Which ND value(s) to start with?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by tm3, May 16, 2015.

  1. tm3

    tm3 Mu-43 Regular

    134
    Apr 17, 2011
    My primary desire is to blur water for waterfall shots, and some lake/ocean shots. I have been able to do a little with my polarizer but it is limited.

    What do you all recommend as a good value to start with? I'm guessing that it may be best to err towards the high side but I don't know.

    Also, do you usually guess what might be the largest lens you would ever use with it, buy that size, and use step rings, or just end up buying two or three filters?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2015
  2. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I have only ever needed to carry two ND filters.

    * 3 stop to shoot wider apertures in open daylight.
    * 10 stop to shoot tripod mounted long exposures.

    All/most of my filters are 77mm size and I step rings accordingly. 77mm is abit large for this system but my filters date back to when I was shooting Canon EOS.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    It depends, but usually waterfalls are best to shoot in dusk or down or on overcast days. Your polarizer is 2 stop, so may be add 4 and 6 stops filters.
     
  4. ripleys baby

    ripleys baby Straw clutcher

    609
    Aug 10, 2011
    I would just jump straight in and buy into the Lee seven5 system . I know it's expensive but you get what you pay for.
    They will have all the ND's you need and you can use ND graduated's too. You just need to buy the correct size adaptors
    for your lenses.
    You could start out buying screw on filters, but eventually you will see the benefit of the Lee system and buy into it anyway.
    So save your self some money and buy the best straight away.

    http://www.leefilters.com/index.php/camera/system-seven5
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. tm3

    tm3 Mu-43 Regular

    134
    Apr 17, 2011
    It sounds like a 10 stop, or the Lee system, might be good choices. I will take a look.

    My guess was a 6 stop and it sounds like that would not have been bad, either.
     
  6. Jfrader

    Jfrader Guest

    If you are on a budget and want to start with just one, I'd suggest either a 4- or 6-stop filter. Coupled with your CPL, that will give you a range of 4 and 5.5 or 6 and 7.5 stops which should cover most everything you would want in normal circumstances. Next, I'd move up to 8 or even 10 for those really long exposure, silky water shots, but that is a pretty narrow specialty area.
     
  7. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Filter systems and then filters themselves - all this such a big can of worms to discuss... I'll just say that there are couple more players on the field besides Lee.
     
  8. lomomentum

    lomomentum Mu-43 Regular

    Don't forget a grad in addition to the ND. For the skies. Just sayin'. So a multi filter system makes good sense. And the Lee Seven5 is excellent. But so are the others.
     
  9. Jfrader

    Jfrader Guest

    Actually, in my view grad NDs are pretty much obsolete. I dumped all of mine awhile back. They were necessary equipment in the film days but now it is easier and more flexible to just do it in software.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2015
  10. tm3

    tm3 Mu-43 Regular

    134
    Apr 17, 2011
    That Lee system looks pretty versatile, but let me ask a question.

    I remember long ago playing around with something similar on a film camera, I think it was Cokin. Anyway, the square filters were a pretty tight fit in the holder slots and it was a real bother trying to slide them in and out. All the pieces had a cheap feel to them.

    Is the Lee system like that at all?
     
  11. ripleys baby

    ripleys baby Straw clutcher

    609
    Aug 10, 2011
    No, not at all. I used the Cokin system years ago and I remember it being as you described. The lee system is very slick. And in reply to Jfrader, I don't agre with ND grads being obsolete. No software is going to bring out detail in areas that are completely blown out through over exposure. ND grads can help a lot in this respect. I use software graduation tools a lot as well for fine tuning.
     
  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I just think the big plate filters are in conflict with the portability goals many have with their mirror less systems.

    10 stops is very extreme. It requires very thick glass and unless you spend a small fortune you will get color casts and softness. 10 stops would take 1/100 down to 15 seconds!

    I'd probably go with a regular 6 stop.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2015
  13. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    You're not entirely correct here...
    I briefly had Formatt-Hitech Firecrest (real glass, multicoated) 16 stop filter (100mm square) - it costs $126-$150, just 2mm thick and had no color casts or softness.

    Big issue with systems is light leaks - gaffer tape roll becomes must have accessory with them.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  14. ripleys baby

    ripleys baby Straw clutcher

    609
    Aug 10, 2011
    The Lee Big Stopper has a foam gasket that works very well. No gaffer tape required.
     
  15. Etude

    Etude Long Exposure Addict

    202
    Jun 24, 2013
    I feel at least a 3 and 10 stop. 10 stop or 10+3 for bright day. 3 stop for blue hour but sometimes 3 stop is never enough and I will need to use 6 stop minimum.

    Check out Haida filters from PhotosphereSG. They recently released their new exclusive 83mm filters holder. I use them and have no vignetting and minimal color cast. Their 83mm filters come with gaskets that help to prevent light leak.