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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Nature & Landscapes Talk
Thread started 19 Feb 2017 (Sunday) 07:47
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Filter Advice

 
bmaxphoto
Senior Member
276 posts
Joined Apr 2012
SWVA
Feb 19, 2017 07:47 |  #1

I want to purchase a filter system so I can have a polarizer and the ability to use ND and graduated ND filters. My head is spinning from the research. I've looked at Formatt-Hitech, Nisi, Lee, and Wine Country Camera. Some reviews are stellar for all of them, but each system also has poor reviews by some users.

I think most reviews of the Nisi filters give it a better marks for color shift than the Lee and F-H filters. Not sure about Haida. I will eventually buy 3, 6, and 10 stop ND filters, along with a variety of graduated ND filters. I want to do some long exposure of landscape and nature (clouds, water, etc) as well as abstract urban/architecture.

I think if money was in an endless supply, I'd by the Wine Country Camera system because I like the idea of the filter vaults as well as overall design and operation of the system. However it's quite expensive.

I was about to pull the trigger on the Nisi system with a 6 stop ND to start with, but then I saw the Filterdude stuff on Ebay. Price is right but I usually find you get what you pay for.

So I'm asking you guys. If you wanted a system to fit your 72mm and 72mm lenses, you wanted a good price:value ratio, you wanted acceptable image quality with as minimal color shift as possible, and you wanted a relatively durable system that will last a while, which direction would you go?

Secondary question: for those who may have experience with it, how do you store the filter vaults for the Wine Country Camera system?


"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence." ~Ansel Adams

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MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
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Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Post has been edited 8 months ago by MalVeauX.
Feb 19, 2017 09:18 |  #2

Heya,

My advice is to actually change perspective and don't go down this old pathway and instead explore newer techniques to achieve this effect (long exposure blur). You can take several shorter exposures which require less ND filtration power and stack them as a mean and get the same look as doing a single long exposure, but with less noise, and less error. And instead of using gradients, you take more than one exposure (or exposures in this case) so that you have two exposure ranges to work from and blend them together in post, rather than trying to fiddle with a filter that has a straight line where the division occurs (which is only useful for flat horizons, imagine mountains, trees, hills, etc it will be uneven and hard to deal with, so you will be processing anyways).

Do this and you only run with one or two circular filters so you can still use a lens hood. No fussing with big square filters, the expense of it all, and having to get elaborate aftermarket or DIY lens hoods.

Or, just use a Sony sensor and a single ND filter and you're set.

My background is from using a Lee plate filter system, lots of filters, graduals, etc. Even with old cameras you can use modern techniques to get the same effects. I do 8+ minute exposure blurs, using short exposures and a single 10 stop filter. I sold all my expensive filters and only use a single 10 stop filter of average quality these days and get the same results, but with a lot easier and faster methods.

Here's more information with walk through (link to external website with explanation on how to do it in Photoshop), images, etc (I did experiments to find a happy median between exposure time, noise reduction (I use an OLD sensor), and how to eliminate gaps and get smooth averages, so read through the whole thread, not just the first examples, look at the final examples, they are noise free and smooth blurs):

http://photography-on-the.net .../showthread.php?t=1​454804

I use this inexpensive but good filter (again I sold all my plate filters and use a single filter for all my long exposure needs now):

http://photography-on-the.net .../showthread.php?t=1​452612

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link)

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bmaxphoto
THREAD ­ STARTER
Senior Member
276 posts
Joined Apr 2012
SWVA
Feb 19, 2017 10:32 as a reply to MalVeauX's post |  #3

Thanks for that. I'll check it out. How does that technique compare to traditional filters with regard to processing time? I don't really enjoy sitting for hours at the computer. I sit at a computer all day for my day job, so I try to keep my hobbies away from the desk. I pursue photography to enjoy the outdoors and bring home those moments to share with family and friends (online or otherwise). The less time at the computer the better for me.

