Helpful Posts Helpful Posts:  0
Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Neutral Density and GND filters

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    UK, South West
    Posts
    191
    Real Name
    Ian

    Neutral Density and GND filters

    I'm planning to get both Neutral Density and GND filters soon. I'm looking for recommendations and advice.
    I'm considering Lee filters. I think I'll mainly be using them with a 12-24mm wide angle lens so I'll need a (77mm) wide angle adapter ring.

    Do I need both hard and soft grads?

    I also quite like the idea of variable ND filters, e.g. 4-stop variable by Genus. They're limited to one filter size, though, and are quite expensive. Does anyone have experience of these?
    With the Lee system, they suggest stacking filters together to vary the ND... but doesn't adding filters together detract from image quality? And avoiding it mean you end up buying a lot of filters??

    If I do go with the Lee system, would I use that for polarising filters as well? I'm planning to get a CP filter, mainly for use with a Tamron 70-300mm lens, but as the filter size is the same for Nikon macro 105VR and 85mm f1.8D one 62mm CP filter would serve all 3, so maybe I should get that and use the Lee system just for the NDs?
    Ian
    Last edited by IanCD; 25th February 2012 at 09:56 AM.

  2. #2
    PBelarge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    205
    Real Name
    Pierre

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Ian
    Here is a Google link to a number of Lee Filter pages that can be more descriptive than I can.

    https://www.google.com/#hl=en&sclien...w=1368&bih=800

    I purchased the Lee Filter system and can say it takes some time to learn for other than "just shooting".
    I use the ultra wide adapters, and have stacked 2 filters even on my ultra wide lens without issues. I personally like the soft GND, but do use the hard. I also like the standard ND filters for those bright days when trying to slow down the water movement.
    Good luck, there are others here with more experience that will help you further.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Grafton, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,328
    Real Name
    Allan Short

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Ian you need just the GND filters, because of their size when moved all the way down, they become a ND filter. The different size adapter rings are fairly cheap, so having one for say a 67mm lens and a 77mm lens is a no brainer as the holder will fit both. The CP filter is 105mm so will work well with you widest lens. The mount for that filter fits to the front of the holder. I find little use for the 1 stop filter, however I use the 2,3,& 4 stop filters a lot, my 10 stop just arrived and will pick it up hopefully this Tuesday.

    Allan

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    UK, South West
    Posts
    191
    Real Name
    Ian

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Thanks Pierre, Allan
    Useful tip re GND filters, thanks

    As a start with the Lee system, then, I'd need:
    • Filter holder
    • 62mm Std Adapter ring (fits 3 lenses)
    • 67mm Wide Adapter (16-85mm)
    • 77mm Wide Adapter (12-24mm)
    • ND Grad soft filter (set)


    ..which would cost ~ 350 !

    Has anyone used HiTech filters?
    They're significantly cheaper, but I've read a couple of reviews (here and here) which indicate poorer quality... Is this another case where "you get what you pay for..."

    If I wanted to use the Lee Circular Polariser:
    • 105mm CP Adapter ring
    • 105mm CP filter


    This adds another 250 so I'm not sure about doing this. In any case, it'll have to wait. I'll probably get a 62mm B&W CP filter meantime as I don't think I'd want to always have to use the Lee holder anyway.

    I understand that Lee have a demand problem at the moment and I may also have to wait a long time...

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Hi Ian,

    I use a Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter - and it's probably the highest quality piece of equipment I own (high praise from someone who shoots with a 1D series camera and L-Series lenses). A Variable Density filter allows you to do things that you just can't do with regular ND filters.

    There is a BIG but though -- you get what you pay for. The Singh-Ray Vari-ND isn't cheap -- but it works. In contrast, I've not read good things about the Genus filter, unfortunately.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Grafton, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,328
    Real Name
    Allan Short

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Ian: hint if you go with B+W CP get their low profile step up rings for each size of lens so that you only have to get one CP filter that will now fix across all your lens. This filter should fix your largest lens (do not get a setup for that lens as the CP filter will screw into that lens). Yes there is a demand for the Lee filters, I have not had problems getting them except for the 10 stop (Big Stopper) which because of how it is made, does not allow for large quantities to be producted. I can take up to 8 months to get your order. A friend in the UK took 8 months, here in Canada, I lucked out and got it in 6 months however I did not get my 10 stop from a retailer but straight from the Canadian Distributor for Lee. MiniChris stated that he could not find the Grads', gave him the canadian distributor and Chris had them in a matter of days. Hope that is of some help.

