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Old Mar 19, 2014, 7:01 AM   #1
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Default ND Filters

Hello everyone,

Lately I've become obsessed with long exposure photography, but since my camera kit doesn't include an ND filter, I was required to limit my long-exposures after sunset.

But now I'd really like to buy one. The problem is, there are som many brands, which one is best? I don't want my image quality to suffer because of a bad filter.

So, what brand do you guys recommend? B+W, Lee, Hoya, Tiffen, Hitech, Heliopans?
Has anyone tried a filter from Zeiss? Can't go wrong with those, right?
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Old Mar 19, 2014, 10:33 PM   #2
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My experience with Hoya was from years ago, I still have a couple of them. I think they have some that are excellent and some that are less so. I have one B + W but the particular one I have smears easily. Again I think it depends on which model you get. I also have 2 Heliopans and love them. They are expensive though.
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 5:41 AM   #3
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See The Glass in Front of Your Glass: All About Filters

Rule of Thumb #1: If it's not multicoated, pass it by.

Rule of Thumb #2: Price is a good indication of quality. This is true of filters more so than any other photographic item.

My take is that B+W and Heliopan are very good, and some Hoya and Tiffen filters are possibly about as good.
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 9:31 AM   #4
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How many stop ND are you looking for ?
A 10 stop will get you into the 30+ second exposure range in mid day sunlight
All the 10 stop do have a color cast to varying degrees.


Singh-ray and Lee make some good ones, I personally use the Lee 4*6 filterers. Since at 10-stops the screw on filters become a bit of a problem. As you cannot focus or compose with them attached, and it is very easy to nudge a lens while trying to mount a screw-on filter.

Formatt Hi-Tech Pro also makes a 10stop square filter
\
B+W, Hoya, Tiffen all make circular screw-on 10-stop ND (3.0) .
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 6:22 PM   #5
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Thank you everybody for the feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterP View Post
How many stop ND are you looking for ?
A 10 stop will get you into the 30+ second exposure range in mid day sunlight.
Yes, it's a 10-stop filter that I'm looking for.

Color cast isn't a problem since I shoot RAW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterP View Post
As you cannot focus or compose with them attached...
Not even in Live View mode? I doubt it...
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 7:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marawder View Post
Not even in Live View mode? I doubt it...
Especially in 'Live View' mode.
  • A 10 stop ND filter passes less that 0.1% of light.
  • The LCD Monitor doesn't have enough resolution to do justice to stars, even without an ND filter.
A 10 stop ND filter is for photographing the Sun at noon. If you're lucky, a few of the brightest stars will appear in your star trail images, but none will show up in 'Live View'.
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Last edited by TCav; Mar 21, 2014 at 7:45 PM.
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 8:06 PM   #7
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But who said anything about shooting star-trails with an ND filter? Who does that?
It's because I want long-exposures during the day that I need a 10-stop ND.

Has anyone tried the Lee Big Stopper? Seems popular, but how much does it impact the IQ?
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Old Mar 22, 2014, 5:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marawder View Post
But who said anything about shooting star-trails with an ND filter?
I misunderstood. Sorry.
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Old Mar 22, 2014, 10:18 AM   #9
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Lee Big Stopper is the 10 stop I am using.
And last time I used it on a 5d MKii at iso 100, the live view produces a dark screen with random noise flickering across it.

Remember you are not only using a 10 stop filter cutting out almost 99.9% of the available light (the filter looks like a black opaque piece of glass), to use it you are also shooting at your lowest ISO and usually at a small aperture like f/16.
The amount of light left for the camera electronics to amplify for the live view screen are miniscule.

Couple that with a polarizer which works well with the 10-stop on appropriate landscapes and another couple of stops vanish.

I also only shoot raw and color correcting these images is not so easy.
Each of these 10stops has its own peculiar color cast, the Lee is a bluish cast, singh-ray is more towards violet purple.

I normally take the first exposure with a color checker passport in the scene to speed things up later.

IQ is an interesting concept, using one of these filters you are creating surreal images, where things move in the image even when using the sturdiest of tripods.

These filters are made either with glass or with optical resin and dipped into a darkening solution by hand.

Interesting video on how each Lee filters is made by hand
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMu_m203YaY
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 4:06 PM   #10
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How to make your own DIY 10stop for very little cash
http://www.slrlounge.com/create-ten-...long-exposures

No idea how well this would works.
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