ND Filter Suggestions

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras & Equipment' started by WDWFigment, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. WDWFigment

    WDWFigment Member

    I was reviewing my shot list this morning, and I noticed a lot of the shots are ones that would benefit from a ND filter. Normally, I just use my polarizing filter for these type of shots because I'm cheap, but with as many shots as I have that could use a good ND filter, I figure why not buy one.

    So...I'm looking for suggestions. What specific ND filters do you use and how do you like them. I think I'm looking to go for a .9 filter, but I am not positive at this point. Keeping in mind that I am cheap (and a poor student so I can't afford some $100 filter), do you have any suggestions for filters?
  2. Roger

    Roger Member Staff Member

    I'm thinking that brand isn't going to matter with an ND filter; you can try nice used sources for very reasonable prices...
  3. WDWFigment

    WDWFigment Member

    That's good to know. ; I trust your judgment on all things equipment-related, so I will delve into the used sources of which I know...

  4. Roger

    Roger Member Staff Member

    Eventually if you want to use the next-gen ND filters (graduated, great for getting an overexposed sky properly exposed for the foreground) - you'll need to think about Cokin/Singh-Ray. ; I used Cokin back in the film days....nice except that even the "P" system back then would vignette on 20mm. ; But then you'll be getting a whole system.
  5. Hey didn't I read this somewhere else. ; Maybe I am just getting old. ; Anyway I thought I would post over here with another option for anyone that does read other boards. ; (Not that there is any board as awesome as this. ; :) ). ;


    One thing that I have tried is stacking two polarizers on top of each other. The closest one to the lens is the circular and the farthest is a linear. I was able to pick up a cheap linear one since I already had the circular. I had mixed results as it did cast a slight blue tone over the shot as I rotated the filters in opposite directions. But this was easily dealt with in post. These by no means beats a true ND Filter but it did perform pretty well in a pinch and did not cost me much. (especially if you have the first circular polarizer. I think I got out of there for about $25.

    Just another option, since price seams to be a big deciding factor.


    Still Blue but I have edited since. ;
  6. Tim

    Tim Administrator Staff Member

    Remember ND filters are really nothing more than sunglasses for your lens. ; You get more "effect" with a CP. ; But, make sure whatever you get is multicoated. ; Don't go too cheap or it will really show. ; ;
  7. WDWFigment

    WDWFigment Member

    Yeah, I'm aware of what it'll do. ; I regularly use my CP, but it's not dark enough of "shades" for my lenses for a few ideas I have. ; When I initially posted this, I thought a 3 stop ND filter was the max; however, in researching, I found that there are 6-10 stop filters, too. ; What I really think I want/need is a 6 stop one. ; The only 6 stop one I can find is B+W, though, and it costs $90!
  8. Tim

    Tim Administrator Staff Member

    I have an nd400- ; 9 stops. ; Need a tripod during broad daylight. ;
  9. WDWFigment

    WDWFigment Member

    Do you have the Hoya one or something else (all I've found is a Hoya)? ; Do you have any issues autofocusing with that on your lens?
  10. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    I hae the ND400 (Hoya) as well - surprisingly, my cameras have all never had a problem focusing through it...three different cameras. ; YOU may not be able to see what the camera is focusing on, but the camera will! ; One way around the issue of not being able to see through the ND400 is if you have a camera with live view capability. ; Switch to live view, and you should be able to see your scene that way (you won't see squat through the viewfinder...the ND400 is like black-painted glass). ; Since you have to use the tripod anyway, using the slower live view system (main sensor live view that most cameras use) shouldn't be a problem.
  11. Tim

    Tim Administrator Staff Member

    funny you should mention that, justin. ; i cannot see (diddly) thru my viewfinder when the nd400 is on there, even in the middle of the afternoon. ; but, pop on live-view, and it's as if the filter isn't even there. ; really interesting.
  12. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    Cool, isn't it?! ; That's how I've shot my ND400 since I got it - as I've always had live view capable cameras.
  13. WDWFigment

    WDWFigment Member

    How satisfied are you guys with the ND400? ; I am really torn between 6 stops and 9 stops. ; I think I'd be doing all tripod shooting regardless of which I choose, so that's not an issue, but it would be an issue if the D90 can't autofocus through the ND400 (maybe I should search Google on that...). ; It seems like the 9 stop one might be slightly more useful than the 6 stop one...
  14. WDWFigment

    WDWFigment Member

    Anyone have any experience with this? ; There is very little about this company out there, but a couple posts on dpreview seem pretty positive. ; Doesn't seem to be too bad of a price for what it does...