    Allan

  7. #7
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    North Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    442
    Real Name
    Trace

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    I have both Lee and Hitech filters. I love my Hitech reverse GND filters and they get a lot of use for my seascape sunrises. My ND Hitech filters I'm not so fond of; they give a slight magenta cast, which individually is okay, but if you stack them they will turn your world pink and it is very difficult to correct for. My Lee ND 3 stop is lovely. I will get the 4 stop one day. My Lee big stopper I love but it has a strong blue cast; it is however much easier to correct for than the pink of the Hitech.

    I don't have any lenses wider than 18mm yet so haven't encountered the other issues with stacking and the wide angle adapter. I can also "get away with" using a screw-on polarizer (that I had before I went to the Lee system) if I put it on first. Gets fiddly but saves money for the moment.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)
    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoByTrace View Post
    ND Hitech filters I'm not so fond of; they give a slight magenta cast, which individually is okay, but if you stack them they will turn your world pink and it is very difficult to correct for.
    It's a common issue with cheap filters - its caused by them having a different response to Infra red light.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    UK, South West
    Posts
    191
    Real Name
    Ian

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Thanks for the advice, folks. All very helpful

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoByTrace View Post
    I have both Lee and Hitech filters. I love my Hitech reverse GND filters and they get a lot of use for my seascape sunrises. My ND Hitech filters I'm not so fond of; they give a slight magenta cast, which individually is okay, but if you stack them they will turn your world pink and it is very difficult to correct for. My Lee ND 3 stop is lovely. I will get the 4 stop one day. My Lee big stopper I love but it has a strong blue cast; it is however much easier to correct for than the pink of the Hitech.
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    It's a common issue with cheap filters - its caused by them having a different response to Infra red light.
    Ok, Lee it is then..!

    Quote Originally Posted by Polar01 View Post
    Ian: hint if you go with B+W CP get their low profile step up rings for each size of lens so that you only have to get one CP filter that will now fix across all your lens. This filter should fix your largest lens (do not get a setup for that lens as the CP filter will screw into that lens).
    Allan
    Initially, this sounds like a very attractive idea… but won’t using a step-up ring to fit a 77mm CP filter (my largest at present) on 62mm (and other, smaller dia.) lenses mean I won’t be able to use the lens hoods?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Ian,
    I use a Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter - and it's probably the highest quality piece of equipment I own (high praise from someone who shoots with a 1D series camera and L-Series lenses). A Variable Density filter allows you to do things that you just can't do with regular ND filters.
    There is a BIG but though -- you get what you pay for. The Singh-Ray Vari-ND isn't cheap -- but it works. In contrast, I've not read good things about the Genus filter, unfortunately.
    No Genus then… as always, getting what you pay for… maybe I’ll add the Singh-Ray to my wish-list!
    One other possibility: anyone have any experience / heard feedback about LightCraft VariND faders..?

    I’ll start with the Lee set-up I’ve set out above.
    Have I left out anything obvious?

    Many thanks again for the input.
    Ian
    Last edited by IanCD; 26th February 2012 at 01:29 PM.

  10. #10
    PBelarge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    205
    Real Name
    Pierre

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Take a look at
    http://store.uniquephoto.com/e/index.php/video/gopro/

    I believe they have very fast delivery (fast for LEE that is), and a lot of LEE stuff in stock. I know it is a US company, I am not sure of overseas shipping issues.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Grafton, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,328
    Real Name
    Allan Short

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Ian: about the hood, yes you will not be able to use is, who cares, you do not have the PC filter fitted to the end of your lens all the time, and besides how do you turn the CP filter if the hood is on. Scratch that, the hood screws into the front of the lens, however if you are using a wide angle you are going to have trouble at it's wide setting with the hood atttached.

    Allan

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    UK, South West
    Posts
    191
    Real Name
    Ian

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Well, I've taken the plunge and been buying the Lee set-up... Filter holder and two WA adapters and I went for the polyester ND (not grad) filter set as it was reasonably priced and I wasn't sure of getting hold of ND grads... they really are very hard to come by at the moment.

    I've now bought a set of soft edge grads second-hand on eBay for not much less than the best advertised new price, but without the estimated six-month waiting time...! (and thanks for the tip re Unique Photo, Pierre, but they didn't have the items in stock and didn't know - from Lee - when they could expect them!)

