Neutral Density Filters

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I am considering getting a ND filter to play with landscape shots. I do not have any experience with them Can I get some opinions / advice on using them. Is it worthwhile to have in the kit? I would buy one either for a (APS-C) 11-23 or 18-56 lens initially. If I use it enough, I would pick up another later. I am leaning towards a 3 stop B+W filter.

All advice is welcomed. Including other brands. If I were to get one, it would before we go to Acadia NP in September.
 
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You might get more helpful responses if you explain what you want to use an ND filter for and what you hope to achieve. Examples: make waterfalls look creamy, capture the ocean using a slow shutter speed, capture rapidly moving clouds using a slow shutter speed, etc., etc.
I would use if for shots involving landscapes involving water falls, fountains, the seaside / waves or cloud movement. The thing is. I am fairly ignorant of their benefits other than water or cloud shots.
 
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Thanks, Nick, but I didn't see any discussion in the buying guide of variable ND filters.
I haven't had much luck with the variable ND filters--and I purchased an expensive one from Singh Ray. I returned it because of the highly undesirable color cast that it introduced. Singh Ray sent me a new one, but it wasn't much better.

The other thing about the variable ND filter was that it was quite thick compared to my other ones. This introduced vignetting when used with my wider focal length lenses.

In theory, the variable ND is a great tool. In the field, not so much--at least for me.

Glenn
 
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I have a CPL from these guys, and much prefer it to my B+W. I'd guess their NDs are too. https://breakthrough.photography/products/x4-neutral-density?variant=30850759633
Thanks for the link. It is a good introductory guide. I will definitely consider them. I am going to download the guide for an education. The graph on their site would indicate a more consistent transmission of light across the various wave lengths. I realize the site is a sales site but the colors they show for their filters against their competitors are more appealing.
 
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Thanks for the link. It is a good introductory guide. I will definitely consider them. I am going to download the guide for an education. The graph on their site would indicate a more consistent transmission of light across the various wave lengths. I realize the site is a sales site but the colors they show for their filters against their competitors are more appealing.
That's what swayed me.
 
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I have a few brands of ND filter. Lee, B+W, and NiSi. I find the NiSi has the least colour cast. If purchasing circular ones, buy 77mm and use step down rings for your smaller lenses. In my experience I use 6 stop more than my 10 stop ones. The filter holders with rectangle filters are good if you want to stack filters and also use gradient filters.
 

Commodorefirst

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For price point I suggest a single 6-8 stop ND as a good first and only unit. I am a bit happier with my variable than Glenn, but it truly depends on your usage.
 

JLH

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I am not the expert as some here but I do use ND filters from time to time. In the simplest of terms I use them when I have "too much" light to get the ISO and shutter speed where I want it. Moving water is one example. If you want a pleasing "blur" but can't get your shutter speed slow enough due to say bright sun light, etc. you use a ND to drop the light to a level that will allow you to make use of a slow shutter speed. There are many more examples and situations but that is one common one that comes up often. Lots of resources out there to learn more from.
 
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I have used the lee filter system with a 10stop and 6stop nd.
I liked the filter system as you could get everything composed and locked down, then just slide the nd filter in place. Plus with a simple adapter ring I could use it with essentially all my lenses.
Remember when you put the nd filter on, the viewfinder will get so dark you essentially can not see anything. With the routine screw on filters, I would have to screw the filter on after locking everything down- which is more cumbersome.
I tried the singh Variable ND- and still keep it in my bag although it rarely gets used. It does give an odd color cast but I did not find it hard to remove in post.
gary
 
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The following is excerpted from the buying guide Nick provided us and I don't understand it: "[if] a 6-stop ND puts you in the 2-4 minute range, a 10-stop ND would push the exposure past 8 minutes."

Let's assume the 6-stop ND exposure lasts only 2 minutes. A 7-stop ND would add another 2 minutes beyond the 6-stop ND, totaling 4 minutes. An 8-stop ND would add another 4 minutes, totaling 8 minutes. A 9-stop ND would add another 8 minutes totaling 16 minutes and a 10-stop ND would add yet another 16 minutes, totaling 32 minutes. That's not remotely close to the 8 minutes explained in the buying guide.

There has got to be something I'm missing. What is it?
 

Growltiger

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There has got to be something I'm missing. What is it?
The buying guide is misleading. The writer may not understand the different ways ND filter strengths are quoted.
On the other hand you could argue that 32 minutes is "beyond 8 minutes".
If only all ND filter specs were written as stops.
This excellent page has a useful table half way down:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/hands-on-review/a-guide-to-neutral-density-filters
Here is a portion of it:
1627221461685.png
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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I have used the lee filter system with a 10stop and 6stop nd.
I liked the filter system as you could get everything composed and locked down, then just slide the nd filter in place. Plus with a simple adapter ring I could use it with essentially all my lenses.
Remember when you put the nd filter on, the viewfinder will get so dark you essentially can not see anything. With the routine screw on filters, I would have to screw the filter on after locking everything down- which is more cumbersome.
I tried the singh Variable ND- and still keep it in my bag although it rarely gets used. It does give an odd color cast but I did not find it hard to remove in post.
gary
I found the circular screw on filters to be cumbersome for the reasons you described—until now! Now that I am shooting mirrorless with the Z7ii, I can see clearly through the electronic viewfinder even with a 16 stop ND filter attached. I can also dial in shutter speeds of several minutes before having to resort to the bulb setting.

Glenn
 

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