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04-06-2013, 06:39 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
But that would take all the challenge out of it...............
But 24 stops is probably inevitable, and I'd rather have it now than later. The megapixels can wait. At the rate we're going, we won't have 24 stops until we're at about 24 gigapixels.

Paul

04-06-2013, 08:55 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts:
. . . it's not unusual to exceed the sensor's dynamic range (in raw - I think about 13 stops) without a split ND
HDR to the rescue?
04-06-2013, 11:28 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
HDR to the rescue?
Very true, except that I often run into circumstances that make HDR less practical (wind + foliage, for example.) For static subjects, HDR can certainly be an effective solution - but still less convenient that 24 stops of dynamic range.

Paul
04-07-2013, 07:42 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Tess - sorry you are having a frustrating time with the filters. Only thing I can possibly help with is the K-5 does have a depth-of-field preview - just turn the on-off switch past the on position.
Stan, the depth of field preview did not help me position the filter after all.... or I am just not getting the "how to " part.

QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
The ND filter discussion is always interesting, and more so today because of the alternative options offered by post processing software. The two filters that CAN't be effectively replicated in PP today are polarizers and NDs because they affect the original image in a manner that cannot be done after the fact.

Polarized light is polarized light; that's obvious.

But ND filters can be used in two ways. The Grad ND filter can change the exposure for a portion of the image, but that can also be accomplished in PP -- usually with much more finesse and precision than in the field. The ND, OTOH, can change the exposure TIME through the shutter speed selected and that cannot be duplicated in PP. (Consider the waterfall shot.)

If nothing else, the use of PP tools should be considered as "training wheels" and an experimental laboratory for the GND filter. Combined with tools such as the U-point technology used in Nik plug-ins, the GND effect can include selective SPOT graduations as well as a variable color gradient filter effect.

Most DSLR users already have a complete set of continuously variable, color GND filters for every lens they use incorporated in their PP software - often at a cost of a fraction of just one of the better glass filters.

I'd also note that Google purchased Nik software (apparently to acquire Snapseed) and recently repackaged all of the plug-ins at a very attractive price. A trial download is available and the Color Efex plug-in has been bundled with other software recently. The Nik web site has very useful tutorials and demonstrations that enhance the understanding of filtration even if one is using traditional glass filters.

IMO, digital filter effects are second only to digital "film" itself in the evolution of photography. I no longer use lens-mounted filters EXCEPT for polarizing filters and an ND when used to control TIME rather than light.

H2
Thanks for the informative post H2.

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Tess, positioning the ND grads is a bit of an art form. But remember there is no right or wrong.

There are two styles of ND Grads: hard and soft, the hard ones have a more distinct line between clear and shaded, the soft ones blend from clear to shaded very gradually. Not sure which you have. It is easier to position the hard ones but if the horizon is not perfectly level they can produce a noticeable line in the image that spoils the effect.

Anyway, I put the filter in the holder and set it so it crosses the mid point of the lens, then looking through the lens move it down until it is clear that it is darkening the area below the horizon, then pull it back up a bit. On soft grads this can be much further down than you might think. The point of a soft grad is to start the effect before you need it so it blends into the area you do need it on seamlessly.

Hope this helps.
Thanks Jatrax...I have the soft edge filters. I did exactly as you suggested and when I used the 9 stop filter I was able to discern where the filter should be relative to the sky and top of the trees. I just can't see well enough to discern the more subtle graduations of the 3 stop... I will continue to practice. Thanks so much.

QuoteOriginally posted by top-quark Quote
Hey Tess,

I recently bought the Lee starter pack (2 stop ND / 2 stop GND) and the big stopper, which I've not had the oppurtunity to try yet.

Your GND doesn't have to be used on a pefectly level horizon. Since you can rotate the filter holder and move the filter up and down, you can use it, for example, just to darken the sky in the top left corner where the sun is making its presence felt. Best way to use one is to fit it first and - gasp! - use live view to frame your shot. The effect is much easier to see in live view.

HTH.
top-quark... Live view is a great idea. Next time out I will see if it helps me see the subtle graduations of the 3 stop filter.

04-11-2013, 05:13 AM   #35
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I took the filters for another test run. I was up on a vista overlooking forest and a river. There was nothing going on in the sky unfortunately... my eye could only see a grey glare. I put the 6 stop graduated neutral density filter on my camera and I was able to discern when the trees started to get dark, so found my transition zone. I think the 3 stop I tried using the other day was too faint so I couldn't find the transition.

So I took a number of shots at different focal lengths with my Tamron 17 - 50. At one point I could see the cokin holder vignetting badly in the frame. I took the shots anyway and cropped it out later. I wasn't sure if I had done something wrong to make that happen and later reading the manual found out the "P" series filters and holder work best from 28mm and that for a wide angle lens or medium format cameras one should use the Pro 100 series. A bit disgruntled as I wanted to use this system on my wide angle and I already invested over $300.00 in this size filter, I looked it up and was happy to see there is a Cokin P Slim Holder for Wide Angle Lenses.

Here is my shot from two days ago using the 6 stop GD ND filter. I cropped both sides to get rid of the vignetting. I was surprised to see there was even this much of a sky as it was a pretty blank grey. (Not sure if it is too dark now?). I should note that I also had a screw on UV and Polarizer on my lens. I took photos without the Graduated ND filter and the sky did not have the same detail or colour as below, but was still better than in the photos I took using another lens with no filters whatsoever.




Hope one day soon to try this with a sky full of dramatic clouds and colours.
04-11-2013, 06:44 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by tessfully Quote
I took the filters for another test run. I was up on a vista overlooking forest and a river. There was nothing going on in the sky unfortunately... my eye could only see a grey glare. I put the 6 stop graduated neutral density filter on my camera and I was able to discern when the trees started to get dark, so found my transition zone. I think the 3 stop I tried using the other day was too faint so I couldn't find the transition.

So I took a number of shots at different focal lengths with my Tamron 17 - 50. At one point I could see the cokin holder vignetting badly in the frame. I took the shots anyway and cropped it out later. I wasn't sure if I had done something wrong to make that happen and later reading the manual found out the "P" series filters and holder work best from 28mm and that for a wide angle lens or medium format cameras one should use the Pro 100 series. A bit disgruntled as I wanted to use this system on my wide angle and I already invested over $300.00 in this size filter, I looked it up and was happy to see there is a Cokin P Slim Holder for Wide Angle Lenses.

Here is my shot from two days ago using the 6 stop GD ND filter. I cropped both sides to get rid of the vignetting. I was surprised to see there was even this much of a sky as it was a pretty blank grey. (Not sure if it is too dark now?). I should note that I also had a screw on UV and Polarizer on my lens. I took photos without the Graduated ND filter and the sky did not have the same detail or colour as below, but was still better than in the photos I took using another lens with no filters whatsoever.




Hope one day soon to try this with a sky full of dramatic clouds and colours.

Tess, you are on the right track. But you are making it way too hard for yourself. Here's how you use GND filters...

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/5568-graduated...-use-them.html
04-11-2013, 07:01 AM   #37
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Tess,
I just wanted to add that I appreciate this thread because I'm all thumbs with the ND filters and I appreciate learning from you and the rest of the folks who are contributing.
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