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Old April 5th, 2014, 02:07 PM   #1
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DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

I am looking at ND filters for my Nikons and various lenses. The spread of lens size is greater than I want to use step down rings for. So am looking to begin gearing up in filters but I'm clueless as to which level ND will bring me my most bang for the buck. I briefly looked at variable ND, right up until I saw the prices. I'm looking out the window right now and the bright sunlight today is telling me ND filters probably oughta be in my gear bag. :-)

So what levels are you using and when are you most apt to be using them ??? I am looking at Tiffens right now as they seem to have good reviews, especially for their price point.

Any help, as always, is greatly appreciated !!!
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Old April 5th, 2014, 04:54 PM   #2
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

Bought three or four top variable nd filters but in the end softness and messing around changing filters, so decided to just adjust shutter speed and go against the 50 shutter rule! No need to worry! Get your exposure correct get your ISO correct and no real panning and all ok. Nd filters waste if money unless you live in a really hot country with a high sun
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Old April 5th, 2014, 05:00 PM   #3
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

Hey Chip, you can't go wrong with the Tiffen ND filters, I have use that and all I can say is great things about it, I have the 77mm and the ring outside is wider that prevents vignetting. I also bought the quick release adapter, for sometimes it is quite annoying when you have to unscrew it sometimes missing shot from outside to inside. The adapter is on the ink below.

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Regarding the stops I use depends on brightness of what I am shooting, normally outside I shoot at 2.8 and adjust the density to my taste accordingly.
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Old April 5th, 2014, 06:25 PM   #4
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

We bought some 3 stop ND filters, mainly because of the snow up here. It's nice to have the choice, and even at f/22 we had some trouble with exposures, and didn't want to have our shutter ramped up to 500 if we didn't have to.
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Old April 5th, 2014, 06:40 PM   #5
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

I use a combination of NDs and a CPL for anything I am shooting. A .9, .6, and a CPL. Under broad daylight, usually the three stop and CPL will work. If you want to get ambitious and want to shoot with your 85/1.2 as wide as possible you can always stack all 3 over it and youll still need to stop down a bit during the day. I heard problems with variable NDs and stacking CPLs over it so I do it the old fashioned way.
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Old April 6th, 2014, 03:11 AM   #6
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

[quote=Rickey Brillantes;[/quote]

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Those look really neat !!! A bit pricey for my uses but I can see for wedding work where they could be a real shot saver !!!
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Old April 6th, 2014, 03:41 AM   #7
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

We used Vari ND's but for the same reasons as Steve we stopped using them and just went with high shutter speeds. They were a ball ache to attach and remove, they softened the image beyond acceptable levels. We also changed lenses so had to have a pocket of different sized filters for when we changed or just not change.

Saying that those Xume things look amazing. Makes me wonder why everyone else still insists on screw ons. Still, softness is not going away.
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Old April 6th, 2014, 05:21 AM   #8
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

Used to use a Heliopan Vari ND. Main thing that bothered me, to be honest, was that it was too fiddly to put on/take off. Secondary consideration is that it sort of takes the life out of skin for some reason.

Was initially always obedient to the 1/50 shutter speed rule, and used to look askance at Still Motion when they recommended cranking up shutter to allow shallow depth of field... In the end, couldn't be bothered, and have joined the shutter band wagon, though I'm not going to shoot above 1/400.

Two other thoughts:

1. 0.3, 0.6, 0.9 (1, 2, 3 stops) seem to be the commonest ND types. You can buy them in a set. If you had to choose one, you might as well go with the 3 stop reduction? Much easier to brighten than to darken.

2. Depending on what type of shooting you do, and given that you're worried about step up and step down rings, is a mattebox + square ND a practical solution?
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Old April 6th, 2014, 05:28 AM   #9
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

We use Singh Ray vary ND filers (8 stop) and can't say I've noticed any real softening on DSLRs, which are to be fair, softer then regular cameras anyway.

