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Old Jun 23, 2011, 10:03 AM   #1
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Default ND Filters Question

Whilst watching Countryfile on Sunday (UK program) they were doing a piece on how to take photos for their 2012 calender competition and they showed how ND filters slow down the shutter speed by reducing the light (they were going for smoky water effects).

My question is why not just slow the shutter speed down manually? Why have the filter?
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Old Jun 23, 2011, 10:48 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderchild View Post
Whilst watching Countryfile on Sunday (UK program) they were doing a piece on how to take photos for their 2012 calender competition and they showed how ND filters slow down the shutter speed by reducing the light (they were going for smoky water effects).

My question is why not just slow the shutter speed down manually? Why have the filter?
Good question. Sometimes you want the lens wide open in order to have a short Depth of Field (e.g. for keeping a background out of focus). If the lighting is bright, you won't be able to get the shutter speed as slow as you want, without really overexposing the picture. So you use a ND filter to reduce the amount of light entering the lens.

That's a fairly specialized situation. But there's another similar type of filter that does get a lot of use in landscape photography - a Graduated Neutral Density (GND) filter. A GND has half of the filter clear and half dark. The transition is normally a bit gradual rather than abrupt. In landscape photography we quite often have the sky much brighter than the landscape, and GND is used to keep the sky from being over-exposed.

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Old Jun 23, 2011, 11:05 AM   #3
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Thanks. It was something I was thinking of getting before I saw the program but didn't really understand the use! Don't quite think I need one yet.
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