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Old Mar 2, 2006, 5:36 PM   #1
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Looking at some great landscape photos over on timecatcher.com, I notice many are done with various neutral density graduated filters. I have an old orange-to-clear grad filter that I never use, but it seems there's value in an uncolored grad (I guess that's why they call them "neutral," huh?).

I understand how they work, but curious what real-world experience people have on their Pentax DSLRs. Do you like soft-edge vs. hard-edge? 1-stop, 2-stop, 3-stop? Is one brand better than another?

Thanks!

Dan
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Old Mar 2, 2006, 9:24 PM   #2
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I also have two grad filters but one is "tobacco" to clear, the other is a sunset filter which ranges from deep orange to pale orange. I also wish I had a standard grad. I will watch this item to get opinions on the question you posed:

>Do you like soft-edge vs. hard-edge? 1-stop, 2-stop, 3-stop? Is one brand better than another?

BTW my filters are Cokin plastic A-series filters.


Ira
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Old Mar 3, 2006, 11:00 PM   #3
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Well you asked for it, so I got my cokin filters out and there is a different learning curve with digital.

I took my cokin Chromafilter (B/Y) that brings out the most amazing colors in a landscape using film, but on my DS it is basically crap as you can see from the two images here.

The one on the left is without the filter, the one on the right is with the filter.


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Old Mar 3, 2006, 11:29 PM   #4
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Tom,

Great if you are going for that, "old print on the kitchen wall that the morning sun has been burning into for the last thirty years" look. Let me suggest that a manual white balance be set before attaching a colour filter to a DSLR since auto white balance may try to compensate for the filter and do some strange colour shifts. I have used my sunset and tobacco grad filters on my Fuji S7000 and the results weren't that bad, but they are simple tinted filters unlike the Chromafilter you used. I would suggest that a simple grad ND filter would work fine, and along with a polarizer, would probably be one of the few filters still of use. Most special effects filters can easily be simulated successfully in software.

Ira
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Old Mar 4, 2006, 8:48 AM   #5
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Thanks, Ira and Tom,

> "Great if you are going for that,* "old print on the kitchen wall that the morning sun has been burning into for the last thirty years" look."

LOL...I have some old Ektachromes that look just about the same...

My one graduated filter is a Chromofilter T1 (T = tobacco? 1 = one stop?), and I tried it out today on my DS2 with my SMCP-M 50mm/f1.4, because it has a 49mm thread. Here's what I got (with and without). The center is the top of the fence, but the effect seems to spread out very broadly. Perhaps the transition appears wider on the smaller digital sensor than on 35mm film? It doesn't seem to hold back a lot of brightness, either. Makes me lean toward getting a 2 or 3 stop ND grad, with hard edge...

Dan
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Old Mar 4, 2006, 7:00 PM   #6
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Would smaller apertures make the effect more "hard edged"? What if you shot at f11, would the result be more pronounced? I will have to try this tomorrow morning with my old SMC M 50mm f1.7 and my Rikenon 28mm f2.8 (both have Cokin holders and hoods attached, so call me lazy).

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Old Mar 5, 2006, 8:01 AM   #7
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I tried my Chromofilter on my SMCP 28mm at f2.8 and at f22, and didn't see an appreciable difference in the "hardness" of the edge. I'll try to post my shots soon. I did discover that my DS2 in manual AE-L stopdown mode has trouble metering accurately, at least on that lens, at the small apertures...so at f22, I had to meter and then increase exposure about a stop. At f2.8 it was o.k.

Dan
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Old Mar 5, 2006, 12:26 PM   #8
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Dan, I also got inaccurate exposures with non-A series lenses at small apertures (especially in low light). I suspect the lens does not stop down long enough to get a good reading, perhaps Pentax should have left it stopped down longer (but then of course there would be complaints about how slow the camera is).

Ira
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