the same exceptional quality as its predecessor.
Additionally, PolarPro upgraded the Defender360 so you can now seamlessly move from storage to installation to use with a self-contained protection system. This will guarantee that you will never touch the glass!
Introduction of the Mist Edition
Aside from the release of the second generation of the ND Peter McKinnon edition filter, PolarPro is also introducing the industry’s first filter that features both a variable ND as well as diffusion.
The primary objective of this filter is to expand the creative possibilities by imparting a smoother and “angelical” aesthetic to images. The glass composition of the filter ensures that highlights appear more evenly distributed, while human subjects gain a polished appearance without compromising image sharpness.
While this filter may not replace the everyday functionality of PMVND Signature Editions, it proves particularly suitable for capturing imaginative shots in documentary filmmaking, short films, music videos, and commercial projects.
The Mist filter’s diffusion effect primarily addresses halation rather than digital softness. It offers a gentler and less harsh impact compared to other diffusion filters available in the market. The remarkable feature of this product lies in its ability to achieve a distinct outcome that is challenging to reproduce even in post-production. Importantly, this filter eliminates the need for stacking additional glass layers that may result in cross-polarization issues.
You need some type of moving element –usually water or clouds for landscape photographers– to get the most out of a strong ND filter. Given that I live in Germany and summer is already gone, I settled nearby artificial lakes during some cloudy days to test these new filters. I used only the ND 2-5Ev for both versions.
The particular editing of the images is a matter of personal choice and also serves to demonstrate the creative capabilities rendered by these filters. More subtle samples can be already found at PolarPro´s site.
- The integrated sensory feedback mechanism efficiently allows us to do adjustments without taking attention away from the frame
- Overall quality doesn´t differ from the well-accepted first version
- The Mist Edition offers an interesting effect for portraitures and landscapes
- I noticed that the filter warms images slightly, but not to an unpleasant or unacceptable degree
What Could be Better
- PolarPro claims that this filter eliminates cross-polarization and vignetting down to 16mm focal lengths, but I started noticing them at 24mm in the Mist edition. Although, quite smooth, and not every time. I didn´t have this issue with the PMVND II
- These VND filters are rather expensive, and it seems that substituting the glamorous packaging from the first version to an eco-friendlier box (which the world appreciates), didn´t influence in the reduction of the price tag
Why Launch A New Version SoClose To The First Generation?
Since the release of the 1st edition in the spring of 2019, PolarPro has been collecting and listening to feedback from users to meet their needs and demands. This second generation is the result of coming back from the drawing table.
Is The Second Generation Substituting The First Version?
As of now, the company assures that the first-generation PMVND 2-5 and 6-9 Stop filters will continue to be available for purchase on their website. Concurrently, the second-generation filters should already be accessible.
Both generations will maintain the same price point, and PolarPro intends to introduce a special 4-pack combo package with a significant $250 discount off the retail price. Furthermore, they will introduce a trade-in program for users who possess Edition I filters and wish to upgrade to Edition II, offering a $40 discount.
Who Is This Made For?
These filters are specifically designed to cater to the diverse requirements of wedding videographers, cinematographers, and run-and-gun filmmakers. Additionally, they prove highly effective in controlling shutter speed for still photography, particularly beneficial for documentary photographers who frequently encounter dynamic lighting situations while on the go. However, it is worth noting that while these filters excel in their versatility, they may not offer the same level of flexibility as square filter systems, which are widely favored by landscape photographers as their everyday workhorse.
The PolarPro VNDs may not fall into the inexpensive category. However, it is important to note that they boast exceptional quality, and the price aligns with the value they deliver. These filters are built to endure and represent a worthwhile long-term investment. When you have invested in top-notch lenses, it is only fitting to match them with high-quality filters.
In my personal opinion, I believe these filters cater more towards videographers than photographers. Nonetheless, if you frequently capture still images while constantly on the move, you may still find them beneficial. For landscape photographers, a square filter system with a range of 100-150 might be more appealing and suitable to their specific needs.
The primary enhancement in the PMVND Signature Edition is the seamless integration of the sensory feedback mechanism, which proves to be highly effective. While the first generation already delivered exceptional quality, only time will determine whether any optical improvements were necessary or not.
When it comes to the Mist Edition, the resulting effect is undeniably intriguing and offers ample room for personal creativity, although it may not appeal to everyone’s preferences.
Personally, I find these filters to exhibit impressive performance, sturdy construction, appealing design, and distinct filter densities, setting them apart in the market for variable neutral density filters.