Welcome to our guide on DJI Mini 2 ND filters and how they can significantly enhance your aerial photography experience. As avid drone enthusiasts, we understand the importance of capturing breathtaking footage and stunning photographs. While the DJI Mini 2 may not have been specifically designed for professional photography, it can produce impressive results in the hands of skilled photographers and videographers.
In this article, we will explore the world of ND filters, discussing their purpose, benefits, and how they can be effectively utilised with the DJI Mini 2 drone to capture awe-inspiring shots. We will also address the question of whether ND filters are necessary for the Mini 2, highlight some of the best ND filters available for this drone, and provide valuable tips on how to make the most out of them.
What Are ND Filters?
Neutral Density (ND) filters serve as vital tools for photographers and videographers, essentially altering the way light interacts with the camera’s sensor. By reducing the amount of light that enters the camera, ND filters provide a greater degree of control over exposure, enabling the creation of the desired visual effects that would otherwise be challenging to achieve.
The primary function of an ND filter is to decrease the intensity of light reaching the camera’s sensor.
This capability is particularly useful in situations where the ambient light is too strong, such as on sunny days or in overexposed landscapes. Without an ND filter, the camera would need to compensate for the excess light by increasing the shutter speed or narrowing the aperture, which could lead to undesirable effects like overly sharp footage or a lack of depth of field.
By using an ND filter, photographers and videographers can maintain their desired aperture and shutter speed settings even in bright conditions. This allows for the creation of specific visual effects, such as motion blur in moving subjects or a shallow depth of field in brightly lit situations. For instance, an ND filter can be used to blur the motion of a waterfall during the day, creating a sense of movement and fluidity that would be impossible to capture with a fast shutter speed.
If you want to fully understand ND Filters and how they can be utilised, take a look at this exceptional article from Petapixel.
Popular DJI Mini 2 ND Filters
DJI classes the Mini 2 as an entry-level drone that is suitable for hobbyists for recreational use, but the camera is good enough for professional use as well.
It is because of this reason that there are no official DJI Mini 2 ND filters. However, there are several third-party suppliers that provide ND filters for the Mini 2.
1. Freewell All Day 8-Pack
The Freewell ND filters have been engineered for the DJI Mini 2, Mini 2 SE and Mini SE.
The 8-pack consists of the following ND filters:
- Circular Polarizer (CPL)
- ND8/PL (A fusion of ND8 and CPL)
- ND16/PL (A fusion of ND16 and CPL)
- ND32/PL (A fusion of ND32 and CPL)
- ND64/PL (A fusion of ND64 and CPL)
Engineered from optical glass, these filters come with a 16-layer multicoating, ensuring protection against fingerprints, fog, water, and dust, thereby maintaining optimal image quality. Moreover, their featherlight design, along with GIMBALSAFE technology, guarantees seamless compatibility with the DJI Mini 2 drone’s gimbal system.
The filters are user-friendly, designed for quick application and removal, adding convenience for drone operators. Thus, these ND filters provide aerial videographers and photographers with enhanced control over exposure, shutter speed, and aperture settings, consequently elevating the quality of images and videos captured during DJI Mini 2 drone flights.
2. Sunnylife 6-Pack ND Filters
The filters in this collection have been constructed from AGC glass, renowned for its robust physical and chemical attributes. A nano-coating on these filters helps to curb reflections and flares, thus enhancing image quality. These filters are waterproof and feature sawtooth edges for effortless installation and removal.
This collection is designed exclusively for the DJI Mini 2, Mavic Mini, and Mini SE cameras, offering a plethora of choices for photographers and videographers to elevate their aerial photography and videography skills.
The set includes the following types of filters:
- MCUV Filter: This filter mitigates the bluish hue and blue-grey tints caused by ultraviolet rays while promoting light transmission. It’s particularly beneficial for high-altitude photography, enhancing image sharpness while shielding the camera.
- CPL Filter: The CPL (Circular Polariser) filter works to neutralise non-metallic glare and enrich colour density. By intensifying the blues of the sky and accentuating white clouds, this filter allows for more dramatic and lively images. It’s often used for capturing scenes through glass, water, or underwater environments.
3. Neewer 6-Pack Filter Set
The NEEWER ND Filter Set, specifically designed for DJI Mavic Mini, Mini 2, Mini SE, and Mini 2SE drones, is a hot favourite among Amazon customers. This collection comprises six different filters:
- CPL (Circular Polarizer)
- UV (Ultraviolet) Filter
Each filter in the NEEWER ND set is equipped with multiple protective coatings, safeguarding against water, oil, and scratches while minimising lens flare and reflections. Housed in durable aluminium alloy frames, these filters
won’t hamper the drone’s gimbal calibration. As a practical bonus, the set comes with a convenient plastic case for secure storage and transportation, along with a filter cleaning cloth.
