With limited manual video control, the Mavic Mini is considered, rather than a toy, a truly flying camera for professional work. Many say that ND filters are completely useless for this drone, but then why are there so many options available?
For this review, I am focusing on Skyreat’s Mavic Mini ND filter pack. I will start with some introduction part about Neutral Density filters. Being a hobbyist photographer, I’m using ND filters with my DSLR camera for a long time.
What are Neutral Density filters?
Neutral Density (aka ND) filters are like sunglasses for your drone’s camera and they limit the amount of light entering the lens. ND filters are essentially a darkened piece of glass (or resin) that are designed not to change anything other than the quantity of light that passes through them.
According to how much light can block, ND filters are categorized by factor numbers (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 ,.., 1048576). For example, a filter that has ND64 written on it is actually a 6-stop optical filter.
- ND64 – For extremely sunny days;
- ND32 – Best for very bright days;
- ND16 – For partly cloudy days or early to mid-morning;
- ND8 – For mostly cloudy days or approaching sunset;
- ND4 – For a minor reduction in brightness.
When and why do you need ND filter for your Mavic Mini?
Neutral Density filters are perfect for use in landscape photography, especially when you want to achieve long-exposure effects such as a “milky effect” flying over rivers, “freezing” fast-moving cars, or showing the movement of clouds in the sky. They are handy mostly in strong daylight.
Many photography hobbyists say that ND filters are the most useful accessories for your MM. They extend the creativeness of your drone, allowing to capture professional look like footage.
If you want to get that cinematic look, the shutter speed of the camera has to be 2 times the frame rate of the video you are shooting. According to this theory, in the case of Mavic Mini set to 2.7K@30fps, the ideal shutter speed would be 1/60th of a second. Unfortunately, as the MM does not feature full manual video control (shutter speed adjustment) you will need to play with EV values in order to obtain the desired result.
Skyreat Mavic Mini ND filters review
Disclosure: I received this filter kit as part of a product review collaboration with Skyreat. Although the filters were offered for free, all the opinions in this review remain my own!
Like the Skyreat Mavic Mini case, the ND filter pack was also sent via Amazon Germany. The kit comes in a transparent protective plastic case with room for 6 filters. There is wiping cloth included, which is nice because during installation is inevitable to accidentally touch the glass.
The filters feel solidly, made from some lightweight metal and I don’t have any concerns over their build quality. All 5 filters weight 4 grams, so each is less than 1g. Filters are labeled with their ND factor, so you can’t mess them up.
Attaching the filter to the Mavic Mini’s camera is very simple. I suggest you to mount the filters while the drone is turned-off – it will stress less the gimbal motors. Note: never apply an excessive force which could damage the sensitive motors.
DJI Mavic Mini Neutral Density filter pack highlights
- Specially designed for DJI Mavic Mini drone;
- Easy to install snap-on system;
- 5 different ND filters (ND4PL, ND8PL, ND16PL, ND32PL and ND64PL);
- Multi-coated (18 layers) glass for a flawless look, reduced flickering of the lens;
- Included lens/filter cleaning cloth;
- Protective storage case.
Price & Availability
Skyreat drone accessories, including this ND filters kit, can be found on Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers. While European customers can order it from Amazon.de for 65,99€, those with US residence can get it for 44.9$. Skyreat has also another filter pack for Mavic Mini which includes UV, ND8, ND16, ND32, ND64, and CPL filters.
Design and build quality
The Skyreat ND filters are well made and easy to install. The filters come in a compact case easy for travel and packing with the Mavic Mini.
User Review( votes)
- Pass start-up gimbal calibration;
- Lightweight, less than 1 gram;
- Easy to attach and remove;
- Set of 5 different ND values;
- Durable and easy to install.
- Quite expensive.
Mavic Mini sample photos with each ND filter
For now, I managed to make only a few preliminary tests of the filters due to foggy weather conditions. As soon as the sun will fully shine again, I will go out to record some sample footage with each ND filter.