Some compact cameras use neutral density filters to control light rather than aperture blades, to avoid the effects of diffraction in tiny sizes.

I first heard of this as a feature of the Nokia N8 cameraphone, which emphasizes photography as a main selling point. But are there earlier cameras exhibiting this feature? How common is it? What other current models work this way?

This is a second question inspired by this answer to an earlier question.

1 Answer 1


There are 98 current models in my database which are known to use an ND filter. I do not think enumerating them would serve much purpose. Some manufacturers do not specify if an ND filter is used or not, so there are probably more.

There are models of a variety of sizes but most are ultra-compacts, followed by ultra-zooms. Fuji and Casio have the most such models. Canon, Pentax and Sigma do not have any. Remaining manufacturers each have a few each.

Most models use single ND filter, either 3 stop or 2 stop. A few use two ND filters, which give then 4 options for letting light through (No ND, First ND, Second Filer, Both).

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    Wow, I had no idea. Is there a end-user-facing way to search on your site for this? What's the earliest one?
    – mattdm
    Aug 10, 2011 at 3:21
  • Nope, I had to query this manually. Not all parameters are exposed for various reasons. My database only goes back 6 years, so I've got the Fuji F480 as the earliest one but it probably goes back more.
    – Itai
    Aug 10, 2011 at 3:26
  • Interesting. How do you find this stuff out? The Fujifilm F480 press release doesn't mention anything along those lines.
    – mattdm
    Aug 10, 2011 at 3:31
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    Press releases are frequently light on actual specifications, more so for some manufacturers. It takes a lot of digging and some things remain a mystery for a while. I remember recently emailing back and forth a major manufacturer just to find out the buffer-depth since the official specs said nothing and the manual said 'buffer depth varies'.
    – Itai
    Aug 10, 2011 at 3:36
  • Yeah — thanks for doing the digging. (I've found the same thing in researching for my Pentax flash site.)
    – mattdm
    Aug 10, 2011 at 3:42

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