This is the world’s first variable ND grad filter

Aurora Aperture Inc has created a world’s first: a hard-transition ND grad filter with a variable range of up to five stops.

ND grad filters are half-and-half filters that are used to control the exposure in only part of an image, commonly a sky that’s significantly brighter than the landscape beneath it. A variable ND filter, meanwhile, is an overall exposure-controlling filter, whose strength can be adjusted to suit different situations. And, until now, the two have not been combined into one.

It’s continuously variable, which allows for precise adjustments, and comes with multiple mounting options for different configurations. The advantage? Photographers should no longer have to carry a range of ND grads for different high-contrast situations.

Design and build

In order to vary the strength of the PowerGXND, users simply rotate it until they have the exposure they desire. (You can see examples of the exposure variation here and here). There is also a direct reading scale that allows users to quickly dial in their desired exposure value.

Users have two options for mounting the PowerGXND. The first is a slim lens adapter (above), which allows the filter to be rotated and moved up and down in order to get it to the precise strength and positioning required. The other option is an adapter that allows the PowerGXND to be used with existing square filters, such as those from LEE Filters or Cokin.

The Aurora PowerGXND is constructed from Schott B 270 i Ultra-White Glass and high-quality polarisation film. Multi-layer nano coatings, meanwhile, are said to ensure high enough image quality to meet the demands of 4K video and high-resolution sensors, while a special coating agent is used to help them repel dust, water and dirt.

The filters are to be available in three thread sizes, namely 105mm, 82mm and 62mm. When used with a separate plate adapter, however, the company promise compatibility with the existing Cokin X-Pro, Cokin Z and Lee Seven5 systems.

Aurora PowerGXND: Pricing and availability

The Auroroa GXND is now funding on Kickstarter, and has already blown past its goal. You’ll need to pledge at least $94 to be sure of getting your hands on a filter, and funding will end on 10 February 2018, so make sure you get your pledge in before then.

Read more: "Most portable tripod ever created" launches on Kickstarter

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Jon Stapley

Jon spent years at IPC Media writing features, news, reviews and other photography content for publications such as Amateur Photographer and What Digital Camera in both print and digital form. With his additional experience for outlets like Photomonitor, this makes Jon one of our go-to specialists when it comes to all aspects of photography, from cameras and action cameras to lenses and memory cards, flash diffusers and triggers, batteries and memory cards, selfie sticks and gimbals, and much more besides.  

An NCTJ-qualified journalist, he has also contributed to Shortlist, The Skinny, ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, The Guardian, Trusted Reviews, CreativeBLOQ, and probably quite a few others I’ve forgotten.