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Author Topic: Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras  (Read 6647 times)

ashaughnessy

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Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras
« on: April 06, 2016, 07:22:34 am »

How do people make use of graduated neutral density filters with mirrorless cameras nowadays? I know Lee has introduced a line of extra-hard grads for use with smaller sensor cameras but the real problem seems to be lining the thing up when you can't stop down to the taking aperture. Do people have ways around this or do you simply take multiple exposures and blend in post-processing?
Anthony
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Anthony Shaughnessy
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dwswager

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Re: Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2016, 09:03:26 am »

How do people make use of graduated neutral density filters with mirrorless cameras nowadays? I know Lee has introduced a line of extra-hard grads for use with smaller sensor cameras but the real problem seems to be lining the thing up when you can't stop down to the taking aperture. Do people have ways around this or do you simply take multiple exposures and blend in post-processing?
Anthony

I used a set if Singh-Ray split graduated ND filters back in the film days with SLR Bodies.  They sit almost unused now.  Between the expanded dynamic range modern sensors provide (currently shooting a Nikon D810) over slide film especially and the ability to relatively easily composite multiple exposure, I find using grad NDs the hardest path to problem.  Moving subjects are still one area where compositing is an issue.
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2016, 01:00:26 pm »

In answer to the OP questions, most/(maybe all?) mirrorless cameras operate at the set aperture, so they are always in "depth of field" preview mode.

depending on subject matter I still find ND grad's a useful tool on occasion, and always have them with me.  However I certainly do not use them nearly as much with current sensors as I have in the past with earlier digital cameras or with film.
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AlterEgo

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Re: Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2016, 01:43:10 pm »

In answer to the OP questions, most/(maybe all?) mirrorless cameras operate at the set aperture, so they are always in "depth of field" preview mode.

for example for Sony A7* FF lineup = Lens Aperture Diaphragm during AF might depend on : (1) camera model (2) firmware version - see the discussions recently @ dpreview (3) lens model : native zoom vs native prime vs adapted (4) display settings : ON/OFF (5) AF-S vs AF-C (5) aperture settings on camera (<= F8, >= F8) and (6) for AF-C was it the initial focus acquisition or maintaining the acquired focus = so whether the focusing is performed (A) wide open / (B) open somewhat from aperture setting / (C) at aperture setting shall be always tested ...

so any attempts to generalize like " most/(maybe all?) mirrorless cameras operate at the set aperture " are incorrect

« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 01:46:48 pm by AlterEgo »
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rdonson

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Re: Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2016, 03:14:17 pm »

How do people make use of graduated neutral density filters with mirrorless cameras nowadays? I know Lee has introduced a line of extra-hard grads for use with smaller sensor cameras but the real problem seems to be lining the thing up when you can't stop down to the taking aperture. Do people have ways around this or do you simply take multiple exposures and blend in post-processing?
Anthony

I don't use them anymore.  For me multiple exposures and HDR /post processing have replaced the need in my shooting styles. 
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Ron

Dave Ellis

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Re: Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2016, 12:07:05 am »

but the real problem seems to be lining the thing up when you can't stop down to the taking aperture.

Hi Anthony

I'm not sure that I see where you are coming from here. In my experience, it is easier to line up a GND with the brightest view possible. For example, if you are using the viewfinder on a DSLR, having the aperture set to max prior to pressing the shutter is an advantage IMO as it gives the brightest possible view. If you are shooting in Live View mode with a DSLR, the screen view seems to remain the same irrespective of aperture setting, at least with the cameras I have used. The same goes for my a6000.

As for the sharpness of the transition, I've used normal hard grads with an APSC sensor camera without any problems. It might be more of an issue with other mirrorless cameras with smaller sensors though.

Dave
« Last Edit: April 15, 2016, 01:13:34 am by Dave Ellis »
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2016, 11:19:51 am »

I use then the same way as I have been using them for 20 years. With my Sony A7II, it is actually much easier to see where the transition is, compared to my past-Canon cameras.

I use the normal Lee filter system, no need for specific MILC systems.

Wayne Fox

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Re: Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2016, 08:19:42 pm »

for example for Sony A7* FF lineup = Lens Aperture Diaphragm during AF might depend on ...
Not concerned with what happens to the aperture during AF (a different topic).  The original question was how to preview the effects of a split ND filter if you "can't stop the lens down".  The camera operates at aperture and thus what you see regarding DoF and effects of the transition of a split ND filter do not require stopping down.  In some cases if you also try and "focus" the camera, the aperture may actually open up to allow more light to the sensor, so don't focus and preview DoF at the same time, but not sure anyone would do that anyway.

There are plenty of photographers who still find them useful (albeit not nearly as often as years past).  I would much prefer using a split ND on an oceanscape, making it much easier to preview the results in the viewfinder and making it faster/easier to post process.
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ashaughnessy

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Re: Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2016, 12:37:38 pm »

Wayne, I quick test with my Olympus OMD-EM10 suggests the opposite of what you say - it displays the EVF preview image wide open and then stops down to take, as you'd expect. I tested this simply by viewing a scene with the aperture set to wide open (5.6 at 42mm) then changing the aperture to f22. The apparent depth of field didn't change at all, though the change was easily noticeable in the shots taken at the two apertures. This seems to me proof positive that the camera operates wide open until you press the shutter button. This is what I'd expect, otherwise I can't see how it could reasonably gather enough light to operate when you're stopped down to f22.
Anthony
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Anthony Shaughnessy
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2016, 02:31:27 pm »

Yeah, olympus a little different.  Not sure about the original 10, but the mark II version can be setup using a function button.

Gear menu - B (Button/Dial) - Button function - Assign "Preview" function to the button you like. It has aperture icon on it and "Depth of field preview" info text on screen when selected.
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ashaughnessy

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Re: Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2016, 03:14:35 pm »

Yes, that works as a DoF preview on my EM10 mark 1 - that's actually very useful, thanks Wayne! Actually more useful than DoF preview on both my film and digital SLRs, whose optical viewfinders go unusably dim when you stop down. The EVF on the EM10 remains usably bright even when stopped down to f22 looking out of my window at 8:15, just after the sun has set.
I might try some experiments with my Lee hard grads and see how the work out with the EM10.
Anthony
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Anthony Shaughnessy
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gazwas

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Re: Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2016, 05:39:29 pm »

I use Lee ND grad all the time with my A7RII and even today I've just just placed an order for the new medium grad set.

I much prefer to get things right in camera at capture than have to mess about with skies when post processing especially when having to shoot in sometimes less than ideal conditions as a well placed grad can often save a shot IMO.
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torger

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Re: Graduated ND filters and mirrorless cameras
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2016, 02:42:13 am »

I guess my Linhof Techno would count as a mirrorless. As I use the small Schneider Digitar lenses I can actually use the Lee Seven5 filter set, I'm really pleased with the form factor. On my widest lens I do get a little bit of hard vignette for maximum side-shift but it's good enough for me.

Regarding placement I actually look at the front of the camera and place it. As I usually have the camera level and use rise/fall the filter should most often be placed in the middle. Only rarely I actually look at the ground glass to see where it gets, and I agree that it can be quite difficult to see exactly where the transition is. Often I have the time to make test shots though, and then I may do some trial error to fine-tune the placement.

I use the grads solely as an exposure tool though (my Kodak CCD needs it more than those Sony sensors), as I need LCC calibration shots anyway I shoot them with the filter on and then cancel out the filter in post, and apply a new virtual grad. This means that I tend to use sharp transition filters even if it looks a bit too sharp in the original image, I then apply a softer in post-processing.
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