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ND Filter - I need help
I asked this in my usual forum - 40D - but it seems that either no one knows or they aren't willing to share so I thought I'd ask again here..

I know what a ND filter is for, and would love to start using them in high light situations, such as moving water shots or to hold shutter open to remove people, but I'm not sure what ND filter to get; 1 stop down, two or three..more? I don't really want to be buying three to start out with so could anyone tell me which to get first and why? What and where do I start?Thanks in advanceAJ - http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajabrams/sets/..

Comments (13)

This is difficult to answer for a single ND as the ambient light and desired effect are big variables. You're probably looking at an exposure time of 1/4 - 2 seconds, maybe longer depending on what effect your looking to achieve. An f-stop of f/8 - f11 is reasonable, smaller than this and diffraction will start to soften up the rest of the photo, naturally a low ISO..

I assume you have a circular polarizer, you can use it to add a little less than 2 stops. Depending on the light, there may not not be too much variable contribution from the CPL, so let's assume it's fixed. For an early morning shot the CPL might enough by itself. If you are shooting under conditions with more light, you could buy 2 NDs - a 3 stop and a 4 stop - you'll have the versatility to stack the filters to meet a lot of the conditions requiring from about 2 through 9 stops. Make sure the filters, including the CPL, can be stacked..

If you plan on shooting with different front diameter lenses, get the largest diameter filters and step-down rings for the smaller diameter lenses, and be careful with WA lenses as stacking filters will introduce some vignetting. Although less of an issue on 1.6 crop bodies, it might still be there. You can correct some of this in post processing, it also easy to understand how much vignetting there will be (measure it) and plan on cropping it out when you set up the shot..

Best regards,Doughttp://pbase.com/dougj..

Comment #1

I'm shooting with all 77mm lenses. Yes I have a B+W CPL, and no it isn't going to cut out enough light for day time shots (Sometimes you can't get the family up that early..lol). I'm not sure it's stackable, but I'll make sure the ND filter is. Thanks..was exactly what I was looking for.AJ - http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajabrams/sets/..

Comment #2

I'm glad it helped, sometimes other family members just don't see the value in rising early ..

The 77mm B+W MRC CP has a threaded front so it's stackable and can go anywhere in the stack for convenience. The CPL is nice to use on sunlit reflective water if there's polarized light anyway as you know. I don't know if the position of the filters in the stack really matters anyway as they're not graduated..

If you're going to potentially shoot with stacked filters on a WA, I suggest you do a couple of quick tests beforehand to see what it looks like, especially the vignetting. This can be very appealing on some shots, but it's good to see what the characteristics will be and plan accordingly..

Good shooting...

Sphinx002 wrote:.

I'm shooting with all 77mm lenses. Yes I have a B+W CPL, and no itisn't going to cut out enough light for day time shots (Sometimes youcan't get the family up that early..lol). I'm not sure it'sstackable, but I'll make sure the ND filter is. Thanks..was exactlywhat I was looking for.AJ - http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajabrams/sets/.

Best regards,Doughttp://pbase.com/dougj..

Comment #3

I'm thinking of a 1.2 Tiffen, or a .9 B+W. Any suggestion?.

Yes that is my CPL, I'm on a 40D so not too worried about vignetting.AJ - http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajabrams/sets/..

Comment #4

Do the math..

A 0.9 (3 stop) or 1.2 (4 stop) isn't going to be enough in full sunny daylight..

You're gonna want something on the order of a 10 stop..

Assume sunny 16 rule @ iso 100. so you have f/16 @ 125th @ ISO 100.then you open up to f/8 (+ 2 stops) which brings your shutter to 1/500th..

A 4 stop filter will only get you down to 1/30th sec which isn't enough to flow water..

A 10 stop filter will get you to 2 seconds and then you can first close the apertureif you want less time...

Comment #5

If it's bright sunlight he may need more. A total of 10 stops might be OK as a starting point, it's easy to go down 4 stops or so from there by increasing the ISO and changing the aperture. He could also use a 4 & a 6, add the CP and be covered for broader lighting ranges..

Howard Moftich wrote:.

Do the math..

A 0.9 (3 stop) or 1.2 (4 stop) isn't going to be enough in full sunnydaylight..

You're gonna want something on the order of a 10 stop..

Assume sunny 16 rule @ iso 100. so you have f/16 @ 125th @ ISO 100.then you open up to f/8 (+ 2 stops) which brings your shutter to1/500th..

A 4 stop filter will only get you down to 1/30th sec which isn'tenough to flow water..

A 10 stop filter will get you to 2 seconds and then you can firstclose the apertureif you want less time..

Best regards,Doughttp://pbase.com/dougj..

Comment #6

I went with a three stop for the only one I have. Seems pretty useful in the situations you describe. I figured, if I want it darker, I want it darker, and 1 stop really isn't that big of a difference. Also, if you have a polarizer, it is about 1 stop, and not that it is the same thing, but you can push it into service in a pinch. The only place I'd want a one stop (and I am thinking about getting one) is for fill flash in super bright conditions where you can't get a slow enough shutter speed to sync the flash, but where 3 would be overkill...

Comment #7

Today the water wasn't the problem because it was in shadow, but I think the 10stop idea might be the way to go especially if I want to use in direct light. Thanks guys.AJ - http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajabrams/sets/..

Comment #8

Filter2.com is currently having a sale on the B+W 10stop in 77mm size...

Comment #9

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I shot this on at high noon, with a nd 110 filter with a cpl on top of it. The shutter speed was 60 seconds at f/22. The waves turned into a white mist. I think my ND 110 filter is about -6 stops! D300 70~200mm 2.8..

Have fun!.

Steve..

Comment #10

One solution might be a variable 2-8 stop neutral density filter. Singh-Ray makes them, but they're quite expensive. Singh-Ray might be the best there is for any filter, and the variable model comes in thin ring and 77 or 82. They even have a 5 stop add-on filter for it..

Http://www.singh-ray.com/varind.html.

I use their ND Grads in P size and they really are the best, IMO.Cheers, Craig..

Comment #11

I went to their site..it doesn't look like they sell anything there but post production services.AJ - http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajabrams/sets/..

Comment #12

Na if I need to only block out light from a certain area I"ll do an HDR, or layers. I need it for those shots talked about here. 10 stop reduction here I come. I'll post some pics that I took yesterday when I can. Good light pictures thankfully.AJ - http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajabrams/sets/..

Comment #13

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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