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12-04-2011, 08:27 AM   #1
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Neutral balance filters

I am a new dslr Pnetax user and have a K x with several lenses . I am wanting to create the blurred water effect and I am considering getting a set of NB Hoya filters. There see,s to be a 2/4/8, do I need all these. There are some crazy cheap filters on eBay and cheap sets. Are those any good? I got a uv filter for about $3 vs around $10 from other shops.

12-04-2011, 09:36 AM   #2
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The research out there on filters indicates pretty clearly that you get what you pay for - for the most part.
12-04-2011, 09:46 AM   #3
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I don't have those, but was looking at them. It depends on how much you want / have to 'dim the light'; different values will give flexibility.

Also, you get what you pay for; some of them are said not to be really neutral and give a color cast to you images.
12-04-2011, 10:29 AM   #4
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With any filter you are adding something between the lens and the subject. Even if it is ND (Neutral Density) it is still a piece of glass in front of the lens. In filters you usually get what you pay for, cheap ones will be made to less tolerant standards or of materials that are not the best. I use a set made by Toshiba that are likely almost as old as I am but I get good results from them. As noted some filters are reported to give a color cast which can then be corrected in PP, but why bother. We are not talking hundreds of dollars here, don't skimp a few dollars and stick a cheap filter on a $500 lens.

The 2/4/8 indicates how many stops of light the filter reduces. Usually a 2 = 1 stop, 4 = 2 stops, and 8 = 3 stops. You only need 1 filter, if you know which one you need, but usually you would not know. Often they are sold in sets and I would recommend getting the set because you get more flexibility for a particular situation. Or if you want to just try it get the #4 of a brand that is available so you can add the others later if you want.

You might also want to look at the flat filters and holders by Cokin or Lee. I use a set of Cokins when shooting waterfalls as I can add a graduated filter as well to get the shot set up as I want. Lee is reputed to be better optically but they are also a lot more expensive.

12-04-2011, 10:47 AM   #5
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can you stack them up to darken the image even more ?
12-04-2011, 11:00 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Azzy Quote
can you stack them up to darken the image even more ?
Yes, absolutely. Except that if you need 3 stops reduction use the 3 stop filter rather than the 1 + 2 because you never want to add more pieces of glass than you need to get the job done.
12-04-2011, 12:09 PM   #7
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There are also double polar filter stacking for vary darkness. I found nd8 and low iso normally enough to shot with 20 secs.
12-05-2011, 06:11 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoanpham Quote
There are also double polar filter stacking for vary darkness. I found nd8 and low iso normally enough to shot with 20 secs.
I've heard of this technique, but I wonder how does it work with ultrawide lenses? I mean polarizers are not recommended to be used with ultrawides, since they cause uneven exposure of the sky. What happens if I want to take photo of moving clouds and use two polarizers to gain long exposure? Would there be also uneven blue sky problem?

12-05-2011, 07:54 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by vrrattko Quote
polarizers are not recommended to be used with ultrawides
That's right. and I don't need a polar filter on wide angles.
True that we need ND8 and a good tripod do to the long exp.

The cheap ND8 filters do have color cast. What I did is shot raw, and with some white/gray/color chart to PP later.
Also some of the fast lenses suffer PF and CA on wide aperture.
12-05-2011, 08:05 AM   #10
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As pointed out by some others cheap filters add a colour cast (notalways correctable one either since it may not be even throughout. the cheap cokin knockoffs from china can be particularly bad.
The hoya ND filters are reputedly better than the b&w ones (which have a brown cast)
The lee's are better optically than the Cokin and the better ones are also Glass not resin so are more durable (cokin filters scratch pretty easily - I have 15 of them and sooner or later they are too scratched to use)

There is also the option of a variable ND now. Pioneered by Faderfilter they are also now out from Kenko Singh Ray and Tiffen. I've seen a lot of positive comments on the Fader filter model but haven't tried it myself

FADER | www.FaderFilters.com
12-08-2011, 03:48 AM   #11
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when it comes to colour casts this is what you can expect from the top two manufacturers. Although this demonstrates colour casts from ultra-dark Neutral density filters, similar alterations of colour balance can be expected from weaker ND filters made by Hoya, Lee on the other hand produce perfectly neutral ND filters - but they are very expensive.

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