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Thread: Newbie Question on Filters (ND and others)

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    Ausphotography Regular bcys1961's Avatar
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    Question Newbie Question on Filters (ND and others)

    Hi ,
    I have just bought a brand new OMD EM-1 with 12-50mm kit lens, but apart from that ( and a tripod) I have no other camera equipment . I want to start to build up a bit of a tool kit of essentials and accessories. One thing I[d like to get are some filters. Most of my photography is landscape , bushwalking, beach etc...

    I have read I can but either a series of individual ND filters (which can be "stacked") or a Variable ND filter . The variable filters are more expensive but obviously cover the whole range , and as cheap as buying 3 or 4 individual filters.

    So questions are :

    1. Which way to go - variable or a few singles? If singles what would be a good range to get ?

    2. What are good quality brands that won't break the bank? eg. Hoya OK?

    3. Any other filters you think the new photographer should not be without ?

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

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    Member AnthonyT's Avatar
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    Im only new at the photography game myself and I too am looking at getting some filters... I was watching a video presentation of "Moose" Peterson who is a Pro working for or has worked for National Geographic... He mentioned during this presentation to avoid the stacking of filters as the adding of additional layers reduces image sharpness. His preference was to use individual filters...

    Link to the 2hr video presentation Im referring to. Sorry I cant remember at what point he talks about filters..
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt0w...3JOLrr_Vmg_d4c
    His website:
    http://www.moosepeterson.com/blog/about/biography/

    Polarising filter and ND filter seem to be the main ones I see referred to when reading about landscapes, natural/wildlife photography and are the 2 on my shopping list..

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    For landscape photography a polariser and more likely graduated ND filters would be more suited, but you cannot get grad filters in the vari- option

    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...ead.php?110857
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    Ausphotography Veteran MattNQ's Avatar
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    This is my take on it. Others may differ.
    I'd suggest a CPL first. Landscape & beaches particularly come alive. Enhances blue sky & green foliage and cuts glare and reflections. Mine rarely leaves my 9-18mm on my Oly.

    Next, a set of graduated ND filters. While you can bracket, I prefer to take a single exposure - this then gives more freedom to avoid the tripod and still manage bright skies etc

    Then maybe a solid ND filter. I started with an ND400 (9 stop) . Between the CPL (about 1 stop down I think) & GND 3 stop, and judicious stopping down the aperture, I haven't found a need yet for anything in between. ....so far
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    Thanks Matt!
    I'll get in that order .
    For the GND I read the slip in rectangular type give more flexibility to position horizon where you want it ?

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    Ausphotography Veteran MattNQ's Avatar
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    Yep, slip in are the way to go. You can also stack without vignetting
    You'll need to decide how much money you want to spend, what system suits you and what sized filters you will need.
    Like lenses, you generally get what you pay for, so do your research.

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    Firstly I think that you should understand what a CPL and an ND can and cannot do.

    In simple terms:

    > a CPL will cut reflections and "bring to life" many landscape features;
    > a ND will allow a longer shutter speed or larger aperture for any given lighting condition at any given ISO - so for landscapes an ND is often used to make the sea ripples or the river smoother (by using a longer exposure)

    So, an ND is for many beginners a more specialized filter, I think that is why you are getting suggestions to get a CPL first as a CPL will likely be more often used.

    Also mentioned was a Graduated ND Filter.

    (In simple terms) a GND is one where 1/2 of the filter is ND and the other half is not - so it can be used to cut down the exposure of a very bright sky and not cut any exposure on the darker landscape, below it - so that allows the whole scene (with a very wide DYNAMIC RANGE) to be capture in one shot.

    *

    If you want to look at a VARI-ND I have used Singh-Ray and they are excellent, the best I have used and I would unconditionally recommend them


    Apropos single ND filters I keep a: 1 Stop; a 3 Stop; and 8⅔ Stop.
    I have all these ND filters in a very large size and I sue STEP UP rings to attaché these filters to a lens with a smaller filter size. I’ve found that these three densities are the most useful for me, and I very rarely stack them, but now I don’t use the 1 Stop very often at all – I did with film.
    I have a few Circular Polarizing Filters in the sizes to suit the lenses that I use in open sun and water / snow.
    I use my Circular Polarizing Filters much more than any of the ND Filters.


    WW

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Also remember that a Polariser does cut down the light, so it acts as a ND filter as well (prob about 1 f-stop worth)

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    Member Abeniston's Avatar
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    I use Lee Filters. Most of the time I use the 1.2 soft grad for landscapes. I seem to get a good contrast between the land and sky with this one. I highly recommend this and possibly the 0.9 soft grad as well in case the 1.2 turns out to be a little to dark, or on the other hand, turns out that you need a little more than the 1.2. All these filters can be stacked. The Lee filter holder takes 3 at once.

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    Thanks all for the feedback . As a newbie to photography I'm finding this forum invaluable.

