Kenko Pro1D Smart Variable NDX filter review: deliciously dark

A handy variable neutral density filter that's ideal on a budget

The Kenko Pro1D Variable ND filter being screwed onto a Canon lens
(Image: © Lauren Scott)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Kenko Pro1D NDX3-450 filter performs well enough for general use, and I found its range of ND strengths brilliant for slowing down motion or setting a wider aperture than normal in bright light. Its design is straightforward, and changing the intensity is smooth, but it lacks the optical quality or design to make it stand out from the premium competition. The Pro1D NDX3-450 is perfect for beginners wanting to take their landscapes to the next level, but don't expect any fancy coatings or features at such a keen price.


  • +

    Versatile ND strength

  • +

    No noticeable vignetting

  • +

    Low-cost even for large sizes


  • -

    Screw-on design is slower

  • -

    No noticeable vignetting

  • -

    Doesn't have any coatings

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There are as many creative filters out there for photographers as there are photographic applications, and each new filter to the market promises to do something different or better than the last. The best variable ND filters reduce the light entering your camera, slowing down exposures for expressive movement, or balancing scenes with different light levels. 

Variable neutral density filters are my go-to for achieving wide apertures in super-bright situations like the midday sun because I can control the amount of light entering the camera and still create a shallow depth of field. And that's not something I can fix or add in post-production.

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Filter typeVariable ND
Available sizes (mm)49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77, 82
F-stops1.5 - 9
Frame materialAluminum
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FeaturesNo real features or coatings★★★☆☆
DesignNot magnetic, but easy and smooth to use★★★★☆
PerformanceNo noticeable vignetting or quality reduction★★★★☆
ValueWell-priced, not a premium option★★★★☆
Kenko Pro1D+ NDX3-450+C-PL filter

Kenko Pro1D+ NDX3-450+C-PL filter
If you're looking for a true all-in-one, this Kenko filter offers the same strength of neutral density as the one in this review but also has a circular polarizer. Rather than screwing on, it's magnetic for quick and easy removal.

Urth ND1000 Filter Plus+

Urth ND1000 Filter Plus+
Urth's powerful ND filter is one solid strength rather than variable, but it gives you 10-stop filtration – perfect if you want longer exposures only. Our reviewer found it well-priced and well-designed.

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Lauren Scott
Freelance contributor/former Managing Editor

Lauren is a writer, reviewer, and photographer with ten years of experience in the camera industry. She's the former Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, and previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer magazine, Technique editor for PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, and Deputy Editor of our sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine. An experienced journalist and freelance photographer, Lauren also has bylines at Tech Radar,, Canon Europe, PCGamesN, T3, Stuff, and British Airways' in-flight magazine (among others). When she's not testing gear for DCW, she's probably in the kitchen testing yet another new curry recipe or walking in the Cotswolds with her Flat-coated Retriever.