ND Grad Filters and when to use it?


TPF Noob!
Aug 24, 2008
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Wausau, Wisconsin
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I tihnk the title says it all. When do you use a ND Grad filter? All the time, just on Sunny days when a fast shutter speed just isn't enough, etc.

You use it in conjunction with your shutterspeed and f-stop to get the results you want..

An example is the soft flowing waters of a stream or waterfall. You want a shutterspeed of perhaps 1/15 or 1/30, but the day is too bright to stop down the aperture where you want it..... Use a 2,4, or even an 8 stop ND to get the f-stop you want from the lens you are using..

I wouldn't use one all the time because it just introduces an additional piece of glass into the optics.... but I suppose you could..
Graduated filters are often used in landscape photography when you want to even out the exposure of a scene. For example, if you are shooting a scene that has some sky and some land. The sky may be a lot brighter than the land so you would have to choose between blowing out the sky or leaving the land in dark shadows.
With a split or grad filter, you would place the dark part over the bright sky, thus bringing it closer to the light levels of the land...and giving you a better exposure for the overall scene.

I don't like the idea of round grad filters, because they force you to place your horizon where they are on the filter...usually in the middle. Square/rectangular grad filters allow you to move them over the lens, placing the split where it fits your composition.

A straight up ND (neutral density) filters is used to eat up some light, so you can do things like getting a longer shutter speed, as mentioned by LarryD.

..I missed the "grad" part of the question....... My answer only pertains to ND filters...........

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