ND or Polarizer?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by helloyo53, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. helloyo53

    helloyo53 TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone.

    So today is my birthday, and my parents are taking me to a camera shop because I wanted to buy a filter for my camera. I wanted to get a filter so that I can achieve the wispy water effect when I am taking pictures of streams. Now, I read somewhere that ND and polarizer filters can do this, is this true? Which one should I buy for achieving that effect?

    Thanks much! :)
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have good news - you don't (nessessarily) need the filter! :)
    What you do need though is to be up early in the morning or out in the late evening when the sun is low in the sky (or not even risen yet). During those "golden hours" not only is the lighting a lot softer, but its also a lot less and with less lighting that means that you can leave your shutter open for longer to get that blurred water effect. All the filters are doing in this case example is reducing the light getting into the camera and thus similating the same effect - however your still going ot have to shoot around the same time since the filter effect will not be enough to counter very bright conditions.

    Other things you can do are:
    Stop down the aperture - use a bigger f number such as f13 (avoid the very big f numbers such as f22 because they will start to have diffraction problems which will make your shots blurry)
    Use the lowest ISO you can

    Also on the filter side what is your budget (oh and have you got a tripod you'll need one of those!)
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Either filter will absorb some light, giving you longer shutter speeds....but that's not the primary use of a polarizing filter.
    I've got CP filters and ND filters. The only time I ever use the ND filters are when I'm shooting water and want longer shutter speeds (not that often). I use my CP filters almost anytime I'm shooting landscape photos.
    So if it's a matter of only getting one filter, I'd suggest the Circular Polarizer.

    As mentioned, you get get the wispy water effect with or without filters, it just depends on the light levels you are shooting in.

    And yes, I tripod is a necessity.
     
  4. Joves

    Joves No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The ND is good for the water effect but, so can the CP. WHat you need to do is slow the camera down. Set your ISO to as low as it will go, close up your aperture on your lens, which should give you a slow shuttter speed. Adjust the aperture as needed to get the effect you want.
     
  5. Stosh

    Stosh TPF Noob!

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    I personally would go for the CP because it's much more useful in a wider variety of situations. Don't skimp on a cheap one. There was just a thread in here about how somebody's pics started getting fuzzy above 100mm focal length and we've decided it was his cheap CP filter.

    And for future reference, you'll probably want a ND filter that's much stronger than the equivalent CP filter. When you're looking to really slow down your camera, 1/2 to 1 full stop usually isn't nearly enough. Get a 2-3 stop ND filter.
     
  6. citjet

    citjet TPF Noob!

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    Because of the hours Im available to take pictures, I have to shoot during the day time hours. I love to do long exposures of water and have done a carefull stack of the Circular Polarizer combined with a ND8. On wide angle setting, youre going to get vignetting on the edges of your image because of the intrusion of the filters into the optical sight picture. So keep that in mind too.

    After a while you are going to accumulate a bunch of filters and for now I'd stick with a good CP and ND filter.

    Good luck and remember, most of us that have this as a serious hobby are still learning. Im all self taught and am loving it.
     
  7. citjet

    citjet TPF Noob!

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    Yes, a tripod with a non wobbly head is a must also.

    This was taken in the summer at high noon but with a really darkened lens.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Actually the current approach is to use an ND filter if necessary to get a slower shutter speed plus a polarizer to get some surface texture to the water.

    skieur
     

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