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10-19-2007, 08:37 AM   #1
Ed in GA
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Tiffin "screw in" Graduated ND filter

Tiffen makes a screw in type Graduated ND filter.

Has anyone here used one of them and, if so, what was your experience?

TIA

Ed

10-19-2007, 09:03 AM   #2
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Hi,

screw-in graduated ND filters are of limited use - the problem is that you can't adjust the "graduation line" of the filter without having to recompose your shot.

Best idea is the Cokin style setup

simon
10-19-2007, 10:29 AM   #3
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I'm also toiling with a screwing Tiffen vs. Cokin. The problem is, my most used lens for landscapes, sun and sky is my Pentax 12-24mm. Cokin doesn't seem to support a lens that wide. Tiffen would work better, even though I'll likely have to remove the UV filter to avoid vignetting.
10-19-2007, 10:54 AM   #4
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Graduated ND Filters

QuoteOriginally posted by dkittle Quote
I'm also toiling with a screwing Tiffen vs. Cokin. The problem is, my most used lens for landscapes, sun and sky is my Pentax 12-24mm. Cokin doesn't seem to support a lens that wide. Tiffen would work better, even though I'll likely have to remove the UV filter to avoid vignetting.
I use a Tiffen 77mm ND 2 stop graduated neutral density filter. For my needs, it actually works quite well. I know that you can't adjust the position of the transition up and down, but it doesn't really seem to be a problem. I usually have the horizon about 1/3 of the distance from the top of the frame (or less). The natural variations in the landscape below the horizon seem to always mask the filter transition. If the horizon is below the middle of the frame, then I won't use it. But I don't take very many shots that are more than 50% sky. I wouldn't use it if the transition fell over an object with a smooth, even surface (like smooth water or desert sand). Be sure to use the DOF preview to see what the shot will look like.

The Tiffen filter will cause vignetting on the Pentax DA 12-24mm at 12mm, even if it is the only filter. It seems ok from about 14mm on. And it works fine with the Pentax DA 14mm f/2.8. (It also works fine with my Nikkor 12-24mm f/4 DX lens, even at 12mm. But this is probably not of much interest in a Pentax forum.)

I was considering a Cokin system, but it seemed like a lot of stuff to carry around (filter holder, adapter rings, filters, and Cokin lens hoods). The Coken Grad ND filters don't have the best reputation for quality. The good Singh-ray filters are quite expensive. And I was concerned with compatibility with a 12-24 ultra-wide. According to the Cokin Web site, I would need to get a "Z" system to cover a 12-24mm, and I certainly didn't want to go there.

One idea is to skip the filter holders, and simply get a good grad ND filter (e.g., Singh-ray) and hand hold it in front of a the lens (with the camera on a tripod). This seems like a reasonable solution, and I might give it a try sometime. If you've ever read any Tim Fitzharris books, what he does is just tape the filter to the lens with duck tape!

10-19-2007, 01:22 PM   #5
Ed in GA
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QuoteOriginally posted by simonkit Quote
Hi,

screw-in graduated ND filters are of limited use - the problem is that you can't adjust the "graduation line" of the filter without having to recompose your shot.

Best idea is the Cokin style setup

simon
I agree that the use is, most likely, limited.

However, I don't always have a tripod with me or time to set up a specific shot. Nor, do I have a bag in which to put all of the neccessary equipment for the Coking type system. Or, at least a bag that goes everywhere with me.

I was thinking of these more in terms of something to grab quickly, that doesn't take up a lot of space in my back pack/bag to use when those spur of the moment or fleeting shots appear.

I was just wondering if anyone had this type of filter and could give me some "hands on" comments as to their results.
10-19-2007, 03:37 PM   #6
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A polarizer is 2 stops right?
10-20-2007, 10:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by GaryML Quote

One idea is to skip the filter holders, and simply get a good grad ND filter (e.g., Singh-ray) and hand hold it in front of a the lens (with the camera on a tripod). This seems like a reasonable solution, and I might give it a try sometime. If you've ever read any Tim Fitzharris books, what he does is just tape the filter to the lens with duck tape!
Yes, I've read the same line from Fitzharris regarding using duct tape to hold his Cokin style filters over his lenses. Honestly, that sounds nuts to me! I would assume that the garden variety silver duct tape would leave so much sticky residue on both filter and lens that you'd wind up with pretty gunky gear in short order.

