Final filter questions (maybe)

Joined
Apr 21, 2006
Messages
15,069
Location
Nashua, NH
I have not used filters but have been looking into using gnd (.9) and cpl filters. I have asked questions and done a lot of research in the past few days and I am a confused mess. I have spoken with a friend who is in he same situation and is as confused as I am.

I really would like answers to these questions from people who use filters.

1. I think I will use cpl filter without a gnd most of the time. Should I get a screw in cpl and then get a lee or cokin filter holder that would screw in to the cpl and buy a 4 x 6 gnd filter for when I want to use both OR should I just get the filter holder and buy a 4 x 6 gnd filter and a 4 x 4 cpl? (I guess I am partly asking how much trouble is it to attach the filter holder and whether it is easier to use a screw in of 4 x 4 cpl.)

2. If you use a filter holder system and don't want to buy a lens hood, how do you keep out glare? Do you use a remote and stand in the position to keep the sun out?

3. Do you look through the viewfinder while adjusting the filters or use live view (something I have never used.)

4. Sing Ray has a great rep for gnd filters. They are resin. Lee is pretty good but cheaper and is also resin. Would glass filters be better? If so, what brands are good there.

5. Should I get a plain or warming cpl? I use uniwb when I shoot and then convert to 5300 WB in NX so I don't know if a warming filter would have any effect.

Thanks to anyone who will take the time to help.
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
6,184
Location
Glens Falls, NY
I have not used filters but have been looking into using gnd (.9) and cpl filters. I have asked questions and done a lot of research in the past few days and I am a confused mess. I have spoken with a friend who is in he same situation and is as confused as I am.

I really would like answers to these questions from people who use filters.

1. I think I will use cpl filter without a gnd most of the time. Should I get a screw in cpl and then get a lee or cokin filter holder that would screw in to the cpl and buy a 4 x 6 gnd filter for when I want to use both OR should I just get the filter holder and buy a 4 x 6 gnd filter and a 4 x 4 cpl? (I guess I am partly asking how much trouble is it to attach the filter holder and whether it is easier to use a screw in of 4 x 4 cpl.)

2. If you use a filter holder system and don't want to buy a lens hood, how do you keep out glare? Do you use a remote and stand in the position to keep the sun out?

3. Do you look through the viewfinder while adjusting the filters or use live view (something I have never used.)

4. Sing Ray has a great rep for gnd filters. They are resin. Lee is pretty good but cheaper and is also resin. Would glass filters be better? If so, what brands are good there.

5. Should I get a plain or warming cpl? I use uniwb when I shoot and then convert to 5300 WB in NX so I don't know if a warming filter would have any effect.

Thanks to anyone who will take the time to help.
I can only help with two of your questions....

#3: When adjusting my CPL filter, I look thru the viewfinder, aiming the camera at the sky 90 degrees from the sun's position.

#4: I just bought a B+W Kaesemann CPL Filter that I'm very happy with. My 8x ND (not GND) filter is a Tiffen which sometimes gives the image a slightly green cast, which can easily be corrected in post-processing.

I never use the 2 filters together (stacked) and frankly don't see any need to. (That sort of addresses #1...)

Hope this helps a bit.
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
3,185
Location
Westchester County, NY
Thinking back to my film days, I can tell you that I always prefered the screw in polarizer with a GND mounted in front. I found the quality of the glass screw in polarizers to be far better than the ones typically designed for the Cokin style holders. (cannot comment on what is available these days as far as front of the lens cpl's for Cokin mounts.

Second, my gdn's were always front of the lens filters. I could never understand the advantage of using a round screw in gdn since you cannot adjust the height of the horizon in a glass filter.

To block glare, I just used my hat. Very effective and very inexpensive solution when you can't use a hood.

Lastly, while I used a Cokin holder, I found the Cokin filters themselves to be below par. This was especially true with the Cokin gnd filters. They imparted a definite color to the images. In fact, Cokin didn't even call its gnd filters gnd's. they called them "gray" filters because they were indeed gray in color and, depending on the subject, they created a gray color shift.

Singh Ray is undoubtedly the king of the hill in front of lens filters, but the prices are breathtaking. I did use a set of 3 gnd's from Singh Ray, but man are they expensive. Lee and Hi Tech make (or made) pretty fair alternatives to Cokin.

Then again, I have not shot film in more than 5 or 6 yrs and Cokin may have improved its product in recent years.

To my knowledge, almost all front of lens filters that fit in the Cokin style holders are resin. Even the Singh Ray's. I think Cokin did come out with a glass type, but I never tried it. The big disadvantages with resin filters are that they scratch easily and they are dust magnets since they get static charged.

When I shot film, there was no such thing as live view, so I definitely adjusted the horizon line by looking through the lens. If you stop down with the dof preview button, the line becomes easier to see in the viewfinder. Stopping down causes the image to darken and it may take your eyes a moment to adjust to the dim light, but you are not composing when adjusting the filter height; you are just setting the filter break at the appropriate position in the shot. Once you set the line, open back up to viw the composition.

If you get only one cpl, I would definitely recommend the normal one. Warming polo's were great tools when shooting film and I owned both, but with today's digital tools, if you need to warm up the shot, it is easy to do with white bal adjustments (especially if you shoot raw) or with your software.

One last point about gnd's. The older I got and the less I wanted to carry and fuss with, I often ignored the filter holder (pain in the *** to attach and set up) and just held the square gnd filter in front of the lens. actually works quite well without the holder, once you get the knack. Of course if I needed to replicate a shot over and over, I would use the holder.
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
Messages
15,069
Location
Nashua, NH
Thinking back to my film days, I can tell you that I always prefered the screw in polarizer with a GND mounted in front. I found the quality of the glass screw in polarizers to be far better than the ones typically designed for the Cokin style holders. (cannot comment on what is available these days as far as front of the lens cpl's for Cokin mounts.

