Filter questions...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by user3977, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. user3977

    user3977 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    so i was looking for a ND filter. Im not sure if im looking at the right things. everyone has been saying 100+ for them but ebay and B&H have them for much less. so is there others out there? and second question. screw on filters or the kits with plates. is there a difference? i have seen the plate ones that fit 2 lenses i have for about 60 bucks and has 6 plates. or i can get screw on ones. im just kinda lost on the filter issue. the only reason i ask about the plates is when i was doing my falls pic there was a guy with a 5D II and he had the plate setup.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The prices of filters will vary widely. Some are better than others, and price is usually an indicator...but finding the best 'value' isn't easy. I usually avoid the most expensive and the least expensive, and choose something in the middle.

    If you are looking for an ND filter (and only an ND filter) I think that round ones are a good choice. If you want to use it on lenses of different sizes, then get the larger size and a 'step-up ring' for the smaller size.

    If you are looking for split or graduated filters, then I'd suggest avoiding the round ones because the split is almost always in the middle of the filter...which may not be where you want to put it. The beauty of square filters, is that you can adjust where the split/gradient is to suit your composition.
     
  3. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    When you say "plate" filter, you're talking about the square ones that slip into a holder, I assume?

    That's a Cokin style system, and I've been using it for I guess 25 years or so. I like the way they work. It makes it very convenient to change filters and to position them however you like on the fly, rather than having to screw one on, unscrew it, screw another one on, wrestle with stuck ones using a filter wrench, etc. More importantly though, it means I can use the same filter on all my lenses, no matter what the thread diameter of each one is.

    Once I started using the Cokin system and square filters, I abandoned screw on filters altogether (other than a UV for lens protection, and I've given that up now as well after some testing I did showed that it was introducing unwanted artifacts in my shots - but that's another story).

    A couple years ago, I also gave up using most of my colored Cokin filters for sunsets, blue skies, etc, in favor of the filters in photoshop which offer much more control, range, and are always 100% dust, fingerprint and glare free.

    So now, I'm down to pretty much using only two types of filters in front of my glass: Polarizers and Neutral Densities. While I love the Cokin filter holder and square filters, I've found that inexpensive ND filters (like the basic Cokin brand) introduce a color cast that leans toward magenta.

    All that said, here's my take on it:

    Square filter systems = good.
    Cheap filters of any kind = bad.

    Remember the old adage: You get what you pay for. Get good ones and buy them just once. Take care of them and they'll last you virtually forever. Or buy cheap ones and be disappointed until you break down and buy good ones, which in the end costs you more money and more frustration, with no additional benefits except to say you had to learn the lesson yourself.
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Annoying but true. I've found that colour cast can usually be all but elminated except in the most extreme circumstances (ie, shooting directly toward the sun) with the use of an "extreme" lens hood. I keep a large-ish piece of matte-black craft foam (about 12x18; < $2.00 at Wal-mart/Michaels) in my camera bag, and simply hold that above the filter. Sometimes it requires a little experimenting to find out exactly where to hold, but it always either dramatically reduces the problem, or more often, elminates it totally. Just be careful to review your pictures and make sure there are no fingers or foam edges in the shot.
     
  5. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Whatever do you mean?​


    [​IMG]




    :biglaugh:



    BTW, you can see the magenta being introduced with the Cokin filter. I did not make any adjustments.​
     
  6. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Oh brother....
     
  7. sobolik

    sobolik TPF Noob!

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    I use cheap Cokin and even the cheaper knock off ones. I just hand hold them by the corners up to the lens. I add plates to get the x of ND that I need. People make way too much to do when they recommend the big dollar equipment. The spending of big bucks are for those that make their living off of every shot and then leave no stone unturned. If you don't believe me on the excess obsession with the "image degradation" thing then have a look at this link. You will be very surprised.

    "Will dirt and dust really show up in pictures? Is it necessary to clean minor dust and fingerprint smudges from the camera lens? "
    Dirty lens article
     
  8. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ..... and that was with the camera mounted in portrait orientation, same as the filters, yeah I was stacking two.

