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Old Feb 20, 2013, 12:29 PM   #1
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Default ND Filter for flash

I originally posted this in what is apparently the wrong forum. Sorry.

I am considering getting an ND filter for use with fill flash outside (my camera doesn't support HSS). I am looking for input on a couple of things:

1. What density should I get for this kind of work? I am leaning toward 0.9, but that is really not based on anything solid. Would a variable ND filter make sense here? Could I get away with the Hoya, which is about the only one I've seen from a manufacturer that I recognize that is still affordable. I would not expect to be stressing the filter by maxing it out, so I would hope that the color bias and patterning wouldn't be an issue, but I just don't know. I also haven't been able to find out if it is multicoated or not.

2. If I need to get a fixed density filter, are there particular brands and models that are best? I haven't seen any round-ups of ND filters like the LensTip round-up on CPLs. If you know of such reviews, I would appreciate a link. If you have a favorite, that is also welcome. TIA
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 3:08 PM   #2
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Hoya usually uses the MC or HMC designation to indicate the multi-coating. I think the lower grade "green label" line was discontinued.

The screw-on filters that I see getting the best reviews lately are the Marumi brand. If I started over, I'd be looking at them real close.

BTW, just minutes ago, I got a new Metz 36 flash to use primarily outdoors. What's the logic of the ND with the flash? I have an ND2 and ND4, but why do I need the variable for use with the flash? To get it to match the synch speed of the flash?

I just got started with flash and I don't yet know how this is going to work out.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 3:08 PM   #3
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G'day TC

To give my best shot, I would need a bit more info as to 'what & why' your'e shooting etc
I presume your flash to subject distance is very short, and even when the flash is on minimum power, it is still too bright

If this is so, I would not muck around with expensive solutions
I would suggest you get a 2-ply tissue [kleenex etc], separate the pieces and sticky tape one over the flash head - see the results. If it needs the full 2-ply tissue, then use that

All it will cost you is a coffee or two while you're experimenting
Regards, Phil
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 4:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBbuilder467 View Post
BTW, just minutes ago, I got a new Metz 36 flash to use primarily outdoors. What's the logic of the ND with the flash? I have an ND2 and ND4, but why do I need the variable for use with the flash? To get it to match the synch speed of the flash?

I just got started with flash and I don't yet know how this is going to work out.
The low-end Nikons do not support high-speed synch with flash, even if the flash can do HSS. So, as you suspect, I need to slow the shutter speed down to 1/200s (or about 1/150s if I'm going off-camera with an RF transciever). When a subject is back-lit, I'm going to want fill flash but I'd have a hard time getting away with those shutter speeds during the day. So I was thinking that an ND filter would be cheaper than a whole new body. I've looked a little at variable ND filters. Marumi makes about the least expensive brand-name one, BTW. I use their CPLs and like them, but these variable ND filters seem fraught with problems -- they seem to screw up the camera's exposure system (they are some kind of polarizer, which may be the source of this) and have funny patterning at wide angles (again, the polarizer) as well as screwing up the color balance, which is apparently a common problem with ND filters generally.

So I'm starting to lean toward a few fixed ND filters -- maybe a 0.3, 0.6, and 0.9 set. I could get those from Marumi for about half the cost of their variable ND filter, and have fewer problems with them. Since I'm not interested in slowing things down to make cotton-candy waterfalls, the extreme darkness you can get with the variable filters is not particularly attractive to me anyway.

Last edited by tclune; Feb 20, 2013 at 4:03 PM.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 5:13 PM   #5
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Thanks for the follow up. That's what I had in mind. I might have a similar problem in those situations.
 
I got the flash for the low light in heavy tree cover and late evening on my return hike. I hadn't really thought about the shutter speed with strong backlighting. I might pick up an ND8 just in case.
 
Thanks again, Good Luck, Les
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