That being said, doing something without added gear using software and technique is appealing. Just wondering how long and steep the learning curve might be. And once you've climbed the curve, how long does the stack technique take (on average)?

Also, any techniques you can't do through stacking? Ie, can you do urban shots where tourists and pedestrians disappear using the stack technique?


"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence." ~Ansel Adams

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MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
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Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Feb 19, 2017 13:10 |  #4

Heya,

Traditional filters you'd do a 5~8 minute exposure, and if there's any movement, or anything happens, bump, a bug, etc, you do it again. You check it and find a flare you need to control, you do it again. It's not a one-shot-done. You still process it. You have to fix the gradient lines when using a gradual. With a mean stacking approach, you take shorter exposures, allows for error without losing the entire time/shot. Processing a stack like that takes a few seconds. Then you process it the same as a normal single shot image. The processing after the stack doesn't change. So the time is the same. You don't process for hours.

The learning curve is easier with processing than it is to use stacked filters and get it perfect in-camera (which it won't be anyways). At least to me it was. I'm not a whiz with processing either.

Mean stacked blur does the same thing as a single long exposure. Walking pedestrians will show up all the same and blur the same. The difference is, you do it in a few shots and stack the mean, or you do one single long shot with more noise and more room for errors/flaws and have to redo the whole thing. And if you want extreme long exposure (15 minutes or more) you can do it with a single 10 stop filter with several exposures stacked, instead of trying to rig up some 16 stop filter and deal with a single exposure that long, the noise, and the errors/flaws.

Try both ways. See what works best for you.

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link)

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bmaxphoto
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Senior Member
276 posts
Joined Apr 2012
SWVA
Feb 19, 2017 13:27 as a reply to MalVeauX's post |  #5

Thanks again! I'm glad you told me about this. Some time spent learning might save serious cash. Seems like a great approach to me.


"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence." ~Ansel Adams

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bmaxphoto
THREAD ­ STARTER
Senior Member
276 posts
Joined Apr 2012
SWVA
Feb 19, 2017 19:48 |  #6

I am still reading through the threads, but the techniques make sense in my head. I can't wait to give it a shot. I also plan on ordering the B+W XS-PRO circular polarizer and the Haida Slim ProII ND screw on filters.

Right now I have a Sigma 10-20 and a Canon 28mm f/2.8. I will have the 15-85 in a 4-8 weeks. I am trying to decide which lens to buy the filters for first. I feel that the 28 is more multifunctional whereas the 10-20 is something I will probably use less. Leaning towards getting the filters for the 28 first then the 10-20 next month. Any thoughts?


"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence." ~Ansel Adams

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MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
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Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Feb 19, 2017 22:07 |  #7

Heya,

Get one filter. Get a 77mm thread. Use step down rings to take it down to whatever thread sizes for all your other lenses. You don't need separate filters. Just get one filter. Get a 10 stop. You can do everything with that one filter basically and get started. I would not buy tons of filters and then fiddle. Get one. Learn to do long exposure with appropriate exposure values. Then if you want to learn to do mean stacks for extreme long exposure like above linked, then you're set. Only buy more stuff after you're experienced with it and know what direction you want to go with things. But use step down rings to take a larger filter down to a smaller thread lens, don't buy the same filter in several sizes.

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link)

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gremlin75
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Joined Feb 2011
Detroit, MI
Feb 19, 2017 23:00 |  #8

If you MUST have grad ND's then square filters are the only way to go. However most of the time blending exposures (HDR) is going to give you as good if not better results. So make sure you absolutely want Grad ND's before you commit to any system (AKA save yourself money!)

So if you don't need square filters I would go with screw on circular filters. Buy the size for your largest lens, or just get a 77mm to kind of future proof your gear. After that just get a bunch of step up rings for the lens sizes you need (right now I'm carrying a 52-77mm, 62-77mm, and 72-77mm step up rings).

