Neutral Density Filters

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Jun 15, 2008
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Not sure where this thread belongs, so I'll put it here. I'm looking into getting an ND filter. Can someone tell me the difference between the 0.3, 0.6 and a 0.9 neutral density filter?

And what exactly does it do? I've seen before and after photos taken with the filter on, just wondering scientifically what it does :)

Carole
 
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You'll also find that Singhray (I think) sells a ND filter where you can "dial in" from 1 to about 8 stops of filtering.....pretty neat option, though they are not giving this away,(ie a bit pricey).

Ted
 
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Carole,

Here's another way to think about your attenuation choice with outdoor conditions:

0.3 very little available light
0.6 early morning light and cloudy days
0.9 bright light

The available light can be reduced further by adding a polarizing filter or even stacking ND filters. You can't go wrong with a 0.9 but you might find the others too lacking unless you shoot at night, early in the morning, or during a storm. The most common use of the ND filter is to slow moving water to a graceful appearance, but there are many other uses.
 
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I think I'm going to start with a 0.9 as I often shoot in the afternoon since I'm retired and I find that a lot of the time my exposures are too bright.

Thanks for the help, everyone! You guys are the best!

Carole
 
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OK, one more dumb question - does a graduated ND filter go from one strength to another?
 
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OK, one more dumb question - does a graduated ND filter go from one strength to another?
A grad ND is like an ND filter at the top (they use the same strenght system as mentioned above) however they are clear at the bottom. You line it up with the horizon such that all of the scenery has the same intensity of light which can be accomidated for in a single exposure.
 
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Carole,

Here's another way to think about your attenuation choice with outdoor conditions:

0.3 very little available light
0.6 early morning light and cloudy days
0.9 bright light

The available light can be reduced further by adding a polarizing filter or even stacking ND filters. You can't go wrong with a 0.9 but you might find the others too lacking unless you shoot at night, early in the morning, or during a storm. The most common use of the ND filter is to slow moving water to a graceful appearance, but there are many other uses.

Right.
I might add to watch the extreme corners for vignetting as more filters are added. I can only go two inluding the polarizer when using my wide 17mm lens.


MikeT
 
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MikeT makes a good point above, however there is something else that I have just thought of releated to your choice of wide lenses.

The front of the Nikkor 18-55 (which I assume will the lens that you'll be using with grad NDs) rotates when it focuses, this may make using the filters which are rotation dependent difficult. The same applies to polarizers which also vary their effect depending on their rotation.
 
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Carole,

You might want to read Bryan Peterson's excellent and redable book,Understanding Exposure Revised Edition. This is readily available and a bargain and the effects and usage of both ND and graduated ND filters are discuussed therein.

Tom
 
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OK, one more dumb question - does a graduated ND filter go from one strength to another?

to confuse you more, there are hard and soft graduated ND filters. the hard have a sharp transition from clear to the strength of the filter where as the soft have a smooth transition.
 
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I was recently introduced to the wonderful world of ND graduated filters. I have only 1 (.9, soft). Its use allowed me to take one of the best pictures I've ever taken. I was uncertain about using them at first, but I was taking a landscape workshop and the teacher suggested I try one. I'm so glad I did! I was taking a picture at sunset, but wanted to capture the movement of the ocean and a waterfall. I don't think I could have done it without the ND (and a polarizer).

One note. I bought the filter holder that goes with it...but I never use it, and I doubt I will. I just hold the filter up to the lens. Its WAY easier to adjust that way.
 

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