ND filter for 100 ISO slide film?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Irminsul, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. Irminsul

    Irminsul 'The Column of Heaven'

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Florida.
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    An upcoming project by my local camera club (actually a bunch of friends who are film enthusiasts) will require shooting our "assignments" in slide film. I've got some Fuji Velvia 100 ISO. I've always shot print film before and I've been told that to get acceptable shots with slide film I will need a neutral density filter, or perhaps several. The assignment is a field trip to a South Florida beach area. To those here who are knowledgeable on the subject my question is: should I get ND filter(s) for my EOS Elan 7n camera, and if so, what type and brand would you recommend? Being an absolute newbie when it comes to slide shots, I would appreciate any helpful advice from the experts. :hail:
     
  2. SaSi

    SaSi TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    The ND (Neutral Density) filters are just light intensity filters. Typically, you could just use a higher f-stop or shutter speed to do the same.

    Obviously these filters exist for a reason and the above measures are not always the best option.

    Here are some reasons to use an ND (NDx2 or NDx4 or NDx whatever) filter - or more. And some reasons why not to use them.

    I would avoid using an ND filter - or any filter - simply because it gets between the subject and the lens, hence lowering the image quality even if by a whisker.

    I would consider the ND filter(s) in the following cases:

    Fast film (e.g. 400 or 1000) and sunny whether. You might want the fast film if you want to use the grain effect for whatever reason.

    Most lenses perform at their best when the apperture setting is below 13 and at least 1 or 2 stops above their minimum. At wide open many lenses suffer from increased vigneting and Chromatic Aberration while at closed apperture settings difraction softens the picture. So this practically gives you a much narrower selection of f-Stops to chose than the ones on your lens dial - for best results.

    Additionally, you might want to use a wide open - or just 1 stop down apperture setting for taking portraits and keeping the background blurred.

    In all the cases above, one could simply cut the exposure by 2 or even 3 stops and achieve the same result. A portrait picture will not be harmed if you use 1/500 or 1/1000 or even 1/2000 shutter speed.

    Of course there are exceptions.

    When shooting a portrait in broad daylight outdoors, you really need a fill-flash in many cases - to lighten up the face (unless you place the sun behind you and ask your subject to look at you - and the sun - and get nasty grimaces...).

    Now, using the flash blocks you - mostly - down to slow speeds so that the flash can sync with the camera. With older cameras that was 1/60 and recent cameras will only go as high as 1/200 or 1/250.

    So, if you need a wide apperture and slow shutter speed, you risk to overexpose the frame - when shotting outdoors in sunny florida. Even with a 100 ASA film.

    This is where the ND filters come in. I would not use too many of them. Instead of a couple of light filters, I would use a single NDx4. Too much extra glass and the tube it creates can soften the picture and create vignetting.
     
  3. Irminsul

    Irminsul 'The Column of Heaven'

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Florida.
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Thanks, SaSi. Great post. You've answered my question and then some. Like me, you might be a newbie to this forum but, unlike me, you're certainly not new to photography. I'd almost forgotten about ASA...I believe that was the old ISO, wasn't it? I'll follow your sage advice and get an NDx4 for those instances you mentioned.
     
  4. SaSi

    SaSi TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the comment. I must confess to be taking pictures with a rangefinder Agfa camera some (...) 30 years ago and doing darkroom work some 20 years ago. I am not that old, just had a pretty good headstart...

    I have stopped being involved with photography over the past 10 years, as too much involvement with work steals away too much time, but things change and I recently resumed this fine hobby in the digital era.

    Plenty of things to learn though and I realize there are several aspects of technology and techniques that have evolved in a big way. So, I am playing catchup myself.
     
  5. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,101
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Eddington, ME
    I have several ND filters from B&W and have to admit. I have never used them. I shoot enough film that if I need a slower shots. I just change film. Whenever I shoot I take several speeds with me. Only when I start to run out of film do I start to shoot with an unprefferred speed film.

    Even on a sunny beach 100 should be just fine.
     
  6. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,484
    Likes Received:
    0
    Could the person recommending an ND filter have been referring to a split or graduated ND filter? If so the advantages are more obvious; these only reduce the light intensity across part of the image. If an image contains dark shadows and bright highlights, often slide film will be unable to cope with both; you could end up with parts of the image being underexposed or overexposed, and a balanced exposure very difficult to achieve - but you can use a split or graduated ND filter to reduce the intensity of light from the brighter part of the image, and so get a more balanced exposure.
     
