One of the main advantages of cameras over smartphone cameras is the ability to use polarizers and graduated ND filters.
The big filter manufacturers simply didn’t make them—until some time. Recently, however, NiSi has released a compact NiSi P1 filter kit for smartphones.
The kit includes a filter holder, phone clip, circular polarizer, medium quality 3‑stop filter and soft storage pouch. The filters are 40 mm wide and 1.5 mm thick.
The filter can be used on both the front and rear cameras. It attaches to the phone with a spring-loaded clip that won’t scratch the phone thanks to the rubber pad. It can also be rotated 360 degrees to switch from horizontal to vertical orientation and vice versa.
The clip restricts the ability to work with some phones. Take, for example, three different smartphones: Sony Xperia 1 Mk III, Sony Xperia Pro I and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
If your smartphone’s cameras are located near the side or top edge, then the clip system can be placed so that the center hole is directly above one of the lenses. Given this, the filter is easy to use with the Sony Xperia 1 Mk III and iPhone 13 Pro Max, but not with the Xperia Pro I, which has cameras closer to the center.
Let’s hope NiSi releases suitable filters soon.
Graduated ND Filter
The NiSi kit includes a 3‑stage graduated medium class neutral density filter. It is darkest at the top and gradually becomes lighter towards the middle of the filter. It is suitable for scenes where the sky is much brighter than the foreground. This will minimize the difference in exposure between the top and bottom of the landscape and reduce the overall dynamic range of the scene.
Smartphone sensors are tiny compared to sensors on cameras and have a limited ability to capture a wide range of exposure changes (dynamic range). Using a graduated ND filter helps mitigate this problem.
Neutral Density Filter
In addition to the filters included in the kit, you can purchase a 6‑stop ND filter. It provides a 6‑stop exposure reduction, allowing you to take photographs at slower shutter speeds than you would normally need. By increasing the exposure time, you can capture movement in your images, such as the flow of water or the movement of clouds.
Like other NiSi filters, this one is made of high quality nano-coated optical glass to prevent loss of detail.
Even when using filters, the colors of the images remain neutral and the details are sharp; there is no noticeable loss of contrast or saturation. Now you can capture smooth waterfalls and well-exposed sunset shots with your smartphone just like you would with a camera.
In a direct comparison of sharpness, color accuracy and contrast, there is no difference between filtered and unfiltered images.
The NiSi P1 filter system for smartphones is a great accessory for mobile photographers. The kit offers a good selection of filters to work with. It’s quite small and portable, which also means that the individual filters are a bit cheaper than their larger format camera counterparts.
The build quality of the system is reliable, the optical quality of the glass filters is also pleasing. If you have a smartphone and want to improve your photography skills, the NiSi P1 compact filter kit for smartphones is here to help.
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