Landscape: GND, what do you use?


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zoossh

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Interested in getting Lee's filters. but need to get advices from those who shot landscape and used GND filters. Do you use screw-on or holder type? What brand of GND do you use? Do you use ND2, ND4 or ND8? Do you use hard or soft grad?

i already have a cokin holder (P holder) that is 84mm wide internal diameter and a ND4 GND, but finds it both clumsy and yet does not looks good. thinking of converting to lee's filter instead but wondering should i keep the cokin holder and get just the filters from lee. but the p series from lee (also 84mm) are made of resin, not glass. only the circular polarizer from lee are glass.

http://www.leefiltersusa.com/NewCameraProducts/CamNewProdPseries.html

is it true that photoshop can achieve exactly the same effect that a good GND filter can apply, but a filter can help to decrease the bright background exposure from the sky to increase the foreground and subject exposure, while enabling a longer shutter duration, such as movement of the tides?

also like to know if anyone know how can i get lee's filters as cathay dun hold the stock for it anymore.
 

zoossh

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from http://www.leefilters.com/CPEF.asp?PageID=77

before filter


after filter


if i do not use a filter, and shot a picture that gives an over-exposed sky that have not visible details like the one above. if i learn photoshop and try to darken the sky with a gradient, can i achieve the same above in that "after filter" pic?
 

solarii

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Sadly an ND grad filter effect is something that is not easily replicated in photoshop. Since you bought an ND grad kit, you probably know that once the highlights in the sky are blown, there is nothing you can do to recover lost detail. No amount of PS skill can help, since there's nothing there to recover.

An alternative as everyone knows is to make two exposures, one for the sky and another for the subject and merge to HDR using photoshop or some equivalent.

But if you want everything in a single shot, there's no choice but to use an ND grad. Even the most advanced of SLRs with with supposedly wide dynamic ranges will struggle to retain highlight detail in shot like these without the help of a filter, and the results still can't compare to your 2nd shot.
 

zoossh

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oh, finally got a reply. yeah. thanks a lot. have read a lot but without on hand experience, it is always hard to say. that's why need to hear from those with first hand experience.

mine is a nikon D50. dun think there is a function for multiple exposure. so if PS skill cannot help, than i will get going on the lee's glass filters already....

solarii said:
Sadly an ND grad filter effect is something that is not easily replicated in photoshop. Since you bought an ND grad kit, you probably know that once the highlights in the sky are blown, there is nothing you can do to recover lost detail. No amount of PS skill can help, since there's nothing there to recover.

An alternative as everyone knows is to make two exposures, one for the sky and another for the subject and merge to HDR using photoshop or some equivalent.

But if you want everything in a single shot, there's no choice but to use an ND grad. Even the most advanced of SLRs with with supposedly wide dynamic ranges will struggle to retain highlight detail in shot like these without the help of a filter, and the results still can't compare to your 2nd shot.
 

solarii

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You're not doing a multiple exposure. Most dSLRs don't have and don't need the feature anyway. Besides it won't help you in this case. Its completely different from what I'm saying. Varying exposure simply means taking shots with different settings.

ie. One shot at f4 / 1/320s, another at f4 / 1/100s.

There are a few ways to vary exposure:
1) Bracket your shots. Every SLR can do that
2) Manually set the exposure.

In other words you're taking two (or more) frames, exposing for highlights, midtones, and even shadows if you so wish. PS has a plug-in that will combine these images. A tripod is highly recommended for this, which is why most people prefer an ND grad. Less post processing + you can handhold since all you need is 1 frame.
 

zoossh

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solarii said:
You're not doing a multiple exposure. Most dSLRs don't have and don't need the feature anyway. Besides it won't help you in this case. Its completely different from what I'm saying. Varying exposure simply means taking shots with different settings.

ie. One shot at f4 / 1/320s, another at f4 / 1/100s.

There are a few ways to vary exposure:
1) Bracket your shots. Every SLR can do that
2) Manually set the exposure.

