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Thread: GND Filter Kit Recommendations

  1. #1

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    GND Filter Kit Recommendations

    Hello All. Anyone got any recommendations as to a brand / model for Graduated Neutral Density filters? I'm looking to buy a kit of holder, and mounting rings, with a range of hard and soft GND filters. Use will be for landscapes with my tripod mounted 5D + 17-40L + 24-105L + 70-200 f4L. I know this ain't going to be cheap – so I only want to buy once. Practicality and ease of use is important.

    Thanks and Regards,

    Nick

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: GND Filter Kit Recommendations

    Nick

    I think in terms of practiciality and ease of use - it's much as such. They work in the same way.

    The difference, as reflected in price, is in terms of quality. I use Cokin, which tends to be thought of as the bottom of he quality ladder. It is known that they can impart a colour cast. This can, of course, be corrected.

    Lee is a step up in terms of price.

    And then you get to the likes of Singh Ray, which I know Colin uses.

    It's a question of how deep your pocket is.
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 7th August 2011 at 10:20 AM.

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    Re: GND Filter Kit Recommendations

    Hi Nick,

    I use Singh-Ray exclusively, and recommend them without hesitation.

    You'll also need a holder; there are two main brands - Cokin & Lee. Basically, Cokin are cheaper, Lee are better (but more expensive).

    On the face of it, many think "the filters are only just a bit of plastic) - but unfortunately, it's the performance of that "plastic" that determines how they perform. Many of the cheap ones have inferior response characteristics that will give you colour casts that are impossible to correct.

    If you're interested, you can read some excellent articles on the Singh-Ray Blog - including a few I've written for them (that reminds me, it's about time I did another one for them!)

    Hope this helps!

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: GND Filter Kit Recommendations

    My apologies to Nick for what may appear a small diversion away from topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Many of the cheap ones have inferior response characteristics that will give you colour casts that are impossible to correct.
    I can see how, if you're unlucky with a given 'bad' spectral response combined with subject colouring and image content at differing brightness levels, you can get in a possition that would be difficult (I agree, practically impossible) to correct completely. I would imagine you could get 70% - 85% fixed with say, a bit of minus red in the highlights, minus yellow in the midtones and minus purple in the lowlights, but judging what to apply is likely to be the tricky bit.

    Here's the question: Would shooting a colorchecker card and defining a special 'camera' profile for the use of a 'bad' filter, be any help?

    I'm thinking it won't be the whole answer, as you'll only have the (from memory) 36 colour patches across the gamut where it would be close to correct.
    I can see that (many) other things 'would have to be equal' for it to work - not least the WB matching the scene illumination across the entire image. This last part probably means that in certain well controlled situations, my suggestion might offer some help, but in the real world, for a colour landscape use, it is a non-starter and one should, if serious about quality, just stump up the funds.

    Or maybe I have the entirely wrong idea about it?

    If you're shooting for monochrome images only (thinking of Donald), then I suspect the colour cast issue effectively 'goes away' as no-one is going to see those small errors in a B&W conversion anyway

    Thanks,

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    Re: GND Filter Kit Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Here's the question: Would shooting a colorchecker card and defining a special 'camera' profile for the use of a 'bad' filter, be any help?
    Hi Dave,

    The problem is, the spectral response changes with whatever portion of the GND the light that reaches a photosite passes through - so "no effect" at the clear end, through to "maximum effect" at the max attenuation portion.

  6. #6

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    Re: GND Filter Kit Recommendations

    Donald, Colin, Dave.
    Many thanks for you time and help. I've done a bit of browsing as a result of your input. One thing that particularly took my eye on the Singh-Rey site was the “Reverse Neutral Density Graduated Filters”. Anyone have experience of these – Colin? Anyone care to relate experience as to which filters they use most – e.g. which density – hard or soft graduation?

    Thanks and Regards,

    Nick.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: GND Filter Kit Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by nickjohnson View Post
    “Reverse Neutral Density Graduated Filters”. Anyone have experience of these – Colin?
    Now you've started him!

    I'm sure he'll be on when he wakes up in New Zealand's morning (or maybe he's not in bed yet!). In the meantime, you can do a search of some of Colin's sunsets on here. He uses the reverse GND a quite lot on these.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: GND Filter Kit Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    The problem is, the spectral response changes with whatever portion of the GND the light that reaches a photosite passes through - so "no effect" at the clear end, through to "maximum effect" at the max attenuation portion.
    Ah, true, better shoot monochrome, eh?
    That Donald chap isn't as daft as he ....


  9. #9
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: GND Filter Kit Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Now you've started him!
    Yep!

    Hi Nick,

    Look up Ali (username "alis"), I think he holds the current record for how much Colin has cost him

    Just don't EVER mention Flash or Pocket Wizards to Colin

    Cheers,

  10. #10

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    Re: GND Filter Kit Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by nickjohnson View Post
    Donald, Colin, Dave.
    Many thanks for you time and help. I've done a bit of browsing as a result of your input. One thing that particularly took my eye on the Singh-Rey site was the “Reverse Neutral Density Graduated Filters”. Anyone have experience of these – Colin? Anyone care to relate experience as to which filters they use most – e.g. which density – hard or soft graduation?

    Thanks and Regards,

    Nick.
    Hi Nick,

    I'd suggest 3 filters ...

    1. A 3-Stop GND Hard Egde

    2. A 3-Stop Reverse GND hard edge

    3. A Singh-Ray Vari-ND

    Make sure you get the 6 x 4" size ones.

    The reverse GND has the darkest portion in the middle, then it tapers off a bit as it gets closer to one end; they're used for shots where the sun is neat the horison - it's the GND I use most often.

    Hope this helps

  11. #11

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    Re: GND Filter Kit Recommendations

    Thanks Colin !

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