No More Neutral Density Filters For The Time Being

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by RT_Panther, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    For the past month or so, I've quit using ND filters on my fast glass in this Texas sun.


    Because I'm experimenting using post processing (RAW) to bring down the over-exposed shots....

    Seems to be "working" thus far.....:redface:
  2. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Any samples, before and after post processing? Actually, it would be nice if you did some comparison shots, with ND and using PP instead, to compare results.

    Yes, I know I'm being demanding. :)
  3. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    You're kinda taking the old Expose To The Right adage to the extreme, RT. How much were you using ND filters in the past?

    I only use my NDs very infrequently (mostly because I never seem to have them in my bag when I need them), but I've found they're not all that necessary up here in the Northwest. I'll usually just stop down a bit if I need to, but I might try your method. I suspect this type of recovery will work better with the newer 16MP sensors than with the old 12MP sensors I'm shooting on.

    Does anyone have a rule of thumb of how many stops you can recover from a RAW file when shooting with this extreme ETTR method?
  4. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    No "before's" only a few "afters"...(see below)
    Note: I still had plenty of room "to the left" to under-expose in Post Processing with all the shots (ƒ1.8 lenses)

    I used to automatically stick 'em on in the Texas they're collecting dust :smile:

    Safety First by RedTail_Panther, on Flickr

    Film Shooter by RedTail_Panther, on Flickr

    Silver Ferrari by RedTail_Panther, on Flickr

    USMC General by RedTail_Panther, on Flickr
  5. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Specially if you get the E-P5 with the 1/8000 shutter then you can actually just reserve your ND filter for landscapes or just through it away :wink:
  6. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Still waitin' for the PEN Form factor with integrated EVF like the old film days...

    (Or the Panasonic GX7) :smile:
  7. PatrickVA

    PatrickVA Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 31, 2012
    Central Virginia
    I don't know how far you can go, but with new sensors and software filters are decreasing in importance.

    I stopped the sky down about 3 here in Lightroom. It's shots like this that have sold me on RAW.

    <a href="[email protected]/9321904017/" title="3 Stops by kcirtap89, on Flickr"> View attachment 292171 "800" height="378" alt="3 Stops"></a>
  8. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    And since I always shoot in RAW, I asked myself one day "why am I using these ND filters?"....
  9. PatrickVA

    PatrickVA Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 31, 2012
    Central Virginia
    It's incredible what we already take for granted.
    We can shoot a useable, handheld, one second exposure, at ISO 6400, over-exposed by three-stops, using a 3.5 inch tall, $800 camera, fix it and have it seen by a guy 12,000 miles away seconds later. On a tiny screen he keeps in his pocket.
  10. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Why not get the exposure right at the time of capture?

    (I have a pet peeve about RAW/PP used as a crutch to correct for known errors made during capture)
  11. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    To do so in broad daylight at ƒ1.4 would require use of a ND at speeds of 1/4000 or slower.
  12. PatrickVA

    PatrickVA Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 31, 2012
    Central Virginia
    It's not really a crutch, we just need to understand that in many ways PP and other technology is the modern version of filters, or even fill flash or a tripod in some cases.

    I agree to get it right or close in camera, but that doesn't always happen for a bunch of reasons. PP lets us fully utilize the dynamic range captured by a modern sensor, why not use it?
  13. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    For sure!
    If I can get away without putting a piece of glass over my lens (the ND filter) then why not? :smile:

    On the other hand, if I can get away shooting at ISO 800 instead of ISO 3200
    by bring up exposure & details in post processing again....why not? :smile:
  14. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    Of course, it's better to get the shot perfectly in the camera, all other things being equal. But all things are never equal. And PP has always been a part of photography, especially with negative films. The tools in digital are just much more powerful and convenient than the chemical and analog ones we used in the film darkroom.

    The best answer to me is to try and give myself enough flexibility in the capture to enable me to produce the desired outcome by the end of the process. If that requires using a CP and graduated ND filters, then fine. If I feel it's easier to shoot without them and spend the time in post, then fine.
  15. RajC

    RajC Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 6, 2013
    Don't toss the filters

    I agree. What does not using a filter accomplish? A few minutes of time saved? A couple ounces less to carry?
    I seldom do any PP. My photo-joy comes from the travel and trying to capture what's really there.
  16. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Not using a ND filter saves $$ when you use quality ones - which can easily add up to hundreds of dollars saved :smile:

    Here's a Before/After example of using post-processing to soothe the over exposure.

    Shot at ƒ1.8 on a sunny Texas day :smile:


    View attachment 292568
    Test Shot by RedTail_Panther, on Flickr


    Roush Mustang by RedTail_Panther, on Flickr
  17. fsuscotphoto

    fsuscotphoto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2013
    St. Cloud, FL
    I would like to see the same photo, but one with the ND and one PPed. My bet is that the ND one looks better.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 mobile app
  18. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
  19. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Extended Response:

    - I've never heard of any lenses that are optimized for ND filters. If there are some, then this lens is not one of them.

    - RAW files are pretty much the raw digital sensor data. Seems to me like the best optimization would be to digitally modify the digital RAW sensor data to obtain the best exposure.

    Now if the medium were film, then I would agree with you in that ND filter would look best - but the medium here is a digital sensor to which it's digital data can be manipulated, not film.
  20. fuSi0n

    fuSi0n Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 11, 2013
    Bavaria, Germany
    Hmm you seem to not understand the use of NDs, ... Rather pointless discussion. ND Grad for dimming a bright sky and expanding the dynamic range of the image by several stops. You will never do this in pp for the time beeing. Not to mention long exposure shots and large apertures in bright daylight.
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