In other words you're taking two (or more) frames, exposing for highlights, midtones, and even shadows if you so wish. PS has a plug-in that will combine these images. A tripod is highly recommended for this, which is why most people prefer an ND grad. Less post processing + you can handhold since all you need is 1 frame.
thanks. really appreciate your reply
 

student

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solarii said:
A tripod is highly recommended for this, which is why most people prefer an ND grad. Less post processing + you can handhold since all you need is 1 frame.
I will go beyond that.

I would say that a tripod is essential, both from the perspectives of

1 making two identical images of the same scene but with different exposures for the purpose of merging the images in PS

2 For using a GND. Because these type of photography have reltively low night. Unless you want a lot a noise, you will be using a fairly slow shutter speed.

So get a tripod!
 

Ian

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zoossh said:
Interested in getting Lee's filters. but need to get advices from those who shot landscape and used GND filters. Do you use screw-on or holder type? What brand of GND do you use? Do you use ND2, ND4 or ND8? Do you use hard or soft grad?
I use a 100x100mm (4x4") Lee holder and a combination of GND's. All of my GND's are SinghRay glass filters and cost around $150 USD each plus shipping.

Hard transitions work best for clearly defined horizons, egL Sea, buildings etc while soft transitions work better for more broken horizons such as trees and mountains, distant buildings and so on. Ideally you will need both hard and soft transition filters.

zoossh said:
i already have a cokin holder (P holder) that is 84mm wide internal diameter and a ND4 GND, but finds it both clumsy and yet does not looks good. thinking of converting to lee's filter instead but wondering should i keep the cokin holder and get just the filters from lee. but the p series from lee (also 84mm) are made of resin, not glass. only the circular polarizer from lee are glass.
http://www.leefiltersusa.com/NewCameraProducts/CamNewProdPseries.html[/QUOTE]

If you are interested in looks then you will never get anywhere in photography :devil:
The fact is that any filter system that uses rectangular filters is going to be more functional than eye-pleasing, but so it should, functionality of equipment is of far more importance in photography than pleasing aesthetics.

The full sized Lee filters are going to cost you a lot more than Cokin P series filters, as the average price for 4x4 Lee filters is around 70-100 USD per filter. A holder will set you back at least that much as the foundation kit is around 70 USD and then you have to buy lens mounting rings which will set you back 35-70 USD per ring size.

http://www.singhray.com has glass ND grads for coking P for 99 USD a filter plus shipping.

zoossh said:
is it true that photoshop can achieve exactly the same effect that a good GND filter can apply, but a filter can help to decrease the bright background exposure from the sky to increase the foreground and subject exposure, while enabling a longer shutter duration, such as movement of the tides?
There are techniques (already discussed) to similuate an ND Grad but they are only a simulation, the methods are not frankly as good as using a real ND Grad. To get nice ocean effects (smoothed waterflows) in bright daylight use an circular ND filter (ND4-24) and an ND Grad in combination.

zoosh said:
also like to know if anyone know how can i get lee's filters as cathay dun hold the stock for it anymore.
www.bhphotovideo.com
www.adoramacamera.com
www.singhray.com

Adorama and B&H are about the best East Coast USA vendors, both are reliable which is more than can be said for most NYC photographics retailers.
 

songandesther

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From what I know, there are about 4 manufacturers for square or rectangular ND Grad filters. They are Cokin, Hitech, Lee and Singh-Ray.

Cokin, Hitech and Lee's filters are resin(plastic) and Singh-Ray is glass. Cokin and Hitech are cheaper than Lee and Sing-Ray. Cokin, Hitech and Lee manufacture their own filter holders and Cokin size is smaller unless you are using their Pro series. Cokin's filters is said to be not as neutral as the rest.

How many stops(0.3, 0.6, 0.9) you use depends on what you need for the scene.

If you think Cokin system is clumsy, then the other brands will also be clumsy since they all use the same principles of slotting the filters in the holder. Looks wise, all of them almost look the same as well.

