View Full Version : ND Grad or ND?

18-04-2010, 9:52pm
Gday all,

Quick question, heading to Esperance this weekend, hoping to capture some nice landscapes.

Very new to landscape photography and can probabaly get one or the other in regards to the filters.

Just wondering what people think will be more useful.

I'd like both but I just bought a new lens and am stretching the budget to get one set of filters already lol.

18-04-2010, 10:13pm
GND's and ND do different things, even though a GND can be used in a similar manner to an ND.

Basically, you use an ND filter to make the available light darker.. whether that's for allowing the use of a more open aperture for shallower DOF in bright light, or to slow the shutter down for an effect.

A GND is used more for balancing the light difference between two halves of given scene, even though the nett effect can be similar to using a solid ND filter... ie. slowing down shutter speed for a given aperture value.

You can get a full GND tho, too!

I find that my 3stop Cokins usually have approximately a 1/3 to 1stop ND effect in the clear section of the filter anyhow!.... and with the 3stop darkened section to be about right at 3-4stops, giving a 3 stop difference between upper and lower sections.

Cokin have available an 'F' designated graduated filter that has a darkened section at one edge as well as the graduation to darker at the other end.
eg The P121F filter is a 3stop filter in graduation as well as being dark at the normally clear end. I think somewhere between 1 and 2 stops at the lightest end of the filter. That allows you to not have to use an ND as well as a GND stacked if that looks like it may be an issue, if you want exposure balance AND slow shutter speed in the one exposure.

But they are different beasts. If you have a well balanced scene and you use a GND as an ND filter the darker end will come out much darker than the clear end of the frame. and if you wan to balance a bright sky to match a darker foreground, then an ND filter just makes it harder to see through the filter!

different horses for different courses!! ;)

As a starter kit, just to get you started(funnily enough!) the Cokin P series is an honest and acceptable way to get into ND's and GND's. The filters themselves cost about $20-30 for an ND, and about $40-50 for a GND. The holders and adapters cost a lot more!

Best way to get into them(I reckon) is to get two GNDs
(either 2x 2stop GNDs, 1x 2stop + 1x 3stop, or 2x 3stoppers).
You can (quite easily) flip them so that they create the same effect as a solid ND filter by holding them in opposition to each other.
This way you end up with more finely graduated filters for better light balancing effects, stacked normally to create very strong light balancing effects, or stacked in opposition to each other for a full ND effect.

18-04-2010, 10:14pm
If your goiong to be using it mostly for your everday landscapse style shots id go for an ND Grad pack. ND Grad 2, 4 and 8, very handy filters to have! If you can't get the 3, maybe just got for the ND Grad 4!

If you were looking at waterfall style shots or even portrait shoots the straight ND's would be the go :)

Hope this helps a little...

EDIT: Ak has summed it up nicely!

18-04-2010, 10:21pm
Thatnks Arthurking and Mercho.

Think I'll just go the ND kit for now and flip them if I want to slow the water down and have more detail in the sky at the same time.

18-04-2010, 10:24pm
Thatnks Arthurking and Mercho.

Think I'll just go the ND kit for now and flip them if I want to slow the water down and have more detail in the sky at the same time.

Just be aware when stacking you might get a colour cast accross the photos, easy fix in photoshop but just something to keep an eye out for :th3: