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Best ND Filters for DJI Mavic 3

9 mins
Drone Blog
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Dubbed the “king” of DJI drones, the DJI Mavic 3 is likely the holy grail of DJI consumer drones. It’s larger than your typical Mavic drone and comes with a 20MP sensor, 5.1K video resolution at 50fps, and a 46-minute flight time.

Also, the Mavic 3 has two cameras, a 28x hybrid camera, and a 4/3 CMOS camera.

And unlike some Mavic drones like the Mini 3 Pro with a fixed aperture, the Mavic 3 has a variable aperture ranging from f/2.8 to f/11.

But even with such features, you still can’t achieve the best shots without an ND filter, especially when you need to take shots at a specific aperture.

So, which are the best ND filters for your Mavic 3?

The best ND filters for the DJI Mavic 3 are FreeWell, PolarPro, and PGYTECH filters. These brands provide the best quality, craftsmanship, and value for money compared to other brands.

Keep reading to learn more about which ND filters are available for the Mavic 3 and why you might need them.

Why do I need ND filters? #

ND stands for Neutral Density, which means that ND filters are designed to block excess light from getting to the sensor.

When filming without a filter, you may try to pick the best shutter speed, but this often leads to sharper images, especially at the corners.

As a result, the image may not always look “realistic.”

ND filters help block extra light and effect a motion blur, giving your images a more realistic look. There are several types of ND filters, often identified in numbers.

Below are the most common types, what the numbers mean, and when they are most suitable.

Another thing to remember is that as a number increases, the amount of light that passes through the filter drops by 50%.

  • ND2 – This is the lowest number of ND filters, which means the filter will stop the light from entering through it by 1 f-stop or 50%.

  • ND4 – This is the second lowest number of ND filters, and it means that this filter reduces the shutter speed by 2 f-stops, or only 25% of the light will go through. ND4 filters are perfect for low-light shots, such as when shooting a sunrise or sunset, since there isn’t much light going through the sensors.

  • ND8 – These reduce the shutter speed by 3 f-stops and are perfect for when it’s cloudy. Only 12.5% of the light goes through to the lens.

  • ND16 – These reduce the shutter speed by 4 stops (6.25% of light) and are ideal for normal bright days.

  • ND32 – When you find it’s a bit bright outside, the ND32 filters would be your best bet since it reduces the shutter speed by 5 f-stops (3.12% of light).

  • ND64 – For very bright sunny days, like those found during summer, an ND64 would suffice with a shutter reduction speed of 6 f-stops (1.56%).

  • ND128 – If it’s too bright and the ND64 seems not to work, introduce the ND128 (7 stops and 0.78% of light).

  • ND256 to ND10000 – You would only need such filters for very harsh light or when you need to achieve a particular effect on an image or video. A good example is when you need very long exposures in harsh light.

Variable vs. Fixed ND Filters #

These are the two main types of ND filters.

The fixed filters will stop light at fixed f-stops, while the variable filters are flexible, and you can adjust them based on the amount of light available.

Variable filters are easier to use, especially when selecting an ND filter for your task is difficult.

Polarizers #

Polarizers or polarizing filters do more than just block light; they also block out reflections of sunlight off of surfaces.

As a result, the color of the objects in the frame is more pronounced. In a landscape shot, the vegetation’s color becomes more visible, and the sky’s color is more apparent.

I’ve mentioned polarizers because they work best when combined with ND filters, and some manufacturers even combine these two filters into one tool, as we will see below.

How and when to use Mavic 3 ND filters #

There is no one-size-fits-all filter. That’s why, as you will see below, manufacturers don’t sell just one filter. They sell a pack containing at least 4 filters.

So, when do you know which one to use?

It’s more of a trial method, where you hold the drone out when it’s powered on and connected to the controller and your mobile device.

Then, check the footage you are getting, and observe areas that seem to be exposed.

Make sure you are using the correct shutter speed, which adheres to the 180 shutter rule, i.e., your shutter speed should double your frame rate.

If your frame rate is 30fps, the shutter speed should be 1/60th.

Make sure the Overexposure warning is on. Using that information and how bright the day is, pick the filter you think is the most appropriate and test it.

To determine if it’s the right one, use the manual metering feature at the bottom right. The ideal number should be zero or close to zero.

If you’re still not getting a good value on the MM, play around with the ISO by increasing it or decreasing it.

However, ensure you don’t increase or increase it too much to avoid noisy footage. It’s best to always keep ISO at around 100.

So, the best thing is to try a different filter and check if you get a 0 or close to 0 on MM with the ideal ISO value and exposure.

