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05-24-2017, 07:27 PM   #1
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My photo teacher recommended we get an ND filter. Any brand recommendations?

Hi, I've got a Pentax K-70 and my photography teacher suggested we get an ND filter. What brands do you recommend? Thank you. Joyce Keay

05-24-2017, 07:43 PM   #2
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I use Hoya. Nice color, reasonable price. How many stops did your teacher suggest? I have the NDX400, really nice for smoothing water. Hard to see anything through it though, it's basically welding glass. I have a 3 stop I use to allow big aperture on sunny days. Never felt the need for anything else except a polarizer.
05-24-2017, 08:02 PM   #3
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I use the poor mans nd filter. Take a black card and fan it in front of the lens. Doesn't work if your shutter speed at f16 is still above 1/200 or so because you can't fan it once. Might be able to use it as graduated at those speeds by starting with it in place.
05-24-2017, 08:36 PM   #4
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Vivitar Series 1 I have found to be good, Get at least a 2 or 3 stop filter or mare and make certain it is multi-coated.

Other options are Hoya (as mentioned) and Tiffen are also good and not too pricey. And don't forget, a Polarizer works nicely as a 1 or 2 stop ND filter also.

Regards,

05-24-2017, 08:44 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joyce Keay Quote
Hi, I've got a Pentax K-70 and my photography teacher suggested we get an ND filter. What brands do you recommend? Thank you. Joyce Keay
ND filters are rated by number of stops of light reduction - Did your teacher say how many stops?

Neutral Density filters seem to have dramatically improved (quality vs cost) a couple of years ago.

I used to use some cheapy Lee square filters.. those were horrible.. awful color casting.

If you're on a budget, I'd go with the Vu Scion brand. Extremely (and I mean tiny, you might not even notice it) small color cast.. I think both Adorama and B&H sell them. Cheap but perform well above their price. I have both a 3 and two 10 stop Vu Scions in 77mm and a few step up rings to use them on lenses with smaller filter threads..

If money is no concern, Breakthrough Photography arguably make THE best NDFs around for the money.
05-24-2017, 09:20 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joyce Keay Quote
What brands do you recommend?
Brand alone is not always a good guide as most makers have several grades, some good some poor. That said, unless you buy a no-name off ebay you should not have a problem. But it depends on your budget and your needs. Do you just want an ND filter because you need one for a class? Get something cheap, it will work just fine although it might have a color cast. Is this something you expect to use a lot? Get something better, try to get something a little higher end, not the cheapest one from any manufacturer.

Hoya, Maurumi, B+W and Heliopan all have a good reputation. And as already mentioned if you have the budget and want the best look at Breakthrough Photography.

Here is some additional reading if you want to know more about these filters:
Color Casts, Vignetting, and Sharpness: Which Neutral Density Filter Is Best? | Fstoppers
10 Stop Neutral Density Filter Review
ND Buying Guide ? Breakthrough Photography
05-24-2017, 10:55 PM   #7
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Speaking from experience, I've been down the poor man's road of ND filters, typically round screw on types, though I did use a knock off Cokin P system too. I have to say have years of disappointment and frustration of poor, and uncontrollable color cast, I tossed it all and spent a few dollars and invested in the Lee 100mm system. It's not cheap but the quality of the ND filters are worth it. There are a lot of other really good brands of ND filters on the market (see other's recommendation above) but if you're looking for quality, you'll have to discard "cheap" and actually get some quality glass, or resin as the case may be.
05-25-2017, 12:52 AM   #8
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I have used Haida screw in filters. They are reasonably priced and good quality. Get the slim ones and you can use 2 filters at the same time.

05-25-2017, 02:34 AM   #9
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You could also go DIY and use a piece of welding glass:
Use Welding Glass As 10 Stops ND Filter - DIY Photography
05-25-2017, 02:47 AM   #10
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I would go fairly cheap ($25) for now. Although there are definitely uses for such a filter, those uses may not arise often, if at all for you other than experimentation. Moving water is not something I shoot other than on a particular waterfall expedition some years ago. I rarely shoot wide open by design. A long exposure to remove moving people in a shot may require something like a 10-stop filter, which is a bit extreme for other uses, perhaps. And, you may need to useg a tripod, which although nice in theory, is another awkward piece of equipment.
05-25-2017, 03:41 AM   #11
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What no-one else has said is - why has an ND filter been suggested ? What subject matter will it be used to enhance or modify ? In my (miserly) view, if it will only be used maybe once or twice for a specific project, there seems little point in spending a lot of money. OK, I take the point about PP and colour casts - depends on your feelings about digital darkroom. Be nice to see the results, anyway, please.
05-25-2017, 04:30 AM   #12
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There is a thread about some of the Neewar filters, I put in an example from their relatively inexpensive ND1000:

Good, inexpensive ND filters - PentaxForums.com

I've also posted an example before from a welding filter. If the $23 Neewar I own had been available at the time, I probably wouldn't have 'wasted' the $5 on the welding option (plus the 5 cents worth of rubber bands to hold it on).

Filters, Filters, and more Filters! - PentaxForums.com

QuoteOriginally posted by 35mmfilmfan Quote
What no-one else has said is - why has an ND filter been suggested ? What subject matter will it be used to enhance or modify ? In my (miserly) view, if it will only be used maybe once or twice for a specific project, there seems little point in spending a lot of money.
The k-70 has a multi-exposure mode of up to 2000 photos that may be appropriate depending on use - a built in ND filter substitute for the budget constrained.
05-25-2017, 05:51 AM   #13
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For a good ND photo filter there is always work. And on a bright sunny day (so you can take pictures with an open diaphragm). And in winter (when there is a lot of white snow and bright light). From brands, I can advise B + W
Very high quality products makes this manufacturer!
05-25-2017, 07:15 AM   #14
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If you need a round filter, B+W is very very good quality (I have MRC nano XS pro 1-5 Vario ) . If you would invest in highest quality, square filters are the best. Check for Nisi v5 holder (there's a circular PL incuded in bundle + adapter rings for different filter threads) and 100 square filters: they're made of real glass, really exensive but you'll keep them for decades on.
05-25-2017, 07:38 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by 35mmfilmfan Quote
What no-one else has said is - why has an ND filter been suggested ? What subject matter will it be used to enhance or modify ? In my (miserly) view, if it will only be used maybe once or twice for a specific project, there seems little point in spending a lot of money.
I agree. I'm quite fascinated at how the ND filter has become the "must-have" accessory of the current photo era. I see all kinds of young photographers convinced they have to get one, and yet really don't understand what they'll be doing with one.

Never mind that in years past I heard pro photographers talk about how their ND filter "separates the subject from the background", and people rushed out and bought one, convinced that it somehow, magically did just that. They then run around with the thing on the lens all the time, convinced they are getting this mythical separation effect. Of course, the old pro was talking about was using a 2 or 3 stop ND to open up the aperture a bit in bright light (especially when their old 'Blad had a 1/500th max shutter). It was the wide aperture, and shallower depth aiding the "separation", not the filter itself - but don't try to tell that to the young portrait photographer convinced they've got the secret magic lens attachment.

And that may be what the photo instructor is going for here - a way to get lenses wider open in bright light. I think we can assume the word "bokeh" is going to be overused a bit in that classroom.

But hey, in this post-cellphone camera era, the wide aperture, soft background is the only trick left in the DSLR's playbook.
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