Grad ND filter information needed

batmura

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I am currently using just a 10-stop B+W ND filter for shooting long exposure photos, but I have recently been shooting more often into the setting sun which causes the sky to blow out while the foreground seems well exposed. Therefore, I've been thinking of getting a graduated ND filter to darken the skies and capture better cloud movement. Which brands would be a good choice and how many stops would be recommended? Also, where would I stack the grad filter? Would it go directly over the lens in order to set the focus on auto before switching to manual? I have seen some videos where the grad ND filter was attached after the ND filter? Wouldn't that make it hard to focus with a 10-stop filter?

I am looking to buy a filter that is reasonable in price, by the way. Thanks!
 

cynicaster

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I was going to post a thread with a question but the obligatory "pre-question forum search" turned up this old post that asks exactly what I want to know. Can anybody chime in? I'm mostly interested to know what brands and types people have had the most success with.

PS--I'm not interested in round/threaded types.
 

rambler

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Look into NiSi filter system. You will have focus first. Here is where mirrorless cameras make things a lot easier to see the effects of the filters directly on the LCD, but there good also to help with exposure times. NiSi has one, too
 

rambler

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Look into NiSi filter system. You will have focus first. Here is where mirrorless cameras make things a lot easier to see the effects of the filters directly on the LCD, but there good apps also to help with exposure times. NiSi has one, too
 

Strodav

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I recommend you look at 2 companies, Lee and Kase. Personally, I use Lee filters. It consists of an adapter that holds 100mm wide filters on one side and lens filter size adapter on the other, so you can use it on many different lenses with different filter sizes. Their ND filters are optical glass and the gradient filters, they have both hard and soft transitions, are optical plastic. It is easy to slide the gradients filters up and down in the holder and you can rotate as well. Kase has a similar system, but they also make round filters of various filter sizes. I believe all of their filters are optical glass.
 
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Rickbb

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I use Cokin and like them. Never used a graduated one though. They are resin based but of such high quality the company claims it's optically better than mineral glass.
 

ntz

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everybody is going here to suggest his/her brand ;) (and I was using NiSi past - that full set of 10x15 filters with that monstrous holder and later I've switched to Kase magnetic round CPL and ND filters and not going to use GND anymore - read below)

In my opinion the GND filter is the relict from the film era where the postprocess was very limited .. In my opinion using the GND filter in the filed with that huge holder is just a torture, distracting and immersion breaking thing .. I strongly suggest to use a bracketing and then blend two exposures in postprocess .. if you wanna blending in `GND filter-like way' it's the easiest possible blending where you use only white or black mask and simple gradient over it ..

to answer original question, it's of course better to focus before you take filters on (at least a more stop filters, your CPL which is usually 1-2 stops won't hijack your ability to use auto-focus)
 

Strodav

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If the dynamic range of your scene is greater than the dynamic range of your camera, you have 2 choices in order to avoid blowing out the highlights or burying the shadows; 1) bracket then combine in Post or 2) use a GND filter and get it right in camera. If the scene is within the dynamic range of the camera, then you can adjust in Post.
 

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