Phantom 3: Polar Pro Filters Polarizing and Neutral Density Filters
One of the things that annoys the crap out of me about the Phantom 3 Professional is that it comes with only a UV filter to protect the lens. The photos it captures really suffers from the lack of a polarization filter, and in a lot of cases, neutral density filters. Another is how difficult it can be to remove said UV filter – the aluminum deforms easily – so take care removing. Use a rubber band around the edge and turn counter-clockwise – GENTLY!
I did some research on the aftermarket options, and the folks over at Polar Pro Filters just happen to have a bunch of filter options for the Phantom 3 series. I’ve seen a few posts over at the Phantom Pilots forum, all were positive, so I went and ordered a set of six filters, Polarizer, ND8, ND16, ND32, ND8+Polarizer, and ND16+Polarizer. WTF do those numbers mean? The higher the ND number, the less light that is allowed into the camera, slowing the shutter down for video (less choppy) and in bright light situations, lowering the exposure, which allows me to keep consistent ISO speeds. Higher ISO brings more grain and less crisp photos … I could go on and on about this, but CambridgeInColour.Com has done a bang up job explaining this, and I’m lazy. 🙂
It was pretty sunny out, so I decided to send the bird up and take some sample shots. The drone was put into manual photo mode with the polarizing filter on. I used 100 ISO and set the shutter speed till I hit zero for the EV (exposure value) reading. This was my ‘zero’ point for the photos – each photo used the same exact settings, and I didnt change the shutter speed for exposure – so yes they get darker. All photos were taken in RAW format. I used On1 Perfect Photo Suite to convert the photos to JPG (100% quality) after resizing the image to 1500 pixels wide. The following shots were taken with the Polarizer Only filter, ND8+Polarizer and the ND16+Polarizer.
Something that is actually a small detail, but quite nice, is that the filters came with a hard carry case – this will be great for all my traveling – wont lose them, or break them (fingers crossed). Overall, I am extremely happy with the filters. Unfortunately, the weather started to turn and get quite gusty out (always fly safe), so I didn’t get a chance to finish the shots will all filters, nor a ‘reference’ shot with the stock UV filter… that will be another day & another post.
If you are looking for a set of polarizer or ND filters for your Phantom 3 – I gotta say, you can do a LOT worse than these from Polar Pro Filters. They have filters for other devices, cameras, GoPro etc. – I haven’t tried them myself, but I assume they are just as good.