Filters in Photography and videography are essential and can sometimes be irreplaceable in some situations. Will they be useful for a GoPro user and should you include them in your GoPro accessory bag? Let`s take a look at CamKix Cinematic Filter Pack and see what filters can do if you are using a GoPro
The CamKix Cinematic Filter Pack is a set of Neutral Density filters you can use with your GoPro camera. Neutral Density filters are neutral gray filters meant to reduce the amount of light coming through the lens for greater creative control.
Here`s a definition from Wikipedia
In photography and optics, a neutral-density filter, or ND filter, is a filter that reduces or modifies the intensity of all wavelengths, or colors, of light equally, giving no changes in hue of color rendition. It can be a colorless (clear) or gray filter. The purpose of a standard photographic neutral-density filter is to reduce the amount of light entering the lens. Doing so allows the photographer to select combinations of aperture, exposure time and sensor sensitivity that would otherwise produce overexposed pictures. This is done to achieve effects such as a shallower depth of field or motion blur of a subject in a wider range of situations and atmospheric conditions.
CamKix Cinematic Filter Pack overview
So the CamKix Cinematic Filter Pack comes in a see-through plastic zip lock pouch. You get the filter set of four a cleaning cloth a security tether and the filter adapter. The filters are all packed nicely in individual plastic pouches so if you have them all scattered around in your gear bag they stay protected from any scratches, plus they are covered with antistatic film when they arrive so that`s nice.
The filters are square (with rounded corners) flat pieces that slide in the adapter.
The set includes four Neutral density filters:
- Filter adapter
So this is a simple product and you don`t need a manual or a tutorial video for this. You slap the filter adapter which is basically a plastic frame with a narrow slot over the Gopro lens and that`s it.
If you are going to take your camera through some wild movements or harsh environments make sure you attach the provided lanyard to the frame so if it falls off you will not lose it. Once you have the frame on just slide the filter in from the top and voila, couldn`t be any easier!
Getting them off, on the other hand, is somewhat cumbersome. The filter fits completely in the filter adapter so you have nothing to grab onto to pull it out, so you need to take off the adapter and pull it out grasping the filter with your fingers right in the middle where you really don`t want to have any smudges. So that`s probably why Camkix has added a wiping cloth to the set because you need to wipe the lens every time you remove it from the adapter. Even if your fingers are clean you want to make sure there is no grease or sweat or dirt on the filter that can ruin your shoot.
What I would like to see is a small groove in the top of the filter that I can sink my fingernails in to pull the filter out so I wouldn`t have to touch the filter that much.
CamKix Cinematic Filter Pack – how they perform?
Comparing filters is a hard and boring job, you can`t really see them in action – and you can only see the results when comparing numbers and looking at pictures. I`m not going to look for a lab to test if the ND16 really is ND16, all I can really do is slap them on and see what happens.
Here`s a test in low light, around 2 hours to sunset and the sun is already low so you already have low light conditions. Comparison shots taken with HERO4 With ProTune on, ISO limited to 100 with auto white balance and GoPro Color. No post processing except for cropping and resizing.
Here`s a side-by-side comparison starting from No filter – ND2 -ND4 – ND8 – ND16
Here, you can clearly see that the filters do actually affect the colors a bit. The difference between No Filter and ND2 is barely noticeable and you can probably use the ND4 nicely as long as you tweak the colors later in Photoshop but to me, ND8 and ND16 distort the colors too much. The filters cast a blue tone and you lose details in the mid tones and shadows. Granted, the highlights are more preserved but it`s a trade off in quality and time spent in post processing. If you really want to slow down the shutter speed for a specific scene the ND filters will save you for sure but you will need to spend some time in Photoshop later to salvage the photo.
ND filters, in general, are amazing if you want to get the nice milky white flowing water shooting a waterfall or of waves on the beach but if the filters reduce quality it makes you think… I would love to try the filters with HERO5 since it has raw files and you have so much more options in post processing.
Details are lost and it`s clearly visible that you will lose details when shooting through such a dark filter.
CamKix Cinematic Filter Pack conclusion
So what`s the GoProEssentials verdict?
It`s a tricky decision – on one hand using ND filters gives you a lot of creative freedom and if you are willing to spend a minute or two in Photoshop I would say get the filters. They are cheap, don`t take much space in your GoPro accessory bag. They cost around 20 USD and you get FOUR filters for that price – some of the more expensive ND filters cost around 100 USD for a 6 pack.
So If you have 20 bucks to spend I say why not, have fun with them and see what you can do but don`t expect any miracles.
You can get them from Camkix.com
or from AMAZON.com