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Thread: Help: Looking for cheap alternatives to expensive filters

  1. #1
    Member huffaography's Avatar
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    30 Oct 2012
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    Help: Looking for cheap alternatives to expensive filters

    Hey guys!
    I am currently looking for something like a 10stop ND filter without spending so much money. Any one know of any close to this or where I could look without spending heaps?

    Also wondering if anyone could help me with some good filters to try which with assist in daytime long exposure shots and also getting really night tonal ranges?

    I have just got my hands on a 3.0 ND filter but I have no clue where to start with using it for my long exposure shots? Any one that knows what this filter is best for? I tried using it on clouds but after a long exposure the image still looked extremely over exposed.

    Cheers guys for your help!

  2. #2
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    23 Jan 2011
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    Depends on what you mean by heaps or cheap. I recently bought a 'multi' ND filter that works like a circular turn it and it goes from 2 stop to 8+ stops. I have had it for a couple of weeks now and it works a treat with no colour cast. It is a Cokin brand.

    Is your 3 ND filter a square one, like a cokin etc, or screw on? Are you in manual mode or Aperture or Auto? Your camera will look through the filter and adjust the exposure, so your images will still come out looking exposed but the time will be longer (giving you the soft water, streaked clouds etc). If they are looking overexposed, adjust the exposure by doing -1/3 EV or more, depending on what you are wanting in the image.

    Hope this helps.
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  3. #3
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    24 Jun 2007
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    Ok, if you do not know what to do with a .3 ND then you need to do some research before you even consider buying more filters.

    If you over-exposed using the ND3 what does that tell you? That your settings were wrong! Depending on which mode you use (auto/semi auto/manual) you need to change your settings. Also shooting on a really bright day is going to counter the ND3 somewhat as it is the lowest strength ND filter (meaning it only has a slight density tint rather than a strong one). Try shooting at dawn/dusk. Use a small aperture!

    As for a 10 stopper, you are either going to pay $$ or you could just buy some welding glass, but you get what you pay for, cheap filters = bad quality = image quality degradation. Photographic filters are generally made to the purest form of glass or plastic to ensure that they do not have imperfections. Cheap ones are just that, and you will most likely forego things like sharpness in your photos by getting cheap filters.

    At dawn/dusk you can get long exposure shots without filters, filters just increase the scope of when you can get the long exposure result.

    Here is a thread on filters, their uses etc that may assist :

    But my suggestion is do not buy really cheap, cause you will only be buying a second time in the near future when you realise your photos are losing quality cause of the imperfections in the glass/plastic of your cheap filters.
    Last edited by ricktas; 18-07-2013 at 7:26am.
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  4. #4
    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    ^ excellent advice. The cheapest way to buy a filter is to buy one filter that works and works well. The expensive way is to keep buying cheap ones and throwing them away until you finally spend the dough and buy a good one. Do it once, do it right.

    It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.

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