Not to hijack the thread, but has anyone actually TAPED a filter on their lens successfully? What was the technique and what kind of tape was used?

Thanks,

germar

10-21-2007, 05:43 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by GaryML Quote
I was considering a Cokin system, but it seemed like a lot of stuff to carry around (filter holder, adapter rings, filters, and Cokin lens hoods). The Coken Grad ND filters don't have the best reputation for quality. The good Singh-ray filters are quite expensive. And I was concerned with compatibility with a 12-24 ultra-wide. According to the Cokin Web site, I would need to get a "Z" system to cover a 12-24mm, and I certainly didn't want to go there.
I thought about the Coken system too. Thought it to be somewhat cumbersome in the field. Additonally, their filters have two flaws as I see it: They are not (contrary to their claim) color neutral and they are certainly not scratch resistant. While I am careful and fussy about the condition of my gear, I drop, fumble and occasionally bang things and I was not too confident that the Coken's would hold up to some of the harsher conditions I can sometimes shoot in.

QuoteQuote:
One idea is to skip the filter holders, and simply get a good grad ND filter (e.g., Singh-ray) and hand hold it in front of a the lens (with the camera on a tripod). This seems like a reasonable solution, and I might give it a try sometime. If you've ever read any Tim Fitzharris books, what he does is just tape the filter to the lens with duck tape!
I think this is a possibility too. Though duct tape is bugger to get off anything it gets stuck to... which usually is everything you don't want to get sticky

Tiffen makes a good product and remember also that if you want more foreground than sky there is nothing to stop you from shooting the sky portion that you want...followed by removing the filter and shooting below the offending sky and then blending the two images together. You know... for that very special picture

Stephen
10-21-2007, 08:04 AM   #9
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QuoteQuote:
Not to hijack the thread, but has anyone actually TAPED a filter on their lens successfully? What was the technique and what kind of tape was used?
Personally, I do not want to get all the tape gunk on my gear. But I'm just an amateur who is too obsessive about my gear and doesn't focus enough on what it takes to get the best images possible.

QuoteOriginally posted by SCGushue Quote
I thought about the Coken system too. Thought it to be somewhat cumbersome in the field. Additonally, their filters have two flaws as I see it: They are not (contrary to their claim) color neutral and they are certainly not scratch resistant. While I am careful and fussy about the condition of my gear, I drop, fumble and occasionally bang things and I was not too confident that the Coken's would hold up to some of the harsher conditions I can sometimes shoot in.

Tiffen makes a good product and remember also that if you want more foreground than sky there is nothing to stop you from shooting the sky portion that you want...followed by removing the filter and shooting below the offending sky and then blending the two images together. You know... for that very special picture
I have some concerns about the quality of the Cokin filters, and the price of the alternatives like the Singh-ray (which are also scratch-prone plastic). Tiffen makes glass grad ND filters to fit the Cokin P-holder but they're about $140. I've never seen or handled them, but they are listed in the B&H catalog.

The bottom line for me is that I've been using the Tiffen 2 stop screw-in grad ND filters for nearly 20 years on film and now digital, and it works fine for my purposes. The typical shot is a mountain scene or rocky coast with the horizon about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way from the top of the frame. The mid-ground and foreground have lots of light variation and it effectively masks the transition. If it's a nice photograph, I'll always shoot an insurance shot without the grad ND filter, but almost every time the filtered shot looks better with more detail in the sky and no obvious filter transition line. It just works for me.

Maybe my photos are inferior to what a more skilled photographer could do with the Cokin style filters. But I find that the screw-in filters work for me in terms of the convenience and the results. YMMV.
11-06-2007, 03:17 PM   #10
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I wonder... The 12-24 takes a 77mm. If I could get a 'big' stepup ring (like 77mm to 90mm or something that would give me a lot of 'edge'), I could tape a square or rectangular filter to the stepup ring instead of the lens itself. And it might not cause vingetting. Hmm...
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