Reviews

Haida Red-diamond Reverse graduated ND 0.6 filter

Welcome to my test review of the Haida Red-diamond Reverse Graduated neutral density 0.6 (2stops) filter. Using a Canon 5d mark iv ( full frame camera),  Canon 16-35 mm USM L lens, Haida M10 filter holder, Gitzo tripod and ball head.

Over the past three weeks I’ve really put this filter through its paces especially on the beach with sand blowing around & enjoyed every single minute with it. My first shoot was on the remote Scottish island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides & then finally back on the mainland in the northern county of Caithness. I really wanted to spend time to see how versatile this filter really is. Both these locations were ideal as the island has countless seascapes & Caithness is very flat which suits the filter as nothing to break the horizon line, ie ..mountains, trees etc.

First impression

The filter was presented in a sturdy metal tin with foam insert for protection & lovely chunky cut out which makes it easy to open even with gloves on. One thing I must not forget to mention is how every piece of equipment from Haida, whether its a glass filter or simple adapter ring that I own is always first class, thoughtfully designed & perfect partner for the discerning photographer. Even the smallest of detail, having the particular filter type etched on the top so when their all in your filter case it’s easy to see which filter you wish to select. 

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What’s the difference between a graduated neutral density filter & a reverse graduated neutral density filter?

A graduated neutral density filter is dark at the top where you would place over the sky & gradually reduces its density towards the bottom. Whereas a reverse graduated neutral density filter works on the principle when shooting sunrise/sunset, the highest luminance is near the horizon line. Therefore, the filter needs to be the darkest in the centre region resulting in more detail of the highlights & providing excellent exposure control.

As you can see in the image below, the bottom of the filter is totally clear and the top of the filter comes with a smooth/ gentle transition between the dark & clear areas of the filter which gives a natural balanced exposure & better quality/cleaner image. This would be difficult to replicate in Lightroom with the use of a gradient filter as you need it to be graduated in both directions. I could bracket my shots but it’s much nicer  achieving it as near perfect in camera than having to sit at my computer all day.

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Where to position the filter?

Positioning the filter is imperative, you need to be quite precise by placing it just over the most highlighted areas around the horizon line. Thankfully having it sized 150mm on its longest edge gives more scope & easy to use as you can move it up or down very smoothly till your satisfied with the correct position, as shown in the video below.

Downside

One major potential problem when using the Reverse graduated ND filter is anything that seriously breaks the horizon, be it some headland, mountain, building or tree is going to get very dark quickly, because the darkest part of the filter is right on the horizon transition area. However for many seascape purposes where the horizon is often flat out to sea this is perfect harmony & a feast for the eyes.

Red-diamond series

The Red Diamond series is my favourite of all Haida filters, the quality is second to none, not that the other Haida series aren’t, it’s just something about Red-diamond that I favour & suits my style. This particular filter I’ve tested is a Reverse graduated ND filter, made from K9 optical glass which is double the strength of normal glass, including an ultra-thin Nano multi coating for extra protection. Along with being shock/scratch resistant, waterproof, oil and fingerprint proof. This made my job at the beach with sand blowing all over the filter very easy to wipe off with a microfiber cloth.

Oftentimes with some filter brands you can get strange colour transitions whereas with this filter there was absolutely no evidence, revealing nothing but true colour & neautraly. You may think with all these features within the glass that optically the sharpness will be compromised, let me assure you and see for yourself from the raw files provided every image is pin sharp from corner to corner with excellent light transmission qualities.

Rectangle in shape 100mm x 150mm, 2mm in thickness providing more flexibility to move the filter up or down.  The M10 filter holder geniusly rotates independently, in effect you could turn the filter sideways for more creativity, which I demonstrate in this video. 

Also compatible with the Haida 100-Pro filter holder and other brands the same size. I use the Haida M10 filter holder whereby the Red- diamond series of filters are slotted into the front section. Not to mention the added touch of the R5 rounded corners makes it easier to slide in and out of the filter holder, no sharp corners to cut your fingers. You may have seen online the Haida Red Diamond drop test video? Where it’s thrown onto a concrete floor and no sign of damage to the filter. If you are accident prone this would be the perfect filter series for you.

Conclusion

I have tested this filter at different focal lengths & found the image quality second to none. Fundamentally I’m besotted, its now my secret weapon of choice & will always have a forever home in my filter case.

Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @20mm -With-without-M10 round “drop-in” reverse graduated neutral density filter. No post processing on either.

use-this-as-without-filter-rgnd
Without filter = ISO 100, F8, 1/2 second – With Haida Red-diamond reverse graduated neutral density filter 0.6 = ISO 100, F8, 2 seconds @20mm.

                                Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud

Loch More sunset (jpeg)
Sunset over Caithness, mainland Scotland.

Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @21mm -With-without-M10 round “drop-in” reverse graduated neutral density filter. No post processing on either.

without-rev-grad-filter-(1-of-1)
Without filter = ISO 100, F11, 1/250 second – With Haida Red-diamond reverse graduated neutral density filter 0.6 = ISO 100, F11, 1/60 second @21mm.

                                Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud

final edit (jpeg)
Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides. Scotland.

Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @30mm -With-without-M10 round “drop-in” reverse graduated neutral density filter. No post processing on either. Location; Caithness, mainland Scotland.

Gif
Without filter = ISO 100, F11, 1/15 second – With Haida Red-diamond reverse graduated neutral density filter 0.6= ISO 100, F11, 1/4 second @20mm.

                                  Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud

edited jpeg
Sunset over Caithness, mainland Scotland.

 

I hope this provides you some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions. More information & my test reviews on Haida’s website.

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