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ND filter

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by elmolulu, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. elmolulu

    elmolulu New to Mu-43

    Jul 2, 2012
    Hi all, I'm a newbi m4/3 owner and new to this forum. I have the olympus e-pl2 and I'm looking for a ND filter that will allow me to get the smooth water effect. My questions are: How many stops should I be looking for the ND filter and which brand would you recommend? Thanks in advance for all your help!
  2. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I'd start at around 3 stops (ND 0.9), but it really depends on so many factors (time of day, density of foliage, etc.) that it's really hard to give a single answer. To get the silky water look you want to be using a shutter speed of around 2 seconds, so start there and work with your filters to get a good exposure at around that shutter speed.

    You might want to consider a variable density filter which would give you the most latitude to get precisely the effect you envision.

    As for brand, I tend to avoid the very cheapest filters, but I don't believe that quality increases linearly with price. You can pay an awful lot for that last 1% of "quality". One adage which I picked up from someone on this forum that fits well with my thinking on filters is that you should choose "Hoya or better."
  3. strang

    strang Mu-43 Veteran

    May 7, 2012
    There are also graduated neutral density filters which are a bit different. So search for it with a keen eye!
  4. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Depending on whether you want some water-like detail in your blur, or simply a white streak, and depending on the speed of the water and the amount ambient light you may not need an ND filter. For example, this was done at about 1/2 sec. without an ND filter.

    E-M5 with Pany 7-14 @ 7mm.
    E-PL3    ---    7mm    f/11.0    1/6s    ISO 800

    I do think it's good to have an ND 0.9 on hand in any event for other reasons as well, such as shallow DOF in broad daylight. I have two B+W ND 0.9 - one for my 25/1.4 and the other for my 45/1.8. That way I can have both lenses so-equipped at the same time when specifically chasing shallow DOF in bright conditions.
  5. elmolulu

    elmolulu New to Mu-43

    Jul 2, 2012
    Thanks for all the helpful suggestions and advice. I think I will try the ND 0.9 filter.

    I also read somewhere that I could use a linear and a circular polarize filter to achieve a variable density effect. Which method is better?
  6. humzai

    humzai Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 17, 2012
    Marumi is a brand that makes good quality products with a decent price. I have heard good things about their vari nd which only costs 130 compared to the 300-400 mark some others cost. I am not sure about the quality of their grad bd but their circular polarizer and uv filter are top notch as good as b&w at a fraction of the price.
  7. michaeln

    michaeln Guest

    I just bought a 52mm Marumi variable ND that goes up to 9 stops for about ninety bucks at Amazon.
  8. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I do lots of waterfalls. Normally I use an ND4(2 stops). Often I use an ND8(3 stops). On occasion, I've stacked them. It really depends on the conditions and where you want to set your aperature. Ideally you want to use your sharpest setting for the focal length and use a tripod.
  9. strang

    strang Mu-43 Veteran

    May 7, 2012
    Polarizers are normally used to cut the sun light so that lights aren't as harsh and water, vegetation are more saturated. It will also reduce glare for objects that normally reflect sun light, such as windows, water.

    It can act as a ND, but it's more useful in more situations. It's not variable nor very strong on the neutral density scale. Most of them are effectively ND4, and gives you 2-stops.

    I just bought one. Apparently for mirror less it doesn't matter if it's linear or circular. But effects can be hard to observe on EVF or LCD.

    • Like Like x 2
  10. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    I carry an ND8 and polariser. Together one can get a lot of different effects. I went with Marumi brand, which seems to be the cheapest that has decent quality. You should read reviews and beware that, while cheap is crap, more expensive does not necessarily equal better. The consensus on the variable ND is that they do not achieve the same results -- lots of colour shifting. I have manually combined two polarisers with the same degraded effect, so I avoid this method now.

    I should also point out that for waterfalls you can use another technique if it's still too bright -- multiple exposure. Combining this with an ND can get you the look you want.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I hesitate to throw out a cut-off price for filters, since price points are so dependent on filter size. For example, you can get a decent 46mm 3-stop ND filter for probably half of what you'd have to pay for a similar quality 67mm filter. Prices increase dramatically for the largest filter sizes, but thankfully that's not an issue with the smaller :43: lenses.

    Perhaps the most important thing to consider when selecting any filter is that the filter you choose is "multi-coated." These will be far less prone to causing lens flare. The cheapest filters are non-coated (or perhaps mono-coated) and this is the single biggest reason IMO they should be avoided.
  12. michaeln

    michaeln Guest

    Also the fixed-stop filters cost WAY less than variable ones, given equal quality manufacturers.
  13. elmolulu

    elmolulu New to Mu-43

    Jul 2, 2012
    Thanks for the advice!!! I will try to use this technique for waterfalls!
  14. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    There is a .6 (3 stop) Panasonic DMW-LND46 46mm ND Filter that is of very good mechanical quality (metal filter ring) with no color shift (checked RAW shots) or effect on sharpness. With a 37 to 46mm step up ring it covers all my fast primes.

    It does not appear to be multi coated, but it's only $23.
  15. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Here's a tutorial on using a US$10 piece of welder's glass (~10 f/stop filter) to achieve an extremely long exposure shot.
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