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Author Topic: ND Filters for Landscape Photography  (Read 985 times)  bookmark this topic!
Fotobuff
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ND Filters for Landscape Photography
« on: June 27, 2017, 02:17:49 AM »

I am interested in buying a ND filter but don't want to spend a lot of money. Can someone recommend a good brand with minimum color cast suitable for stacking ? I use a Canon eos 6D camera.
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Bob Atkins
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Re: ND Filters for Landscape Photography
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2017, 12:41:07 AM »

Do you mean a graduated ND filter for landscapes or a regular (uniform) ND filter for long exposures?

Stacking filters isn't a good idea, but if you have to then the better the multicoating, the better the result is likely to be.

With graduated filters you have two options, round filters that screw into the lens or square filters that are attached to a lend using holder. The square filters (usually 4"x4") are more useful since they allow you to adjust the position of the light/dark regions. Obviously you need an adapter to mount them on a lens. Cokin square filters are cheap ($40 or so), but they are plastic and not always 100% neutral. Tiffen make decent filters (round and square) at reasonable prices, though you'll be in the $250 region for a 4x4 grad ND filter. Their round filters will be $50-$100, depending on the size.

You might want to give Cokin a try if you don't want to spend much. A lot of people use them and are happy with them, though

See https://www.adorama.com/ckndka.html?kbid=12417 for a cokin started kit with 3 ND filters. You'l also need an A series adapter ring to fit your lens (up to 62mm I think). For larger lenses you'll need the larger (and more expensive) Pro series.

If you like the effect and want to get serious, you're probably looking at a $500 or more investment for a set of good glass filters, adapters and a holder.
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Fotobuff
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Re: ND Filters for Landscape Photography
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2017, 01:40:25 AM »

Thanks, Bob for the reply.

Actually, I should have clarified that I am looking for a regular ND filter for seascapes/waterfall photography to get that creamy water look and fleecy clouds. Someone has recommended "Breakthrough" round ND filters. They say that square filters are fine but there may be light leakage with them and they need more careful handling. Also, they say that we can buy Breakthrough 3- and 6-stop filters and either use them individually or stack them to get a 9-stop effect, in which case it may not be necessary to get the 10-stop filter (Save money!). I plan to use the filter on my Canon 16-35 F/4 lens with 77 mm dia.

What is your opinion of round filters ? They seem to be easier to use and do not need filter holders, etc. Some Chinese brands like Nisi and Haida are relatively easier on the pocket but I have no idea about their quality, especially with regard to color cast.

One other thing. I live in India where the summers are really hot. In Goa, where they have lovely beaches, even the winters can have very strong sunlight with temperatures in the region of 35-40 Celsius. Should I, therefore, buy a 10-stop filter straight away or go for the more moderate 3 and 6 stop approach? Personally I prefer to go with the 3 and 6 stop filters but I would like to know your opinion.
Thanks for your assistance.  Cheesy
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Bob Atkins
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Re: ND Filters for Landscape Photography
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2017, 01:59:21 PM »

Round, screw-in, filters are what you need for highly attenuating ND filters.

Tiffen have a very interesting variable (2 to 8 stop) silter that looks very interesting - https://www.adorama.com/tf77vnd.html?kbid=12417. It solves a lot of problems that you can run into with a fixed value ND filter (sometimes not enough attenuation, sometimes too much!).  Hoya do a similar filter (1.5 to 9 stops) - https://www.adorama.com/hy77vnd.html.

I've been happy with Hoya filters myself. I have a 400x ND Hoya (9 stops, but no longer in production) that I use for this type of long exposure. Tiffen makes a relatively inexpensive 10 stop filters (https://www.adorama.com/tf77nd30.html?kbid=12417). They also have one which also blocks IR light (https://www.adorama.com/tfw77irnd30.html?kbid=12417). The IR light that leaks through some ND filters could, I guess, have an effect if the camera didn't have a strong IR blocking filter in fornt of the sensor and the exposure time was long. Most people don't worry about IR Transmission. I've not found it to be an issue for me.

The Breakthrough filters are very good (https://www.adorama.com/btx3nd677.html?kbid=12417), but more expensive then Hoya/Tiffem and fixed in value.

Whether a 3 stop and 6 stop filter pair is better than a 10 stop filter probably depends on what conditions you shoot in. You can change exposure time using aperture and ISO setting, as well as stacking a polarizer (which you probably have). I don't know what prices are in Goa, but the 10 stop Tiffen XLE 77mm filter is only $40 here in the US (https://www.adorama.com/tfw77irnd30.html?kbid=12417). I mighty start out with that one and see how things go.

One thing to watch with the variable filters is that they since they consist of two polarizers (usually one linear, one circular), they can produce unwanted polarization effects (such as banding) if the subject is generating polarized light (e.g the sky on a clear day). The effect gets worse with wideangle lenses and high density settings.
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