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benvendetta
5th October 2010, 09:43 PM
I am not really a Cokin' style filter person but I would like to try some ND grads (I will hopefully be borrowing John's [the Musicman] big stopper soon).
I am pretty sure I want an ND4 (2 stops) but not sure if I should be getting a hard or soft edge one. The easiest thing would be to get one of each!

I of course know the difference between them but would like any advice as to which one to go for (of both). Cokin only do the hard type so I would be looking at Kood (Lee are very expensive - but good).

David M
5th October 2010, 10:21 PM
I use hard edged when there's a straight horizon and a soft edge when there isn't. Having lived on the Canadian prairies and currently living on the Great Lakes a lot of my horizons are straight.

Check out Hitech as an alternative to Lee.

Graham_of_Rainham
5th October 2010, 11:26 PM
I borrowed some ND grads from Ian a while back and did a series of comparisons between using the grads and producing the effect in Photoshop.

I decided that for what I want to do, I will use an HDR effect and graduated layering and spent the money I have saved on a 25mm extension tube which will get more use.

Each to their own :D

benvendetta
6th October 2010, 06:20 AM
Thanks so far.
David, I think that the best thing would be for me to buy one of each. Looking at pictures of each filter it appears that almost all of the hard edged grads are the same density which would reduce ALL the sky area intensity by the same. With the soft edged one there would be a more noticeable effect the further up the image you look. I assume that this is the case.

Graham, I knew that someone would say this and I tend to agree (it is the sort of thing that I have done in the past either by combining differently exposed images or darkening the sky area in some way). But I fancy trying out a grad or grads. I will await further replies before I decide what to do.

Thanks both.

StephenL
6th October 2010, 06:38 AM
My understanding (and I've not done any tests myself) are that the benefits of a soft grad are largely lost on the relatively small format of 4/3. In other words, by the time you've got to the darkest part, you're out of frame!

Barrie Norman
6th October 2010, 07:23 AM
Cokin do a landscape set of three soft edge grads and the holder Its about 90GBP from warehouse express but you may find it cheaper on ebay I use the soft edge grads for landscape they are very useful you can also stack them and insert them up side down to darken foreground stacked with one on the sky also the tobacco grad is very useful for sunsets. I use mine a lot because I still use film for a lot of landscape photographs.

snag2000
6th October 2010, 07:57 AM
I use Cokin grads and they're okay. I'd like Lee, but the bank balance won't stretch that far. The one thing to mention is that they aren't as neutral as they claim - you'll (well, I ) always get a warm cast on the filtered part of the image. I've got a couple of Cokin ND (not grads) and they're much worse in that respect though.

Have a look at 7dayshop - they're not too expensive on there.

Cheers,
Mike

Andel
6th October 2010, 08:54 AM
Also check out SRB http://www.srb-griturn.com/index.asp

Len

Invicta
6th October 2010, 08:59 AM
I have a set of Cokin grads, filter holder and Oly sized rings etc I don't use so would be willing to sell if anybody is interested.

benvendetta
6th October 2010, 04:23 PM
My understanding (and I've not done any tests myself) are that the benefits of a soft grad are largely lost on the relatively small format of 4/3. In other words, by the time you've got to the darkest part, you're out of frame!

I would have thought that if you can see the effect in the viewfinder then that is what you will get on your image. Can't imagine it has anything to do with the 4/3 format.
Unless I am missing something!

StephenL
6th October 2010, 05:08 PM
I think the point is that it's difficult to see the edge in a relatively small viewfinder (though better in live view), and my point regarding the sensor size (which if I recall was from an article in some photography magazine) equally refers to APC. The writer of the article was making the comparison with FF sensors.

