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Old 22nd of June 2008 (Sun)   #1
taylorwilsdon
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Default Neutral Density (Graduated and otherwise)

Ok, so...

I bought a Cokin P filter holder and a 67mm adapter. This seems to be the standard for basic "square" filter gear. Now I need something to stick in it. The object here was to get some variety of ND filter, be it graduated or otherwise. First off, which do I want (grad nd or straight nd)? Usage would be landscape, seascape, some clouds maybe, waterfall stuff... the usual. I love the look of what I've seen from ND filters.

I don't want to spend a bundle and I don't care all that much about quality. This is experimenting time, not serious investment time. eBay stuff is fine. Recommendations happily taken!
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Old 22nd of June 2008 (Sun)   #2
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Default Re: Neutral Density (Graduated and otherwise)

I think you would need at least one of each. When I do my landscapes, waterfalls, streams, and such always get my 3 stop neutral density. But, for skies and such, you need a graduated. I haven't dabbled in that area too much but someone else is bound to have better advice than me.
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Old 22nd of June 2008 (Sun)   #3
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Default Re: Neutral Density (Graduated and otherwise)

If you don't care too much about quality, Photoshop can easily simulate a graduated filter, as you probably already know. But then of course you don't get to experience the fun and perhaps even challenging part of using ND filters.
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Old 22nd of June 2008 (Sun)   #4
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Default Re: Neutral Density (Graduated and otherwise)

Hi.There are other problems. In the Grad's they do a Hard or a Soft. This refers to the Horizon line (if you like). Obviously the Soft blends in to meet the horizon.

I use Grad ND's by Cokin. ND2, ND4 and ND8. They are very useful for most landscape work. However don't overlook Coloured Grads. These can also add surprise to a shot. Particularly Grads like Cokin 122 (blue) or their Sunset and Tobacco grads.

I know you don't want to spend a lot (who does), but the ND Grads are a serious investment for landscape etc.

These filters will make a great difference to your shots and will only drive you on to buy more.
Good luck.
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Old 23rd of June 2008 (Mon)   #5
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Default Re: Neutral Density (Graduated and otherwise)

You can simulate it in Photoshop, yes, but typically your digital negative is compromised in some way, unless you've bracketed and are merging your three exposures. And that is time consuming.

I have owned the Cokin with the medium grad ND, and you can rescue the exposure (hence not increasing noise or losing detail) if you spend the extra 60 seconds to use the grad ND.
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Old 23rd of June 2008 (Mon)   #6
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Default Re: Neutral Density (Graduated and otherwise)

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylorwilsdon View Post
Usage would be landscape, seascape, some clouds maybe, waterfall stuff... the usual. I love the look of what I've seen from ND filters.
Generally on a digital camera, you want to go a little darker in density than you would on a film camera. If you are doing landscape and seascapes, you'll want a graduated ND...probably 3 stop, hard edge if you will be doing mostly seascapes (as you can line it up with the horizon easily) or soft edge if you will be using it more for regular landscapes with occasional seascape use. If you don't want to spend a lot, but don't want "cheap" quality, buy the HiTech brand and avoid the Cokin's as they are "grey" not neutral density. For waterfalls, you'll need a full ND filter. If you don't have a circular polarizer, stop. Go to the store and buy a decent polarizer. In addition to improving saturation, changing reflections and sky depth, a circular polarizer can act as a 1.3 to 2 stop ND filter. It is a necessity in any landscaper's bag. If you already have a circular polarizer, you don't need too much more density and can get a 1 or 2 stop ND filter and use it separately or in tandem when the circular polarizer to achieve the desired slowing of the shutter.
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