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Thread: How to choose Graduated Filters?

  1. #1

    Default How to choose Graduated Filters?

    Hello, I am interested to buy some some graduated filters for sunset/sunrise shots. Question is how do I decide on how 'strong' the darkening effect of the filter should I get? I.e reduce light by 1 or 2 stops? What's the usual guide that most of you use? Thanks in advance.

    Lee

  2. #2

    Default Re: How to choose Graduated Filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fantasy747 View Post
    Hello, I am interested to buy some some graduated filters for sunset/sunrise shots. Question is how do I decide on how 'strong' the darkening effect of the filter should I get? I.e reduce light by 1 or 2 stops? What's the usual guide that most of you use? Thanks in advance.

    Lee
    sunrise and sunset should be at least 2 stops, from my experience

    1 stop is more like for daytime scenes

    what you should be worrying about is whether you should be getting a hard or soft edge, full or split screen gnd

    it is best if you have all the combinations, but that is not possible most of the time due to budget and carrying constraints.

    there is no real guide.. it all depends on what sort of timing, the lighting changes very quickly and lighting conditions vary greatly from a while before to just before to during to after and a while after. but the tianya graduated grey and the cokin full (which i am using less and less these days) seems to serve my purposes for sunrise and sunset

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to choose Graduated Filters?

    i got 2 gradual cokin filters (the P121 series) of ND8 and ND4 and use them depending on the light conditions.
    that should be sufficent for most light conditions.
    :)

  4. #4
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to choose Graduated Filters?

    Hi Fantasy747.

    Like what night86mare mentioned, lightings can dramatically change during sunrise and sunset depending on the sun's position.

    When i started trying filters, i too had the dilemma of choosing the *correct* filter
    From my painful learning experience with filters so far, I find that I need much more than +2 for my shoots.

    +2 used ( before the sun came up )


    +4 used
    A typical sunny noon great for an afternoon dive.


    +6 for the evening sun


    +8 for the morning sun


    Ryan

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to choose Graduated Filters?

    yes, to add on, for poor people, it may make more sense to learn how to use hdr and experiment with pp to make it look realistic

    for more info on hdr, google is your best friend

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to choose Graduated Filters?

    any diff btwn gnd and nd? because i have nd8 and didnt know i could use it for sunsets.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to choose Graduated Filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by liionel View Post
    any diff btwn gnd and nd? because i have nd8 and didnt know i could use it for sunsets.
    gnd is graduated neutral density filter

    nd is neutral density filter

    nd is from top to bottom, dark

    gnd is graduated, this can be done in many ways, first you have the FULL SOFT EDGE
    which means from top to bottom it gets gradually lighter in density (and darkness)

    then you have split screen gnds, which usually have a line in the middle where all is relatively dark above and uniformly light below, this can either be HARD EDGE (sharp transition) - this is good for sun/sea photos with nothing protruding into the sky

    or it could be split screen SOFT EDGE (gradual transition into uniform lightness) - this is good for photos whereby you have stuff protruding into the sky, for example a tree

    these are the few that i've seen, there might be more

    i am not sure how you want to use nd for sunset, but i think perhaps you could use it to extend exposure timings to smoothen out water, giving a surrealistic effect. other than that, the balancing of exposure in the background (sky) and foreground (earth) for typical sunset wide compositions.. can only be achieved with gnd, or perhaps hdr.. nd will not help in this aspect.

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to choose Graduated Filters?

    to illustrate, some pictures of the different types found on the net

    this one displays difference between SPLIT SCREEN soft and hard edge



    demonstration of what gnd does in actuality



    as a side note, these are just tools, composition still is more important than getting a balanced exposure, though of course a balanced exposure is more pleasing to the eye
    Last edited by night86mare; 1st January 2008 at 08:49 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to choose Graduated Filters?

    take a look at Singh-Ray Graduated Neutral Density Filters @ http://www.singh-ray.com/grndgrads.html

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to choose Graduated Filters?

    Thanks everyone for the replies. Initially I was thinking of only getting a +2 filter. Looks like I may have to get more than 1 filter! What do you guys think of getting B+W Grads as compared to others? I was thinking in the lines that since it is a screw on it is easier to use. My only concern is that it is more likely to 'split' somewhere in the middle so if you want to move the horizon line it could be diff. Soft edge looks better?

    Giancanopy, nice pics you got there. What filters are you using?

  11. #11

    Default Re: How to choose Graduated Filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fantasy747 View Post
    Thanks everyone for the replies. Initially I was thinking of only getting a +2 filter. Looks like I may have to get more than 1 filter! What do you guys think of getting B+W Grads as compared to others? I was thinking in the lines that since it is a screw on it is easier to use. My only concern is that it is more likely to 'split' somewhere in the middle so if you want to move the horizon line it could be diff. Soft edge looks better?

    Giancanopy, nice pics you got there. What filters are you using?
    no, if it was nd i would tell you there is no real difference

    but if it is gnd, i would advise you NOT to get a screw-in grad. it may seem easy to use but it's kinda silly because the horizon will be fixed, how are you going to vary it for different compositions?

    you can get +2 i suppose.. right now i use +2.. the only problem is that you will not get the best exposure possible. also, it will only work best at certain timings, like near the moment of sunset and shortly after.

  12. #12
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to choose Graduated Filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fantasy747 View Post
    Giancanopy, nice pics you got there. What filters are you using?
    Singh Ray

    Most of us carry more than one filter for diff lighting needs
    For some scenes i end up stacking them.

    Ryan

  13. #13

    Default Re: How to choose Graduated Filters?

    May I ask what brand filters are most popular? Singh-Ray? B+W? Cokin? From my research and all your post here I think the best is not to get the screw on type as it has more flexibility for use. However what size do you guys buy? 84mmx120mm or 100mm x 150mm? What are the advantages and disadvantages besides the price?

    Thanks all for your help

    Lee

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How to choose Graduated Filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fantasy747 View Post
    May I ask what brand filters are most popular? Singh-Ray? B+W? Cokin? From my research and all your post here I think the best is not to get the screw on type as it has more flexibility for use. However what size do you guys buy? 84mmx120mm or 100mm x 150mm? What are the advantages and disadvantages besides the price?

    Thanks all for your help

    Lee
    If you got $$$, get Singh-Ray
    if you got $$, get Lee
    if you got $, get Lee Cokin
    if no $, just get those China-Made Tianya

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