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Gear Talk => Lenses => Topic started by: Otter on June 17, 2012, 02:33:58 PM

Title: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: Otter on June 17, 2012, 02:33:58 PM
I am looking at getting a filter system for shooting landscapes.  I was looking at a Cokin filter holder.  I do not know too much about filters to be honest, other then the results look very nice.  I was also looking at Singh-Ray ND filters.  I was unsure what people recommend.  a 4 x 6 or a P series filter?
As well, I heard a good start is to get a 2 stop graduated filter.

Any advice for someone starting out in the filter department?

thanks!  :)
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: neuroanatomist on June 17, 2012, 02:39:02 PM
What's the widest angle lens you plan to use with the filter holder?
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: Otter on June 17, 2012, 02:42:33 PM
What's the widest angle lens you plan to use with the filter holder?

I will be using a 16-35 2.8 L
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: neuroanatomist on June 17, 2012, 03:16:03 PM
Then you'll want 4x6" filters, or Cokin X-Pro.
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: iohansen on June 17, 2012, 05:06:15 PM
Have a look at the Hitech 100x150mm graduated filter range (they have both hard and soft).  Would recommend a set of 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 (hard or soft) filters. They also have a low profile holder for wide angles, but this has less stacking possibilities than the normal one. They are a bit less expensive than Lee, but more expensive than Cokin (which may not have a complete neutral effect, causing a bit of colour cast in some situations).
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: Razor2012 on June 17, 2012, 05:57:22 PM
Have a look at the Hitech 100x150mm graduated filter range (they have both hard and soft).  Would recommend a set of 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 (hard or soft) filters. They also have a low profile holder for wide angles, but this has less stacking possibilities than the normal one. They are a bit less expensive than Lee, but more expensive than Cokin (which may not have a complete neutral effect, causing a bit of colour cast in some situations).

I'm looking at Lee right now.  The system is alittle pricey but from what I've been told, very good.
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: stanleykozak on June 17, 2012, 06:10:55 PM
I started using the Cokin Z series grad filters. After a while, I upgraded to Singh-Ray and then changed them all to Lee. Big expensive mistake. I advise is to go straight to the Lee. Basically - Cokin and Singh-Ray filers produce a magenta colour cast, especially when you stack them. So for instance if you stack a grad ND and an ND.

Go with Lee.

Have a look here - these are all taken with Lee filters. http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanleykozak/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanleykozak/)
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: Jason Beiko on June 17, 2012, 07:57:48 PM
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=883069&highlight=lee+circular+polarizer (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=883069&highlight=lee+circular+polarizer)


This is the system I use.
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: FunPhotons on June 17, 2012, 11:14:34 PM
The commonly available Cokin P series has a wide angle bracket that I don't believe vignettes on my 16-35. Haven't had a chance to exhaustively test it though.
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: drjlo on June 18, 2012, 03:10:44 AM
I really like the Tiffen Water White ND and Grad filters, which seem to have no color casts or IQ degradation.  I buy ND filters one size larger than my lens then use a step-up ring to avoid any vignetting. 

http://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2010/02/filtration-beware-of-the-reaper-of-cheap-glass/ (http://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2010/02/filtration-beware-of-the-reaper-of-cheap-glass/)
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: Chewy734 on June 18, 2012, 08:54:08 AM
If you're willing to wait a couple months, I'd recommend the Lee filter system.  You should be able to get the foundation kit and some nice resin ND filters pretty quickly.  But, if you want a 10-stop ND filter, I've been on backorder for 3 months now on the Big Stopper. :(
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: NormanBates on June 18, 2012, 11:47:51 AM
I haven't tried Cokin, Lee, Hitech, etc, but I know some filters can basically kill your image, and that includes some not-so-cheap options. Check my tests here: http://www.similaar.com/foto/lenstests/lenstestsn.html (http://www.similaar.com/foto/lenstests/lenstestsn.html)
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: friedmud on June 18, 2012, 12:41:10 PM
Go Lee.  Grab a foundation kit and I would recommend a slim adaptor ring (for less chance of vignetting on a 16-35).

I've been using them for years and have never been disappointed.
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: adhocphotographer on June 18, 2012, 01:07:28 PM
Thanks guys, this is somthing i've been pondering over for a while, and you have provided some useful input...

Though, and please forgive if i'm sounding like a newbe, can't you use multiple exposures and photoshop to simulate a grad ND filter? Thats what i do anyway... Surely that is one of the advantages of digital photography...  take one shot then stop it down as much as you want for a second, then blend in pp? just me 2 pence! :)

That being said i do want a "big stopper" for those water scences where i just cant slow down the shutter enough! :D
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: cezargalang on June 18, 2012, 01:13:45 PM
Thanks guys, this is somthing i've been pondering over for a while, and you have provided some useful input...