    Why you otta seen it in landscape orientation.




















    Well then, I think I will.

    [​IMG]




    I hand held the filters 'cause the 14-24mm doesn't accept mounting them. Trying to get close without touching the bulbous front element was a challenge. Mainly due to the massive hangover I was suffering from.


    Another :biglaugh:. Sometimes I just crack myself up.​
     
  9. user3977

    user3977 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    alright so i found this on adorama.

    · B&W Neutral Density filters are available in most sizes and in the following strengths:
    · .3 (2X) Reduces the light one f-stop.
    · .6 (4X) Reduces the light two f-stops.
    · .9 (8X) Reduces the light three f-stops.
    · 1.8 (64X) Reduces the light six f-stops
    · 3.0 (ten f-stops) & 4.0 (seventeen f-stops) are for astronomical and sun studies.

    would it be good to get a couple of 2x and stack them or get maybe one of each and use as needed. i keep looking at the plate system and thinking maybe that and just a couple of plates. im still undecided on the route to go with this. so many choices
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I knew Jose was assisting you on that shoot! I recognized his style. I used to have his buddy, Johnny, helping me out all the time...the two are similar in the way they work...
     
  11. user3977

    user3977 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    well i hope this does not bite me in the ass. i ordered the actual Cokin ND filter plates but i got the whole adaptor setup off of ebay for 5 bucks. i have 30 days supposedly on the return policy with the ebay seller so if the filters dont fit or it looks that off im either out 5 bucks or they take it back. i guess its not that bad of an issue. i'll post up pics of it once it all gets here and used.
     
  12. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I gathered that your desire to get ND filters is to shoot waterfalls with long enough exposures to get that blurred silky water effect. So here's what you need to do:

    Think about your waterfall shooting situations, what you want to do, and make some calculations.

    Let's say that you're on a tripod and you're stopped down as far as you can on whatever lens you decide to use for some particular shot. Maybe that's f/16, maybe it's f/32 - I don't know. You're shooting at the lowest ISO setting your camera will allow, probably ISO 100 on the Canon model body you use. You're doing this to let in as little light as possible so as to lenthen your shutter time of course. Now, with that done, what's your shutter speed? Depends on the light at that location at that time of day under those particular conditions, right?

    Let's just say that it's 1 second. What will a 1 stop ND allow you to do? It'll let you double that to 2 seconds. A 2 stop filter? 4 seconds. 3 stops? Double it again to 8 seconds. And so on.

    But maybe the scene is brighter, or you can't stop it down as much because of compositional issues that you want to take advantage of, so your shutter is 1/125th. A 1 stop filter gets you 1/60th. 2 stops, 1/30th. 3 stops, 1/15th. 4 stops, 1/8 second. 5 stops, 1/4 second. 6 stops, 1/2 second. 7 stops, 1 full second. 8 stops, 2 full seconds of shutter time.

    Add on a polarizer in any of those situations, and you can take it down another 2 stops.

    So now the questions are, how long do you want to be able to leave that shutter open, how bright is the scene, and how much control do you want over your aperture?

    The longer you want that shutter to be open and the brighter it is and the more control you want, the more ND you'll need to pull it off.

    Now, all that said (to help you understand the dynamics of the situation), most waterfall shooters looking for that silky effect, in most situations, find that a polarizer and/or a 2 stop ND or gets them where they want to be, so that's probably a good place to start.

    Will it cover every situation, especially if you want some seriously long shutter times? No. But how much do you need to get that silky effect? Depends on volume and speed of the water you're shooting, and the interpretation you want to present with your composition.

    This was 10 seconds at f/22 on a bright sunny day with 6 stops of ND stacked up on a 18-55mm kit lens @ 18mm:

    [​IMG]

    This was 1 second at f/32 on a bright sunny day with a 2 stop ND on a 28-135mm lens @ 95mm:

    [​IMG]

    I've also seen plenty of silky effects at 1/15th second.

    Hope that's helpful to you in some way.
     

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