Reviews |NiSi TRUE COLOR ND-VARIO 1-5stops Review

NiSi TRUE COLOR ND-VARIO 1-5stops Review


Our Verdict

Once again, NiSi has proven itself as a high-quality filter manufacturer with the TRUE COLOR ND-VARIO 1-5 stops enabling plenty of exposure control while having little to no effect on the colour of a scene.

Available in various diameters, this screw in variable ND offers five different options for exposure reduction. As we’ve seen with previous NiSi filters, the company’s production values are high, and the machining of the rings and quality of the optics are testament to this.

Image quality at all exposures is excellent, with a slight boost in contrast, as you’d expect, but little to no effect on the colour content. The overall sharpness and tone of the image are also minimally affected, and there’s nothing to pick out visually when it comes to close inspection.

If you need a 1 to 5 stop variable ND then the NiSi TRUE COLOR ND-VARIO 1-5 stops is an excellent choice.

What is the TRUE COLOR ND-VARIO 1-5stops?

The TRUE COLOR ND-VARIO 1-5stops is a 1 to 5 stop variable ND designed to have minimal, if no effect, on the colours in your image.

It aims to simply reduce the amount of light that passes through your camera’s lens without affecting the image quality in any other way.

As with most variable NDs (VNDs), the TRUE COLOR ND-VARIO 1-5stops screws directly into the front of your camera’s lens and is available in sizes ranging from 40.5mm through to 95mm.


Once screwed into the lens filter thread, the front element can be rotated to adjust the Neutral Density effect.

Several design features mark the NiSi TRUE COLOR ND-VARIO 1-5stops out against many of its rivals. Firstly is the visual impact; the rear threaded ring is silver, so whatever the conditions, you always know which is the threaded side and if youre still in doubt, there’s a textured edge to the ring that enables good purchase when attaching and removing the filter.

The front ring is black, as is the inner coating of the rear ring to help ensure that there is no reflection of light from the filter into the lens glass that could cause an issue with image quality.

The front ring features stop markings on edge, so you know exactly how many stops of exposure reduction you’re dialling in; a small black dot on the silver rear ring acts as the marker. The front of the ring features a fine texture, again enabling easy purchase when rotating; however, as standard, a rotation pin screwed into the edge makes it very easy to adjust and ideal if using the filter when filming.

The glass used by NiSi is the same as their lens range and features coatings designed to protect the optic in all conditions. A Nano coating ensures that it is weather resistant and easy to clean and also features anti-reflective properties to ensure the best possible light transmission through the glass.

As with all high-quality VNDs end, stops are in place to ensure that you don’t rotate the filter in either direction too far and cause the dreaded X-Effect.

On the front of the filter is a filter thread, so if you need to stack the filters, then you can; the 82mm filter that I’ve looked at features an 86mm front thread. In the box along with the filter is a filter cap; this fits snuggly over the filter and means that you can leave the filter on your camera as you move between locations.



The quality of the manufacture of the filter means that it screws in and out of the lens filter thread with ease, securing it in place and holding its position precisely.

With the hood removed, the outer ring is easily rotated with the pin, and it’s easy enough to get the filter’s exposure reduction density in the exact position you want.

In use, the filter is simple and rotates to get the desired density and take the picture. I found through the test that the Sony A7 III had no difficulties finding focus, and as I was after the effects of the VND, I controlled the camera’s exposure manually. White balance was set to daylight.


After several outings with the filter, I have to say that I’m impressed with the quality of the filter. In use, it felt like other premium and high-quality filters, and the images captured on the back of the screen at least looked great.

Back in the studio, it was time to look through the images and see if the images on the big screen were as good as they seemed on the small one.

Checking through images with the filter on and off the camera and at different settings showed just how good a quality filter the NiSi TRUE COLOR ND-VARIO 1-5stops is.

Colour is the first thing to focus on, with the influence of the NiSi optics having a very little overall effect on the quality of the colour influences within the scene.

Checking the images a little more closely, you can see that aside from the reduction in exposure times and a slight boost in contrast, there is very little other effect on the pictures.

Final Thoughts

NiSi already has a proven track record as a high-quality filter manufacturer, and the TRUE COLOR ND-VARIO 1-5stops shows that the company is at the top of the game.

NiSi might not be as well known as many other filter manufacturers, and their prices, especially for the larger diameter glass, might seem a little high, but you are paying for quality.


When it comes to use, I can highly recommend this filter for both stills and video. Stills photographers will benefit from the high-quality optics that keep colour influences at bay and help them capture the shots they want. Videographers again will benefit from the high quality but also from a filter that boosts the visual quality of footage with that slight contrast boost helping to pull out details that would otherwise be lost.

Overall an excellent VND and well worth a look