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Using Graduated ND-filters on a lens with a very small diameter

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Steinar, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. Steinar


    Aug 16, 2007
    I have just bought the Nikon 14-24 lens, but as you know it does not wear filters, and I have some LEE-filters and a Singh-Ray Gold N´blue I would like to use.

    I know there is a solution, but it is not safe - I wrote to the technicall director (LEE-filters) and his answer was, that he did not recommend it.

    So now I want to use them on one of my lenses with 52mm diameter (Nikon 50mm f/1.8), but before I order a special "step down" ring in England and before I begin to believe in it, I would ask, if anyone have experience with using....

    .....LEE filters (graduated ND.s) on such a small lens with so little diamater - sometimes I think that it is even hard to see the graduated line with a 77mm lens.

    Any experience before I go for it, would be very welcome.

    Thank you.
  2. rvink


    Mar 21, 2006
    New Zealand
    The focal length and image format (size) play a big part on the use of graduated filters. As the focal length increases, and the angle of view decreases and the lens sees a smaller part of the filter and graduation, so the transition appears softer and less distinct. With telephotos you may barely see any graduation at all.

    Similarly as the format size decreases (6x7 - 645 - FX - DX) the sensor sees a smaller part of the image circle so the graduation appears softer.

    One way to increase the effectiveness of grad filters when using small format cameras or longer focal lengths, is to hold the filter further from the lens. Then the graduation becomes more "in focus" and distinct. As long as the filter still covers the field of view, you won't get any vignetting. With telephotos the filter can be held a long way in front of the lens to achieve the required results.

    Depending on whether you have a soft-step or hard-step grad filter, I think you will still see the effects when used on a 50mm lens. If the results are too soft, try putting the filter in the most forward slot of the holder so its more in focus.
  3. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Steinar :

    The critical step, IMO, is always to use the DOF preview before depressing the shutter to ensure that the GND effects is placed correctly. Roland's comments are dead-on about the location of the graduation line, but even with perfect circumstances, without using the DOF preview, one is likely to misplace the graduation line in the image. I suppose that if one's shooting wide open, it's not going to make a difference, but I've often used GNDs with "near-far" composition, thus greatly stopped down.

    Speaking from my own experience, every single time that I've thought that I didn't need to run this check, I missed the GND line that I wanted. :redface:

    John P.
  4. i've used the same filter on 52mm threads through 82mm threads. no big deal. you can adjust how hard or soft the edge is with the aperture. and the filters come in different edges anyways.
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