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Old March 13th, 2006, 05:03 AM   #1
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Need advice on ND graduated filters

Hi guys'n girls,

I'm going to buy two 4x4 ND graduated filters (probably Tiffen). At the moment I'm thinking about a 0.3 and 0.6. Does that make sense? Or is 0.3 just not enough for general purposes and would 0.6 and 0.9 be more useful? Or a completely different combination? What is your experience?

I'm going to use the filters for outdoor shooting. We often have overcast skies over here, which usually turn out to be much too bright when the landscape is correctly exposed.

Edit: I almost forgot: should I buy hard edge or soft edge filters?

Thanks for your help.
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Old March 13th, 2006, 05:39 AM   #2
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Personally, I find the 2stop (0.6) variety sufficient

One thing you will notice with the soft edge versions is that they become progressively useless as you zoom in

so I recommend you get the hard edge for tele shots and soft edge for wide shots
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Old March 13th, 2006, 06:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Jay
One thing you will notice with the soft edge versions is that they become progressively useless as you zoom in

so I recommend you get the hard edge for tele shots and soft edge for wide shots
Very good point, John. I hadn't thought about that. But once you give it a thought, it seems quite obvious.

Thanks.
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Old March 13th, 2006, 07:05 AM   #4
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And I'd suggest they're multi-coated as unwanted reflections are a real problem unless you hood and flag effectively.
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Old March 13th, 2006, 11:31 AM   #5
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Have not used them for video but use grad ND's for still photography

We dont buy tiffen grad ND's at all because they are not neutral in color. They have a slight color cast. For ND filters that isnt an issue as you can balance it but with grad ND's it is hard to fix especially with a soft grad.

For still photography i use a cokin p holders and lee or hitec filters (square ones). Works fine on the video camera as well with the proper stepup rings.

again i have not tried the tiffen's on video but they are the same filters so the same issue should apply. In video it may not be as bad as you dont scrutinize the material as much as you do with still photography.
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Old March 13th, 2006, 11:43 AM   #6
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Michael, that's bad news. I allways "heard" that Tiffen Filters were top of the range (surely their prices are), so it's a bit disturbing to hear that they are not neutral in color.

I didn't take the Cokin filters into account because, firstly they are to thin to fit my matte box and, secondly, because they are resin and not optical glass. So it seems it's Schneider filters then? They are even more expensive than Tiffen, but then again, it might help to save some desperately needed jobs over here in Germany ;-)

Gee, you really make me think...
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Old March 13th, 2006, 01:14 PM   #7
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In the still photo world tiffen filters are regarded as the cheapest of em all.
Video doesnt have too much resolution so it probably doesnt matter too much. Tiffen still photo filters are also the cheapest

BTW the same goes for the cokin filters. The filter holders are ok but the cokin filters also have color casts

In still photography we use filters from B+W or Hoya. They are both very high quality. For square filters Lee or Hitec are very good.

Again i dont know how much this is an issue with video as i havent tried them
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Old March 14th, 2006, 03:17 AM   #8
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As John Jay points out, there are difference in the distance over which the filter fades out, and this is focal-length dependent. If you get the hard-edged variety you'll also find that the effects are very much aperture and even focused distance dependent as well. So you can soften the filter's edge at wide aperture, and harden it at small apertures, and close focus work will make the filter effect more noticeable.

tom.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 03:46 AM   #9
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Thanks all for your help. A 0.6 hard edge and a 0.6 soft edge it will be then!

Michael, you mention B&W filters (they seem to be part of Schneider-Kreuznach). I downloaded their catalogue, but there aren't any 4x4 filters. I found Lee 4x4 filters, but it seems they are too thin for my matte box and they are resin only, not optical glas.

I'm afraid I'm stuck.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 03:53 AM   #10
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I certailnly wouldn't be put off by the fact that they're resin filters rather than grass. One scratches more easily, one shatters more easily.

If you're wearing spectacles chances are you look through plastic lenses all day long, and if you shoot with a camcorder with anything more than a 4X zoom then the aspherical elements within the lens's optical system will most surely be high pressure plastic injection mouldings.

Plastic still can't match glass' refractive index ratings, but for flat optical filters that's the least of your worries.

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Old March 14th, 2006, 05:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick
If you're wearing spectacles chances are you look through plastic lenses all day long
He he, actually I do and I don't miss the old times when they where made of glass and heavy (I've got -6.5 diopt.) Tom, I guess you are right. I shouldn't worry too much about that.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 11:10 AM   #12
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I'm going to resurrect this old thread.
Is anybody else using resin filters, Lee, Hitech, etc., for video cameras? Any pros or cons about them?
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Old September 11th, 2008, 07:37 PM   #13
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I use cheap Cokin filters and they are not perfect but can be very handy in certain situations. In run-n-gun shooting I don't have to fuss with them to keep them perfect as they were only about $20 each. On the other hand, I use their clear filter as lens protection and it is not coated so it can get ugly point light reflections (like lens flare). It also is not perfectly clear but the color is just a practically imperceptible warm tone. The Cokin polarizer is a different story as it is glass and really seems to do a great job for a $40 filter. A polarizer and gradual ND filter can make a huge difference in outdoor scenery shots and it all cost about $100. Another downside is that I couldn't find any "contrast" filters that are square and affordable so I ended up getting a Tiffen 72mm UltraContrast filter but it does fit behind the Cokin holder just fine.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 08:57 PM   #14
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Because outdoors I pan videocameras in variable light I need multicoated filters. So I chose non resin filters.

I find B+W filters are best, their 501 and 502 graduated ND filters are great. Mostly use the 502 (2 stops) on the Canon A1 outdoors so I can see the detail under aircraft on the ground. Their tabac grad is good to.

The only drawback is you have to line up the grad section with print on the rim prior because you can't see the grad inside the lens hood on the cam. This let's you know the grad is at the top or where you want it.

No problem, just remember to do it before you screw the filter on. And when you clean them, careful you don't get any lint between the 2 lens...like I did.

Cheers.
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Old September 12th, 2008, 01:24 PM   #15
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I've been using Series 9 filters for years but am starting over with the XH A1 and thought I'd go 4X4. But I didn't want the traditional matte box with rails and all, so I'm getting a Lee Filters hood:

LEE Filters | P105 Wide-Angle Lens Hood ONLY | WALHP105 | B&H

Years ago back in my 16mm and still photography days, I used non-glass filters but have not in a long time. My understanding is that today the high end resin filters (like Lee and HiTech) are made of the same stuff as eyeglasses. More prone to scratching and not coated, but with the hood, coatings are not as relevant.

However, I opted for some flexibility. The above hood comes with the round rotating polarizer ring and with two 2mm filter slots for resin filters. But for a small amount of money, like around 20 bucks, I ordered two 4mm slots. I can try out the resin and if I hate them, I can switch slots and go with glass.

I've been in some shooting situations where resin filters would probably get damaged, like when diesel fuel splattered me and the camera. However, a glass filter that costs $200-$400 is under $50 for resin, so it's not the end of the world if one gets trashed. I have found in recent research that HiTech filters seem to be the best and naturally they are the most expensive, with Lee also getting good reviews. I'll probably use some of both, and something like an ND.3 and 1/4 Black ProMist that will get almost constant use, I'll probably go glass.
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