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graduated ND filters
  
 
CosmicCruiser
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p.1 #1 · graduated ND filters


I am wanting to pick up a graduated ND filter for those sunsets etc but the more I look into it the more confusing it seems to be. First, right off the bat it seems that a low sunset will be below the darker part of the filter so that's no good. Then there's the "hard line" NDs that have the same darkness all the way to the middle then clear which may still be a problem if you're not having the horizon in the middle. Then there's the gel filters with holders. Well first they are expensive, around $300-400. Then I checked the LEE filters & holder at B&H and they only fit a lense up to 72mm and I was hoping to use it on my 24-105L which is 77mm. Now I'm perplexed and ready to just shoot HDR! Any help appreciated. Robert


Nov 15, 2013 at 10:09 PM
mitesh
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p.1 #2 · graduated ND filters


What you would find useful for sunsets is a reverse GND filter. That has the darkest part of the filter in the middle which would cover the sun, and then would get progressively lighter towards the top edge of the filter.

To use the Lee filter holder, you'll need an adapter ring that screws onto your lens filter threads. You can get them for many different lens sizes, including your 77mm. The filter holder attaches to this ring. You can slide the filter up and down to match with the horizon line (or whatever you want to match with).

Before you spend a bunch of money on filters, try HDR or even just using software gradients in post processing- you might be able to accomplish what you want.



Nov 15, 2013 at 10:20 PM
CosmicCruiser
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p.1 #3 · graduated ND filters


Thanks mitesh,

About the Lee filter holder though is that when you use the adapter ring to fit my 77mm the the filter holder will still be 72mm therefore seeming to be a stepdown ring. Wonder if that would be noticeable? I tend to agree with your suggestion of just doin' an HDR



Nov 15, 2013 at 10:55 PM
mitesh
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p.1 #4 · graduated ND filters


The filter holder is wider than the lens. I use it with my 82mm canon 24-70. The adapter ring "steps up" to the filter holder and provides a groove that the holder's spring loaded clip slides into. For the 77 and 82mm wide angle lenses, there are super-wide angle and wide-angle rings to prevent vignetting. There is very little space between the lens front element and the filter.


Nov 15, 2013 at 11:10 PM
wuxiekeji
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p.1 #5 · graduated ND filters


For those shots where good control over the ND graduation is needed, I often just stop down, maybe throw on a ND1000 filter if the sun is already out, and use a black sock or dishtowel as an controllable ND filter, shooting long exposure or bulb mode and selectively exposing the different parts of the image by moving the towel. This gives me a lot more freedom than just rotation and translation as I can create curved shapes, vignette on all sides, or whatever other effect I want to do.

And for the situations where I want to be lazy, don't have my tripod, or have moving subjects and can't shoot long exposure, I use Cokin graduated ND filters, which similar to Lee filters in that use a square holder so you can adjust the horizon, but much cheaper than Lee. They have a bit of colour cast but with the typical wild colours of sunrise and sunset and magic hour I find a little cast really doesn't matter.



Nov 16, 2013 at 08:00 AM
 

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WheresMurph
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p.1 #6 · graduated ND filters


HDR is probably the best bet, but I just bought a Tiffen 77mm Vari ND Filter that stopped down to max 8, coupled with my CPL is great too. I wanted to shoot waterfalls as well as sunsets, so the vari ND does both.


Nov 19, 2013 at 06:32 PM
nma
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p.1 #7 · graduated ND filters


CosmicCruiser wrote:
I am wanting to pick up a graduated ND filter for those sunsets etc but the more I look into it the more confusing it seems to be. First, right off the bat it seems that a low sunset will be below the darker part of the filter so that's no good. Then there's the "hard line" NDs that have the same darkness all the way to the middle then clear which may still be a problem if you're not having the horizon in the middle. Then there's the gel filters with holders. Well first they are expensive, around $300-400.
...Show more

The simplest approach is a single image with a software ND in Lightroom. In the digital age it is also worth considering using exposure bracketing and software solutions. For example, one can import the bracket exposures into a program like Photomatix and create realistic or surreal images. In this approach you can make very rapid brackets, hand held and do alignment in software. Or, better still, a sturdy tripod to hold the camera still for bracketing. Once you get into the digital processing of bracketed sunset images you will understand that ND filters are the past. ND's have difficulty coping with details near the boundary.



Nov 20, 2013 at 02:00 AM
jbouchard
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p.1 #8 · graduated ND filters


I have this kit from Cokin. You slide the filters up and down to put the line where you want it. It's similar to the Lee, but less expensive. I can't say if the quality is comparable or not, I've never seen or used the Lee setup.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/387434-REG/Cokin_CH250_Graduated_Neutral_Density_Filter.html

You also need to buy an adapter for whatever whatever your lens size takes for filters (77mm for instance)



Nov 28, 2013 at 01:58 AM
CosmicCruiser
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p.1 #9 · graduated ND filters


thanks for all y'all's input. At least I'm thinking along the same lines. Robert


Nov 28, 2013 at 02:57 AM





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