4. Skyreat 6-Pack ND Filter Set
The Skyreat 6-pack ND Filters Set are one of the most popular for the DJI Mini 2, with over 1000 positive reviews on Amazon.
This set comprises six ND filters:
- ND8, ND16, ND32, and ND64
Multilayer Coated Glass: Manufactured using multilayer coated glass, these filters guarantee excellent optics while diminishing lens flare. This leads to sharper, clearer images devoid of glare and undesired reflections.
Lightweight Aircraft Aluminum Structure: Made with featherweight aircraft aluminium, these filters are not only durable but also do not substantially increase the drone’s weight, thereby not compromising its flight performance.
Advantages Of ND Filters For Drone Photography
Neutral Density (ND) filters offer several advantages for both drone photography and videography. Here are some key benefits:
- Control Over Exposure: ND filters reduce the amount of light that enters the camera lens. This allows photographers and videographers to use slower shutter speeds or wider apertures in bright conditions without overexposing the image.
- Achieving Motion Blur: By enabling slower shutter speeds, ND filters allow for the creation of motion blur, which can give a sense of movement and speed to static images. This is particularly useful for capturing waterfalls, rivers, or any scene where you want to convey motion.
- Depth of Field Control: In bright conditions, you may need to use a narrow aperture to avoid overexposure. However, this increases the depth of field, making everything in the scene in focus. An ND filter allows you to use a wider aperture, even in bright light, giving you control over the depth of field and enabling you to isolate subjects by blurring the background.
- Reducing Glare and Reflections: Some ND filters, known as polarising ND filters, can reduce glare and reflections from non-metallic surfaces, such as water or glass. This can enhance the colours and contrast in your images.
- Achieving the ‘Cinematic Look’ in Videos: In videography, it’s often desirable to follow the 180-degree shutter rule, which states that your shutter speed should be approximately double your frame rate for natural-looking motion blur. In bright conditions, this can lead to overexposed footage. An ND filter allows you to follow this rule even in bright light, helping to achieve a more cinematic look.
Do You Need ND Filters For The DJI Mini 2?
The decision to use ND filters with the DJI Mini 2 largely depends on your specific needs and objectives as a drone operator. The DJI Mini 2, while packed with impressive features, is primarily designed for casual users and hobbyists rather than professional videographers. As such, not everyone will find the need for ND filters.
For casual users who primarily use the DJI Mini 2 for fun or simple aerial shots, the automatic settings of the drone’s camera may be sufficient. The Mini 2 does a good job of adjusting to different lighting conditions and producing good-quality footage without the need for additional accessories like ND filters.
However, if you’re using the DJI Mini 2 for more professional purposes or if you’re a hobbyist who wants to experiment with different looks and feels in your footage, ND filters can be a valuable tool. They offer greater control over the exposure settings of your drone’s camera, allowing you to manipulate the amount of light that enters the lens. This can be particularly beneficial in bright lighting conditions, where you might want to use a slower shutter speed to achieve a more cinematic look with natural motion blur.
Moreover, ND filters can also help enhance the colours and contrast in your images, reduce glare from reflective surfaces and even provide some protection for your drone’s camera lens.
While ND filters are not a necessity for every DJI Mini 2 user, they can certainly enhance the capabilities of the drone and allow for more creative and professional-looking footage. If you’re serious about drone photography or videography, or if you simply want to have more control over your drone’s camera settings, investing in a set of ND filters could be a worthwhile decision.
Choosing the Right ND Filter Strength
Selecting the appropriate ND filter strength depends on the lighting conditions and the effect you want to achieve in your shots. ND filters come in different strengths, denoted by numbers such as ND4, ND8, ND16, etc. A higher number indicates a more substantial light reduction.
ND4: Ideal for slightly reducing light on mildly sunny days.
ND8: Suitable for partly cloudy days with moderate sunlight.
ND16: Perfect for sunny days when the sunlight is intense.
ND32 and higher: For extremely bright conditions like snow-covered landscapes or beaches.
To choose the right ND filter, consider the weather, the time of day, and the specific visual effect you want to achieve in your footage.
In conclusion, incorporating DJI Mini 2 ND filters into your aerial photography gear is a game-changer. These filters provide unparalleled control over exposure, motion blur, and image quality, enabling you to capture breathtaking footage that stands out from the crowd. Whether you’re a professional photographer or an enthusiast, investing in high-quality ND filters is a must for taking your drone photography to the next level. So, equip your DJI Mini 2 with the right ND filter, head out to explore the world from above, and let your creativity soar to new heights!