Polarizer or Graduated ND Filter?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Restomage, May 12, 2010.

  1. Restomage

    Restomage No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm going to be taking a bunch of landscape shots in the next couple weeks and my budget at the moment can only afford either a polarizer or a graduated nd filter but I can't decide which one would be more appropriate for me at this point. My goal is to pretty much properly expose the sky and foreground and create a good balance of light and I'm leaning towards one of those Graduated neutral density rectangular filters so I can acheive this but I'm just wondering what would be most benefitial to me at this point. Thanks for your help in advance! :thumbup:
     
  2. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

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    If you can only afford one filter, I would get the polarizer. It's a must have filter for landscape photography and you will get more use out of it than the graduated ND filter. BTW, if you have lightroom, there is a graduated filter tool available, and its easy to use.
     
  3. sinjans

    sinjans TPF Noob!

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    I would think that the answer is yes... If you want that dark sky effect get the GND but a CPL is a must for landscape. I went with a high quality cpl and am still in line for the GND. Good luck
     
  4. Restomage

    Restomage No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't have lightroom, but I have photoshop, is there a tool in there?
     
  5. Aye-non Oh-non Imus

    Aye-non Oh-non Imus TPF Noob!

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    A CPL is much more usefull in the grand schemes of things. A GND is further down the list.

    Software can respoduce the GND to a satisfactory level. Software cannot reproduce the effects of a CPL. Advise to get a quality CPL, multi-coated in the very least.
     
  6. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

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    If you have the latest version of ACR then I believe the tool is there.
     
  7. Vinny

    Vinny TPF Noob!

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    I would buy the polarizer. It really is a great filter to have when photographing landscapes.
     
  8. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    I use both. If you are shooting toward bright skies then I would certainly prefer the graduated neutral density filter. It can produce some great sunsets as well with foreground detail. The polarizer by the way has minimal or no effect on skies when you are shooting toward the bright areas.

    The polarizer does a great job with 90 degree angle lighting, glare, reflections etc. and can bring out side lit detail and apparently produce better colour due to glare reduction.

    So, it depends on what you are shooting and your style and approach as to which will be best for you.

    skieur
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Create a new adjustment layer for exposure and reduce the brightness by 1EV. Then apply a gradient to the layer mask of that layer.

    If the sky is slightly blown out then this works better if you darken the file in CamerRAW and then increase the brightness afterwards since you then benefit from highlight recovery.


    If you have a tripod, take 2 pictures with two different brightnesses, stack them as layers on topof each other and again use a layer mask. You can effectively fake an ND grad filter for non-moving subjects this way, and sometimes even moving subjects.
     
  10. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    You can to a certain degree fake either a polarizer or an ND grad filter in postprocessing. I have both as software filter plug-ins.

    The difference however is using the filters on the camera gives you more data to work with and therefore better quality, rather than massaging the data you have (which would be limited in darker areas) in post.

    skieur
     
  11. AUZambo

    AUZambo TPF Noob!

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    I agree with everyone else who is suggesting the polarizer. If you do get the grad ND, are you talking about a circular one that screws onto the lens, or a rectangular one? The problem with the screw-on grad NDs is that the position of the filter and horizon is fixed.

    Even if you don't have the holder, I'd get this filter (Grad ND Neutral Density Filter for Cokin P Brand NEW - eBay (item 220468869112 end time May-16-10 11:42:46 PDT)). You can hold the filter in front of the lens with your left hand while shooting with the right...and the filter is only $10.

    the problem with the grad ND filter I have is that the transition is TOO gradual. I'd like to find something that is a mix between the split ND and the typical grad ND.
     
  12. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    if you get the NDg get the square one with the mount for your lens.
    at the end to are cheaper and work better since you can turn them as you want.
    turnable round ndg filter are more expensive and then you are limited in your lens choice since you can only use the filter on lens that size.
     

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