Long exposures - What Lens and ND filter?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by StefanKruse, Jul 12, 2015.

  1. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Inspired by the brilliant shots posted here https://www.mu-43.com/threads/78070/ I want to have a go at some long exposure shooting. I am thinking city- and landscapes, but ideas for other uses would be appreciated.

    Question is what Lens is better suited for this type of photography? I am thinking my Oly 9-18 but I am correct or is one of my other lenses better suited (list of lenses in signature). Also what filter should I get? I guess something like a 9 stop or? Is it worthwhile paying more or is picture quality less affected due to the long exposures?

    Should I buy a large diameter filter and stepdown rings to use with multiple lenses or does that not work?

    Thanks
     
  2. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Any lens can be used for long exposure. Focal length is determined by you intent. I recommend using your 9-18mm (which I have and enjoy) or whatever you already have; 20mm is fine too. No need to buy a lens specific for long exposures.

    As for ND filter. I have only ever needed to carry two. 3 stop for handheld bright daylight with wider apertures and a 10 stop for tripod mounted long exposures.

    All of my filters are of the same large size 77mm. I step up all my lenses less than 52mm to 52mm then use another 52-77mm filter ring. Any lens with a filter size greater than 52mm I simply use the appropriate step up ring to get it to 77mm. You don't need to go to 77mm like I did (more expensive).. that's mainly because a lot of filters I had were purchased way before I can to micro 4/3rds and I have more than one system.
     
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  3. mannukiddo

    mannukiddo Mu-43 Veteran

    217
    Jul 28, 2013
    India
    Yes the 9-18 was bought by me specifically for long exposures filter use. This and the 14 2.5 are my most used lenses with filters. I have standardized on 52 mm as my size for all my m43 lenses. The 9-18 is 52 mm while my 14 2.5 and 20 1.7 are 46mm which are used with a 46-52 mm step up ring. For long exposures I own a 10, 6 and a 3 stop ND filter from B+W, Haida and Kenko respectively. The 10 stop is used when light is bright, 6 stop when It starts getting darker or just before the sun rises completely. Both these are only meant to be used on a tripod. The 3 stop is used in bright light for hand holdalble shots when I need to cut down on the shutter speeds or use larger apertures. Along with the ND filters it's worthwhile to get graduated filters as well to darken the skies and get those cloud details. These are best used as square filters so you may need a square filter holder along with some grads of 1.2, 0.9 and 0.6.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015
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  4. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Thanks for the replies.

    I think I will look for a 10 stop 52mm to use for my Oly9-18 and a step-up ring for 46mm. One question though: is it worthwhile to pay for an expensive filter? prices range from 20-100 USD on B&H or should I just do as I always do and by some in between?
     
  5. sgreszcz

    sgreszcz Mu-43 Veteran

    439
    Oct 7, 2012
    Dukenukem from this forum has a cool demo on YouTube on doing long exposure and the Olympus livetime feature. He simulates a grad filter by waving a bit of extra ND where the sky is.

     
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  6. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Re price: the most important factor is to get one with no color shift. After that, some have water repellent coatings, etc. which can raise the price a lot.

    Note the Oly 12-40mm has a 62mm thread.

    Barry
     
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  7. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    Check out Haida 10 stop filters. You can get on ebay. They are $25-40 depending on filter size. No color cast, good quality. Also come in square sizes if you use with multiple lenses. Any lens is good. Even the 12-50 does well with long exposure. A fast lens is not a high priority for long exposure.
     
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  8. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    @StefanKruse@StefanKruse, I'm flattered that my shots inspired you. I'm just a humble amateur photog who's fortunate enough to be able to fund my hobby. Regarding your questions, please see my points below.

    As for the lens, you should be fine with the 9-18. I shot the majority of the long exposure images at f/8-11, so the slower aperture of the 9-18 shouldn't be an issue (I shot all of the long exposure shots with my 12-35).

    Regarding the filter, I used a Haida 10 stop ND filter (something like Haida Pro Slim Multicoated ND 3.0). I got it on eBay for somewhere around $60. Although it may not seem like it, the difference between 9 & 10 stops is the difference between a 2-minute exposure & 4-minute exposure. The coating is very good, and the filter exhibits no color cast.

    As for the tripod (a necessity for long exposures), I used the compact Sirui T-005X tripod. Despite being small & light, it had no issue supporting my GH4 & 12-35 for the shots you saw.

    Lastly, you're going to need a remote shutter release with a lock on it so that you can lock the shutter while exposing in bulb mode.


