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During my experience with FPV drones, I’ve learned that filters are crucial when trying to get smooth cinematic footage, but it is important to choose the correct filter and camera settings.
Neutral density (ND) and circular polarization (CPL) filters are a must-have in order to capture professional footage with GoPro Hero Black action cameras. The K&F Concept Nano-X filter kit is compatible with the GoPro 9 and 10, and the latest Hero 11 includes three ND filters (8,16 & 32) and a CPL filter. In this review, I tested all four filters with my GoPro 10.
Neutral-density filters are essential for capturing high-quality photos and videos with effects that can’t be replicated in post-production editing. ND filters are a type of dark glass that easily attaches to the front of the lens for controlling how much light enters the GoPro’s sensor. In theory, a neutral density filter should only affect light levels, it shouldn’t impact image color, contrast, or sharpness.
ND filters block a fixed f-stop of light from entering your camera. The lower the ND number, the less light it blocks from reaching the camera’s sensor. For example, an ND8 filter blocks out 3 f-stops of light (25% light transmission), and an ND32 blocks 5 f-stops of light (3% light transmission).
A circular polarizer filter allows you to improve the quality of your GoPro footage by enhancing the sky or water surface color by cutting down reflections. Usually, a CPL filter is made from a wave-retardation plate, a quarter of a wavelength in thickness. The CPL filter is manually rotated one way or another to varying degrees in order to influence exposure to light levels. Unfortunately, visible darkening in the corners of the image, or vignetting, may occur using a CPL filter on wide-angle lenses.
CPL filters come in handy when you’re photographing a lake for example. Instead of capturing unpleasant reflections on the surface, you’ll be able to see through the water.
K&F Nano-X GoPro filter kit review
Disclosure: I received this filter kit as part of a product review collaboration with K&F Concept. Product specs and quality may vary according to the manufacturer’s reliability, so I cannot guarantee that you will get products that perform the same as seen in my article, especially since I received a pre-release kit.
K&F Concept, founded in 2011, aims to be a one-stop refined photographic solution provider. The company is focused on the design, research, manufacturing, and marketing of photographic and video equipment, including camera tripods, camera lens filters, camera bags, and other must-have accessories for photography.
The KentFaith GoPro filter kit comes in a transparent storage box with foam padding. The kit includes three square shape neutral density filters (ND8, ND16, and ND36) and a circular polarizer filter. All four are made from aviation-grade aluminum alloy and have black in color with stylish red design lines on the edges. K&F Concept stands that 8K-grade AGC optical glass is used for their GoPro filters. The filters have 28 layers of nano-coating for minimizing reflections and flares and also improves image quality.
- Nano-X Filter Kit for GoPro HERO9/10/11 Black
- Lightweight aviation-grade aluminum alloy frame
- ND8, ND16, ND32, and CPL Filters
- 8K Ultra High-Definition AGC Optical Glass
- 28 layers of nano-coating to minimize reflections and flares and improve image quality
- Anti-scratch surface
In order to install the filter, you need to remove the stock protector glass. Rotate 90 degrees left to remove or 90 degrees right to attach the filter to the camera’s bayonet. There are two metal blades inside the filter that need to be in the horizontal position when you twist the filter to secure it to the mount.
Similar to the original protection glass, the K&F Nano-X GoPro filters also have a rubber o-ring to maintain the waterproof capabilities of the action camera. The filters are not stackable, so you can’t use two or more at the same time.
When you are using ND or CPL filters, you should switch your GoPro to manual mode ( Protune). Otherwise, the camera will compensate for the lower light conditions by increasing the ISO value which will result in grainy footage. Using a tripod is also important when you are working with a low shutter speed.
The CPL filter can be rotated easily with one finger from the top. There is a center mark on both the frame and the rotating element.
Price and availability
The GoPro filter kit shown in this review can be ordered for $59.99 directly from KentFaith or from their Amazon store. They have another GoPro 9/10/11 filter kit for $64.99 that includes ND8/PL, ND16/PL, ND32/PL, and ND64/PL.
FPV drone cinematic shots with GoPro & ND filters
Most FPV pilots, including me, have a GoPro camera paired with the standard FPV camera. Using ND filters not just eliminates overexposure but also removes jello and makes your FPV videos look more cinematic. By default, the shutter speed on the GoPro is automatically adjusted. In sunny conditions will shorten the shutter speed otherwise the image would look overexposed. Adding a neutral density filter reduces the amount of light that enters the GoPro, which leads to a slower shutter speed and thus fewer artifacts and jello. Remember even if your camera is capable of 240fps, in order to obtain that cinematic look you should shoot your videos at 24/25fps or 30fps.