One last point about gnd's. The older I got and the less I wanted to carry and fuss with, I often ignored the filter holder (pain in the *** to attach and set up) and just held the square gnd filter in front of the lens. actually works quite well without the holder, once you get the knack. Of course if I needed to replicate a shot over and over, I would use the holder.
Thanks for all this information Rick. It is helpful.
If I get the screw in polarizer with threads in the front, can I just screw the filter holder into the filter? I think so but am not 100% positive.
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2006
Messages
1,244
Location
Marblehead, Ma
If you get only one cpl, I would definitely recommend the normal one. Warming polo's were great tools when shooting film and I owned both, but with today's digital tools, if you need to warm up the shot, it is easy to do with white bal adjustments (especially if you shoot raw) or with your software.

One last point about gnd's. The older I got and the less I wanted to carry and fuss with, I often ignored the filter holder (pain in the *** to attach and set up) and just held the square gnd filter in front of the lens. actually works quite well without the holder, once you get the knack. Of course if I needed to replicate a shot over and over, I would use the holder.
Thanks for your feedback to Allan. I too was thinking of getting a Warming Thin Polarizing filter but after reading this information, will probably just get either the Nikon thin Polarizer or the LB Singh-Ray - need to read up on this. Also thank you for hand-held on GND filters... easy and saves money.
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
Messages
15,069
Location
Nashua, NH
One last point about gnd's. The older I got and the less I wanted to carry and fuss with, I often ignored the filter holder (pain in the *** to attach and set up) and just held the square gnd filter in front of the lens. actually works quite well without the holder, once you get the knack. Of course if I needed to replicate a shot over and over, I would use the holder.
It would save money if I hand held but how easy is it. I shoot on a tripod with a shutter release that raises the mirror, waits 2 seconds, then snaps the shutter.
1.Is it easy to keep the filter in position by hand.
2. Does it cause vibration - how slow a shutter speed would you use with this method? Would you go a second or more?
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
3,185
Location
Westchester County, NY
I doubt that a delayed shutter trip will cause you much problem handholding. It is quite easy to hand hold the filter once you get the knack of it. The problem tends to be more from trying to make repetetive shots hand holding since you can seldom just hold the filter in the same location indefinetly while you make adjustments to exposure, etc.

As far as saving money, hand holding really does not help all that much since the plastic Cokin holder really is quite inexpensive. The main advantage for me in handholding is that it is just easier to do than install the ring and holder on the lens, then slide the filter through the grooves and then breaking it all down at the end.

by the way, another trick to consider if you use the plastic cokin holder is to cut away the outermost grooves. The holder comes with spaces to stack 3 or 4 filters and is quite thick. Since I amost never (actually cannot remember EVER) stack more than one resin filter and since the plastic holder is very deep and often causes vignetting with wide glass, I take a utility knife and just cut off the outermost grooves. Cures the vignetting fast and have never missed them. Again, if I want to add a polarizer or a warming filter in addition to the GDN, I use round screw in filters between the lens and the holder.
 
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
1,128
Location
Huntington NY, (Long Island)
I have not used filters but have been looking into using gnd (.9) and cpl filters. I have asked questions and done a lot of research in the past few days and I am a confused mess. I have spoken with a friend who is in he same situation and is as confused as I am.

I really would like answers to these questions from people who use filters.

1. I think I will use cpl filter without a gnd most of the time. Should I get a screw in cpl and then get a lee or cokin filter holder that would screw in to the cpl and buy a 4 x 6 gnd filter for when I want to use both OR should I just get the filter holder and buy a 4 x 6 gnd filter and a 4 x 4 cpl? (I guess I am partly asking how much trouble is it to attach the filter holder and whether it is easier to use a screw in of 4 x 4 cpl.)

2. If you use a filter holder system and don't want to buy a lens hood, how do you keep out glare? Do you use a remote and stand in the position to keep the sun out?

3. Do you look through the viewfinder while adjusting the filters or use live view (something I have never used.)

4. Sing Ray has a great rep for gnd filters. They are resin. Lee is pretty good but cheaper and is also resin. Would glass filters be better? If so, what brands are good there.

5. Should I get a plain or warming cpl? I use uniwb when I shoot and then convert to 5300 WB in NX so I don't know if a warming filter would have any effect.

Thanks to anyone who will take the time to help.
1, get a screw in CPL, these should be available in better AR coatings. if you want to use them together, just screw the adapter ring of the filter holder into the Pol.

2, if you are shooting with a square filter in a flare prone situation, get ready for trouble. because they are not coated, you main problem will be your new front element, not excess marginal light. if you don't get the special hood, just do your best to block out anything excessively bright that isn't part of your composition. you might be screwed in these situations anyways just have to think of something else.

3, I use the viewfinder as usual, unless there is a reason not to.

4, LEE filters are also top notch. you can also try Hi-tech, pretty darned good as well. these two and S-R all fit the same holders. don't buy other brands of different sizes, it will just mess you up later. there are glass square filters available with AR coatings but you will want to be sitting down when you find out how much they cost.

5, if you are shooting primarily digital, get the normal Pol filter. if you use film a lot AND frequently use a warming filter, consider the warming Pol. forget your silly WB gizmos. the correct WB is whatever you like as you adjust it and how you want to present your finished image, not what some digital wiz bang toy tells you it should be.
 

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