Pro ND Filters for Your Phone – New PolarPro Iris Mobile Filter System – Review

Pro ND Filters for Your Phone - New PolarPro Iris Mobile Filter System - Review

If you’re serious about mobile video, you should take a look at the new PolarPro Iris Mobile Filter System.

There’s been a real upswing over the past year in videographers and online content creators turning their smartphone into a fully accessorised camera, capable of ever more impressive results. This has not gone unnoticed by many manufacturers, who are now turning at least some of their R&D resources to this growing niche market.

We’ve been reporting on this trend more or less continuously, and including the best of these new products and solutions in our articles because mobile video is not going away anytime soon. If anything, we will see more of it as devices and supporting accessories get better.

A smartphone is especially well suited to capturing moments with minimum hassle, and minimum gear while travelling. Combine it with a ultra compact drone like a Mavic Air and a lightweight gimbal such as the Osmo Mobile, and you’ve got a full production kit covering static, moving and aerial shots that fits in a small backpack.

One of the first things that is typically missing for most people testing the waters in smartphone videography is a set of ND filters.

Take Control of Your Shutter Speed

One of the first issues you will notice when shooting video in bright conditions without any kind of filtration is that your phone camera shutter speed will default to +/- 1/3000 – 1/6000th sec and that’s no good for smooth motion. The only way to bring that shutter speed down and have some pleasing motion blur is to use ND’s.

There have been very few good ND solutions for smartphone cameras, until now.

The PolarPro Iris Mobile Filter System

PolarPro know filters, they have created some of the highest quality filters for drones, and have come to be respected and relied upon by drone operators around the world. It’s not surprising that they jumped into the mobile videography space with their experience and optical technology.

The Iris Mobile Filter System really is a complete system. It comprises of a lightweight carrier for the filters that will clip into place on the phone without any tools or any other cage system. It’s very lightweight, made from a high quality plastic and won’t move around or slip on the phone. It is compatible with iPhone X, iPhone 7/8 Plus, iPhone 6/7/8 and Pixel 2/2XL mobile devices.

There are various strength ND’s available, the default three that come with the kit are a ND8, ND16, and ND32, these are the PolarPro Cinema series glass. An expansion pack gives you a ND64, ND128 and ND256. I find myself using the ND64 in bright sun as it drops the shutter speed to 1/48th sec when I’m shooting 24fps. You are not able to stack filters with this system, so in my opinion it’s worth getting the expansion kit.

It you’re using a gimbal, there is also a counterweight, which fits the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 and allows the system to work in perfect balance on the gimbal.

Pros and Cons

I’ll list the positives first.

  1. High quality Cinema series ND’s – the quality of the filters themselves is fantastic, I color grade all my footage in Resolve, and have had no problems with color shifts or IR pollution.
  2. High quality, well designed filter holder.
  3. The system is fully balanced on the Osmo Mobile 2 with the counterweight (needs to be bought separately)
  4. Self sufficient, no need for any other cage or case.
  5. Quality case is included that can accommodate all six filters.

I do have some small criticisms, but they have nothing to do with the performance of the filters themselves.

  1. The filters sit with the numbers (ND markings) facing downwards in the supplied case. This makes it difficult to see which one you want to take out.
  2. The filter ND marking is not facing outwards when the filter is in use.

These two issues could easily be solved by printing the ND number marking on the other side of the filter.

Conclusions

This is the first purpose designed filter system for mobile filmmaking that I will rely on. I find myself using it all the time. When I’m staying lightweight, and not using my Helium Core cage or any extra lenses, this is a near perfect solution. For gimbal use it’s great too as it doesn’t add a lot of weight to the setup.

Are you shooting video with your phone yet? Are you using any other ND’s? Let us know what you think of this system.

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