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Author Topic: Recommended neutral density filter? (including the variable kind)  (Read 18921 times)

dwnelson

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I'm looking for a quality neutral density filter so I can take ~30" long exposures in daylight, or long exposures of waterfalls. It would be nice to be able to stack with a polarizer, but I don't think I want that built in to the filter.

I like the concept of the variable ND filters from Singh-Ray or B+W, but they are expensive and the Singh-Ray has banding issues at higher densities (see http://www.redbubble.com/people/peterh111/journal/4421304-the-ultimate-guide-to-neutral-density-filters).

I'm thinking my best bet is either the Hoya or B+W 9 or 10 stop ND filter, with an added polarizer if I want the polarizing effects.

My widest lens is a Nikon 24-70 with 77mm threads, but the Zeiss 21/2.8 ZF.2 with 82mm threads is on my wish list.

Anyone have any experience with long exposures in daylight?
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Walter Schulz

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Re: Recommended neutral density filter? (including the variable kind)
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 02:57:46 PM »

Beware! AFAIK B+W's ND and Hoya's ND are different!

A ND 3 by B+W will let 1/1000 of the light going through. (ND 3 = 10^3 = 1000) = 10 stops.
A ND 4 by Hoya will give you 1/4 of the light. 2 stops

The "darkest" ND-Filter by Hoya is ND 8 (=ND 0,9 B+W) = 3 stops.  

Ciao, Walter
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Alan Smallbone

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Re: Recommended neutral density filter? (including the variable kind)
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 04:30:42 PM »

The variable ND's will a lot of times show an "X" of dark bands across the image depending on the position of rotation, I get better luck with ND filters from Lee or Hi-tech. Most if not all really dense ND filters may have a color cast. The Tiffen filters are by far the worse that I have run across. The Lee will make it a little cooler but easily corrected in post processing. To get really long exposures in daylight you will need a strong ND, so a screw on filter will be a problem to do composing etc. while a removable filter like the Lee or Hi-tech are easily shifted to help in composition.

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
Orange County, CA

BartvanderWolf

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Re: Recommended neutral density filter? (including the variable kind)
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 03:27:04 AM »

The Lee will make it a little cooler but easily corrected in post processing. To get really long exposures in daylight you will need a strong ND, so a screw on filter will be a problem to do composing etc. while a removable filter like the Lee or Hi-tech are easily shifted to help in composition.

+1 for the Lee "Big Stopper" filter. The cooler colorbalance is quite easily corrected by dialing in a higher color temperature.


The filter creates a bit of mild vignetting, which I didn't correct in the above image with a TS-E 24mm. The path of the more oblique corner rays through the filter is longer, so the effect will vary with focal length.

Cheers,
Bart
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stamper

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Re: Recommended neutral density filter? (including the variable kind)
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2012, 04:00:26 AM »

Beware! AFAIK B+W's ND and Hoya's ND are different!

A ND 3 by B+W will let 1/1000 of the light going through. (ND 3 = 10^3 = 1000) = 10 stops.
A ND 4 by Hoya will give you 1/4 of the light. 2 stops

The "darkest" ND-Filter by Hoya is ND 8 (=ND 0,9 B+W) = 3 stops.  

Ciao, Walter

Forget about the maths when buying one of these filters. It is highly unlikely that they will perform exactly as the maths suggest.
A quote from this site.

http://www.redbubble.com/people/peterh111/journal/4421304-the-ultimate-guide-to-neutral-density-filters

The Big Stopper is marketed as a 10-stop ND filter, but a card which comes with the filter states “Your BIG Stopper will have a density of somewhere between 9 1/3 and 10 2/3 stops.”

Speaking from experience I have two B&W 10 stop stop filters and they don't perform as the maths suggest. Someone I met has rated his at 11.5 stops
If you buy one then You will have to do trial & error and write down the findings.

Walter Schulz

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Re: Recommended neutral density filter? (including the variable kind)
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 04:10:11 AM »

Forget about the maths when buying one of these filters. It is highly unlikely that they will perform exactly as the maths suggest.

I think you are missing my point.
Thanks however for the link to the article.

Ciao, Walter



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stamper

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Re: Recommended neutral density filter? (including the variable kind)
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 04:29:26 AM »

I think it is worth emphasising the difference in the filters with respect to the maths. When I started using them my images were underexposed after using the charts and my posts to various forums resulted in being accused of not using them properly. If the site in the link is read fully then the myth about covering the view finder with your hand is also debunked. Covering the viewfinder with your hand isn't needed.

Walter Schulz

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Re: Recommended neutral density filter? (including the variable kind)
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2012, 04:38:38 AM »

The only thing I tried to explain to him is the different definition used by both companies. It wouldn't help him much to buy an ND 8 by Hoya. And in this case it doesn't matter if the actual light reduction is 2 1/3 stops or 3 2/3 stops.
You're okay with that?

Ciao, Walter
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stamper

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Re: Recommended neutral density filter? (including the variable kind)
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2012, 04:53:17 AM »

Walter I am not trying to get at you, just adding some more information to the thread. :)

Paul2660

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Re: Recommended neutral density filter? (including the variable kind)
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2012, 07:29:24 AM »

Hoya now sells, ND 16, ND 32 and ND 64 in their Pro line.  The 32 and 64 are new and they have been selling the ND 16 for about
a year now.  I have the Hoya Pro line ND 16 and it's a very good filter.  No color cast and slim.  They are marketed up to 82mm.

If you need larger and want a screw in, you need to look to B+W (Schneider) or Heliopan as they make filters at least to 95mm.  I
recently tired a Format 105mm but it had the color cast issue that was already mentioned in this cast strong Magenta.

The only issue with the Lee Big Stopper for me, is it's not large enough for some of my glass @ 4 x 4.  The latest versions of it seem
to be very clean without colorcast.  Hightech is now making a series of filters to fit in the Lee holders.  They make a 150mm x 150mm
which will fit in the Lee holder for the Nikon 14mm.  In that 150mm x 150mm series, they have a very good line up of ND, from 0.3 all
the way to 1.2 and then a 10 stop like the Lee.  I am waiting on a Hightech 150 x 150 ND 1.2 to see if it has any color cast issues.

As for the graduated question, I have not ever used a grad ND, the only ones I have looked at were too thick and would have vignetted
with shifting or any wide angle lens.  Singh Ray seems to get great reviews with their line up however.

Paul
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Paul Caldwell
Little Rock, Arkansas U.S.
Photography > http://photosofarkansas.com
Blog> http://paulcaldwellphotography.com
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