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Thread: How to take very long daytime exposures - neutral density (ND) filters

  1. #1

    How to take very long daytime exposures - neutral density (ND) filters

    i cant take day shots with shutter set to 30 seconds with the highest f stop possible.

    the pic is solid white

    how can i do this with the 5d?

  2. #2

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    Re: how to take day shots on 30 sec shutter with 5d

    Quote Originally Posted by caspill View Post
    i cant take day shots with shutter set to 30 seconds with the highest f stop possible.

    the pic is solid white

    how can i do this with the 5d?
    Hi Caspill,

    Congratulations on mustering the courage to post something! (not many do!) ... wasn't hard now was it

    To answer you question ...

    The basic problem is that there's too much light hitting the sensor and it can't cope (bit like my eyes first thing in the morning). If you need to shoot 30 second exposures - and your aperture is stopped right down - then the only other thing you can do is cut down the amount of light entering the lens by using what's called an ND (Neutral Density) filter (bit like a pair of very dark sunglasses for your lens). Be aware though that to do a 30 second exposure in full daylight, you're going to need a LOT of attenuation - something around 10 or 11 stops worth - which is pretty hard to do (you'd probably need to stack a couple of 5 stop ND filters on your lens).

    Does this help? Out of curiosity, just wondering why you're needing a 30 econd exposure during the day?

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    Re: how to take day shots on 30 sec shutter with 5d

    Also bring down the iso speed as low as possible. But for sure you will need the ND filters on broad daylight.
    I'm also interested in why you want thes long exposure times.

    Can you share some pics when you get the expected results?

    B.t.w. Welcome Caspill

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    Re: how to take day shots on 30 sec shutter with 5d

    Quote Originally Posted by hansm View Post
    I'm also interested in why you want thes long exposure times.

    Can you share some pics when you get the expected results?
    Yes, I'd also like to see some examples when you have them.

    Extremely long daylight exposures can create quite a surreal effect. You can use it to give the appearance of having no people in an otherwise frequently trafficked area, or you can give other moving subjects a dreamlike quality. Running water, such as waterfalls or rivers, and clouds or willow trees all come to mind. One would likely need even longer than 30 seconds for clouds to truly streak across the photo though...

  5. #5
    well, im wanting to take pictures of running water, im compleeeeetely new. this is my first camera. i know its probably crazy to start with the 5d, but i figured id save money by not having to upgrade because ive always wanted to do photography. but yeah, running water or anything. i just want to get some crazy shots! haha

    also, i just saw the mk2 video quality. wish i would have saved up more and got the new one haha the hd footage is amazing
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 6th March 2009 at 08:54 PM.

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    Re: how to take day shots on 30 sec shutter with 5d

    Quote Originally Posted by caspill View Post
    well, im wanting to take pictures of running water
    The best time for these is late in the day, for a couple of reasons:

    1. You need less attenuation of the light, and

    2. The shadows created by foliage with be far softer and more pleasing to the eye.

    When shooting water, shutter speed AND aperture become critical - the very best way to control both is with a variable ND filter - I use one of these ...

    http://www.singh-ray.com/varind.html

    Allowing me to get shots like these ...

    How to take very long daytime exposures - neutral density (ND) filters

    and ...

    How to take very long daytime exposures - neutral density (ND) filters

    also, i just saw the mk2 video quality. wish i would have saved up more and got the new one haha the hd footage is amazing
    Personally, I think it's more of a sales gimmick (although many will disagree with me!) - it's also poised to create some legal problems at sporting events where the rights to exclusive video footage are often sold in advance. Frankly, if my 1Ds3 had video I'd still just stick to my video camera for shooting video.

  7. #7

    Re: how to take day shots on 30 sec shutter with 5d

    yeah, i can see that. the video would just be super practical for me because im in a touring band which is why i bough the camera (to shoot places and people!) and the hd video would come in handy for the same reason!

  8. #8

    Re: how to take day shots on 30 sec shutter with 5d

    also thanks for the help! where can i find an nd filter and are they expensive?
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 7th March 2009 at 01:29 AM. Reason: Edited by mistake!

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    Re: how to take day shots on 30 sec shutter with 5d

    Quote Originally Posted by caspill View Post
    also thanks for the help! where can i find an nd filter and are they expensive?
    You can pick them up from any good camera shop (or order online), but price is (no surprises) proportional to quality. My STRONG advice would be to get a Singh-Ray Vari-ND and an additional 5-Stop ND (probably B+W or Heliopan brand) - if you try to do it "on the cheap" then I suspect that you'll be very disappointed in the results; what you're planning here is NOT for the faint hearted!

    By the way, what lenses will you be using?

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    Re: how to take day shots on 30 sec shutter with 5d

    Whilst most optical ND filters are up to ND 4 or 5, it is possible to get up to ND 10 from specialist retailers.

    Has anybody considered using Mylar or Polymer films as used for solar eclipse viewing in attempting to extend the exposure times in photography? Obviously the principle is the same, but just wondered if anyone had gone down a DIY route on this subject, and if so what were the experiences?

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