I personally suggest Formatt-HiTech Firecrest ND filters (and only the firecrest. The older non-firecrest filters are not very good). I have a 4 stop and 10 stop and even when stacked I get no color shift. For Polarizer you can't go wrong with B+W.

Basically this is my filter kit:

B+W F-pro CPL
4 stop Formatt-HiTech Firecrest ND
10 stop Formatt-HiTech Firecrest ND
3-5 step up rings (depends on what lenses I'm carrying)
All wrapped up in a Mindshift filter nest Mini

Not the perfect kit for everyone, but it's the perfect kit for me.




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bmaxphoto
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Senior Member
276 posts
Joined Apr 2012
SWVA
Feb 19, 2017 23:20 as a reply to MalVeauX's post |  #9

Thanks! I really appreciate the money saving advice. I still can't get over the fact that I was about to spend a ton of money to do something you can do for free with the software I already own. I'm sure it will take time to learn but that's fun. Wasting money isn't.


"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence." ~Ansel Adams

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bmaxphoto
THREAD ­ STARTER
Senior Member
276 posts
Joined Apr 2012
SWVA
Feb 19, 2017 23:24 as a reply to gremlin75's post |  #10

Thanks for the advice. Definitely going the route of step rings. Are they all the same? Any risk of light leaks or anything else I need to consider? How about vignetting when using the step down rings? Any difference there?

Planning on a circular polarizer and a circular 10 stop to start.

I plan to do some more research on brands. I think it's down to the Haida and F-H. I've read good things about both.

Thanks again!


"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence." ~Ansel Adams

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gremlin75
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Joined Feb 2011
Detroit, MI
Feb 20, 2017 11:24 |  #11

bmaxphoto wrote in post #18278963 (external link)
Thanks for the advice. Definitely going the route of step rings. Are they all the same? Any risk of light leaks or anything else I need to consider? How about vignetting when using the step down rings? Any difference there?

Planning on a circular polarizer and a circular 10 stop to start.

I plan to do some more research on brands. I think it's down to the Haida and F-H. I've read good things about both.

Thanks again!

All step up rings are basically the same, a piece of aluminum with threads on it. There are brass step up rings as well which are supposed to have less chance of binding, but they aren't exactly cheap! I have the cheap Sensei 77mm kit that B&H sells and it's worked great. I would suggest getting a filter wrench set as well. All that is is two plastic "wrenches" that you can use to help get filter unstuck if they do get stuck.

There is zero chance of light leak from the lens with screw on filters. If you're doing long exposures cover the view finder as there is a chance of light leak there.

If you stack to many filter you can run the risk of vignetting. How many is to many will depend on the lens and filter size. On my Fuji 16mm lens I can have a step up ring, CPL, and two ND's with no vignetting. But that's not an ultra wide and it only has a 67mm front thread. Always double check for vignetting when stacking filters.




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shane_c
Senior Member
607 posts
Joined Mar 2007
Halifax, NS, Canada
Jun 29, 2017 11:49 as a reply to gremlin75's post |  #12

I've been thinking the last few months about adding some filters and might go the circular route so it's less to carry around.

I'm wanting a 6 or 10 stop ND filter. I would use them on my Sigma 17-50 (77mm filter) and Canon 70-200 (67mm filter). Just so I'm clear.... I would only need a 77 mm filter and then a 77-67mm step down ring? Neither of the lenses have a rotating front element so I wouldn't have to worry about that. I may add a circular polarizer at some point too.


Canon 60D - Sigma 17-50 (2.8), Tamron 90 macro, Canon 40 STM, Canon 70-200L F4 (non-IS), Canon 1.4x II
My Instagram (external link)

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gremlin75
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Joined Feb 2011
Detroit, MI
Jul 03, 2017 00:23 |  #13

shane_c wrote in post #18389854 (external link)
Just so I'm clear.... I would only need a 77 mm filter and then a 77-67mm step down ring?

That's correct.




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