Soft or hard GND (and a few other filter questions...)?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Dieter01, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. Dieter01

    Dieter01 TPF Noob!

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    I have just bought a Nikon D200 and two lenses with 77 mm filter rings. Could someone please help me with a few questions regarding matching filters?
    1. After reading several of the threads on this forum regarding filters I have decided to buy a Cokin P series filter holder. Could someone confirm that I will not be needing an adapter ring?
    2. I can only find this filter holder bundled with filters I don't need/want (on B&H photo). Is it possible to buy just the filter holder anywhere, or do you have to go for one of the bundled kits?
    3. I am going to buy Singh-ray GND's instead of Cokin. I am not sure if I should opt for soft or hard though... I see many pictures are taken with hard, but in Norway there are mountains everywhere so I imagine that maybe a soft filter would be more appropraite... Which applications typically call for one or the other? Which do you find yourself using the most?
    4. Buying a circular polarizer like the Tiffen 77mm wide-angle seems more convenient than a rectangular one. Does it have greater limitations on use with wide angle lenses though, or do all polarizers work equally bad?
     
  2. Dieter01

    Dieter01 TPF Noob!

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    Sorry to bug! Anyone able to help out?
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome.

    You should be able to buy the filter holder by itself. I've never checked on B&H but also check Adorama or even E-bay. Yes, you will need an adapter. The holder itself does not attach directly to the lens...it needs a adaptor that is matched to the size of your lens threads...in this case 77mm.

    Make sure the off brand filters are the right size for a Cokin P holder. They have to be an exact size to fit into the holder.

    As for hard or soft, I guess with mountains, soft would be better than hard. It's still a bit of a compromise though.
    [You might be better served if you learn to combine exposures in Photoshop. You can easily take two exposures of different values and use them to get a wider range...which is what these filters are for anyway...and with software, you have a lot more flexibility. Even with a single exposure, replicating a split filter is extremely easy in Photoshop]

    Get a circular polarizer. The only issues I can think of with a polarizer and a wide angle is that the polarization effect can not be even over such a wide view because the effect is dependant on the angle to the sun. Or possibly a think filter may cause some vignetting on a really wide lens.
     
  4. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    1. You do need an adapter ring. The filter holder mounts to the adapter ring, and you need one for each lens you'll be using it on. In your case a 77mm adapter ring.

    2. You can buy the filter holder alone, and any filter you want from either Adorama or B&H by clicking the links at the top right of this page.

    3. The advantage of Square ND filters and the Cokin system is that you can move the filter up and down, changing the point where the split is. Every situation is different and every composition will require something different. Some guys don't even use the filter holder, and just tape the ND on, sometimes using more than one, and angling them to suit the horizon.

    4. Polarizers work fine on any lens. The only issue you might get is vignetting on a super wide angle lens. It all depends on how wide your lens is, and how thick the filter is. I use a 77mm polarizer on a 17mm lens with no vignetting.
     
  5. Dieter01

    Dieter01 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you! I have a follow up question:

    The specifications read: "The Cokin Creative Filter System consists of a rectangular plastic filter holder with four slots (one for Cokin rotating filters and three for rectangular ones), a variety of optional adapter rings which click into place and rotate, and many optical resin filters".

    If I buy a 77mm polarizer to fit my lenses, can I use it in addition to an ND filter? Is it the right size (and shape)? Or is the slot that rotates rectangular?
     

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