Stepping up your travel photos with camera filters

No, definitely not your in-app filters



With access to an array of available travel cameras, consumers have been getting more and more engrossed on documenting their trips. Action cameras are available left and right and more consumer drones have popped out of nowhere featuring the latest technologies.

Although while these cameras boast high-quality images, one can still go for better output and achieve more creative shots by using extra accessories. Such is the case for this feature’s spotlight. Freewell has sent a couple of travel necessities if you want to step up your travel photos.

The gear we received from the HongKong-based company consists of the following sets:

  • 4-pack Standard Day Filters for GoPro Hero 5 Black and onwards
    • ND4 filter
    • ND8 filter
    • ND16 filter
    • ND32 filter
  • 6-pack All Day Filters for DJI Mavic Pro and Mavic Pro Platinum
    • ND8 filter
    • ND16 filter
    • ND32 filter
    • ND8/PL filter
    • ND16/PL filter
  • Pro M3 Carbon Action Camera Monopod
    • Snap-fit remote holder
    • Smartphone clamp
    • Aluminum thumbscrew
    • Aluminum thumbscrew wrench

Apart from the monopod and its included mounts, the sets consist of neutral density (ND) and polarizing (PL) filters which we’ll get to know better in just a bit. They range from ND4 to ND32 but on top of those, Freewell also threw in single ND1000 filters for both the GoPro Hero and DJI Mavic.

What are ND filters and what do the numbers represent?

For the unfamiliar, ND filters lessen the light coming into the camera’s sensor. You can think of them as sunglasses for your lens. Whether it’s a DSLR, mirrorless camera, action camera, or a drone, you can use ND filters to have more control over light coming in.

The number that usually follows indicates the ‘stop’ or basically by how much it darkens the image. Filters usually start from ND4, then ND8, ND16, ND32, and so on as it gets darker and darker.

Applying filters

You might ask, “what instances could I use ND filters for?” Basically, a good rule of thumb is to use an ND filter whenever there’s an abundance of light in your scene. This way, you still get an image with the right exposure when the camera’s shutter speed doesn’t go as fast as you need it to be.

Another good use of ND filters is when you want to achieve time lapse during the day. By now, a lot of people know the principle behind shooting time-lapse photos at night: By lowering the shutter speed, the camera’s sensor allows more light to come in and capture more movement that can produce unique images.

Shot at 5 seconds shutter with Freewell ND1000 filter for GoPro HERO

Although did you know that you could also pull this same effect during the day? You still need to lower your shutter speed but with the help of an ND filter. Without it, what you’ll get is just a washed-out photo due to overexposure.

Having the appropriate filter, you can lower your shutter speed to show motion while at the same time, limit the light going into your camera.

Shot at 2-sec shutter speed with Freewell ND1000 filter for DJI Mavic Pro

The above photo may look like an ordinary aerial shot I took with my Mavic Pro but look closely and you’ll notice that I was able to capture a short time-lapse through the movement of vehicles passing by. You can pick up this technique and apply it to different scenarios and achieve creative shots.

While these filters will mostly be used when the sun is bright, you can also use them even at night when you want to capture certain effects.

Check out the sample photo above taken at Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing. Me and my wife remained focused while groups of people around us appeared as ghosts and the lights behind us illuminate the shot.

The ND16 filter I used was able to dial down the lights while the shutter was set to a low speed, capturing the flow of people while me and my wife just had to stand there and not move for a few seconds.

Slow shutter speed with no ND filter

Although it was night time, I still used Freewell’s ND16 filter since I had to lower the shutter speed to show the motion of people crossing. As I’ve mentioned earlier, if I do that without any filters on, the above photo is what you’ll get.

Akihabara without ND filter

Additionally, you can also use ND filters to show more details in both the ground and sky. What happens usually when shooting a landscape is that the subject has the right exposure but the sky gets overblown. By using this kind of filter, you can retain the details of the sky and make clouds appear while keeping your subject’s exposure.

Shot with ND8/PL filter

We’ve covered getting the right exposure in tricky situations but one final example is about removing glares using polarizing (PL) filters. Just like the two example shots above, we see a huge improvement in the photo when I used a neutral density filter with a polarizer. The unwanted glare was minimized and more details on the clouds could be seen.

In conclusion, there are still different kinds of accessories one can use to further improve the quality of photos for different scenarios, but being ready with a couple of sets of ND filters for your cameras are some of the considerably inexpensive things you can buy to achieve a more professional and creative output.


OPPO Enco W31 now official

With ‘Environment Noise Cancellation’



OPPO just announced the pricing and availability of one more TWS headphones option — the OPPO Enco W31.

It has dual microphones that enables the Environment Noise Cancellation feature. OPPO says it shuts out the noise enough so you can focus on whatever you need to focus on, free from any noise distractions.

For sound quality, it has a bass and balance mode for what they say is “high-definition sound quality and rhythmic bass for lifelike audio.” It has tap and touch controls and supports a voice assistant.

It promises up to 15 hours of music playback and up to 12 hours of call time with the charging case. Fully charging the earphones will take only 2.5 hours. It also has an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance.

The OPPO Enco W31 retails for PhP 2990 (US$ 61) and is available for purchase on all open OPPO concept and online stores, official dealers, as well as Shopee and Lazada.

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Best iPhone Cases

Say goodbye to your yellow clear case



We know a lot of you have been using the newest iPhone 11 series lately. And with the introduction of Apple’s latest-gen iPhone SE, now’s the perfect time to tackle more about our best iPhone cases picks.

From clear to full leather cases, and even the bulky — touch armor ones, we picked the best of the rest for you to try out. Check out more by watching our video here.

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LG launches three new XBoom Go speakers in Singapore

XBoom Go PL7, PL5, and PL2 have well-balanced sounds and compact designs



There’s one accessory that we need more than ever as we work from home. That’s a bluetooth speaker — it’s portable, convenient, and allows listening to tunes anytime, anywhere. Buyers on the lookout for a great Bluetooth speaker should look no further than LG’s XBoom speaker lineup. After all, LG is launching three new XBoom speakers in Singapore.

These three new speakers are the XBoom Go PL7, PL5, and PL2. All these speakers stand out from the competition through its well-balanced sound, enhanced usability and features, and compact design. LG partnered with MERIDIAN to ensure that its speakers produce high-quality sound with deep bass, clear treble, and rich vocals.

LG’s XBoom Go PL2

As for the XBoom Go PL7, LG equipped the speaker with dual tweeters. Like the rest of the lineup, it also comes with dual passive radiators and dual-action bass feature, as well as a sound boost to deliver consistent, crystal-clear, and bass-thumping sound across all frequencies.

LG also equipped some smarts across all speakers. All XBoom Go speakers support hands-free voice commands and multi-phone pairing. Listeners can take advantage of the built-in Wireless Party Link function to link two XBoom Go PL7 together.

Multi-color lighting is also available for both the XBoom Go PL7 and PL5. This lighting feature employs a sophisticated three-step process to detect the song’s beat and match it with corresponding colors.

On top of all the features, all XBoom Go speakers are IPX5-rated. Thus, listeners can use them for pool parties since the speakers are guaranteed to survive from sprays and splashes.

Interested buyers can buy the XBoom Go PL7, PL5, and PL2 on all authorized retailers (Best Denki, Challenger, COURTS, Harvey Norman, NTUC, and Popular) across Singapore. For more information, visit LG Singapore’s website.

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