    I'll definitely get a CPL filter first .

    I'll compare Vari vs single ND's . Vari filter's seem to divide the photography community. Some love them and others seem to think they are terrible and report problems , but it looks like Singh Ray is the way to go if /I get one.

    Next the GND and slip in is the general recommendations.

    Thanks !

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    Thanks for the great discussion on filters. I am also thinking about investing in a polarizing filter but a few sites I have visited have suggested that polarizing filters are a bit tricky on a wide angle lens. The suggestion has been that due to the wide angel you can get variations in the degree of effect across the photo. Is this an issue?
    Canon 60D; EFS 55-250mm; EFS 18-55mm; 50mm
    All CC very welcome. I'm keen to learn.


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    Ausphotography Veteran MattNQ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Johnston View Post
    Thanks for the great discussion on filters. I am also thinking about investing in a polarizing filter but a few sites I have visited have suggested that polarizing filters are a bit tricky on a wide angle lens. The suggestion has been that due to the wide angel you can get variations in the degree of effect across the photo. Is this an issue?
    Yes, it can be an issue. You often get a range of tones across a deep blue sky for landscapes - I don't tend to notice it anywhere else (eg reflections/foliage)
    Personally it doesn't bother me a lot.
    Example below. The blues are darker on the upper LH side than the RH side. (pls ignore the light spot in the centre of this one - didn't notice it before posting )
    This is at 9mm on a M4/3 sensor (equivalent field of view to 18mm on a full frame)


    It is a problem if you are creating a pano from several shots - you need to remove the CPL so you do not have to try & merge dark blue into lighter blue

    If the sun is low & close to flaring into your lens, it can amplify this effect as per the image below.

    Last edited by MattNQ; 15-01-2014 at 12:52am.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    As Matt has shown, a polariser can cause variations across the image, so using one and turning it to get the effect you want, it is paramount to watch for an even result across the viewfinder. Polarisers are just that, they polarise light. Therefore the angle to the sun, can affect the outcome. Matt mentions taking them off for shooting several photos that are to be stitched together for a Pano etc, this is because as you turn to take each frame, your angle to the sun changes and thus the polarising effect changes along with it.

    So as the thread starter is a new photographer, please be aware that adding filters into the equation at this time, will lead you to another range of things to learn on your photographic journey. Be careful to not try and learn to much, to fast. You can take great photos without filters and you should get your head around all the camera settings first, be getting good photos and then start adding filters etc to the mix.

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    Hi forum,

    I now have a CP filter (Hoya CIR-PL).

    Without starting a war about if I should have a UV filter permanently in place on my lens or not ( I do ) what is the view on if I can put the CP filter on top of it . Can I stack it on top or should I take the UV filter of when I want to use the CP filter ?

    r,
    Brad
    The name is Brad ......

    OMD EM-1, OMD EM-5MkII, m.Zuiko 12-40mm Pro f2.8, m.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 Pro , m.Zuiko 60mm f2.8 Macro, m.Zuiko 17mm f1.8 , Lee Filters




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    Hi Brad, you can leave the uv filter on if it makes you feel comfortable but I would suggest not stacking them. Even then though it is debatable whether you would really notice the degradation under normal viewing conditions....do a couple of test shots and see if you can pick the difference. Of course you may notice vignette at wider angles with stacked filters

    David

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    Ausphotography Veteran MattNQ's Avatar
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    Personally, I just leave my CPL on my 9-18mm all the time & keep the case in my bag for when I don't need it.
    It is my primary landscape lens, so the CPL is on more often on than it is off anyway.

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    New Member Coco's Avatar
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    One thing I will add if you are buying filters such as ND.. You might want to invest on a good tripod.

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    Amazing thread, came in with questions and left with all the answers. So just wanted to say thanks

    I'm also off to invest in a CPL which I'll have a bit of a play around with before investing a bit more in ND filters

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    Member MadMax1412's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattNQ View Post
    This is my take on it. Others may differ.
    I'd suggest a CPL first. Landscape & beaches particularly come alive. Enhances blue sky & green foliage and cuts glare and reflections. Mine rarely leaves my 9-18mm on my Oly.
    I currently have a UV filter on, mostly to protect the lens. Should I put a CPL on top of that or just use the CPL?

  20. #20
    Ausphotography Veteran MattNQ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMax1412 View Post
    I currently have a UV filter on, mostly to protect the lens. Should I put a CPL on top of that or just use the CPL?
    Take off the UV & just use the CPL. The UV offers no contribution to image quality.
    Try not to stack filters of any sort if you can help it. It will affect the image the more layers of glass/plastic you insert between your subject & your sensor.
    Eg. a single darker ND will giver better image quality & less colour cast than two lighter filters stacked

    Another aspect to watch is that sometimes when you stack screw in filters on the wider lenses, the edges of the filter will intrude into your image corners

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