Choosing the best set of filters for your Mavic Drone is tough because there are so many brands to choose from.
They have a big effect on the quality of the video you shoot as well as potentially affecting the operation of the gimbal and camera. So, you want to make the right choice.
I was faced with the same issue a few months ago so, did tonnes of investigation (forums, posts, reviews) in order to come up with all of this information.
I have not only reviewed the products but also provided lots of supporting information on filters and filters with the Mavic Pro to help you make the right decision.
You can jump to the relevant section using the Quick Navigation on the right (the reviews are further down).
I hope you get a lot out of it and please feel free to share or link to this if you find it helpful.
4/8/16/32 with UV
There are two main types of filter you will want to consider for your Mavic Pro:
The most useful one is the ND, so if you have to choose, go for that.
Here is what they both mean and do in detail.
A neutral density filter is kinda like a pair of sun glasses. It makes everything darker.
It is designed to only do that. Nothing more.
Why would you want your image or video darker? Because of how cameras & video cameras work.
When you are shooting video you want to have a shutter speed that is about double your frame rate.
So, if you frame rate is 24 fps on the Mavic, you will want a 1/48 shutter (which does not exist, so go for 1/50)
And likewise, if you have a framerate of 30fps, then you would select 1/60.
But the problem is, when it is is broad daylight (not early morning or late afternoon) you have WAY TOO MUCH sun to get a shutter speed of 1/50.
Even if you reduce the ISO to 100, you will usually not achieve that. Try it.
A Neutral Density Filter (or ND filter for short).
By adding a Neutral density filter you can remove so much light that you can get down to your "ideal" frame rate VS shutter speeds for video.
And trust me when I tell you that if you are serious about having smooth, not jumping or bad edges on your video - you want to do this right!
Depending on just how light it is (midday full sun, or just a bit cloudy) you will have to use different ND filters. That is why they come in sets of 3 or 4. Each one blocks a different amount of light.
These babies are a little bit different because they are only useful in specific situations.
The main idea with the circular polarizer is to reduce reflections or make things like the sky bluer.
Circular polarizers take advantage of a principle in physics where they can block light not aligned in a specific way.
The result is that they are great for when you are shooting on very bright days:
There are loads of reasons to have and use a polarizer and it is something you want to consider when buying your Mavic Pro filters. Some sets come with them. Others have them with the ND filter itself. Others don't have them at all.
POLARIZER TIP: Because the polarizer has to be correctly aligned in order to block out the light (block reflections or make the sky bluer) you usually need to add them after the drone is turned on so that you are sure that it is correctly aligned.
Another thing to think about with filters is that they ultimately protect your lens. It is far easier and cheaper to replace a filter than your whole Mavic Pro Camera.
If you crash or even have something hit the lens when you are flying it might scratch the camera. But, with the filter on, you can just replace that instead!
It is a common use of filters in photography and sometimes they just give you a UV filter which in reality is just a lens protector!
Of course you want a good quality filter that has lots of positive reviews online, but what else should you look for?
Here are a couple of things I suggest you look for in a Mavic Pro filter:
Let's look at these in more detail so you get what I mean.
These filters have to be attached and removed quite often, depending on the lighting conditions. So, you want that to be easy to do.
Not only that, but some filters I have read about have a tendency to damage either the filter or the drone if attached in the wrong way.
Remember, the camera on the Mavic is pretty small and hanging from the gimbal, so you want this to be as smooth as possible.
There are different ranges of ND (Neutral Density) filter - how much light they block, and some also come with the polarizer combined.
Other sets you have a combination of ND filters only, or one polarizer in the set.
Know what you want to use it for before you buy it so you don't have to go get another set of filters afterwards.
This has been quite an issue for non-DJI filters from the reports I have read in the forums. Especially back in the early days (late 2016, early 2017).
Because these filters attach to the front of the camera, and the camera is so small and light in the first place, the filters can disrupt the gimbal and stop it from calibrating. That means you have to remove the filter, calibrate and put it on again. And even then, it might not work.
Some of the filters can be hit and miss, so in this review I have done my best to only include the ones that people say are working. However, because of variations in manufacturing, it seems you can sometimes just get unlucky and have to return the filters.
They have a slightly different approach to packaging their filter sets, so these may suit some people better. They have:
So, you get a set with or without polarizers. And you get a ND range from 8-32. They don't seem to think you really need an ND4, which is honestly for very low light anyway.
They used to have an issue with the attachment to the gimbal, but have since resolved this (as any good company would) and now have a nice rubber ring on the inside. I have the 3 x ND set and thoroughly recommend them!
The Taco RC ND Filter Set is one of the better choices for the Mavic Pro.
Here's what comes in the set:
The mid-range (ND8 and ND16) are going to be used the most, but it is good to have a choice in case it gets insanely bright or a little bit darker.
If you are after a polarizer too, then this set is not for you, but maybe you can just grab one of those separately.
From all the reviews I have read, this set passes all the tests that concern me for a set of Mavic Pro filters:
They are also very solid and high quality, with no complaints that I have found on that.
They also seem to be reasonably priced, sometimes a little cheaper than other "top" level filter sets I have seen online.
Oh, and one last thing. As I mentioned in the filters section above, sometimes photographers use UV filters just to protect the camera. So that is a great bonus to have in this set - a filter that does nothing to the shot, but is always on the lens offering protection from scratches or crashes!
The Skyreat Filter Sets are quite impressive for the price you pay. Maybe too impressive, because at the time of writing this, they are out of stock on Amazon!
You can buy two different sets (see the pics) either an ND set or an ND set with Polarizer built in.
Again, from all the reviews I have read they pass the two biggest issues with Mavic Pro filters - ease of putting on/off and gimbal calibration. I only read of 1 guy who said he could not calibrate (but that seems to be the case with every set of filters you can buy - 100% guarantee is just not happening, yet).
The difference with these filters to the TACO RTs above is that you don't get an ND32. But it is rare that you would need that one. But, you also get the UV which is nice if you want to protect your lens at all times.
Another minor issue I read about was one person saying they are hard to take off. But, he used a balloon to give him extra grip and it worked. So file that tip away in case you need it.
Either way, these are a great buy for what you get and chances are you will have little to no issues.
I have not reviewed all of the filters because sometimes there is just not enough information or the quality does not seem to be good enough. I am also looking at buying these, so I am reviewing them with the intention of buying them myself.
So, here are a few more options, but be careful to read the reviews (some break, others seem to ship the wrong filters etc)
Picking the right filters for your Mavic Pro drone is not easy.
Not only do you have to choose the right set, you also have to make sure they work.
Let me just say that from all the reviews and forums I have read (and that is alot) there are always cases where either the gimbal will not calibrate with them on (so put them on after startup) or they are hard to remove. But, I have done my best to mention that in the reviews and the first two options seem to be the best in my opinion : The PolarPro Sets, The Taco RC ND Filter Set.
As for picking the right ND filters, I would go for a range (ND4 - 32) to make sure you are always covered. That is my plan.
As for polarizers, I am not sure they are worth the hassle unless you shoot a lot around water (they really help reduce the glare and make things look awesome).
Of course, you can always return the filters, but who wants to have to do that, right?
Feel free to send me a message if you have anything to add. I am always learning, adding and reviewing.