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Archive 2012 · Neutral Density Filter Question

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Neutral Density Filter Question


I'm looking to experiment with some longer exposure photography and I know a ND filter will help with that cause. However, I have three things I'm not sure about:

1) If I'm looking to buy one filter, how many stops should it reduce in shutter speed to be an ideal "go to" ND filter? I've read people say that 3 stops is that universal number and then I've seen some people swear by the Lee Big Stopper filter which gives a 10 stop reduction.

I primarily shoot landscapes and nature, what do you think is the right answer for me?

2) Is there any reduction in IQ if you buy a good (B&W) screw on filter vs. something like the Lee Big Stopper?

2) If I were to go with a B&W screw on filter I've seen single coated and multi-coated ones. Is there an impact to IQ from single coated to multi-coated and is it substantial or negligible?

Thanks for reading !

Nov 29, 2012 at 02:14 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Neutral Density Filter Question

1) It depends on what you want to use it for. I have both.

2) A 3 stop of either brand would be excellent. I think the 10 stop Lee has less false color than the B+W ten stop.

3) I expect this answer will be hotly debated. Would the multicoated be better than the single coated in rare circumstances: maybe. I have a Kasseman polarizer and and older single coated B+W. I haven't noticed any difference, though I've never performed a controlled test of one against the other.

Nov 29, 2012 at 05:09 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Neutral Density Filter Question

A 3 is a good starting point and you can tack on a polarizer which is usually something like another 1.5-2 stops. As noted, it depends on the look you're going for. I had a 10stop (BW) and sold it. it was simply too much and had a significant salmon color cast.

I now use a Tiffen variable along w/ polarizer to cut down glare.

Nov 29, 2012 at 06:51 PM

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