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07-04-2010, 01:59 PM   #1
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ND Graduated Filters and tripod for Pentax KX

I am looking a buying some ND graduated Filters for my Pentax KX, I v looked into the Cokin P series, but again i don't know a lot about this area as I'm new to photography. The main reason i would buy these filters is because i do a lot of mountain climbing and hiking so majority of my shots will be landscape.
Also Im looking for a good sturdy tripod that allows me to strap it to my hiking pack and go for climb/walk without being laden down by the sheer weight of the thing.
Any help would be amazing

Thanks Guys

07-04-2010, 02:14 PM   #2
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I wouldn't be too concerned with graduated neutral density filters to start. I would first get more familiar with polarizers.

I understand your thinking--that somehow, the sky always overexposes. But this is only the case certain times of the day. In addition, properly positioning/sliding ND filters is not as easy as it looks.

I'm a big Cokin fan, and while many here complain about the quality of the actual glass, to me, it's the best all-round solution out there.

According to the kind of shooting you say you like to do, and that you're going to be bringing a tripod, I say forget about ND filters AND polarizers for now, and get into HDR--high dynamic range--where you shoot several exposures of the same scene and then combine them in a PP program.
07-04-2010, 03:37 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
I wouldn't be too concerned with graduated neutral density filters to start. I would first get more familiar with polarizers.

I understand your thinking--that somehow, the sky always overexposes. But this is only the case certain times of the day. In addition, properly positioning/sliding ND filters is not as easy as it looks.
.
Good advice. you would be amazed how much difference a polarizer can make. When used correctly, it will make the whole scene "pop".

The one thing that I would add (and this maybe obvious) is to make sure you get a circular polarizer not linear.
07-04-2010, 04:06 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by true_scotsman Quote
I am looking a buying some ND graduated Filters for my Pentax KX, I v looked into the Cokin P series, but again i don't know a lot about this area as I'm new to photography. The main reason i would buy these filters is because i do a lot of mountain climbing and hiking so majority of my shots will be landscape.
Also Im looking for a good sturdy tripod that allows me to strap it to my hiking pack and go for climb/walk without being laden down by the sheer weight of the thing.
Any help would be amazing

Thanks Guys
The Cokin Nd are not totally neutral. I recommend the Singh-Ray filters. They fit the Coking P-holder system.
For digital you won't need graduated Nd filter that much. The sensors dynamic range can cope with eg a overcast or bright sky.
I would not recommend HDR imaging; I haven't seen a single image with this method that looks natural.

07-04-2010, 04:57 PM   #5
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My admittedly limited experience is that on my K100, and to a slightly lesser extext K200 (at iso 200 with extended dynamic range set), the sky gets blown out all the time, even when I also blow out (not really the term to use, I guess) the shadows. So I get pure black and pure white and that's not really something I can do much with.

My '80s Cokin gray p filters aren't neutral, they're kind of greenish I think. Better filters cost eight billion dollars so I stick with my $8 (at the time, now more like $30 I guess) Cokins for now, much as I stick with my $8 uncoated tiffen haze filters and $12 supposedly-coated circular polarizers.

I have not experimented with HDR, partly because I'm not sure it's really applicable to moving subjects like foliage (in any wind.) Probably cameras will soon improve and make spit filters unnecessary.

There are times I'd like split filters in every possible shape, particularly a V shape, or maybe a U. but we're kind of stuck with the plain old horizontal split. There are also times I'd like a 1.5 stop filter vs. 1 or 2.

Paul
07-04-2010, 11:06 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by bigdog104 Quote
Good advice. you would be amazed how much difference a polarizer can make. When used correctly, it will make the whole scene "pop".

The one thing that I would add (and this maybe obvious) is to make sure you get a circular polarizer not linear.
There is no special need to spend the extra bucks for a circular polarizer for something like landscape shots; it isn't as though focusing manually is a burden and AF is the only real reason to consider circular at all. I make out just fine with a linear and saved 3/4 of the cost of a circular.

As regards a tripod, I use a Slik Sprint Pro travel tripod which is very lightweight (about 1kg) and versatile. I carry it by just sticking one leg of it between my belt and trousers. For outdoor use I advise making sure the legs can be splayed open at several angles and that there is no underbracing locking the legs together as there may be times when you want one or more legs at different angles. A reversible column can also be handy in case you want to sling the camera beneath to get it really close to the ground.
07-05-2010, 04:23 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
There is no special need to spend the extra bucks for a circular polarizer for something like landscape shots; it isn't as though focusing manually is a burden and AF is the only real reason to consider circular at all. I make out just fine with a linear and saved 3/4 of the cost of a circular.
I have always read that linear polarizer will also affect through the lens metering in addition to AF.
07-05-2010, 05:06 AM   #8
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Regarding a tripod, make sure you get one that will reach your normal eye height when extended, and be somewhat stable at that height. Realistically you'll probably have to depend on the center column to do this, and of course that's the weakest link for stability, but you have to balance portability and performance. Having the legs individually adjustable is also important. I have a hefty tripod that goes way over 6ft without the center column - not that it matters, because the center column is massive and the tripod is just as solid with or without it. But it's too heavy to carry long distances.

But for hiking I usually take the Slik u212, which is about 6 lbs., and carry it in a backpack.

Paul

07-06-2010, 05:09 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by bigdog104 Quote
I have always read that linear polarizer will also affect through the lens metering in addition to AF.
These are test shots of the K20D using a linear polarizer, all shot in Av mode:








All
Pentax K20D
S-M-C Takumar 105/2.8


As I have stated elsewhere, I have no firsthand knowledge about how linear polarizers interact with the AF system, as all my shots with a polarizer have been with manual focus lenses. As you can see, though, there is no apparent problem with metering. For landscape usage such as the OP proposes, where one takes some time on the setup anyway, manual focusing is not a problem and he may (or may not) wish to consider saving a few bucks by going with a linear polarizer. Either will serve his purposes; I just wished to point out he does have an option.
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