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Thread: Filters for beginners

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    Member DND's Avatar
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    Question Filters for beginners

    What is the recommended filters a beginner should have ?

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    It's all about the Light!
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    What for?

    Sunny days ... maybe a CPL
    Harsh sky ... ND grads
    Sunsets ... reverse ND grad
    Reduce light (and shutter speed for water etc.) ... ND

    The do you get a system (Lee or Cokin etc) or screw ons?

    We need to know why you need them!
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
    Digital & film, Bits of glass covering 10mm to 500mm, and other stuff



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    Agree with Kym we need to know what you want your filters to do, what genre you shoot etc before we can give good advice here.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
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    I was just looking at filters and was wondering what ones I should have in my kit.
    The only one I have so far is a CPL. So I suppose the question should be, what should I have?

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    It's all about the Light!
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    Errr... no... What is the subject i.e. what are you shooting?

    Filters are expensive and have specific purposes, so just having filters is a bit pointless unless you know why you should be using one or more

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    I posed a question regarding polarising filters in THIS THREAD HERE and have received some very useful answers which might also help you out regarding those.

    Polarising filters appear to be the most recommended as a basic requirement for bright daytime shooting (you'd likely not need to use them indoors I believe) as well as general lens protection, based on what i've read here and in the responses to the thread. But there seems to be quite a range polarising filters out there let alone other filter types.

    Hope it helps in your understanding of what you might need for what type of shooting you want to do at least.
    Dan

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    I know what you are saying But I'm not looking for a filter for one sort of shot,
    I would like to know what a beginner would most likely to use the most or what you think we should have for sunnydays, ect, ect and so on, like the list Kym posted up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DND View Post
    I know what you are saying But I'm not looking for a filter for one sort of shot,
    I would like to know what a beginner would most likely to use the most or what you think we should have for sunnydays, ect, ect and so on, like the list Kym posted up.
    The thread that I linked to does in-fact talk a little about that and when I first kicked off with photography a month ago I simply cam here to AP and used the brilliant built-in search feature (look up and to the right on any AP page) which brought up a myriad of information specifically talking about what you are wanting to know.

    I also had the same questions not so long ago as well so the best help I can give you here is to show you how to help yourself I guess.

    Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DND View Post
    I was just looking at filters and was wondering what ones I should have in my kit.
    The only one I have so far is a CPL. So I suppose the question should be, what should I have?
    The question is a bit too open-ended.

    It's like going into a hardware store and asking the sales staff what you should have in your toolbox. It depends on what you need to fix or build.

    Similarly, the type of photographic filter to use depends on what you're shooting, as well as the conditions.

    Personally, my belief is that the only filters a person needs are:

    1. circular polariser;
    2. neutral-density; and
    3. graduated neutral-density.


    These tend to be used heavily by landscape photographers, so if you're a portrait photographer, these will largely be useless for that application.

    Don't bother with UV filters; they're completely unnecessary.

    I'd also advise you to give gimmicky filters (like starburst filters) a miss.

    Lastly, in the digital age, warming and cooling filters are no longer necessary.

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    ThanX Xenedis
    you just saved me a few bucks because I was going to buy a UV filter next.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DND View Post
    ThanX Xenedis
    you just saved me a few bucks because I was going to buy a UV filter next.
    I'll PM you my bank account details. ;-)

    On the issue of UV filters, you might like to read my article on UV filters.

    The use of those filters is an ever-raging debate. I've gone into a fair bit of detail in that article, so it might help you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenedis View Post
    I'll PM you my bank account details. ;-)
    Is Paypal ok


    I had a read though your thread and it makes sense.
    Now to do some research on ND Filters

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    Quote Originally Posted by DND View Post
    Now to do some research on ND Filters
    There's not much to these.

    They simply reduce the amount of light entering the lens by a given number of stops.

    They are most commonly used to blur motion (especially in water) when the light is too bright to achieve a sufficiently slow shutter speed to induce blur.

    A classic example is waterfalls during daylight.

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    I was looking at a few of your blur motion shots I'd love to have a go at that. some of your shots look like fog between the rocks unreal photos

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    Quote Originally Posted by DND View Post
    I was looking at a few of your blur motion shots I'd love to have a go at that. some of your shots look like fog between the rocks unreal photos
    Most were taken in sufficiently low light such that an ND filter was not required.

    ND filters are most useful during broad daylight, or otherwise any time after sunrise and before sunset.

    Here's an example of an image for which I did use an ND filter (I might have had both of my three-stop filters stacked) because the ambient light was too bright:


    Bare Tranquility


    Photographed at 6:32am on 21/02/2010 with a Canon EOS 5D at 16mm for 30 sec at f/8 and ISO 100.


    Note the exposure settings. 30 seconds is more than enough to blur water, but in that sort of light I'd have grossly over-exposed the scene without the use of ND filters.

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    I noticed that there is a few of them ND2, ND4, ND6, ND8 and ND400 is this different shades?
    Do you recommend an ND8 first ? (I'm only getting one at a time)

    I found this on the net and I thought someone else might find it handy to know
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ND-2 reduces amount of light to 50%, ND-4 to 25%, and ND-8 to 12.5%
    or in other words
    ND-2 absorbs 1 f-stop of light, ND-4 absorbs 2 f-stops, and ND-8 absorbs 3 f-stops

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    dose that sound right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DND View Post
    I noticed that there is a few of them ND2, ND4, ND6, ND8 and ND400 is this different shades?
    Yep.



    Quote Originally Posted by DND View Post
    Do you recommend an ND8 first ? (I'm only getting one at a time)
    I have only three-stop filters. I want a ten-stop filter, but they're not as easy to obtain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenedis View Post
    I want a ten-stop filter, but they're not as easy to obtain.
    It took my local camera store 3 to 4 months to order in my B+W110 10-stopper. Had to back-order it from Germany.

    Booming worldwide demand for something that was previously the domain of highly specialised photography of high-temperature industrial processes (ie furnaces, welding, etc).
    Canon 5DmkII + stuff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    It took my local camera store 3 to 4 months to order in my B+W110 10-stopper. Had to back-order it from Germany.
    That's a royal PITA.

    In my case, a ten-stop filter is something I want, not something I need. I can stack two three-stop filters to kill six stops of light, which for the most part should cover me.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Check out the vari-ND from Singh-Ray

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