Though, and please forgive if i'm sounding like a newbe, can't you use multiple exposures and photoshop to simulate a grad ND filter? Thats what i do anyway... Surely that is one of the advantages of digital photography...  take one shot then stop it down as much as you want for a second, then blend in pp? just me 2 pence! :)

That being said i do want a "big stopper" for those water scences where i just cant slow down the shutter enough! :D


ND grads i think are bought because it helps you reduce workflow, and personally I'd wanna see the output myself then and there. :D

I'm using a .9,.6 SE Lee NDG 100mm filters, they're pretty good, but i dont have the money to buy the holder atm. It's easier to hand hold than the 85mm filters on wide angles. I've also used Hitech ones and they're pretty good too :) For ND's and CPL i use Screw in filters.
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: bvukich on June 18, 2012, 02:08:33 PM
Free (almost) answer: learn how to black card.

You can pull more stops than is feasible with even the most diverse filter collection.
You can grad at any rate your heart desires.
You can even match terrain if you you're handy with a scissors.

You'll probably still want a modest collection of ND filters for when you need to adjust the overall exposure dramatically, but you wont need the grads.
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: adhocphotographer on June 18, 2012, 02:32:23 PM

ND grads i think are bought because it helps you reduce workflow, and personally I'd wanna see the output myself then and there. :D

I'm using a .9,.6 SE Lee NDG 100mm filters, they're pretty good, but i dont have the money to buy the holder atm. It's easier to hand hold than the 85mm filters on wide angles. I've also used Hitech ones and they're pretty good too :) For ND's and CPL i use Screw in filters.

True...  :)  I guess i should give them a go, then i can choose!  :P  good idea to hand hold...  i guess with that method you can "feather" the filter during the shot...  Think i might buy a ND Grad minus the holder...  cheers for the tip!  :)

ps - here are some of my shots from a recent trip to Iceland without ND grad edited in about 5 min with photoshop (including starting PS; I timed it-ish)!  :) 

http://www.adhocphotographer.com/photoblog/Entries/2012/5/26_Iceland.html#2 (http://www.adhocphotographer.com/photoblog/Entries/2012/5/26_Iceland.html#2)
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: ereka on June 18, 2012, 02:46:28 PM
Free (almost) answer: learn how to black card.

You can pull more stops than is feasible with even the most diverse filter collection.
You can grad at any rate your heart desires.
You can even match terrain if you you're handy with a scissors.

You'll probably still want a modest collection of ND filters for when you need to adjust the overall exposure dramatically, but you wont need the grads.

Sorry, but you've lost me there - how do you 'black card'?
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: Kernuak on June 18, 2012, 02:48:04 PM
First off, for many circumstances, a 2 stop grad won't be enough, 3 stop is really the minimum and I often need to combine a 3 and a 2 stop grad. If you can only afford one filter, then a 3 stop is the one to go for first, but if shooting away from the sun, it may sometimes be too much. Whether or not you get  a hard or soft grad (set) depends on what you are likely to be shooting. Hard grads are designed for scenes where the horizon (or other transition line) is straight, such as when the sun is setting over the ocean or when you have a single hill/mountain. Soft grads are designed for when the horizon isn't straight, such as when you have a mountain range, with variable heights.
As for brand, the Cokin mounts are adequate (plastic, but they do the job), but avoid their filters. I used to use Hi-Tech filters and they don't produce a noticeable cast, but they aren't in the same league as either Lee or Singh-Ray. I now use a Lee set, so my Cokin P sized reverse grad from Singh-Ray is no longer usable, but I used to use it all the time (sometmies when I shouldn't because it was so much better than my Hi-Tech filters), I never had any problems with colour cast. I keep looking at getting a larger replacment, as it is invaluable for sunsets, but the exchange rate isn't good at the moment, so they are expensive.

Here are some examples:

Singh-Ray 3 stop revers grad (with some HDR on the rockpool):
(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2464/3817555663_ae205da0e1.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/15522274@N04/3817555663/)
Fire and Water (http://www.flickr.com/photos/15522274@N04/3817555663/#) by Kernuak (http://www.flickr.com/people/15522274@N04/), on Flickr

Lee 2+3 stop:
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7014/6778339071_c40f3653f0.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/15522274@N04/6778339071/)
Kilve Pill under a Mackerel Sky (http://www.flickr.com/photos/15522274@N04/6778339071/#) by Kernuak (http://www.flickr.com/people/15522274@N04/), on Flickr
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: danjwark on June 18, 2012, 03:01:48 PM
I use the Cokin P series which will go up to an 82mm filter size. I have both the triple holder as well as the single. The triple vignettes badly on my 10-20mm but the single does not. I have had good success with the Cokin brand of filters and have not had any colour cast. Cheap eBay ones do colour cast badly - which I found out the hard way. I have a Cokin ND8 grad (3 stop) that I use mostly. I'm not sure I would bother with a 2 stop as I often find the 3 stop is often not enough but maybe that's just me. Lee filters are great/ likely better but not cheap!!!
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: bvukich on June 18, 2012, 03:28:24 PM
Free (almost) answer: learn how to black card.

