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05-13-2012, 10:11 PM   #1
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ND filter or CPL filter

I am a landscape photographer(soon). I have 16-50 for both landscape and portrait. but problem is when I take pic at outside, most of the sky parts look too bright .... I can not control the brightness of sky...

so I'm thinking to buy CPL or ND filter(square one). I want to take photo of cloud so much...

Which one could be better???

05-13-2012, 10:14 PM   #2
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An ND wont help you for that situation, a CPL will have some effect, however what you really need is a (square) Graduated ND which would be ideal.

Either that or do it in PP with HDR or exposure blending.
05-14-2012, 02:12 AM   #3
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I would get both the Cir Polarizer and a Grad ND filter. Both can be handy in different situations. However for the most part the Grad ND Filter is what you will use to get both the foreground and the sky to expose properly.
05-14-2012, 02:44 AM   #4
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Hi, polarizer will darken the blue in contrast to white clouds, so the sky will be more dramatic. ND grad will darken the sky evenly, both clouds and blue, but contrast between the blue and clouds will remain the same and you will have to increase that in post process.
However beware of polarizers - under 24mm focal lenght the polarizing effect is usually very uneven - so i would slightly prefer ND grad.
There's another option just for blackandwhite photography - red colour filter, but to some extent it can be replicated in post processing.

05-14-2012, 05:57 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by epqwerty Quote
I would get both the Cir Polarizer and a Grad ND filter. Both can be handy in different situations. However for the most part the Grad ND Filter is what you will use to get both the foreground and the sky to expose properly.
Under RAW without post processing that would be correct. Although if one were to switch out of RAW and use HDR that would also work
05-14-2012, 08:42 AM   #6
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Cheat. It's a long long tradition, like about 160 years. Layer two shots together: a nice cloudy sky and a nicely lit 'scape. Maybe use two different exposures from the same tripodded position.

The problem with a GND is that the division is a (fuzzy) straight line. This is fine with horizon-only shots, not so fine with mountains, skyscrapers, etc. And the problem with HDR is a tendency to go overboard. So just cheat.
05-20-2012, 07:44 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Cheat. It's a long long tradition, like about 160 years. Layer two shots together: a nice cloudy sky and a nicely lit 'scape. Maybe use two different exposures from the same tripodded position.

The problem with a GND is that the division is a (fuzzy) straight line. This is fine with horizon-only shots, not so fine with mountains, skyscrapers, etc. And the problem with HDR is a tendency to go overboard. So just cheat.
Although a long tradition, most of the pre-digital examples were more obvious than moderate hdr. It was difficult to do well.

The OP doesn't state whether the sky problem is that it's too light, or that it's blown out. Small blown-out areas can be fixed somewhat easily, by cloning for example; large expanses are more time-consuming and may require multiple exposures. If the sky is simply too light, but not blown out, that's often better fixed with PP than with a filter.

Agree on the problem with GND, although with the newer sensors that are more resistant to shadow noise, you can over-darken portions with the GND and still rescue them. However, the improved dynamic range on those same sensors means somewhat less need for GND. Often a 1-stop GND was all that was needed to avoid blowing out the sky, and a new sensor vs. a 5yr old sensor might buy you that.

Paul
05-22-2012, 03:38 PM   #8
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I would cheat also, but use the camera's bracket option + photo editing Also, a lens hood for sun glare.

05-25-2012, 09:29 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Cheat. It's a long long tradition, like about 160 years. Layer two shots together: a nice cloudy sky and a nicely lit 'scape. Maybe use two different exposures from the same tripodded position.

The problem with a GND is that the division is a (fuzzy) straight line. This is fine with horizon-only shots, not so fine with mountains, skyscrapers, etc. And the problem with HDR is a tendency to go overboard. So just cheat.
I agree with the distaste for HDR especially when it is overdone but isn't your proposal just a more subtle version of HDR?

OP - you'll need to use a variety of techniques depending on the situation. A GND will work very well sometimes and not so well others. Maybe a subtle HDR shot will work sometimes. Maybe rico's will be the best for other shots.
05-25-2012, 10:45 PM   #10
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An additional option for the "too bright sky" problem can be found in some software. I use NIK Color Efex Pro but there are several others that have the Graduated Neutral Density filter in software. It does pretty much the same as a physical filter but allows for intensity adjustments as well as height and angle of the "split line." You can also do Polarization in the same software but it doesn't work as well as a real CPL on the lens. Both work pretty well if there is still some color and contrast in the sky but will not manufacture a sky if the original is blown completely out.
05-26-2012, 03:43 AM   #11
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Last edited by beholder3; 08-11-2013 at 07:31 AM. Reason: [deleted]
05-26-2012, 03:58 AM   #12
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I think you should start with a CPL. Its easier to carry and has many other uses as well, like removing reflections from water, flowers, mirrors, windows..
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