I would have thought that if you can see the effect in the viewfinder then that is what you will get on your image. Can't imagine it has anything to do with the 4/3 format.
Unless I am missing something!

yorky
6th October 2010, 05:17 PM
I tend to use soft grads of the cokin Z Pro set, they do welll if there are a lot of white fluffy clouds etc. I did get a couple of x6 grads to slow the whole thing done but have not used them as yet.

stoates
6th October 2010, 09:36 PM
Dave

I read some good reports on the Hitech series mentioned by David M and bought some through Teamwork.

http://www.teamworkphoto.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=7&zenid=8ee8c11da5fc2453e6613b81927dfa90

They sell individual filters at 12.50 (+vat) or do a set of 3 (0.3,0.6,0.9) in either hard or soft varieties for 30. This is for the 85mm system which fit into a Cokin P series holder but unlike the Cokin filters are reportedly true ND rather than grey. They also have a 100mm system but it is a fair bit more expensive.

I have found that I almost never use the .3 (1 stop) on it's own, but have combined it with both the 0.6 and 0.9. Retrospectively I would probably not have bothered with this one and bought a hard 0.6 as well as my soft 0.6 and 0.9

The other Hitech supplier I know of is Formatt

http://www.formatt.co.uk/stills-filters/filter-kits/graduated/special-nd-grad-kit.aspx

who do a 'mix and match' set which although slightly more expensive gives you freedom of selection from the available range. I can't comment on Formatt's sales service, not having used them, but Teamwork are excellent.

Good Luck

yorky
7th October 2010, 08:19 AM
Just came across this site, though its U.S based!
http://www.singh-ray.com/grndgrads.html

benvendetta
7th October 2010, 11:55 AM
I have a set of Cokin grads, filter holder and Oly sized rings etc I don't use so would be willing to sell if anybody is interested.

What do you have to sell and how much?

snag2000
7th October 2010, 12:10 PM
Might have to try some Hi Tech filters if they really are neutral... Cheers for the link.

Mike

wanderer
7th October 2010, 12:37 PM
Just came across this site, though its U.S based!
http://www.singh-ray.com/grndgrads.html

I've a number of Galen Rowell books and he raved about ND filters.
I too have a set of Cokin Z pro NDs & polariser.
I use them quite often and find them very useful, particularly evening out a light grey sky over dark moors photograph.
The only disadvantage being vignetting on the extreme end of the 12-60mm.

Duncan

benvendetta
12th October 2010, 11:27 AM
Thanks for all your advice. I was going to order some Hitech ones from Formatt (three assorted ones) but their delivery wouldn't have been in time (going away on Sunday). Was then going for some Koods from Premier Inks but they didn't have the three in stoch that I wanted. Finally ordered (and received today) an ND4 soft, ND4 hard and ND8 soft from SRB-Griturn. Mid way in price between the Koods and the Hitechs. Did get a wide angle holder and 72mm ring (for my 11-22 ZD) from Premier Inks though (will use a stepping ring to get to 67mm for 14-54 and 50-200).
I will let you know how I get on with them although in the past I always found the 'square' ones a bit of a faff. Maybe this time, eh?

snag2000
12th November 2010, 12:42 PM
Not sure if this of interest to anyone, but I was planning to try out a 10 stop HiTech ND filter, but the website warns there may problems if your camera has a CMOS sensor. So I e-mailed to see what this issue is and received the following:

The potential issue is that you will get IR pollution causing a Magenta/Red
Cast.

A red cast usually indicates IR overexposure. What happens is, the filter
holds back visible light but not IR, and with a 10 stop filter the internal
IR filter is no longer enough to block the IR light.

We are currently developing a new filter which will eliminate this problem.

Which is interesting - maybe why my Cokins are so bad... But, does it only affect CMOS? Will it be okay on my girlfirend's CCD equipped E-500, rather than my 520? Weekend experiment coming up.

If not, I guess I'll have to get a screw-in BW.

Mike

benvendetta
12th November 2010, 01:40 PM
The 10 stop filters are great but have limited use. These 'fader' types (2 to 8stops) look much more versatile but I can find no real good reviews of them.