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06-25-2018, 01:31 PM   #1
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Graduated ND Filter

Anyone use a graduated ND filter for their landscape work? I'm keen to try one (instead of using a cpl), this would mainly be for the intention of panorama style work whereby using a cpl might not be the best strategy. Anyone using a graduated ND filter? If so what kind, what stop should I be looking for?

TIA!

Bruce

06-25-2018, 01:39 PM   #2
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I use square Colin p filters, very happy with the results and they're affordable; you can also find higher end glass ones instead of resin. I don't see losses in resolution with the k3ii and 16-85. I have a 2 stop hard edge and a 3 stop soft. I'm no expert, but I can tell it'd quite restrictive to not be able to move the filter, as is the case with screw on types.
06-25-2018, 01:55 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
I use square Colin p filters, very happy with the results and they're affordable; you can also find higher end glass ones instead of resin. I don't see losses in resolution with the k3ii and 16-85. I have a 2 stop hard edge and a 3 stop soft. I'm no expert, but I can tell it'd quite restrictive to not be able to move the filter, as is the case with screw on types.
Ah yes, a screw on one and you have to shoot pretty much 50% sky 50% land huh. Good point.
06-26-2018, 02:22 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I stopped using grad nd's a good while ago, with modern software and camera sensors, especially the K1's I either take one exposure, exposing for the highlights and lifting the shadows in post or I simply bracket a few exposures and combine in post. I personally think grad nd's are just an aging piece of equipment clinging onto the modern era.

06-26-2018, 02:50 AM   #5
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Interesting opinion from Simon. I have just spent a fair bit on a Lee 150 system for my DFA15-30 (as well as my other big lenses), including a couple of soft ND's.

I haven't had much opportunity to use them yet, but I hope the results will justify the expense.
06-26-2018, 03:45 AM   #6
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I've used Cokin P's for a few years and they're great. They're resin so at short focal lengths (17mm) where the light strikes the filter at a pronounced angle you get a subtle fishtank effect at the corners which I assume is a little bit of refraction. Expensive glass filters don't show this up as much. It hasn't been enough for me to upgrade my filters.

I'm not sold on the software and technology making them redundant. There's still no substitute for controlling the light before it reaches the sensor.
06-26-2018, 03:47 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jawsy Quote
There's still no substitute for controlling the light before it reaches the sensor.
The purist in me desperately wants to believe that. We'll see!

06-26-2018, 04:52 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Interesting opinion from Simon. I have just spent a fair bit on a Lee 150 system for my DFA15-30 (as well as my other big lenses), including a couple of soft ND's.

I haven't had much opportunity to use them yet, but I hope the results will justify the expense.
Sally, I'm sure your expense will be well justified, I certainly have nothing against grad nd's, I just find I can save myself alot of money by simply taking multiple exposures.

Unlike alot of photographers, I really enjoy post processing so don't mind spending the time using luminosity masks to blend in different exposures. I fully understand however if a photographer prefers to 'get it right in camera' rather than labour over a computer to achieve the same result.
06-26-2018, 04:57 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by SimonAtkinson Quote
Sally, I'm sure your expense will be well justified
Who's Sally?
06-26-2018, 05:29 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Who's Sally?
It's who my auto correct thinks you're called😂 my apologies!
06-26-2018, 07:47 AM   #11
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I forgot to mention my initial use for the filters was with film, because I was spoiled by the latitude recent digital sensor have.

But then I found out I personally like to use them more than to pp, and that I get better results when I need a single shot image (something is moving and I don't want it overly blurry, say a boat or a car) and I need to lift the shadows by 2-3 stops (k3ii). But in the end it's more that the I like the process more than pp, I know I could probably clone out from multiple exposure images and achieve what I want.
06-26-2018, 01:11 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by SimonAtkinson Quote
I stopped using grad nd's a good while ago, with modern software and camera sensors, especially the K1's I either take one exposure, exposing for the highlights and lifting the shadows in post or I simply bracket a few exposures and combine in post. I personally think grad nd's are just an aging piece of equipment clinging onto the modern era.
I did wonder. I mean I have read that a cpl cannot be replicated in post, but I think that refers more to the reflection side of things rather than the 'bluer skies and deeper saturation/contrast'. I just took a panorama on the weekend with one stuck on my 24mm, and got that lovely bell shaped effect from the use of the cpl with 3 stitched images. It did make me wonder if I should dump the cpl for those shots and instead use a grad nd or nothing at all (hence this post).
The grad nd isn't just an expense however, it's another item to ferry around, and another item to mess about with/set up time, it will slow down the shooting on the day, however it make speed post processing up, so I guess it's a case of where do you like to waste time more, at home or in the field.

Sally... I mean Sandy!, I'd be keen to hear your feedback on your system once you've had a chance to play with it, please keep in touch
06-26-2018, 01:26 PM   #13
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I will be interested in hearing about using a graduated nd on panoramas. Do you have to adjust it on every shot? Is there a limit of photos you can stich because of alignment issues? I can see the possibility of stunning photos but feel the headaches that must go with them.
06-26-2018, 01:37 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
I will be interested in hearing about using a graduated nd on panoramas. Do you have to adjust it on every shot? Is there a limit of photos you can stich because of alignment issues? I can see the possibility of stunning photos but feel the headaches that must go with them.
I think much of that depends on the lens and whether you're tripodded or not. I took this shot here with a 24mm and a cpl attached, and the 'bell' effect is seen somewhat;



This was just 3 frames stitched together, taken handheld. Some panoramas are trickier than others, different horizon points and peaks so it might just not work at all, or you have to darken that mountain peak and lift as best you can in post. If using one I would definitely seek out a gentle one and not something that is too drastic.
06-26-2018, 02:01 PM   #15
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Cool. Love that sky it almost looks like waves washing ashore.
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