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Does It Worth Buy an Inexpensive Variable ND Filter?

An inexpensive variable ND filter sounds enticing, but will it perform well? That is the topic of this week’s review.

After the last week’s Photo Gear Review about Kase Filter Kit, I have received many emails asking about variable ND filter and if it performs well enough.

A few years ago, I purchased Zomei, a cheap Variable ND filter to try. And the spoiler alert that I was not very impressed with the outcome! Here is what:

The built quality is poor; the aluminum rim is flimsy, and the coating is soft. Therefore, the filter can quickly get scratches, and the rim cannot protect the filter from shattering!

The performance is mediocre at best. In lower density, ND 2 to ND 8, it is acceptable. However, there is a strong colour cast on the photos. And when you pass the ND 8, there will be a massive X-Pattern on the image.

Zomei an Inexpensive Variable ND Filter


Original Photo

Variable ND Filter
It is the original photo with no filter.

Variable ND Filter ND 2

Variable ND Filter
At ND 2, the Zomei Variable ND Filter performs well.

Variable ND Filter ND 6

Variable ND Filter
At ND 6, the result is acceptable.

Variable ND Filter ND 8 and up

Variable ND Filter
Passing ND 6, you will notice a massive X-Pattern on the image.



You can purchase this filter for variable filter sizes. I Used a 77mm filter in this test.   

Built Quality:

The built quality is not the best. The rim is aluminum, and the threads are scratchy! 

The coating is very soft and can get scratched easily. 

Overall, it is not a long-lasting filter. 


Ease of Use:

The filter comes with a cheap plastic carrying case. After mounting the filter, you can adjust the density by rotating the front rim. However, this filter creates a heavy colour cast and X Pattern after passing ND-8. I don’t suggest using it anywhere above ND-6. 



The Zomei Variable ND Filter is not the wrong choice to get into ND Filters and learn the settings. 

However, if you are an avid landscape photographer, you may want to invest your money in a higher-quality filter to avoid the heavy colour cast. 

I am going to review a mid-range ND filter shortly. So, stay tuned.   

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