Filters, filters, filters... Which one should I get first?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by mesmerized, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. mesmerized

    mesmerized Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 18, 2012
    Dear Users,

    I'm browsing through the Internet and looking at various filters and I'm getting a bit lost in the number of options available.

    I'm wondering if should get a natural density filter or a CPL first. My goal is to somehow deal with bright skies vs dark greens in landscapes. I don't know if a circular half-filter (if that's the proper term) will do the job. I've also seen filters that are half blue/half neutral... Not sure if they are useful though for my purposes. Or perhaps a ND filter with the top half darkening the skies and the bottom half being neutral?

    Would be great to hear your advice.

  2. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Well both filters would solve that problem under different circumstances.

    A CPL works great for shooting under bright afternoon/evening sun and getting rid of the harshness of the suns reflections off foliage and water and darkening the skies a bit. They can create black strips on the sky if used on a UWA and the effect is dialed in very far.

    If you are in the early morning, a graduated ND filter can work so you can expose for the darker ground while not blowing out the skies. You can also use HDR and exposure blending for this purpose.

    A regular full ND filter is for slowing down your shutter speed. Typically used for creating motion blur with water, or for shooting fast f1.2 lenses in the sun.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    With B+W film I would use a yellow-green filter to darken the sky slightly and raise the brightness of the foliage (while also taking advantage of a highly compensating developer), with digital I generally find that shooting as to not clip the sky at base ISO and pushing the shadows in post works just as well. Modern digital is very forgiving.

    As stated above the CPL can work depending on the angle of the sun in the sky (at right angle to the sun the darkening will be highest, towards or away from the sun will be variable), the problem with wide angle lenses is they see so much of the sky that you can easily tell where the sun was located due to this darkening.

    I'm not a huge fan of grad NDs, I do however use a 4 stop ND for shooting in daylight. They're actually neutral not natural density filters, neutral meaning they shouldn't effect colour balance.