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Old January 17th, 2016, 01:52 PM   #1
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How Many Stop ND Filter Do You Mostly Use For DSLR Video

Wondering if some of you DSLR shooters can offer advice on which ND filter (in terms of strength) you find yourself using most. I have been using camcorders for 35 years and wanted to test the waters with a DSLR camera. I needed a still camera anyway. I have never shot any DSLR video. I purchased a Panasonic G7 with a slow 3.5 kit lens and plan to upgrade lenses. I bought a B+W 2 stop ND filter thinking it might do the trick. I tested it out on a bright day and needed to stop down to f-22 to get correct exposure. I then purchased a B+W 6 stop, and although I have not had a chance to test it on a bright day, I am thinking it might be overkill if I were to have only one filter.
I know that ultimately, it is a good idea to have a few different strength filters, but I am interested in what is your most-used ND filter is in terms of strength . I think that for convenience a variable ND filter would be mighty nice and might end up going that way, so I would like your thoughts on those as well.
Thanks for any advice you might offer. Thanks in advance.
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Last edited by Kevin Balling; January 17th, 2016 at 05:23 PM. Reason: Info correction
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Old January 17th, 2016, 09:12 PM   #2
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Re: How Many Stop ND Filter Do You Use For DSLR Video

I find that 6 stops of ND definitely isn't overkill on a sunny day here in Arizona on my BMCC/BMPCC cameras - but lately I more often use a B&W variable ND. Something to watch is that as you get close to the maximum ND setting you can get some strange problems such as an X-shaped region of different density, but at reasonable ND levels I don't see any disadvantage.

All of my DSLR's are too old to shoot video, (still happily using an original Canon 5d) but just wanted to pass on the idea of using a variable ND instead of carrying several filters around..
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Old January 17th, 2016, 09:27 PM   #3
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Re: How Many Stop ND Filter Do You Use For DSLR Video

I would handle this a little differently. Assuming full sun apply the sunny 16 rule for your ISO of choice, adjust for 180 degree shutter, then count the number of stops from f16 you need for desired DoF. E.g. For ISO 800 we are f16 @ 1/800 so 4 stops to 1/50, then another 3 stops if I want to use f5.6. So I would want about 7 stops total.
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Old January 18th, 2016, 03:00 PM   #4
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Re: How Many Stop ND Filter Do You Use For DSLR Video

Thanks very much for your input. I was able to do some testing with the 6 stop filter today. It was pretty bright and the filter allowed me to shoot at more appropriate apertures. It is also a quality ND filter. Very sharp. What I have decided to do is to keep it and get a B+W 3 stop ND to compliment it. I think that should have me covered. Will wait and see!
Thanks again Jim and Jim. You both offered great advice and I appreciate it.
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