The Singh Ray was pretty expensive at the time (4-5 years ago) but had great reviews. No regrets in buying one.

I tired a cheaper brand a couple of years ago and was unhappy with it (it went to ebay).

We've never had a problem or lost a shot because there was an ND fitted as far as I can remember, but that Xume adapter does look interesting of lots of reasons.
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Old April 6th, 2014, 08:15 AM   #10
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

I shoot beneath the merciless Malian sun, and I have the Singh ray variable nd, but now mostly use the fixed Tiffen filters as I had vignetting problems with the Singh ray when shooting wide. A set of .6, .9, and 1.2 covers my needs, with an extra .9 for the B camera. There was also some flaring problems with the Singh ray, but I do use it on a T3i with a 35 f2 lens as a camera I can quickly pull out for establishing shots.
I have shied away from cranking up the shutter speeds, but the idea is intriguing...
Any input on experiences with this, problems and positives?
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Old April 6th, 2014, 11:10 AM   #11
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

Adrian, once your shutter goes over twice your framerate you shouldn't fear going all the way to 4000. Once your over double everything else has the same look.

Many don't stray from their standard 1/50 (or 1/60) framerate because they don't understand the impact of framerate on your work. So many have been told to leave it and do but never asked why?

What happens at a high shutter? Sure, we know it creates a different look but what does that look do to the viewer? A high shutter speed will often give the image a greater sense of energy, more dynamic and for a wedding this isn't a bad thing. They are generally quite high energy days anyway.

Even with the C100 and it's amazing ND's we still crank the shutter speed up. Especially in the evening for the dancing as it gives it a much better feeling.

For the ceremony you have nothing to fear. There is so little movement no one is going to notice the higher shutter speed.
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Old April 6th, 2014, 12:00 PM   #12
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

Anyone who is unsure what all this talk about the shutter speed changing the appearance actually means, take a look at this 5 year old educational page from Bruce Dorn. You can jump straight to part 3 if your attention span is low:

Video Shutter Speed Test at the Junior Rodeo | iDC Photo Video

I went the variable ND route because in the UK the outside ambient light levels can change greatly very quickly. I considered the magnetic attachment of "prime" ND filters but decided even that was problematic because of having to change ND's for varying conditions so frequently. And decided I prefer the more robust screw-in method.

Don't forget about polarizing filters.

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Old April 6th, 2014, 12:03 PM   #13
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

High shutter speeds also help make things look crisp, which some folks don't like, sort of tied to high fps. Ever watched soap operas during the day? To me, they often look strange and artificial.

I always wondered if it mattered about your shutter speed or if it would be preferable to keep doubling, if you want to increase. As in, shooting 24fps, and I want to go above 50 shutter, is it better to go to 100, then 200 shutter, instead of any random number?
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Old April 6th, 2014, 12:31 PM   #14
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny O'Neill View Post
Adrian, once your shutter goes over twice your framerate you shouldn't fear going all the way to 4000. Once your over double everything else has the same look.
Hey Danny, I think that's a great point. Thanks for writing that. I mean, I'm pretty sure I could tell the difference between something shot at 1/4000 and 1/400, but it's true that once you're committed to a high shutter speed look, it's a high shutter speed look. I think I'll need to experiment.

One more random thought: high shutter speeds presumably allow you to pull sharper frame grabs for DVD covers etc.
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Old April 6th, 2014, 03:21 PM   #15
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Re: DSLR Shooters.... ND Filters....what level and when are you using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
Hey Danny, I think that's a great point. Thanks for writing that. I mean, I'm pretty sure I could tell the difference between something shot at 1/4000 and 1/400, but it's true that once you're committed to a high shutter speed look, it's a high shutter speed look. I think I'll need to experiment.

One more random thought: high shutter speeds presumably allow you to pull sharper frame grabs for DVD covers etc.
Correct on the frame grabs. Thats also the only thing you will notice with the higher shutter. you will find it hard when watching it in motion to tell the difference between 200 and 4000
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