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Thread: Grad ND Filters

  1. #1
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    Default Grad ND Filters

    Hi all seasoned shooters,

    Got some queries which I hope you can help clarify.

    1) What is the basic startup kit I need to get if I want to get started. Holder, adapter rings, grads, etc?

    2) Do you always set the dividing line of the grad in the centre of the frame? Do you compose your shot first then insert the filter so that the dividing line of the filter is at the say horizon separating the sea and the sky? Or is there another method?

    3) With the filter in place, where should you meter your shot? Foreground or background? sea or sky?

    4) Why are some filters so expensive like Lee filters but others like Cokin are not as so? Is there some justifications for that price?

    Thanks in advance!
    Canon 5D mkII|24-105 F4 IS L|70-200 F4 IS L|135 F2 L|580EX|

  2. #2

    Default Re: Grad ND Filters

    1. Check out sites like B&H to see what you need to get started. The answer is, "it depends".

    2. Up to you, but you may be limited by your equipment. Google to find out more.

    3. The point of a grad ND is to dim a part of the scene, so you should meter the part of the scene you didn't dim and adjust accordingly. Google to learn more.

    4. Merz vs BMW vs Toyota vs Hyundai.

  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grad ND Filters

    1) depends what type of shoots you want or do most, basically a ND grad is good enough.
    2) no fixed position, as long the filter is big enough to cover the whole image area.
    3) you should meter before attaching the filter if you want to darken the sky or any part of the scene.
    4) Rolex vs Seiko vs Casio
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Grad ND Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    1) depends what type of shoots you want or do most, basically a ND grad is good enough.
    2) no fixed position, as long the filter is big enough to cover the whole image area.
    3) you should meter before attaching the filter if you want to darken the sky or any part of the scene.
    4) Rolex vs Seiko vs Casio
    Should I meter the sky or the sea?

    I know it is Rolex vs Seiko or Merc vs Toyota. But I am asking specifically, what is the diff in terms of filter
    Canon 5D mkII|24-105 F4 IS L|70-200 F4 IS L|135 F2 L|580EX|

  5. #5
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grad ND Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by yehosaphat View Post
    Should I meter the sky or the sea?

    I know it is Rolex vs Seiko or Merc vs Toyota. But I am asking specifically, what is the diff in terms of filter
    basically, you should meter the mid tone area, and use the filter to bring the over blown area down to the highlight with details.

    better quality in terms of what? R&D, materials, strict QC, accurate in color and density, etc.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grad ND Filters

    1) I got the (Cokin) holders and everything. End up i hand hold when i shoot

    2) Depends on how you shoot. You try and u will know what we mean. For sharp demarcated scapes you can use a hard edge and place at the demarcation. You can always place differently depending on how you want it to turn out

    3) Meter the contrasting areas ( sky / sea ) individually and then calculate the difference in stops and use the appropriate filter. I usually leave about 1-2 stops brighter for the sky to make it more natural.

    4) The more expensive filters are supposed to be more color neutral ( since they are called gNd ). If you check out other forums like Photo Net or Nikonians, user experience claims Singh Ray is supposed to be the most color neutral, infact more than Lee ( i dunno about this ). Cokin has some kind of magentic cast to it. of course there is always PP, and in certain shots the cast can seem to be somewhat more acceptable.

    Peace
    Ryan

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Grad ND Filters

    Between the Cokin and Lee, I'd go with Lee any day. Cokin ND grads are not neutral. They give a strong orange cast which is hard to remove in post production. If price is a big concern to you, I'd recommend the Tianya filters. They are much cheaper than Cokin.

    Don't know if this might help you decide, I did a review on Tianya filters here: http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=239090. To purchase them go here: http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=326189

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by hazmee; 15th November 2007 at 01:27 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Grad ND Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by yehosaphat View Post
    Should I meter the sky or the sea?

    I know it is Rolex vs Seiko or Merc vs Toyota. But I am asking specifically, what is the diff in terms of filter
    You just want to be told, don't you?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Grad ND Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by yehosaphat View Post
    1) What is the basic startup kit I need to get if I want to get started. Holder, adapter rings, grads, etc?

    2) Do you always set the dividing line of the grad in the centre of the frame? Do you compose your shot first then insert the filter so that the dividing line of the filter is at the say horizon separating the sea and the sky? Or is there another method?

    3) With the filter in place, where should you meter your shot? Foreground or background? sea or sky?

    4) Why are some filters so expensive like Lee filters but others like Cokin are not as so? Is there some justifications for that price?
    1) yes you need all of those.

    2) no, it depends on what you want. also, not every grad nd filter has a dividing line. there are FULL grad nds, meaning graduate starts from top and ends at bottom. some of the times i shoot my shots handheld for certain reasons, for example, if i am going to shoot waves close up during sunset, you aren't going to expect me to trust myself to be able to grab tripod AND camera AND not screw up if a huge wave comes, are you? in any case, to me it does not matter. both work. a tip here: if you have OPTICAL preview (digital preview is really waste time and shutter count).. use it. stop down, since you are going to usually use small apertures, the scene will darken, and you can check whether your line in grad nd is correctly placed.

    3) ahaha, i always use center weighted, and then slightly overexpose. after a while of shooting regularly with grad nd you will somehow remember how to meter based on the scene, etc. agaration ftw. but the normal way is to meter before you place in lor.

    4) ...if lee cannot justify its price, it would be amazing how it is still in business, since theoretically other than people who go for the snob factor (and this does not apply in filters, since no one is going to go WOW LOOK A LEE FILTER OMG YOU ARE SO RICH) everyone would go for cokin. and lee will have to lower its pricing or go bankrupt because cannot sell its filters. simple economics/logic. as such let me express my opinion that this is a very silly question.

    as always, an increase in price in relation to an increase in quality is exponential. you pay a lot more for a slight increase in quality, that's what i feel. so you will get reduced flare/glare, better optical quality, a lightened wallet, and more neutral colors for grad nd, i reckon.

  10. #10
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grad ND Filters

    5.3 Graduated Neutral Density (GND) filter, scroll to the relevant section

    1. the cheapest available is the cokin 84mm p series holders. conversion ring to your lens thread are available from the bigger shops like cathay. available filters from tianya (ppcp import), cokin (cathay), hitech (import) and singh ray (import). lee is of a different size.

    2. compose and adjust your filter accordingly.

    3. metering is a personal preference as exposure is. you can do matrix metering and do relevant EV compensation, or you can do spot metering through the clear portion at a midtone and adjust accordingly. all these is the same as per every exposure shot without GND. if you use GND and spot meter through a dark portion, then you need to compensate even more.

    4. neutrality of color cast and clarity. but the more expensive filters are not more scratch resistant.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Grad ND Filters

    In the situation of Sunrise or Sunset at beach area, should I use polarizer filter combine with GND filter?

  12. #12
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grad ND Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyguy77 View Post
    In the situation of Sunrise or Sunset at beach area, should I use polarizer filter combine with GND filter?
    filters are always personal preferences and can be used to variable effects especially for subjects with many possibilities. there is no should or should not.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Grad ND Filters

    Thanks for fast response.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Grad ND Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyguy77 View Post
    In the situation of Sunrise or Sunset at beach area, should I use polarizer filter combine with GND filter?
    you can do it, i personally think it works; while the polarising effect is at best, minimal, if you are shooting wide, there is still some effect

    however, if you use ultra wide angle it is virtually impossible because of vignetting problems at the widest end

    if you do, find a way, please let me know

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