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Archive 2013 · Trick to positioning grad filters?
  
 
jphendren
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Trick to positioning grad filters?


Hi,

I have been using (poorly), a pair of 2 and 3 stop soft grad filters for about three years. I finally bought a Cokin Z-Pro holder so no more hand holding, much better, but much slower to set up. Anyways, I have always had a hard time determining where the transition is starting when looking through the viewfinder, even when stopped down to f/11 or smaller. I now have a Nikon D3 with live view, and tried to see the transition last night using live view, still very hard. I tried wiggling the filter, but the edge was not evident to me, so I more or less guessed. Any tricks that work?



Jun 07, 2013 at 12:25 AM
MikeW
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Trick to positioning grad filters?


maybe your scene didn't need a filter? Are you in manual mode? Auto iso? Is liveview changing as you alter settings? Get a hard edge 3 stop & you'll see the difference. Umm, yeah, dunno, I can see the difference pretty clearly.


Jun 07, 2013 at 05:00 AM
tama01
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Trick to positioning grad filters?


Hi jphendren,

The transition line is not that evident, and thatís the whole purpose of using graduated filters. Obviously you know this.

I donít have your problem, but if I did, here is what I would try: it seems like your Cokin Z-Pro holder has extra slots for using more than one filter at a time. If so, I would cut a piece of black board the thickness and width of your filters with the height just to cover the filter's darkest area, maybe a little higher. This would allow me to slide it up and down, just like a filter.

When ready to shoot, place the graduated filter in the slot closest to the lens. Next, insert the black board into the second or third slot in front of the filter and slide it down, placing its bottom edge where you want the transition to begin. You should be able to see it through the viewfinder without a problem. Now, make sure the filterís transition line is even with the edge of the black board, sliding the filter up or down as needed. Next, remove the board and shoot. You could probably substitute the black board with a second filter, thus saving you the trouble to cut it.

This would probably add time to the capture process, but with practice, it should be fairly quick to do. Just an idea.



Jun 07, 2013 at 05:11 AM
 

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Mike K
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Trick to positioning grad filters?


The tip is to stop down when adjusting the position of the GND filter. For the typical case press the depth of field preview button while moving the GND. Not enough hands? This is why a tripod and a filter holder are good tools, it frees up handone hand to press the DOF Preview while watching the Live View on the LCD and the other hand to adjust the position of the GND.
At f8 or smaller the visualization of the GND on Live View will be greatly enhanced.
Mike K



Jun 07, 2013 at 04:48 PM
jphendren
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Trick to positioning grad filters?


Great ideas guys. When viewing in live view, is the image shown wide open or at the shooting aperture? I know obviously that when viewing through the viewfinder that it is wide open until you press the DOF preview button. This D3 is the first camera I've had that has live view, so I'm not proficient with it yet.

Jared



Jun 08, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Roland W
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Trick to positioning grad filters?


When stopped down with depth of field preview, your lens is at the shooting aperture. With more actual depth of field, the edge of the transition of the filter becomes more in focus, and should show better as you move it around. You may even want to set the f stop even smaller than your shooting value in order to see the transition better, and once the grad ND is positioned, you can take the setting back to what you want to shoot at. And actually, as mentioned above, the ideal is that at your final shooting aperture, you can not easily see the transition.

Depending on what software you use in post processing, you should look in to bracketing your shots with different esposures, and then combining them in post. You have the potential for even better final images because you are not constrained by a straight line for the transition like what is on your filter. Of course post processing takes time and practice and skill, and requires the bracked group of shots to work with, so it may not be for everyone. As I transitioned more to post processing for high contrast scenes, I took shots with the grad ND, and then took a bracketed sequence also. I then became more comfortable with doing it in post, and now do not use my grad ND filters as much.



Jun 08, 2013 at 11:41 PM





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