    ETA: ; "# According to the optics theorem, it is not recommended to apply this filter for wide angle lens (<24mm, 35mm film format equivalent)." ; Why is that? ; I may be going to an 8mm (what is that, like 12mm equivalent?) and most of the shots I need this filter for are UWA, so that alone might be a dealbreaker. ; Is it just a minor vignetting problem?
  15. Roger

    Roger Member Staff Member

    Never seen those before Figment....I'm guessing that the optics theorem would bounce the light rays in weird directions beyond 24mm resulting in non-uniform results.

    It looks like Sigma hasn't released the filter size yet, and while it's hard to see from the product shots so far, I'm thinking it's going to be hard to mount filters, kind of like the 14-24....the hood looks permanent.
  16. Tim

    Tim Administrator Staff Member

    i think gary has something similar to that but it cost a lot more than that one. ; selling point #2 is troublesome because it has nothing to do with the filter but rather pertains to the lens itself, so they might be reaching to find "bullet points"- UNLESS they are trying to say you can use wider apertures with the filter due to the darkness factor. ; also, if they are going to tout optics theorem, they should at least explain it (i have no idea why it matters either). ; caveat emptor on this one.

    notice also in the comments that the seller is willing to fudge the customers paperwork (integrity issue?)
  17. I have seen a variable ND before (http://www.singh-ray.com/varind.html) that was recommended by Rick Sammon but it is a little pricey.

    This version you found on Ebay is made from a company in Hong Kong. ;


    Don't know if the optics would be great. ; Of coarse with a price difference that much I am sure they are not equal. ; Of coarse I am not sure I can tell the difference anyway. ; I guess from my standpoint, I would be willing to take the risk with my money. ; In fact I might seriously look at getting one now. ; I have been looking for a variable ND and this might be the price point I would take the risk. ;

    Plus this would allow you to frame the shot through the view finder and then just give it a twist to set the correct level and shoot. ;
  18. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    Haven't seen much on those myself either.

    As for the ND400, I've been very happy with mine. ; I bought mine many many years ago, back when I had my F717 camera in 2005. ; I've used it now on that camera, my H5 ultrazoom, my A300 DSLR, and my current DSLR. ; The only downside to mine is that it is 58mm, which limits the lenses I can use it with...I have step-up adapters and step down adapters so I can use mine with my 50mm F1.7, and my 18-250...but I can't use mine with my UWA - way too small. ; With my 18-250, it needs a step down ring, which vignettes strongly from 18mm to around 27mm...so that's about my widest ability with the ND400 I have. ; I couldn't bring myself to buy another as they are not cheap!

    I use mine for daytime slow shutter stuff - moving water, landscape stills, or at Disney to 'ghost' the people walking around the parks. ; Lots of fun! ; I also used it as an IR filter with my F717 - it's actually quite good, and works just like a dedicated IR filter blocking almost all visible light, but letting IR through. ; I think that's why AF systems don't seem to have a problem with the filter, since the IR still gets through...I presume AF sensors in most cameras have IR sensitivity.

    And besides, if you're using a D90, don't you have live view capability on that camera? ; If so, it will let you see right through the ND400, no problem.
  19. WDWFigment

    WDWFigment Member

    Here is the actual manufacturer site for that filter: ; http://www.faderfilters.com/fadernd.html

    Doug - that site is just a HK reseller of the filter. ; I have no idea why they added "CARRIS" to the front of the filter's name, but it definitely is misleading. ; I saw that Sing-Rayh filter--it is way out of my budget.

    Notice in the bullet points on the actual manufacturer's site, the "optic theorem" isn't even mentioned (although variants of the other points are...).

    Justin - my issue with the D90 is the autofocus; I still can't accomplish manually focusing too well with the D90 even with live view. ; I suppose with the UWA manually focusing shouldn't be too difficult, but I'd rather the camera just do it itself. ; With the Fader filter, I could have the camera autofocus, then adjust the filter to the "darkest" setting. ; That is, assuming it wouldn't autofocus on the darkest setting in the first place (which it very well may). ; Plus, the Fader is cheaper (although I know this may come with the tradeoff in optical quality) than the Hoya. ; Another point for the Fader is that it is variable ND, which might come in handy.

    ETA: ; From the official Fader site, I found an authorized seller on eBay. ; $10 more, but worth it for peace of mind (and US based). ; No mention of the "optics theorem" there, either: http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-Fader-ND-Filter-ND2-to-ND400-77mm-Neutral-Density_W0QQitemZ320477781075QQcmdZViewItemQQptZCamera_Filters?hash=item4a9df6dc53
  20. Tim

    Tim Administrator Staff Member

    if your camera locks exposure when locking focus, like most do, you are going to have issues there. ; you need to see if you can split the exposure lock and focus lock, or become fast and proficient with AE-L. ; doesn't your camera autofocus in live view?

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