    Other than that, get out there and experiment. Believe it or not, those shots were the first shots I've ever taken with bulb mode (I probably should've practiced before I left, but fortunately everything turned out OK). The biggest factor in making dramatic looking shots is the sky. You need to have good cloud formations that are moving relatively quickly, and great colors in the sky.

    Thanks again for your kind words, I greatly appreciate it. Get out there, get some shots, and come back to share them with us!
     
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  9. mannukiddo

    mannukiddo Mu-43 Veteran

    217
    Jul 28, 2013
    India
    Quality filters cost money and Haida which IMHO is the best value in filters currently are also by no means cheap. Yes cheaper than B+W or say a Heliopan but still not cheap. The biggest problem with cheap filters is color casts and loss in sharpness and fine detail. I have a cheap Formatt Hitech 9 stop square filter that gives a bad magenta cast that is a pain to remove in PP. This may not be a problem if you shoot B&W but for color photos it sure is a problem. But then I also have a Firecrest ND filter again by Format Hitech that is remarkably color neutral.
     
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  10. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Brilliant video thanks for the link
    Good point I dont have the 12-40mm i.e. not yet it is on top of my wishlist, but it is darn expensive -question is whether I should plan ahead and get a 62mm filter and a step-up for my Oly 9-18
    I live in Denmark and in all practicality this means US Ebay is off limit as they hit me with some heavy taxes when importing. I might check out the German or UK ebay.

    Youre welcome, to see that such result can be achieved by an "amateur" is really what made me go for a filter, because maybe I can do that too then :)

    Good point that the difference between 9 and 10 stop is actually doubling up - I will look for a 10 stop filter. (Edit just ordered a Haifa Pro 10 stop multi coated)

    I already own a descent tripod, but for remote I was thinking to use my E-M10 wifi with th Olympus I.S app?

    Cant wait to try it out, in the meantime I will experiemnt a bit with bulb mode and live composit.
     
  11. JoFT

    JoFT Mu-43 Veteran

    360
    Nov 11, 2014
    Stuttgart
    Johannes
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  12. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    The thing to be cautious about with those filters is that they don't have any kind of multicoating on them, so if there is a strong light source in the frame or just outside of it, there's a much greater chance of flare or ghosting to occur compared to a filter with a multicoating (like the ones from Haida specifically stating it).

    It's definitely a good price for what are likely quality filters, but just be aware of the potential issues of using non-coated filters.
     
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  13. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
  14. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    762
    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    Neil
    The remote cell phone app is neat, but I have a generic wired remote that only cost about four bucks (they're on and off of sale) from a certain rainforest-named online book seller. If you're close enough to the camera I think it's a bit easier to use.
     
  15. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Any specific time of day that works best with Long exposure e.g. blue hour?
     
  16. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    Sunrise, sunset and blue hours are all great. That said, if you have moving cloud cover at any time if day, you can certainly make things interesting.
     
  17. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    The sunrise photos were taken at roughly the listed time of sunrise. The shot of Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Bridge & Big Ben were taken at about the listed time of sunset. I would recommend researching sunrise/set times for the locations you'll be visiting.

    If you want to get some really good sky photos, I would suggest being set up about 30-45 minutes before the time listed for sunrise, as that will give you ample time to get some good photos (remember that a 4 minute exposure is really an 8 minute shot, because of the equivalent "exposure" for dark frame subtraction).

    I would say the same applies for sunset if you want to get a good mix of reds/oranges/pinks with the blues & purples.


    I hope this helps.
     
  18. JoFT

    JoFT Mu-43 Veteran

    360
    Nov 11, 2014
    Stuttgart
    Johannes

    Thank you for the remark. So fare I never had issues with these filters. I do have them as well with 77mmø for Canon - and also there no Problems... http://delightphoto.zenfolio.com/p553581524/h66d3355b#h66d3355b
     
  19. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Thanks I shall be on the lookout for moving clouds :)

    Thanks, it helps a lot, but heres another question: Dark frame subtraction, I have googled it and I think I understand the idea, but am I right in assumming that this is what happens after the long exposure shot, where the camerera takes a "break" for the same amount of time as the exposure.
     
  20. JoFT

    JoFT Mu-43 Veteran

    360
    Nov 11, 2014
    Stuttgart
    Johannes
    You are right. This is was going to happen. But I do not see any effect from this. You can switch it off. It makes the process much faster, when you are shooting a panorama with 14 frames and 1 minute exposure time...