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 Post subject: Grad ND filters
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:29 am 
I would like to start using graduated neutral density (and other special effect) filters as my interest in landscape photography is increasing.

My local store explained the concept of the adapter ring, holder & filter. They stock Cokin & can order Lee at 3x the price :shock:

Does anyone use these and can suggest a couple filters to start with? Any important points to remember when using them?

thanks


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 1:17 am 
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Hi Roland, they can be great for darkening the sky and thereby preventing blown highlights on a single exposure, but in these digital days, I think I'd prefer capturing several exposures for an HDR composite and or applying some effects in Photoshop.

The only optical filter I still own and use is the polariser...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 4:50 am 
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Gordon wrote:
The only optical filter I still own and use is the polariser...

What, no UV-filters???

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 5:09 am 
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I'm also looking at filters at the moment and got the chance to use a Cokin ND grad the other day. The effects are good, in some ways better than can be achieved in PP because it allows the shutter to be held open for longer. This is handy if there's water in the scene as it lends the water that glassy look. The only caveat I'd have would be that maybe the absolute quality of the Cokin filters isn't very high. They're cheap for a reason. The owner of the filters I used said he'd go for the Lee filters, knowing what he knows now. Another point is coverage. The Cokin I used wasn't big enough to completely cover the Sigma 10-20mm without some major vignetting.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 5:36 am 
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Hi Thomas, I do have UV filters, but only fit them if I'm out in the rain or know there could be some splashes or damage - such as at sporting events or on the beach. Otherwise I try and shoot without filters to minimise optical issues and just ensure I have lens hoods fitted for basic protection!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:25 pm 
Cokin resin gradient filters and other square filters in their line up are not
coated and this can lead to reflections between filter and lens. They are only usefull in those situations where you can not make more than one exposure from the same scene.(moving clouds or trees). If you got the time and a good tripod and the objects in your landscape are not moving between several shots its better to use exposure blending. A gradient filter is not flexible enough in some situations. A camera can stop down light in very small increments( 1/3stop) a gradient in full stops. The transition between the light and dark side of a gradient filter is gradient but straight. If you got a mountain, tree higher building in your photo's their top end will be also darkened by the filter.

If you still decide to get a gradient and do some experimenting a Cokin 121M is a medium gradient( i think 2stops). Cokin has no hard edged grad nd's ....Lee has hard and soft edged filters but they are more expensive.I have no idea how good they are because i have only used Cokin in the past.
If you do not want to spend to much money you could just buy a filter and not the holder. If you mount your cam on a tripod you can handhold the filter in front of the lens and adjust it faster. If you consider in buying the filterholder also than keep in mind that the p-system is not very good for real wide angle lenses (10-22, 10-20 ) . The filterholder is visible in the corners of the photo's at the widest end. For these wideangle lenses the Z-system or X-system is better( but again more expensive). These resin filters are very easely scratched so handle them with care.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 10:08 am 
Thanks for your help everyone!

Although heeded your advice, I decided to buy the Cokin P filter system with a 2-stop/ND4 (#153) and 1-stop/Grad ND2 (121L - they didn't have the 2-stop 121M in stock).

I'm also in the process of getting a new PC & don't have PS installed, so this will help me in certain situations.

I also wanted to get a little experience with square filters and grad's, and the Cokin stuff was 'affordable' although not regarded as the best. Just nice to have them in the bag I guess.

These aren't very good examples but a quick first attempt before work. With a little more time & better composition, I'll get some better results to share with you.

Cape Town CBD
Image
Exposure: 0.077 sec (1/13)
Aperture: f/22
Focal Length: 33 mm
ISO Speed: 100
ND4 & Grad ND2 over sky until mountains in horizon.

Devils Peak, above Cape Town
Image
Exposure: 0.2 sec (1/5)
Aperture: f/22
Focal Length: 33 mm
ISO Speed: 100
ND4 & Grad ND2 over sky, cutting into mountain peak (I'm sure this could be selectively lightened in PS to give more detail).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:36 am 
Hi again Roland.

I am a bit puzzled here...why did you use the non gradient nd4 in both photo's ? I can see the shutterspeed is already very low, adding a 2 stop nd darkens the scene even more. I am just being curious here Roland


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:53 am 
Just inexperience I think :?
I agree that both look rather underexposed and with a little more time at the scene I would have experimented more and probably removed the filters. I think I also forgot to look at the histogram properly.
I also had a low battery and was late for work :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:24 pm 
Well experimenting is the best way to learn a few things and its much more fun than reading . I hope to see the results of your experimenting on this forum soon. :)


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