You can pull more stops than is feasible with even the most diverse filter collection.
You can grad at any rate your heart desires.
You can even match terrain if you you're handy with a scissors.

You'll probably still want a modest collection of ND filters for when you need to adjust the overall exposure dramatically, but you wont need the grads.

Sorry, but you've lost me there - how do you 'black card'?

In a typical high DR situation of a dim foreground and bright sky, you expose for the ground and use a piece of non-reflective black cardstock to cover the sky for part of the exposure to effectively reduce the exposure of the sky.

A quick Google search for "black card photography technique" yielded this reasonably good explanation:

http://hanjies.blogspot.com/2009/10/black-card-photography-part-i.html (http://hanjies.blogspot.com/2009/10/black-card-photography-part-i.html)

If you've ever done darkroom work (ok, I haven't either), you're effectively doing a dodge while taking the exposure instead of when making the print.
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: cliffwang on June 18, 2012, 05:24:21 PM
Can anyone tell me where I can find the product information of Lee NDG?
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: Kernuak on June 18, 2012, 05:25:51 PM
Can anyone tell me where I can find the product information of Lee NDG?
http://www.leefilters.com/index.php/camera/ndgrads (http://www.leefilters.com/index.php/camera/ndgrads)
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: revup67 on June 18, 2012, 05:47:59 PM
Quote
Basically - Cokin and Singh-Ray filers produce a magenta colour cast, especially when you stack them. So for instance if you stack a grad ND and an ND.

I agree with Stanley.  I had the Cokin P series and sent them back.  Not pleased at all.  Then had the LightCraft Gradual Filter (think that was $320 USD).  It couldn't hold up when at full strength as compared to the Hoya ND400 (9 stop).  For my tastes, it was inconsistent and in some cases created unwanted effects.  Ultimately went with a B&W 10 stopper and a HOYA ND Pro 1 Digital series filter (ND64).  Have been quite pleased with both.

Here's a 13 second exposure at F10, ISO 100 with the B&W

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8003/7397166356_502703750e_o.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/revup67/7397166356/)
Dana Point Harbor with B&W 10 Stop ND (http://www.flickr.com/photos/revup67/7397166356/#) by Revup67 (http://www.flickr.com/people/revup67/), on Flickr
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: ereka on June 19, 2012, 03:39:57 AM
Free (almost) answer: learn how to black card.

You can pull more stops than is feasible with even the most diverse filter collection.
You can grad at any rate your heart desires.
You can even match terrain if you you're handy with a scissors.

You'll probably still want a modest collection of ND filters for when you need to adjust the overall exposure dramatically, but you wont need the grads.

Sorry, but you've lost me there - how do you 'black card'?

In a typical high DR situation of a dim foreground and bright sky, you expose for the ground and use a piece of non-reflective black cardstock to cover the sky for part of the exposure to effectively reduce the exposure of the sky.

A quick Google search for "black card photography technique" yielded this reasonably good explanation:

http://hanjies.blogspot.com/2009/10/black-card-photography-part-i.html (http://hanjies.blogspot.com/2009/10/black-card-photography-part-i.html)

If you've ever done darkroom work (ok, I haven't either), you're effectively doing a dodge while taking the exposure instead of when making the print.

Thanks for the explanation - I might give that a go!

I could only afford to buy the Lee starter kit with 2 stop hard GND filter, so this technique could come in very handy for higher contrast scenes and scenes without a straight horizon and save me having to fork out for more very expensive GND filters. Anyway, I do like the idea that the black card can be cut to fit the horizon - much more flexible than the straight lines on a GND filter, if more fiddly, but there again landscape photographers spend a lot of time waiting around for the right light so I guess time spent customising a black card is not so much of an issue?
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: Otter on June 19, 2012, 05:44:59 PM
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=883069&highlight=lee+circular+polarizer (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=883069&highlight=lee+circular+polarizer)


This is the system I use.

Is that a Lee foundation kit?  What kind of ND grad are you using?
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: Otter on June 19, 2012, 05:47:25 PM
Thanks for the advice on the Singh-Ray ND Filters, I was days away from buying a couple.  I will definitely go with Lee then.  I hear most people suggest starting with a .3 grad hard line and .2 soft grad.  Is this enough?  A friend of mine was saying anything less then .8 of a grad you hardly notice a difference.  I'm not sure what kind of filters he's using.  Does the amount of tint or darkness vary from company to company?
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: Razor2012 on June 19, 2012, 07:59:18 PM
Speaking of Lee, does anyone know of a good place to purchase the Lee system (Canada or US) that has decent prices?  Thanks!
Title: Re: ND Filter system for landscape photography question
Post by: wickidwombat on June 19, 2012, 11:05:31 PM
the advantage of the black card technique is you dont have another layer of glass involved to interfere optically
this technique can also be used with fireworks displays in bulb mode to get multiple bursts in 1 shot

its pretty clever and simple