Best ND filters for DJI Mini 3 Pro #

FreeWell DJI Mavic 3 Filters #

FreeWell is a leading manufacturer of a wide range of camera accessories, but they are most famous for their filters.

I first came across their polarizing and ND filters when using handheld cameras, but their drone filter collection is also wide and quite effective.

These filters are also circular and cover both cameras allowing you to utilize them fully.

FreeWell has two packages of ND filters specifically designed for the Mavic 3. These include the Bright Day 4 Pack plan and the All Day 8-Pack.

Bright Day 4-Pack ND Filters #

As the name suggests, these filters are designed to be used on a bright day, but not with too harsh light.

This pack comprises ND8, ND16, and ND32 ND hybrid filters. By hybrid, I mean that they are both ND filters and polarizers.

The polarizers allow you to turn them clockwise or anti-clockwise, allowing you to control how much reflection you want to go through the lenses.

All Day 8-Pack Filters #

This pack provides a wider range of filers, which include ND4, ND8, ND16, ND32, ND64, ND1000, and ND2000.

Like with the other pack, these filters also have a polarizer.

You also get a CPL, a dedicated polarizing filter that cuts out reflection and brings out the subjects’ color.

I recommend getting the All-Day pack.

Wide Angle & Anamorphic Lens #

When you need to increase your drone’s field of view, especially in top-down shots or restricted areas, wide-angle lenses come in handy. Better yet, these lenses from FreeWell allow you to add ND filters to add more motion blur to your wide-angle shots.

Split ND Filters #

As mentioned earlier, the Mavic 3 has two cameras. And even though the other ND filters covered both, there are situations where you want to affect different f-stops on each camera.

These split filters from FreeWell allow you to do that since it has a 3 f-stop difference between the two cameras. As a result, the telephoto camera gets more light.

Variable ND Filters #

FreeWell also makes variable ND filters for the Mavic 3, which come in 2-5 stops and 6-9 stops, which provide the same effects of ND4 to ND512 filters.

PolarPro ND Filters #

PolarPro is another reputable brand known for manufacturing a wide range of camera accessories and filters.

Their ND filters came a few months after the DJI Mavic 3 was released, and they were worth the wait.

Like all other filters PolarPro makes, they took their time to develop the perfect filter for this drone.

The result? A wide range of fixed filters, VND filters, and morphic filters. Of all the packages they offer, I believe the Director’s Collection offers the best value.

It features a VND2-5 and 6-9 (the numbers represent the f-stops). With such a filter, you don’t have to carry around several filters.

It also has fixed ND filters ranging from ND8 to ND32, and you can also add extra ones when necessary. These filters also double up as polarizers.

Another fantastic addition to this bundle is the blue and gold morphic filters and the Mist filters.

These cause a blue or gold-colored flare to the images, giving them a more cinematic or sci-fi look, just like an anamorphic lens works.

On the other hand, the Mist filter effects a ¼ diffusion and minimizes contrast.

PGYTECH ND Filters for the Mavic 3 #

PGYTECH is a less well-known brand than FreeWell or PolarPro, but they have decent filters and camera accessories at lower prices than the other two brands.

PGYTECH currently has a UV filter, which comes in handy when you want to protect your lenses from harsh UV light or when you want to protect the camera lenses from damage.

Their ND filter pack comprises ND8, ND16, ND32, and ND64, all of which also act as polarizers.

They also have CPL filters and variable ND filters for when you want to shoot videos.

DJI’s ND Filters for the Mavic 3 #

DJI does provide ND filters in the Mavic 3 FlyMore combo or premium bundle. However, they are pretty expensive.

For instance, the DJI Mavic 3 without any extra accessories is $2,049, but the Flymore combo, which includes ND filters and other accessories, goes for $2,849.

And this only includes the ND8/ND16/ND32 filter set. To get the ND128 to ND512, you need the premium bundle for $4,999.

However, you can buy these filters from DJI on their own.

The ND8 to ND32 set goes for $179, while the ND64 to ND512 goes for $179.

How about image quality? There may not be any noticeable difference between DJI filters and PolarPro or FreeWell.

Still, these third-party brands provide a more comprehensive range of filters and are sometimes better quality than what you get from DJI.

Conclusion #

There are many ND filters out there, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between them, but the brands reviewed here give the most consistent results.

If you are looking for higher-quality and are willing to spend more, FreeWell and PolarPro filters will do, but if you are on a budget but still want good filters, go with PGYTECH.

It’s advisable always to have a wide range of filters so you can test which ones give you the effect you need.

Some ND filters have a polarizer too, but it’s good to test with ND filters without a polarizer and see the difference.


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