My only complain of using such system is not being able to use lens hood unless you bought their bellow lens hood. In addition, using polarizers is also quite troublesome unless you got Lee's circular polarizer that attaches to the holder.
 

zoossh

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Ian said:
If you are interested in looks then you will never get anywhere in photography
i mean the picture shot does not look good, not the filter holder. how gd can a filter holder look, rite? :bsmilie:
 

zoossh

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i always have the fear that my filter will drop out of the filter holder.

songandesther said:
From what I know, there are about 4 manufacturers for square or rectangular ND Grad filters. They are Cokin, Hitech, Lee and Singh-Ray.

Cokin, Hitech and Lee's filters are resin(plastic) and Singh-Ray is glass. Cokin and Hitech are cheaper than Lee and Sing-Ray. Cokin, Hitech and Lee manufacture their own filter holders and Cokin size is smaller unless you are using their Pro series. Cokin's filters is said to be not as neutral as the rest.

How many stops(0.3, 0.6, 0.9) you use depends on what you need for the scene.

If you think Cokin system is clumsy, then the other brands will also be clumsy since they all use the same principles of slotting the filters in the holder. Looks wise, all of them almost look the same as well.

My only complain of using such system is not being able to use lens hood unless you bought their bellow lens hood. In addition, using polarizers is also quite troublesome unless you got Lee's circular polarizer that attaches to the holder.
 

zoossh

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And Ian, thanks a lot, i think u have helped answer a lot of my pertinent doubts. i think i can start on my purchase soon. but 1 question - if my largest lens is 77mm and i'm not likely to get any bigger, can i just keep my 84mm p-series cokin holder and spend on the 84x120mm singh-ray and lee's filters? the size does not matter on the quality of the filter, only difference is on the compatibility, i supposed?

thinking of getting basically
1. 77mm screw on type B+W cir polarizer
2. a GND ND8 soft edge

i think that's all for me. ;p
 

zoossh

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is it true that this picture will not benefit from even a soft edge GND as the building really protrude much above the low horizon on both sides.

 

Ian

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zoossh said:
is it true that this picture will not benefit from even a soft edge GND as the building really protrude much above the low horizon on both sides.
Your assumption is correct.

zoossh said:
thinking of getting basically
1. 77mm B+W cir polarizer
2. 58mm to holder size adapter
3. 77mm to holder size adapter
4. maybe the 100mm lee's holder
5. a GND ND4 and ND8
The choice of holder is quite critical, what is the widest andgle (shortest focal length) lens you use?
 

zoossh

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Ian said:
Your assumption is correct.



The choice of holder is quite critical, what is the widest andgle (shortest focal length) lens you use?
10mm. but after a while, i realised i cannot stand too much distortion of perspective, so it tends to 12-14mm at most.

P.S. i just amended my above post at the same time u answer the question....
 

ZeroDivine

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u guys know where to get brands like hitech?
went down to cp just now and they have no more stock on cokin gnd :(
 

halcy0n

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I am also looking for some GND filters and in fact was going to go to CP to check! guess i don't anymore...

Does CP have the cokin holder?
 

Razor54

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u guys know where to get brands like hitech?
went down to cp just now and they have no more stock on cokin gnd :(

I got the last 2 pieces from CP yesterday...:embrass: They also have no idea when new stocks will be coming in.

Another alternative is OP at SLS, but their price is much higher than CP now, as CP is having a special sale for the Cokin System.
 

zoossh

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u guys know where to get brands like hitech?
went down to cp just now and they have no more stock on cokin gnd :(
maybe you can consider tianya? hitech gnd have a red cast. singh ray is good and neutral, but very expensive, and despite of being expensive, it can still be dirty easily.
 

ExplorerZ

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maybe you can consider tianya? hitech gnd have a red cast. singh ray is good and neutral, but very expensive, and despite of being expensive, it can still be dirty easily.
tianya. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
once scratch can just throw away and get new one... but i realise their color do fade off slightly when cleaned with lens solution. :confused:
 

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