100x150 mm reverse gradient ND + solid ND + holder on budget

zzffnn

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Texas
Thank you for checking my thread.

My goal is to take beautiful sunrise / sunset seascapes with ponding ocean waves at shore cliffs, sometimes smoothed out into milky form (very long exposure), sometimes as they are (very short exposure).

I am a casual hobbyist shooter and don't have chance to shoot such scenes very often, so even though I can comfortably spend about $240 for a set (Haida M10 holder + 3 stop reverse GND 100*150mm + filter), I prefer not to spend that much for such limited features. Please feel free to persuade me otherwise.

I wonder how much corner I can cut to save cost and where should I cut the corners, without losing too much image quality.

I am aware budget ND filter may introduce inaccurate colors (such as blue), but I don't mind that, as long as such image quality loss is not crazy or hard to correct in post. I am perfectly happy with my Haida 10 stop circular ND filter.

I am shooting E-M1 mk1, mainly with a 4/3 version of Olympus 9-18 with 72mm filter thread (not the tiny m4/3 version of O9-18, yes, I regret not getting the m4/3 version), sometimes with G85 Samyang 7.5mm fisheye f/3.5.

Here is what I am considering:

1) ICE or LIPA branded 3 stop reverse GND 100x150mm for $65-$75 USD:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/ICE-100mm-...709662?hash=item2cfc41769e:g:5OgAAOSwNd5dz1Gq

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Shockproof...646622?hash=item2f299d701e:g:i1kAAOSwg-tcNiXH

2) ICE, WYATT, or KF Concept branded solid 3-stop ND 100*100mm for $50-60 USD:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/ICE-100mm-...706825&hash=item2f028a1d99:g:~mQAAOSwVm5ZAC5N

https://www.ebay.com/itm/WYATT-100m...hash=item41fec483a6:m:mxELEwySo1AURyqnCiKr7cw

https://www.ebay.com/itm/K-F-Concep...207451?hash=item340e6b395b:g:YO8AAOSwatddI~VC

3) Zomei branded 100mm filter holder with adapter for 72mm filter for $24 USD:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Zomei-100m...hash=item23a20889eb:m:mXSQwzHmup-6bncJQSsg81A

Or

4) a Benro set of all the above parts for $240 (I only need to add 72-77 slim step up ring) :
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Benro-FH10...hash=item2870180904:m:mltU41MNyjaC0CqsYWIV0dA

Or

5) Haida set equivalent to 4), but missing the solid ND filter, for about $240.

Please let me know which approach makes more sense in my application? 1)+2)+3) for $160 or 4) or 5) for $240?

Between 4) or 5), if there is not too much image quality difference, I would rather get 4) and have one more solid ND filter.

My 2nd biggest lens is an old version of Pana 14-140mm with 62mm filter ring. I probably won't get any more lens from m4/3 system; my next upgrade would be Nikon D500 + long telephoto lens for wildlife and sports.

I doubt my Samyang fisheye 7.5mm can be used with 100mm filter (when filter is handheld onto FE lens) without vignetting, but would be happy if it can in a pinch.

The photos I would like to obtain would look similar to these:

mmexport1584957222406.png
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mmexport1584956888724.jpg
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Reverse GND is probably not necessary for the 1st photo there, as the sun was not there yet. But I want to have reverse GND in hand when the sun is there.

Yes, I did push the 1st photo slightly too much on the colors. It is not meant to represent reality. It was actually a merge of two different photos, one of which was used for its dramatic sky (in order to merge the two photos, I had to change the colors quite a lot).

Color on the 2nd photo is probably not 100% reality either.

As you can see, HDR or stacking frames wouldn't work very well for photo #2 or sunset from a fast helicopter. That is why I want a reverse GND filter.

I think I handheld E-M1 mk1's HDR (camera on my knee) to get the following photo. It came out ok to my eyes (quite close to reality and much better than without HDR):
48944457318_e2fff4c7c9_o.jpg
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The above photos came from Beavertail State Park, Rhode Island and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in that order. I live in New England and especially enjoy dramatic sunrise/sunset scenes at rocky shores with pounding surf.
 
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zzffnn

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Texas
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #2
Even educated guess would be helpful, thank you!
 

Nam-in-Sonoma

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Nam
For your second picture the reversed gnd would definitely help and also would introduce a new problem , the rocks on both side would be much darker.

For the 9-18mm at 72mm the 100mm would be able to cover it without vignetting...I am using a 100mm filter on the 7-14mm F2.8 without any problem. I cannot speak for the Samyang since I don't own one
 

zzffnn

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Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Messages
358
Location
Texas
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4
Thank you very much, Nam! I am a big fan of your work by the way.

For those dark rocks, I guess I may have to cheat and modify them in different layers, if I were to make them perfect. Also, HDR (or manual exposure stacking) should help there, which I forgot to do :doh:

I ended up buying two ($65 each) ICE-branded reversed GND 's as referred in my previous post, along with a 4-stop ND, a 6-stop ND (all are cheap but made of glass), 3 polarizers and two of the following $35 metal holders:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01JLNU6WS/ref=ya_aw_od_pi?ie=UTF8&psc=1

So total cost for everything came close to $230, but now I have 2 sets for my O9-18 on E-M1 and P14-140 on G85. I should be set for future adventures!

Got reversed GNDs today but no sun outside to test. They look fine to my eyes. The gradient is reasonably smooth to my eyes. About right for the price.
 
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