    Now I've just come across a comment that "the Lee soft grads are uselessly soft on anything but a wide lens with a huge front element.." Well, maybe I should take that with a pinch of salt (?), but what should I do regarding 'hard edge' grads?
    I'm wondering about getting just one 2-stop (0.6) to start with...
    Ian

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Quote Originally Posted by IanCD View Post
    Well, I've taken the plunge and been buying the Lee set-up... Filter holder and two WA adapters and I went for the polyester ND (not grad) filter set as it was reasonably priced and I wasn't sure of getting hold of ND grads... they really are very hard to come by at the moment.

    I've now bought a set of soft edge grads second-hand on eBay for not much less than the best advertised new price, but without the estimated six-month waiting time...! (and thanks for the tip re Unique Photo, Pierre, but they didn't have the items in stock and didn't know - from Lee - when they could expect them!)

    Now I've just come across a comment that "the Lee soft grads are uselessly soft on anything but a wide lens with a huge front element.." Well, maybe I should take that with a pinch of salt (?), but what should I do regarding 'hard edge' grads?
    I'm wondering about getting just one 2-stop (0.6) to start with...
    Ian
    Hi Ian,

    Just trust me on this ... get a 3-Stop hard edge GND and 3-Stop hard edge reverse GND.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Greece (ex UK)
    Posts
    614
    Real Name
    Russell

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Hi, I use the Lee filters and the one thing I have noticed (may be differant to others) but I hardly use the 0.3 maybe again just me but I tend to use 0.6 and 0.9, 99.9% of the time.
    Thanks
    Russ

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    UK, South West
    Posts
    191
    Real Name
    Ian

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Polar01 View Post
    I find little use for the 1 stop filter, however I use the 2,3,& 4 stop filters a lot...
    Allan
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Ian,
    Just trust me on this ... get a 3-Stop hard edge GND and 3-Stop hard edge reverse GND.
    Quote Originally Posted by russellsnr View Post
    Hi, I use the Lee filters and the one thing I have noticed (may be differant to others) but I hardly use the 0.3 maybe again just me but I tend to use 0.6 and 0.9, 99.9% of the time.
    Thanks
    Russ
    Hi Colin, Russ, Allan,
    Thanks for your help with this...
    I can get:
    • a 3-stop Hard Edge Lee grad for 82 (plus postage), or
    • a 2.5 stop (0.75) for 63 incl. postage, or
    • the set of 3 for 179 plus postage


    I haven't found the reverse grads... and I'm not really clear how they're used at the moment, so I'll keep that in mind for later. I'm doing a landscape photography weekend course at the end of the month, so hopefully I might have started learning what I'm doing with all this come April..!

    Do you stack the ND grads sometimes..? I wonder if that would be the main use for the 0.3 so the set of three would give you from 1 stop to 6 (if stacking three is okay) in one stop increments. Presumably, having that level of fine control over a range of light situations is the reason for getting the full set..?

    On the other hand if most uses are covered by either a 2-stop or 3-stop (with some local exposure adjustment possible in PP), maybe I'd be okay to just get the 2.5 stop for now..? But I don't want to that and find I need the set in a few months.
    This IS getting a bit expensive..!
    Last edited by IanCD; 12th March 2012 at 02:34 PM.

  16. #16
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,664
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Ian - Persoanlly, I'd suggest the 3 and the 2. The you have 3, 2 and 5 stops available. That's going to cover 95+% of your needs (And, yes, stacking is par for the course - I do it all the time).

    The reverse GNDs - Are you planning a lot of sunsets/sunrises? If so, the light is going to be at its brightest on the horizon. So you want your filter darkest in the middle area, tapering off towards the top (not the other way around) That's what reverse GNDs are all about.

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    UK, South West
    Posts
    191
    Real Name
    Ian

    Re: Neutral Density and GND filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Ian - Persoanlly, I'd suggest the 3 and the 2. The you have 3, 2 and 5 stops available. That's going to cover 95+% of your needs (And, yes, stacking is par for the course - I do it all the time).

    The reverse GNDs - Are you planning a lot of sunsets/sunrises? If so, the light is going to be at its brightest on the horizon. So you want your filter darkest in the middle area, tapering off towards the top (not the other way around) That's what reverse GNDs are all about.
    Thanks Donald, I was just editing my last as you posted... that makes sense re the reverse grads... and re the 2+3...
    Just found a supplier on eBay who sells them in sets of two for 137..!
    I think that had better be me and filters for now..!

    Many thanks again, all
    Ian

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •