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Thread: Graduated density filters

  1. #1

    Default Graduated density filters

    For those who shoot landscape, how indispensable are graduated density filters in your work? If you use them, which system of filters are you using?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Graduated density filters

    I am not exclusively a landscapes shooter, but when I shoot landscapes I do find a graduated neutral density filter is another good filter to have besides a circular polarizer. I would advise against buying a round graduated ND filter because of its inflexibility. It is much better to buy a rectangular or square filter system. The system I use is the Cokin P system. There are two versions of the Cokin P filter holder: the original one that can holds three filters & the wide-angle version (BPW-700) that only holds one filter. If I'm not mistaken, the P system (plus the appropriate adapter ring) can be used for lenses with filter threads up to 82mm.

    Regarding the actual filter, there are several manufacturers that make graduated ND rectangular filters to fit the Cokin P system. Many photographers swear by expensive graduated ND glass filters from Singh-Ray, Lee, etc. These people believe that Cokin's own plastic graduated ND filters are optically inferior, tend to give color casts, and are more prone to scratches (the third point is actually a non-issue if you handle and store your filters carefully). However, be prepared to pay a LOT more. I personally use Cokin P-121 ND8 (2-stop) soft-edged graduated ND filter and so far I think it's performs quite OK for the price I paid for it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Graduated density filters

    Cokin or Tian Ya. The latter can be got for very cheap prices, though there are some folks who'd swear that the graduation isn't so good, showing a line in the photo. If you cannot get away with that, go for the Cokins. Square filter system, as mentioned by previous poster, and you can use both Cokin and Tian Ya filters on the bracket. However, I've only seen a single Grad ND from Tian Ya.

    Personally, I prefer to get it straight out of the camera if possible. So grad NDs, or grad anything else is almost non-existent in my use. I do use extreme stuff like ND400 though, without tripod. But that is just my style+taste, that kind of high-ND isn't cut out for everybody. I do have a collection of grad colours from Tian Ya too, though more often, it gets loaned out to my close friends as I rarely find reason to use them.

    You can look around the thread below. Some later pics are taken with ND, though most are just plain out-of-camera, without post-processing.
    http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=209099

  4. #4
    Senior Member yyD70S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graduated density filters

    GNDs are very useful for landscape photography; especially so if you are shooting digital since the exposure latitude of a digital sensor is "not as good" as film. It's even worse if you shoot slides. Of course, you can post process but nothing beats getting it right off the cam from the very start.

    Like what has already been said above, the Cokin P (Wide Adapter) is a safe bet. As for the filters itself, I use the Singh Ray versions. There is no hard and fast rule as to which branding is better. Take your own pick.


    Quote Originally Posted by yeocolin View Post
    For those who shoot landscape, how indispensable are graduated density filters in your work? If you use them, which system of filters are you using?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Graduated density filters

    Thank you for the sharing.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Graduated density filters

    i'm more inclined to landscapes and only have a porlarizer. I'm going to get a ND Grad as is very hard(in fact impossble) to balance the exposure between the land and the sky as the exposures are different. Having a ND Grad balances out the exposure.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Graduated density filters

    anyone knows whether there's significant colour cast for the tianya? yes, i know its cheap so don't expect much, but how's it compared to the cokin?

  8. #8
    Moderator Clown's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graduated density filters

    i carry 3 ND Grad filters on my vest whenever i'm travelling. it's a must-have.
    i use cokin cuz i'm a klutz and often end up scratching the filters till they're unusable.
    they're always discarded at the end of the trip.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Graduated density filters

    Quote Originally Posted by skopio View Post
    anyone knows whether there's significant colour cast for the tianya? yes, i know its cheap so don't expect much, but how's it compared to the cokin?
    nope, no color cast (at least on my poor eyes)...

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