  7. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    14,491
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Europe 67.51°N
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    i agree on most said here.

    ND filters make only sense if you have too much light around (as in you want a long exposure time to get motion blur, but it is a sunny day, or if you dramatically want to reduce your depth of field).

    gradient ND filters make sense though, as mentioned by Zaphod, if you have strong differences in brightness in you scene, like a bright sky and dark shadows. Then slide film is in trouble as the dynamic range of slide film is more limited that that of negative. (But often slide film is not worse than digital sensors ;) )

    Anyway, I was shooting with Velvia 100 in Egypt in city and desert ... with rather extreme differences in brightness ... really hard shadows and very bright skies. I did not use any filter except UV and I must say I am happy with most shots. OK, some shadows lost their structure and became just plain black, but that is Velvia, which produces rather hard contrasts. ... but that is what Velvia is for, strong contrast, super fine grain and rather saturated colours.
     
  8. jwkwd

    jwkwd TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2005
    Messages:
    630
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Western N.Y.
    As great as Velvia is for nature/landscapes, it's not the best for skin tones. You might want to pick up a roll of Provia if you are thinking of people shots.
     
  9. ladyphotog

    ladyphotog TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2006
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Use a polarizer also, you can forget the ND if you do, the polarizer will act as one and also give you better sky and water color and saturation.
     
  10. fightheheathens

    fightheheathens TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Berkeley
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Im gona have to say, against the others, that Graduated neutral density filters are an absolute must for slide photography.

    Print film has a pretty wide lattitude and from my experience, you can go about 2 stops in either direction from a proper exposure and still get a good image out of it. Often times you will find that in a single shot, you can have a varience of 2 or more stops from the light to dark areas. \

    Slide film is different. It has much less lattitude. therefore it is quite important to get even light through out all of your shot. Often what happens is the sky produces much more light then what you get on the ground. I have found from experience that even on a sunny day with sun behind you, there can be up to a full stop difference from the ground and the sky. To achieve good slide pics then, you have to find a way to even this light out. Graduated ND filters are split down the middle (for sky/ground)
    This split allows full light to come in from the ground (or where ever is darkest in the picture) while restricting the light from the bright parts (or sky) This gives you the even shot which is critical in slide film.

    As for systems, I think the Cokin Filter system is pretty nice. Its what i use and you can put several filters on the end of your camera and you are able to rotate them. Further more, with the ND filters on the Cokin system, the split doesnt have to be at exactly half the way down in the frame, it is adjustable.

    The way i meter for a shot (I use Velvia 50 quite a bit) is that i expose for the ground by eleminating the sky from my shot then i go about 1/3 to 1/2 stop under this. (better color saturation) Then i meter the sky to see if i need to use an ND filter and if i do, which one. By pointing to the sky, my meter tells me how much brighter the sky is then the ground. I then compose my shot using the meter reading i got from metering only the ground (or bright part of the picture) and put in my ND filter.


    as far as sharpness goes. thats a bunch of bunk. unless your putting 3 or 4 filters on your camera, your not gona notice the difference even when projecting the slide film on a rather large wall.

    I personally use a graduated ND2 and Graduated ND4 filter when shooting slide.
     
  11. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    14,491
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Europe 67.51°N
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Well, this is not so far from what I said :) The only difference is that you say "must" and I said useful.
    I totally agree that it is a very valuable addition to your gear to have a graduated ND. You will certainly be able to shoot under more complicated light conditions then. My only trouble with a graduated filter is, however, that often the borderleine between the bright part and the dark part of an image can be very different from a straight line ...

    Anyway, so your experience with Cokin is nice? I thought of gving it a try since those filters you screw in are simply not flexible enough.
     
  12. fightheheathens

    fightheheathens TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Berkeley
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    yea, the straight border in the Graduated ND is sometimes a pain, but since it doesnt always have to be horrizontal, you can make do with it. And yes, i do enjoy the Cokin system. it lets me keep all the filters on and change lenses with out having to unscrew 3 filters then screw them back into another lens
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
best nd filgter for film photography
,
film camera, using a nd filter
,
graduated neutral density filter with slide film
,

nd filter and film

,
nd filter and slide film
,

nd filter film

,

nd filter on film

,

nd filter slide film

,
nd filters and film
,
slide film nd filter