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Thread: GND filters

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    GND filters

    I am planning to change my lee GND filters not sure if I want to go for the Cokin Z pro or the more expensive singh-ray filters but I would like some advise on what strength to buy and combination of hard and soft filters to buy. I am currently on a tight budget and don't want to spend too much money especially when I am not making money out of this hobby. Form my experience I find that the one stop filter I hardly use so why pay 100 or so dollars for it....
    Dwarak Calayampundi

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    If you have the Lee ones, why spend money to change? You mention you are on a tight budget, so keep what you have and use those, thus it will not cost you a cent.

    Lee are brilliant filters!
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    If you have Lee filters, why are you considering changing?

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    Sorry Rick and John I forgot to tell you guys that the filters are a bit damaged and also bent and when I use couple of filters there is light leakage and color cast that's the reason I want to change.


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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    ah.

    Cokin sell a Z-Pro 'kit' that contains ND grads in 2/4/8, which you can also buy as a straight ND kit 2/4/8 as well. If you are serious about landscapes etc, you will find a use for all. By getting the 2/4/8, as you say, the 2 may not get much use, but by stacking you can get a 6, or a 10, etc, so getting the 'kit' is probably the way to go..depending on funds. They will also fit your Lee filter holder, which is a bonus.

    If you cannot afford both right now, I would get what you use the most, So if sunrises and sunsets are you thing, get the grad kit, if it is waterfalls and rivers/streams, get the straight ND's. Then save up and get the other one when you can afford it

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    Well Cokin don't do hard grads so if you want a mix of hard grads and soft grads the choices are Lee, Singh-Ray and HiTech in the 4" wide variety.

    Price-wise, HiTech is cheapest followed by Lee and then Singh-Ray. Singh-Ray make some very interesting filters.

    If you want a mix of hard and soft grads, you can do that with HiTech and if you buy directly off the manufacturer (Formatt Filters) you use to be able to get a special discounted 3-pack of mix and match grads. I prefer to buy my HiTech filters off Teamwork Photo who have better customer service and actually bother to put a customs declaration on the package which gives it a normal progress through customs.

    What you should get? I would probably suggest 2-and 3-stop hard grads and a probably a 2-stop soft grad. If you get the hard grads in 150mm x 100mm size, you can generally get away without buying NDs.
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    Thanks for the advise guys I was sure I could get good advise from this site. Peter just curious why have you not included a 3 stop soft gnd on the list?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwarak View Post
    Thanks for the advise guys I was sure I could get good advise from this site. Peter just curious why have you not included a 3 stop soft gnd on the list?
    I'm not sure, as I use my three-stop soft grad as my first line of defence.

    Often I stack my two-stop soft GND as well.

    And sometimes even five stops isn't enough.

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    I tend to use hard grads the most and when used alone, either the 2-stopper or 3-stopper with the 3-stopper the most frequently handled.

    At the moment, I only have a 2-stop soft grad of pretty poor quality - it is a Kood brand item which was cheap but much easier to scratch.

    In my old p-series filters, I had 1, 2 & 3 soft grads and a Cokin 121S which is also 3-stop. They were fine. The soft grads have a pretty gradual transition, I don't think there is much point going to a 3-stopper most of the time.

    I agree with John that stacked 3 and 2 stop soft grads are not always effective. I find stacking a hard grad and a soft grad far more useful. If I need more than that with grads, then exposure bracketing and blending in Photoshop or by some other means gets added into the mix.

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    If you have Lee, why not by the same again. They are the best money buys...

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterb666 View Post
    Well Cokin don't do hard grads so if you want a mix of hard grads and soft grads the choices are Lee, Singh-Ray and HiTech in the 4" wide variety......
    Cokin's 121 and 120 numbered filters are 'hard grad' .. whereas the 121S is the soft grad version of the 3 stop 121 filter.

    I have both(in P mount) and they do have obvious differentiation along the beginning of the ND section of the filter.

    I think Peter is right tho, in that the 121 filter isn't listed in the Z lineup for some strange reason??
    It's listed as an A, P and X-Pro sized filter, but not as a Z-Pro!

    There doesn't seem to be any specific ND value for the 120 series filter, but it looks to be approx ND4(2 stops), where the 121(ND8) is listed as 3 stop.

    All filter model numbering is identical across their entire range, just add the A, P, Z or X prefix to determine the size of the filter.



    You'll probably find that any colour cast, if it's magenta/red, will happen on most of these filter types irrespective of brand if you stack too many at once.
    The magenta cast will usually surface once WB has been accounted for.
    Apparently, some of the higher quality brands only delay the onset of the colour cast, rather than eliminate it altogether.
    I beilive that Lee have a higher level of quality compared to Cokin's filters.

    IF(and only IF) I don't want any magenta cast when I stack my filters, I'll also stack a grad blue over the already stacked set of filters, which helps to remove the magenta cast naturally, and any residual magenta is easily removed in PP.
    In some situations I actually like a slight reddish cast.

    An alternative to adding a grad blue to a series of heavily stacked grads is to add an inverted sunset grad(or tobacco) into the mix to counter the adjustment of WB that causes the magenta cast in the first place.
    This is tedious and the effects of the tobacco filter can be garish .. hence my preference for using the blue.

    The blue I got was a $10 cheapie, no name from Vanbar of all places(usually quite expensive). It doesn't seem to add too much more balancing of the exposure, maybe -1/3 of a stop or so, but as you amy already have 5 or more Ev of exposure balance with the stack, that -1/3Ev or so is not going to matter much.
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    While colour casts are annoying, it's not a big problem when shooting in raw mode.

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    I think it has come down to choosing between Lee and Singh-Ray if I selectively buy filters then I will be able to afford the Singh-Ray I automatically assume they are of higher quality as they are more expensive I maybe totally wrong here. But my experience with other sing-ray filter has been good like the neutral density CPL and the ND filters and I am also interested in the reverse GND filters. So I might save up a bit and go for the Singh Ray after all....Thanks for all the advice...

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