Filter Suggestions

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by dawgfish, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. dawgfish

    dawgfish TPF Noob!

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    I would like to add a graduated neutral density filter to my bag but I am not sure which style to purchase. I have read recommendations for round filters because they are easy and fast to implement and rectangle because they are more adjustable. Sharing your personal experiences with either would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A graduated Neutral Density filter has a graduation in its filtering effect - with the circular screw in filter kinds this point of graduation occurs in the middle of the filter. Compositionally this is limiting as it also means that your shots point of change also has to be in the middle.

    The rectangular kind which fit into a filter holder allow you to slide the filter up and down in the holder so that you can choose where the line of graduation occurs in your shot. This frees up a lot of compositional options for yourself.
     
  3. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I went with the Cokin filters and holder. TBH, the holder is a PITA. If I'm using one or two at the time (which really isn't all that often), it's just as easy to hold in front of the lens. Of course, it's much easier if you're using a tripod.

    I've got 'em, but I don't use 'em that much anymore. That's mainly because I don't do nearly as many landscapes as I use to.

    You can also duplicate the effect of a GND in post nearly as good as in the field.
     
  4. JG_Coleman

    JG_Coleman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The round filters should really be avoided. It's not that they don't work, but they will interfere with your compositions by forcing you to position your horizons in the center of the frame.

    (On a side note, the round filters would've potentially have been much more useful if the dark portion covered roughly 1/3 of the filter instead... and rotated just like a CPL. I'm somewhat surprised that nobody has thought of that yet!)

    I use the rectangular Cokins and the filter holder. As kundalini mentioned, the holder really is a huge pain... but it can be rather useful in some scenarios, so it's nice to have. The problem is that it's such a big production pulling out the holder, screwing it on the lens, positioning the GND, checking the viewfinder, re-positioning... etc, etc. When you're working with changing light, it can feel like an eternity before the rig is set up, even if it really only takes 60 seconds to put it all together.

    Nonetheless, they are indispensable for many landscape scenarios. While I agree with kundalini that "digital" GNDs can do impressive things, there are certain times when a real GND is what the situation calls for... such as when the disparity between foreground details and the sky is so great that achieving a properly exposed foreground means pushing the sky too far to be digitally recovered. In those cases, the GND really shines.

    As kundalini also mentioned, it's so much easier to hold the filters up the lens rather than seating them in the holder. Just beware: I have destroyed a few Cokins by scratching them when I accidentally held them up to the lens with my metal CPL attached... a stupid mistake, but one that is unforgiving on a plastic GND. Once GNDs gets scratched, they become practically useless, producing all kinds of aberrations and blurs when they are struck by light.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  5. dawgfish

    dawgfish TPF Noob!

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    I'm liking this idea. This may be your ticket to one meeellion dollars!


    Thanks for the great responses. Looks like I'll try the cokin system since the cost is reasonable and will avoid the screw ins.
     
  6. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sorry, I have to STRONGLY disagree with you on this. There are some situations where it can be simulated in post, but if you're shooting a sunset/sunrise and blow the highlights, no amount of work in post is going to restore them, whereas using the filter at the time would have preserved them.
     
  7. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You are correct sir. I have one word in my defense........ BRACKETING.
     
  8. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'll give you that! :p
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes one can bracket as series of shots and then use software to automatically or manually merge two or three shots together into a final composite. However I'd say there are still a few instances where graduated filters are what a shooter might want and on a more personal level sometimes its good to get the single shot all in one rather htan have to edit (it can also give an idea what the final edited result of bracketing might look like
     

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