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08-26-2012, 11:31 AM   #1
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ND fader or polariser?

People, I like to hear your opinion on a small dillema I`m into right now

In a short time I`ll be going to the Azores for holyday. I`ve been there last year and I know it`s a good place for landscape photograpy.
For this I `m taking the DA* 16-50 and the DA14mm with me and both have 77mm filterthread. So I was thinking of buying a new filter.

For those who don`t know the Azores, it`s a group of vulcanic islands in the North Atlantic, 1500 km`s west of Lisbon, Portugal. It`s the most southern point of Europe.
So you have nice landscapes: rocky beaches, high cliffs and water everywhere, a nice climate and lots of mountains and green.

A ND fader is very tempting because a (regular) ND is on my list for a long time now and it`s variable (2-9 stops) and easier to use than a normal ND. Also a Fader seems to be made of 2 polarizers wich should theoretical make it also usefull in daytime.
OTOH with the bright sunlight in daytime a circulair polarizer might be a better choice. It has less glass, sharpness should be better and ofcourse the colours will be better. A CPL also take some light away (1 or 2 stops I believe?) so it can be used to get some longer exposures during sunset...

Can`t have `m both before I leave so I need some help on the right decision. So, what would you guys choose and why?
Thanks in advance

Kind regards, Jacco


PS:
An impression of last year: set on Flickr


Last edited by TenZ.NL; 08-26-2012 at 11:42 AM.
08-26-2012, 11:42 AM   #2
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For me a CPL is a must when shooting anything that has water in it as it cuts down on the reflections. It will also give better color in the sky to a degree. However, be aware that the sky effect can be variable across the image when shooting very wide angle. I would think anything wider than about 24mm you will start to see this.

For landscapes, I am not sure I see the reason for an ND fader. Possibly to slow wave action or waterfalls but for landscapes I am not sure. A graduated ND where the top is darker and gradually lightens to the bottom is useful because you can darken the sky and so allow more of the image to have correct exposure if the sky is bright and the landscape or sea is darker. However, I prefer Cokin or other square type filters for this as you can position the dark/light line where you want it. A screw in filter will work but is limited to where the dark/light line is going to be in your image.
08-26-2012, 12:21 PM   #3
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A polarizer would be much more useful
08-26-2012, 01:00 PM   #4
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ND filters

If you have Lightroom there is a ND filter option, if you shoot in raw, you change it. Polarizer might be better.

08-26-2012, 01:19 PM   #5
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Don't know when you are going, but if it is after the photokina, just try a few out there
08-26-2012, 03:48 PM   #6
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@ Jatrax:
Are we talking about the same? I thought an ND fader is not the same as an ND grad?
I am familiar with CPL`s, allready have one for my sigma 17-70.

The reason I`m thinking about a variabe ND goes beyond the holydays. I like doing long exposures, especially with water just before sunset. But the DA* 16-50 is catching too much light, sometimes I will only get 1 or 2 secs with F22. Not enough to smooth out the water and way to high on the aperture for my taste.

@ Eflytyer:
You mean the graduated filter option? If so, thats not the same. I`m looking for the long exposure effect, milky water, ghosting out people, etc. I like shutterspeeds of 5 secs or more.

Last edited by TenZ.NL; 08-27-2012 at 10:21 AM. Reason: typo
08-26-2012, 04:16 PM   #7
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I would buy a CPL first, and a ND110 second. Variable ND filters are expensive and crap for IQ especially for WA's and esp for higher stops, which unfortunately covers the primary reasons for getting a ND filter.
08-26-2012, 08:01 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by TenZ.NL Quote
@ Jatrax: Are we talking about the same? I thought an ND fader is not the same as an ND grad?
It's not, but I saw you mentioned landscapes and assumed that is what you were going to be shooting. And a graduated ND is more useful for landscapes. For milky water shots, yes ND fader would work. However, I have read mixed reviews, the IQ seems to be sub-par but that might be the brand. They also seem expensive and the pitch is that because they are variable they do the same as several fixed ND filters. But I use a set of 2x 4x 8x ND filters and it covers everything I do.

I would still go for the CPL first, and then a set of ND's. If you go with the ND fader please report back on how it works. I think it is an interesting concept, just not sure if the IQ is there yet.

08-27-2012, 01:25 AM   #9
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Based on everyones arguements (and my own expirience) the CPL will be the better choice, the ND will have to wait. I have no need for frustration on my holyday

@ Jatrax:
Yes, I also read some mixed reviews, even here on the forums. The LCW Fader ND mkII seems the way to go but since there isn`t a lot to be found it will take some extra research before the final decision.
So far the most usefull results:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographic-technique/133418-fader-nd-filter.html
Light Craft Workshop Fader ND Mk II filter Filter Review
08-27-2012, 01:45 AM - 1 Like   #10
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FWIW, 90% of the photos in this set were done with a 10 stop B+W
08-27-2012, 02:16 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
FWIW, 90% of the photos in this set were done with a 10 stop B+W
Awesome work, Twitch! You make me greedy

Looks like you don`t have much trouble with flares, is this courtesy of the lens(es) or the B&W filter?
08-27-2012, 02:23 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by TenZ.NL Quote
Awesome work, Twitch! You make me greedy

Looks like you don`t have much trouble with flares, is this courtesy of the lens(es) or the B&W filter?
Thanks. It's because I don't aim into the sun.
08-27-2012, 03:31 AM   #13
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But you do have some nice starbursts
08-27-2012, 04:07 AM   #14
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Jacco, I have one of those faders. Admittedly it's not one of the most expensive (a Polaroid-branded one) but it has put me off faders for good. IQ is crap with it, small apertures result in a weird black cross over the image and contrast is shot to bits. I get better results with a regular CPL on top of an ND8 filter if I need the longer shutterspeeds.
08-27-2012, 08:04 AM   #15
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Hee Mike,
Good to know, I`ll get into it after I get back from vacation. And perhaps there is a local shop on the Azores that sells ND`s.

Just picked up a B+W Slim C-POL MRC 77 mm at a local store. Rated second place in Lenstip polarizertest
Not cheap but nice finish and good screwthread, screws in and out easily and appears not to seize in the lens. Did some quick and uneducated testing and it seems to block aprox 3 stops so it might be usefull as an ND8.

Last edited by TenZ.NL; 08-27-2012 at 10:20 AM.
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