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Old May 15th, 2011, 01:43 PM   #1
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Best ND filter for sunny days?

So I need to get an ND filter for my lens for bright sunny days but I'm not sure which spec I should get.
I have the 24-70mm 2.8 lens.

I want it dark enough to be able to keep the aperture wide open (For DOF) but not so dark that I have to crank the ISO way up. Good ones are pretty expensive so I'd like to just buy one for now.

.06?
.09?
1.2?

Anybody have some knowledge on this?

Thanks much!
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Old May 15th, 2011, 06:31 PM   #2
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Re: Best ND filter for sunny days?

The old standby for photography is to use f/16 and set the shutter speed to 1-over-the-ISO for proper exposure on a sunny day. Let' see how that works...

If you are shooting 24 fps, you will want a 1/50 shutter. That indicates 50 ISO. If you will use 100 ISO, you need one stop right off the bat. Going from f/16 to f/2.8, you need five more stops of reduction. That's a six stop filter, which is an ND 1.8.

An ND 1.8 can also be handy for long exposure timelapses. Dial the lens back to f/16 and you can shoot 1 second exposures in sunny conditions, which will give a nice blur for timelapse photos. Use the extended ISO of 50, and you get a two second exposure, which is the perfect amount of motion blur for a very pleasing 4 second interval.

I also like carrying an ND 0.9 (three stop) when I want to get things in range but don't need a full six stops of reduction. I don't bother with 0.3 or 0.6 as I can cheat my other adjustments if needed.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 06:48 PM   #3
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Re: Best ND filter for sunny days?

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Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
The old standby for photography is to use f/16 and set the shutter speed to 1-over-the-ISO for proper exposure on a sunny day. Let' see how that works...

If you are shooting 24 fps, you will want a 1/50 shutter. That indicates 50 ISO. If you will use 100 ISO, you need one stop right off the bat. Going from f/16 to f/2.8, you need five more stops of reduction. That's a six stop filter, which is an ND 1.8.

An ND 1.8 can also be handy for long exposure timelapses. Dial the lens back to f/16 and you can shoot 1 second exposures in sunny conditions, which will give a nice blur for timelapse photos. Use the extended ISO of 50, and you get a two second exposure, which is the perfect amount of motion blur for a very pleasing 4 second interval.

I also like carrying an ND 0.9 (three stop) when I want to get things in range but don't need a full six stops of reduction. I don't bother with 0.3 or 0.6 as I can cheat my other adjustments if needed.
Wow that's great info Jon, Thanks!

I should have pointed out that this would be used exclusively for video purposes, sounds like you knew that though;)

Thanks so much!
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Old May 16th, 2011, 07:45 AM   #4
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Re: Best ND filter for sunny days?

I use the Lightcraft Fader ND MKII which works fine for me.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 11:47 AM   #5
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Re: Best ND filter for sunny days?

I'll second the Lightcraft/Fader Variable ND. I now use it almost always when shooting outdoors. This past weekend I was shooting on an overcast day, and because it's variable, you can dial it in just to tone down the hot spots.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:38 PM   #6
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Re: Best ND filter for sunny days?

If you're only gonna buy one...get a variable. There's a few brands out there but I LOVE my Singh Ray thin variable. I don't go outside without it! I bought one big enough for my largest lens and a few $15 step down rings for the smaller lenses.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 01:54 PM   #7
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Re: Best ND filter for sunny days?

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Originally Posted by Ken Diewert View Post
I'll second the Lightcraft/Fader Variable ND. I now use it almost always when shooting outdoors. This past weekend I was shooting on an overcast day, and because it's variable, you can dial it in just to tone down the hot spots.
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Originally Posted by Robert Turchick View Post
If you're only gonna buy one...get a variable. There's a few brands out there but I LOVE my Singh Ray thin variable. I don't go outside without it! I bought one big enough for my largest lens and a few $15 step down rings for the smaller lenses.
After doing some resarch on these variable ND filters it looks like a great way to go. One question though, does it tell you how many stop you're going down with each turn or are you just setting it all visually?

Thanks!
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Old May 16th, 2011, 02:03 PM   #8
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Re: Best ND filter for sunny days?

I just visually set mine using the meter in my 7D. I think it does have markings on it though!
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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:08 PM   #9
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Re: Best ND filter for sunny days?

Mine has markings but they're next to useless because they don't have any numbers, just lines.
Robert's right, use the meter on the camera.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:09 PM   #10
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Re: Best ND filter for sunny days?

Oh and by the way, I've tried a cheaper brand and it made all my shots very soft. Not useable at all in fact. Lightcraft and Sing Ray seem to be the best I think.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 05:37 PM   #11
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Re: Best ND filter for sunny days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Winn View Post
After doing some resarch on these variable ND filters it looks like a great way to go. One question though, does it tell you how many stop you're going down with each turn or are you just setting it all visually?

Thanks!
Even better is using false colors, on a Marshall monitor, or through AJ Newmans adaptation of the Magic Lantern, which produced false colors. Also, earlier versions of Magic Lantern sport zebras that will keep you just below blowing out your footage.
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