Graduated ND Filter - Which one?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by sam_justice, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. sam_justice

    sam_justice TPF Noob!

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    I'm thinking of picking up some Graduated ND Filters for landscape photography to get some more vibrant skies, I am looking at the LEE range Lee Filters Neutral Density Graduated Filters but they are quite pricey, I was wondering. Are there similar ones of same quality (I want a square block like those so I can choose the amount as opposed to a lens filter) for a cheaper price? If not, what one should I get? Since I haven't used one before I'm not sure how many stops down I want, what would be a common good one to use?
     
  2. Kofman13

    Kofman13 TPF Noob!

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    I thought CPL polarizing filters were for vibrant skies?
     
  3. sam_justice

    sam_justice TPF Noob!

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    They can help glare, but if you're shooting a sunset and you're getting an uneven exposure (bright top, dark bottom) Grad ND can help a lot.
     
  4. Kofman13

    Kofman13 TPF Noob!

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    Good lord, I was having that problem.. I know what filter I'm getting next !
     
  5. Jarmo

    Jarmo TPF Noob!

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    Here's an example for Kofman [​IMG] [​IMG]

    (not my pictures, just pulled them off of google)
     
  6. sam_justice

    sam_justice TPF Noob!

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    Nice! Did you take that? If so, what filter?
     
  7. JG_Coleman

    JG_Coleman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    CPL filters are the tool that is generally understood to make skies more vibrant. Though, because GND filters are able to selectively hold back light, they can produce a balanced photograph where vibrant color and detail in the sky is not lost in the process of properly exposing the foreground.

    Technically, they don't make the skies more vibrant... but by optimizing exposure they may allow you to better preserve the vibrance & detail that is already there.

    I've always used Cokin GNDs, so I can't really say how they compare to Lee filters in terms of quality. Nonetheless, they've worked out rather well and helped me tackle shots that I couldn't have otherwise.

    I carry three of them around with me... an ND2, ND4, and ND8. I've found that I use the darker ND8 more than any of the others. In fact, in certain situations, I've even stacked the ND8 / ND4 or the ND8 / ND2. I don't recommend that technique (it doesn't work too well), though if you can find a darker filter than the ND8, I'd recommend buying that, as well. The ND2, while not entirely unused, is so light that its effect can be matched merely by a polarizer in many situations.

    I think Cokins cost somewhere between $20 and $25 each, just for reference. Not sure how much the Lee filters go for. If I recall correctly, three Cokin GNDs and the lens-mounted holder cost me something like $75.
     
  8. sam_justice

    sam_justice TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for that, are they all Grad grey filters? I live in the UK where did you purchase them from?
     
  9. sam_justice

    sam_justice TPF Noob!

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  10. Taylor510ce

    Taylor510ce TPF Noob!

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    get a Cokin P series set. they are frequently out of stock though. You need to get the adapter for whatever diameter of thread your lens has. I bought two grad filters and the holder and adapter for 77M for lik 60 bucks i think. They typically have the individuals in stock. Just not the sets.

    http://www.adorama.com/CKNDKP.html
     
  11. sam_justice

    sam_justice TPF Noob!

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  12. Taylor510ce

    Taylor510ce TPF Noob!

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    better effect ( usually ) and better glass. I had cheap ones and just got a B&W midlevel that was a little over 100 I think. dont want a cheap filter on my L glass.
     

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