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Author Topic: Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics  (Read 24743 times)

ChuckZ

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« on: January 21, 2010, 05:44:54 pm »

I received an Amazon gift certificate and I figure to use it to buy a neutral density filter so I can obtain shots of waterfalls with the flow blurred to get the silky effect.  The selection on Amazon is limited and I've narrowed down the choice to either a Heliopan  ND 0.6 4x (2 stop) or a Hoya 8X 0.9 (3 stop).  Until now, I've been able to get the effect most of the time by using my circular polarizer, but sometimes I cannot get the shutter speed slow enough if it is bright.  Any thoughts?  Thanks
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Luis Argerich

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2010, 06:44:42 pm »

I don't think a 2 stop or 3 stop ND filter will be enough. I'd recommend you a 10 stop or a 9 stop filter. The Hoya ND400 (9 stops) or the B+W 1000 (10 stops) are good examples.

An alternative if you already have a circular polarizer is to buy a linear polarizer of the same size and use both stacked. Turning the linear polarizer over the circular one you can get the scene as dark as you want. The only drawback is that the stacked combo may vignette with some camera+lens combinations.

Luigi

ChuckZ

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2010, 06:57:23 pm »

Quote from: Luis Argerich
I don't think a 2 stop or 3 stop ND filter will be enough. I'd recommend you a 10 stop or a 9 stop filter. The Hoya ND400 (9 stops) or the B+W 1000 (10 stops) are good examples.

An alternative if you already have a circular polarizer is to buy a linear polarizer of the same size and use both stacked. Turning the linear polarizer over the circular one you can get the scene as dark as you want. The only drawback is that the stacked combo may vignette with some camera+lens combinations.

Luigi

Thanks for the reply.  I did see a B+W 64X ND on the Amazon site.  However, their website says use of the filter results in a warm color cast in the image.  I'm uncertain if this is something I can rectify in Lightroom or not, so I did not consider it further.
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Sheldon N

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2010, 12:22:18 am »

I find a 6 stop filter more useful, the 10 stop puts your exposure times WAY out there if the light starts to fade. I use the B+W 6 stop ND, which is a filter factor of 1.8.
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Jonathan Cross

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2010, 03:52:46 am »

There is another discussion, which I started, running in this section at the moment called '9 and 10 stop ND filters'.  You may find some interesting thoughts there.  It all depends on how much blurring you want, and your budget.  It does appear that 9 and 10 stop filters can give a color cast which is thought to possibly be an infrared issue.  Certainly such filters are not easy to use as they are so dark, but they do produce the desired effect.  There is also a variable Singh-Ray filter mentioned in that discussion.  One other consideration which goes with the budget question (you pay for what you get) is that I presume you want a genuine neutral density filter, not just a grey filter.

Jonathan
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thierrylegros396

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2010, 04:06:10 am »

What do you think stacking two 3-stop ND filters in good light conditions ?!

In lower light you can use only one !

Thierry
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NikoJorj

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2010, 06:07:41 am »

Quote from: ChuckZ
I've narrowed down the choice to either a Heliopan  ND 0.6 4x (2 stop) or a Hoya 8X 0.9 (3 stop).  Until now, I've been able to get the effect most of the time by using my circular polarizer, but sometimes I cannot get the shutter speed slow enough if it is bright.
If you find the polarizer enough, then get a 0.9/8x = 3 stops filter. you could stack both if vignetting doesn't kick in...

ND64 is a bit of a different beast : the viewfinder is obscured, AF works painly if at all... and foremost the effect is quite different, between "just long" exposures in the (barely hand-holdable with IS) 1/20s-1/3s range, which imho might convey more of the sense of motion on a not-too-roaring stream, and the "artistic blur" kind of the 1s-15s exposure range.
Experiment between different kind of flows and different speeds.

An example of the first exposure range, shot with a polarizer (very probably stacked with a ND8) @ 1/8s and f/16. Manual IS   using a tree as monopod.
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Scott O.

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2010, 11:35:40 am »

My preference would be to use the gift certificate on something else and buy a Singh-Ray variable density filter.  I have used a couple of these over the past 2 years or so and find them really necessary.  You just spin the filter which dials in the amount of ND you want.  Extremely useful.

ChuckZ

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2010, 12:27:59 pm »

Quote from: Sheldon N
I find a 6 stop filter more useful, the 10 stop puts your exposure times WAY out there if the light starts to fade. I use the B+W 6 stop ND, which is a filter factor of 1.8.

Sheldon,
Does the B+W 6 stop ND add a color cast to your shots?  If so, how do you deal with it?  Thanks.
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ChuckZ

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2010, 12:47:19 pm »

Quote from: soberle
My preference would be to use the gift certificate on something else and buy a Singh-Ray variable density filter.  I have used a couple of these over the past 2 years or so and find them really necessary.  You just spin the filter which dials in the amount of ND you want.  Extremely useful.

