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Heliopan Vario ND Lens Hood Solutions?
  • After being less than happy with the loss of sharpness of my LCW Fader ND I just purchased a Heliopan Vario ND 77mm filter from B&H and a 77mm lens hood. I have a very cheap and crappy matte box (junk) and was in two minds whether to buy a proper matte box or go with the Heliopan Vario and a lens hood in order to keep things more compact.

    In the end I decided to go with the Heliopan... (a decision I think I'm now regretting especially considering the price!)

    Upon receiving it I discovered the Heliopan has no front filter thread. (The LCW Fader ND does) What annoys me is one of the reviews of the Heliopan Vario on the B&H website refers to the Heliopan having front threads... THEY DON'T!!

    Short of a new matte box does anyone have any solution for fitting a hood to a Heliopan Vario or am I just dreaming? If I can't find a solution I will contact B&H and point out the misleading review concerning front threads and send it back to them.

  • 22 Replies sorted by
  • Get a cheap rubber lens hood that has a front filter thread that you can screw the ND on to?

  • Aye Kood make ones with threads both sides

  • @Grue DOH! Thanks. I never even thought of that! The 77mm rubber Hoya hood I got with the Heliopan didn't have a front thread but after just ringing around three camera stores I finally located a 77mm rubber hood with a front thread- Cheers!

  • I think Heliopan eventually made a version of their filters with front threading which is why that reviewer wrote what he did. I think they originally wanted to do it without the front thread to make it as thin has possible preventing vignetting.

  • Hi mate!

    Finally a topic about the Heliopan Vari ND!

    I look for a good ND filter for my GH2 since 2 months. The quality is important for me, so after 2 months research left only 3 solutions: Individual Tiffen ND filters, Heliopan Vari ND or Schneider Vari ND. If I consider the prices, then Heliopan is the best solution. Heliopan has actually two versions: slim and normal. The normal version has front thread! This version was released only a few months back, because users wanted to use hood, so Heliopan decided to make front threaded versions.

    The 77mm version is out of stock in Germany at this moment, still waiting to get one. I know that in US it has a huge price, while in Germany this filter "only" 200 euro!

    A guy who owns the 77mm version, suggested this hood:

    It is cheap, but works fine.

    I have to ask: are you happy with the Heliopan? Really a good ND? Good quality? Not X ray effect? No vignetting? What type of step up rings do you use with the 46mm filter sized Pancake lenses? Do you use a 46mm to 77mm step up ring (which is hard to find), or use two step up rings attached, like 46 to 55 and 55 to 77mm ring?

    Waiting for your reply!

  • @mintcheerios B&H only list the one Heliopan Vario ND (apparently without the front thread)


    And the excerpt from the review...

    "... I also like that this filter has the same 'front threads' allowing me to use the same lens cap..."

    That's what caught me out. If I had known that it didn't have a front thread I wouldn't have bought it. I have notified B&H of the review error.

  • @JCVD I only received the Heliopan yesterday and haven't tested it properly as I was on the verge of sending it back to B&H over the lack of a front thread. I did also order a Hoya collapsible lens hood similar to the one you suggested except the Hoya had no front thread either. I have since found a hood from an Australian supplier. It will cost me around $15 shipped but it will arrive in two days instead of a month. How they can sell anything for $2.76 shipped is beyond me!

  • @pundit you probably bought slim version which has no front end filter thread. If possible change it for standard version which has one. I made same mistake too

  • I could be wrong but that 77mm hood wouldn't fit anyway, as the front thread would be 82mm, no?

  • I asked the distributor, the 77mm normal version Vari ND has 77mm front thread size!

  • @peaceonearth I'm yet to even see the standard (front threaded) version. As I said the B&H website doesn't show it.

    @last_SHIFT The 77mm LCW Fader ND MkII has a 82mm front thread. I don't know if that is the same for the front threaded Heliopan because I can't find one on the net.

    @JCVD Which distributor are you referring to?

  • The most famous one in Germany:

  • @JCVD Okay I checked Fotomayr's website and can see both versions. The non-threaded version is just referred to as 'slim'. It appears very few sellers even offer the standard version. I would have expected B&H to list both versions but they don't, only the slim. However it should have stated clearly in the description that the slim version has no front thread.

    I missed your question re step-up rings. So far the smallest lens filter size I have is 49mm. 49-77mm step-up rings are no problem to obtain. I have mostly Pentax glass with the widest being the Pentax DA15 Limited.

  • I have two Pancake which are 46mm filter sized. I would like to know if somebody use two step up rings like 46 to 55 and 55 to 77mm?

  • @jean claude van damme

    I would imagine that a 77 mm front thread would vignette pretty badly compared to an 82.

    I have a 77mm Tiffen Vari ND - great quality and construction but no front thread.

  • @pundit

    Have you tried order/ contact :

  • @JCVD

    I'm pretty happy with my Heliopan after having gone through a bunch of ND filter options. I started with a Fader ND, but the color cast and lack of sharpness at longer focal lengths made me switch to some cheap Chinese Cokin P-sized ND filters. Those also had a cast, but sharpness wasn't affected. Then I upgraded to Hitech filters, but they also had some color cast. Finally I got the Heliopan since Frank Glencairn was selling his for a good price. It was the non-threaded one, but it doesn't matter since I use a mattebox anyways. Now I have less color cast, sharpness at any focal length, and the convenience of just rotating the filter to get my exposure. I would have gotten the Heliopan in the first place, but it was too expensive for me in the US.

    Oh, another bonus is that it doesn't vignette on my four thirds Zuiko 9-18mm. It has 72mm threads and I have the 72mm Heliopan, so I thought that was pretty impressive. I guess that's the advantage of the slim version?

  • I got 77mm non-slim version Heliopan directly from fotomayr. No vignetting on 12mm SlrMagic. Get 77mm. 72mm would have shown vignetting. Yes 77mm front thread. The latest version has ND 0.3 ~ ND 1.8.

    The slim one is older version.

    The only benefit of Heliopan over Fader ND is little or no color shift. And the hard stops on both ends. And better built and better sealed.

  • You can always gaff some black cinefoil on it.

  • directly from fotomayr. No vignetting on 12mm SlrMagic. Get 77mm

    same here but I have to admit that it was by chance because I bought 77mm first of all for Canon EF Lenses (24-105, 24-70, 100-400)

  • i have the same cheap lens hood for my heliopan works well. I get vignetting at 14mm though with it on. has ruined a number of shots because i forget to pull it back to say 18mm lol