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Thread: Graduated ND filter recommendation please

  1. #1
    Adrian's Avatar
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    Graduated ND filter recommendation please

    I have booked my son and myself onto a four day private "masterclass" course with a pro in London. This includes one day of video. For this we are recommended to get ND filters for reasons that are obvious with manual shooting outdoors in summer if we wish to control DOF. We apparently need 2 stop and 4 stop reduction and the ability to combine.

    I have found a cheap P size set which my son will be ok with on his 24-105 f4 L which has a 77mm front element. He does hardly any video or long exposure landscape, so a cheap set will be useful to experiment with. I would buy a cheap set too, but the lens seems to inhibit this.

    Having hurriedly researched filters it seems that Cokin P size is unsuitable for my L 24-70 and 16-35 lenses which are both 82mm. I do not want to spend megabucks on a Singh Ray set (very hard to find in the UK anyway) and Lee is also pricey and again supply seems to be an issue. Seriously, 47 plus VAT just for an essential wide angle adaptor ring (made of plastic) to avoid vignetting, 65 for a holder, and circa 200 for a set of three soft grads. Seems OTT for something I may rarely use.

    Does anyone have any suggestions. I have looked at Coking Z Pro online. On Amazon it is difficult to see what the kits include and user comments are critical, suggesting encroachment on the picture at the wide end.

    I have just a week to solve this one so need to place an order on Monday.

    Any advice would be appreciated. Said pro is away for a week so I can't ask him.

    Adrian

  2. #2
    dje's Avatar
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    Dave Ellis

    Re: Graduated ND filter recommendation please

    Hi Adrian

    I use Formatt Hitech filters which I believe come from Wales. You can buy them direct from the factory. You would need the following hardware

    100mm Aluminium Modular Holder 38 UK pounds

    82mm Std or Wide Angle Adaptor (probably the latter) 16 UK pounds or 32 UK pounds respectively

    see here

    The GND's are here

    100mm square filters are about 45 pounds each and they also have kits.

    You would be best to phone the company to check on exactly what you need, compatability with your lenses/camera and also availability.

    They are cheaper than Singh Ray and Lee but are still fairly pricey. I've been happy with mine but I'm not in a position to compare them with other brands.

    Dave

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    J stands for John

    Re: Graduated ND filter recommendation please

    Have you checked out SRB-Griturn prices?

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    Allan Short

    Re: Graduated ND filter recommendation please

    Adrian: first things first a ND filter is used to control the light,. it has nothing to do with "if we want to control DOF", that is done with f-stops. If anything it control the shutter speed, if the scene is too bright we will use a ND or a GND filter to control the light, allowing us to set the shutter speed to what we want, ie: want 100 ISO but shutter is above 1/4000 then 2-stop ND may bring it down to where we can use that 1/4000 say at an a F1 event.
    Now for makes, I believe that you are limited to either Lee, Conkin Z or Singh Ray, now to save you time and money I would go with the Lee 4" x 6" (100mm x 150mm) hard grads both the 2-stop and 4-stop only no mounts/holders/rings just hand hold the filter in front of the lens I do this at times both with the camera on a tripod or hand held. Learn how to do this as sometimes things happen fast and you do not always have time to put the kit on. The advantage of a hard GND filter is that you can set the bottom on it on the horizion to darken just the sky to balance out the light with the foreground, using a regular ND filter you can only reduce the light over the entire image you still end up with one area brighter than it needs to be.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Graduated ND filter recommendation please

    Adrian – from your posting, I’m not sure if you need regular ND filters or grad NDs. Both work by reducing the overall amount of light hitting your sensor, but grads do so unevenly whereas regular ones cut the overall light evenly. I’ve never shot with stacked grads, so can’t comment on why or where that would be used. I use grad NDs purely to reduce the level of brightness of the sky to bring in into a more useful range (i.e. enhance clouds or get the amount of light down so that my skies don’t blow out).

    Regular NDs let you either reduce your shutter speed to enhance motion blur or shoot with the lens wider open for a given ISO. It sounds like that might be what you are going to be doing, so I would certainly email the instructor to confirm (people do check email while they are away). You would hate to show up at the course with the wrong gear.

    I have an assortment of different ND filters; circular Tiffen, B&W, Heliopan, etc. and have recently started to build up Lee inventory (ND as well as hard and soft grads). I did check into Cokin, but everyone advised me to avoid them; apparently the quality control is not great and they tend to have colour casts that are difficult to impossible to remove.

    I do shoot with the basic Lee foundation kit with my f/2.8 24-70 Nikkor and do not see any vignetting at 24mm. This is with the 77mm filter thread. I do use the wide angle adaptor ring on my 14-140mm mFT lens (62mm filter thread). It is 100% metal.

  6. #6
    Adrian's Avatar
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    Re: Graduated ND filter recommendation please

    Thanks Allan. I know ND grad will not control aperture! My point was that if I want to shoot near wide open to have shallow depth of field, then I will need to stop a lot of light coming in when shooting video in areas where I have significant light difference above and below the filter graduation point. Anyway, Lee is a non runner even if I was willing to shell out that much as I don't think I can source Lee in time. Don't forget, as per my original post I want the filter for video. Hence hand holding is not viable as I can't hold a filter still for very long

    I have checked out SRB - Griturn. The snag is that although they do a wide angle kit, this is known to vignette large front elements as it is only a Cokin P size filter. Possibly OK with the 24-70 f 2.8 but not the 16 - 35 as interference occurs up to about 22 I believe.

    Thanks Dave re Formatt HiTech. I will speak to them on Monday. I have seen them on-line, but generally only the filters, not the holders and rings, and I need to get both.

    Adrian

  7. #7
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    Re: Graduated ND filter recommendation please

    Thanks Manfred. Our posts crossed.

    The instructor said grad ND, so I am going with that. A grad ND is much more likely to be generally useful to me actually for seascapes and such (which I do quite a lot) , so irrespective of what happens on the course, I am taking a longer term view.

    My 24-70 does not have a 77mm front, it is the same as the 16-35 at 82mm. This takes it beyond P size filters in practice I think (based on web browsing, not experience).

    The widely reported colour cast issue is why I did not buy the Z Pro kit which is the most readily available from Amazon. I am up against it time wise.

    Adrian

  8. #8
    Adrian's Avatar
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    Re: Graduated ND filter recommendation please

    Typical! You were right Manfred. Contact established and he meant circular non-grad Hoya Pro1 ND4.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Graduated ND filter recommendation please

    Sounds likes things are working out then. Enjoy your course!

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