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05-17-2011, 06:29 PM   #1
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which ND filter would be of the most use?

I was wanting to get a really good neutral density filter for my k10 but not sure which one (not brand but F- stop reduction)to get.
anyone have some opinions?
I will be using it for longer shutter speeds for waterfalls, etc and off camera flash to blur the background when the f stop is to small.

thanks and cheers

05-17-2011, 06:42 PM   #2
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For waterfalls you probably want anything from 4 to 10, for outdoor flash you probably want 2 to 4. I guess then a 4 might be a good compromise? If you have a CPL (usually 2 stops) you could always use it instead or as well as the ND filter. So you could have 2 stops (CPL), 4 stop (ND), 6 stops (ND + CPL).

I have a 6 stop ND and it really is very hard to see anything through the viewfinder except in very bright daylight. I'd imagine then that 6 stop is too dark for flash photography even from a usability point of view.
05-17-2011, 08:30 PM   #3
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I vote for the Hoya Pro 1D 16x

I can say, from personal experience, the Hoya Pro 1D 16x is an excellent neutral density filter that gives you an extra four stops of density.

I found myself in the same situation as you; I wanted an ND that was more than your typical 1 or 2 stop filter, but nothing so dense that it incurred a huge price tag like what you find with the 6, 8, or 9 stop filters. The variable neutral density filters are enticing, but way too expensive.

I like the 16x from Hoya for a couple reasons (beyond the price tag, which I think is very reasonable compared to similar offerings from Heliopan and B+W). Again, it's four stops and it can be combined, if necessary, with a polarizer for more density. As twitch said, this makes it quite flexible. Also, the Hoya Pro 1D filters are always low-profile frames, so wide-angle lenses don't vignette. The Pro 1Ds also have threads on the front, in spite of being low profile, making filter stacking possible.

Another critical factor for me was that the Hoya Pro 1D neutral density filters are multi-coated, which is in contrast to similar filters from B+W and Heliopan. I don't know why the other guys don't multi-coat their ND filters. B+W makes a huge deal about their coating and manufacturing techniques with every other filter in their lineup, but they go out of the way to state their neutral densities filters are not coated without an explanation. Conventional wisdom when it comes to filters seems to be the more coatings the better, and I can't imagine this situation should be any different. (If somebody can give a reason why a typical ND filter would not be coated is welcome to explain!)
05-17-2011, 09:02 PM   #4
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Where I buy B+W filters from the price doesn't vary by the degree of ND, it's one price for a B+W ND filter and you get to pick the density you want. Only the 6 and 10 stop ND filters aren't MRC, I have no idea why that's the case.

05-18-2011, 02:10 AM   #5
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I use the Cokin-style square ND filters (P size) as I can easily stack them, and that's what I do - stack them until I have the right amount of reduction. I have three different ones, plus a circular polarising filter I could also use if I really needed a dramatic light reduction!

I tend to be using the LCD on the back to compose with this lot, as the camera is (of course) on a tripod, and I've not had problems with not being able to see well enough.

Do remember most lenses are considerably less sharp once you start stopping them down a lot - look at the various lens tests at dpreview.com for some nice graphical ways of showing this. In other words using appropriate ND filters is far, far preferable to stopping down to f34 - or even f22.
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