It sounds like the Singh-Ray variable density filter is the ideal way to go to get a quality filter and the exact amount of neutral density desired.  However, at over $350 for the Singh-Ray filter and step up ring, I need to settle for something less expensive.
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Sheldon N

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2010, 02:07:55 pm »

I haven't noticed any color cast issues with my 6 stop ND, at least none that have jumped out at me.

The Singh Ray filter is really nice, except if you plan to shoot wide angle. It is think and will cause significant vingetting. I can't use an ND plus a polarizer on my 17-40 or 24-70 at the wide end without vignetting and the Singh Ray Vari-ND filter alone is thicker.
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ChuckZ

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2010, 02:06:22 pm »

Quote from: Sheldon N
I haven't noticed any color cast issues with my 6 stop ND, at least none that have jumped out at me.

The Singh Ray filter is really nice, except if you plan to shoot wide angle. It is think and will cause significant vingetting. I can't use an ND plus a polarizer on my 17-40 or 24-70 at the wide end without vignetting and the Singh Ray Vari-ND filter alone is thicker.

After taking the comments I've received here and my budget into account, I decided to order the B+W 64X (6 stop).  I'll post a review after I have a chance to use it.
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ChuckZ

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2010, 03:09:34 pm »

Quote from: ChuckZ
After taking the comments I've received here and my budget into account, I decided to order the B+W 64X (6 stop).  I'll post a review after I have a chance to use it.

I'm happy with the results I am getting with the 64X ND filter, as I am getting nice silky waterfalls.  At the same time, I can see the advantage of the variable ND filter of being easy to adjust the amount of blur in the waterfall.  For my budget, the 64X is fine.
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SeanBK

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2010, 03:28:50 pm »

Quote from: ChuckZ
I'm happy with the results I am getting with the 64X ND filter, as I am getting nice silky waterfalls.  At the same time, I can see the advantage of the variable ND filter of being easy to adjust the amount of blur in the waterfall.  For my budget, the 64X is fine.

 Nice results, like the details on rock formation. What were your settings & did you use sand bags on your tripod?
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ChuckZ

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2010, 07:26:14 pm »

Quote from: SeanBK
Nice results, like the details on rock formation. What were your settings & did you use sand bags on your tripod?

I used apeture priority mode at f11 to get the depth of field I needed, which resulted in a shutter speed of 6 sec for the shot on the left and 20 sec for the shot on the right (it was darker at that location).  No sand bags on the tripod.
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SeanBK

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2010, 08:30:10 am »

Quote from: ChuckZ
I used apeture priority mode at f11 to get the depth of field I needed, which resulted in a shutter speed of 6 sec for the shot on the left and 20 sec for the shot on the right (it was darker at that location).  No sand bags on the tripod.


Thanks. The results are quite good. Good luck.
   Sean
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guyharrison

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2010, 11:19:20 am »

Does anyone know if the Singh-Ray VariND filter is just a circular and linear polarizer put together?  Can you get the same darkening effect with the circular/linear stacking combo?  

I need to know this because I want the variable effect but for wide angle lenses.  I would take a 95mm circular with front threads and then stack a linear "thin ring" on top to minimize height, and then use step-up rings for different lenses in the hope that it would eliminate most vignetting issues at least down to about 20mm or so.  Singh-Ray does not offer the VariND larger than 82mm.

Thanks

Guy
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John Cothron

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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2010, 02:34:25 pm »

I've never quite understood the need for ND filters when shooting waterfalls.  Probably 50% of the shots I take are waterfalls, and I've yet to use an ND filter on any of them.  Granted, I'm usually f16-f20 depending on the scene and almost always ISO 50 and sometimes ISO 100.  It only takes 1-1.5 sec. of exposure time to get a nice blue action and sometimes that is too much depending on the amount of water flow.  Still, there are times when I expose for as much as 15 seconds depending on the scene.

1.  I ALWAYS shoot with a CPL, whether I'm using it to it's full effect on the scene or not... typically always have some dialed in however.
2.  Maybe the falls are just different here, being typically in a heavily wooded area without much light even in mid day.

I have used soft-edge GND's at times, but only when part of the scene is significantly brighter than the rest resulting in too much range.

I know people use them, but personally I fight the exposure times being too long as opposed to not long enough.



« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 02:41:41 pm by John »
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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2010, 04:21:01 pm »

Quote from: guyharrison
Does anyone know if the Singh-Ray VariND filter is just a circular and linear polarizer put together?  Can you get the same darkening effect with the circular/linear stacking combo?

Apparently so, so the same effect should be possible; beware of colour casts with cheap filters.
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Need neutral density filter recommendation for waterfall pics
« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2010, 04:28:36 am »

Quote from: thierrylegros396
What do you think stacking two 3-stop ND filters in good light conditions ?!

In lower light you can use only one !

Thierry

The other evening as the sun was setting - just over the horizon - I stacked a 3 and two 4 stop filters and managed to auto focus and get a pleasing image. The exposure had to be raised by two stops however. The 3 stop was a cheap Cokin filter which gives a colour cast which added nicely to the scene. I will process the image and post it. Not the best image in the world but it proves what the set up can do. The hump is an ancient castle which is over ten centuries old.

« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 04:51:32 am by stamper »
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