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General accessories Batteries, eye cups, power grips, straps, eyepiece magnifiers, cables, remotes and much more.

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Old 6th March 2013
rutwij rutwij is offline
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ND Filters

I was about to invest in some ND filters and wanted to seek some advice in this area.
A friend of mine has some Lee hard filters. They are alarmingly expensive for a piece of resin, but I'm happy to hunt around for a bargain and invest in them if they're worth the added expense (over say Cokin).
Also, would a hard filter be better than a soft filter or do I really need both?
Thans in advance for your advice!

Rutwij
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Old 6th March 2013
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Re: ND Filters

A kit like the one here is a good place to start and it works out much cheaper than individual purchases. I bought the 85mm (equivalent to Cokin P) kit and then added a metal holder and a couple of individual filters, I am very happy with the quality.
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Old 6th March 2013
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Re: ND Filters

Are these the same filters Iain?

http://www.teamworkphoto.com/hitech-...1115_1104.html

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Old 6th March 2013
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Re: ND Filters

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Originally Posted by gregles View Post
Are these the same filters Iain?

http://www.teamworkphoto.com/hitech-...1115_1104.html

Greg
Yes they are. I have seen Formatt dealing through Amazon market place too, but I think there only the 2 Hitech dealers in the UK.
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Re: ND Filters

I might add that I went for this kit on the recommendation of another forum member Stoates and a local professional photographer who preferred the bigger 100mm filters, but that would have been too much money!
I have a couple of old soft edge grads (Kood I think was the make), but I am now conveted to hard edged and opted for the Hitech ones as they are longer offering more 'range' where the Koods were square.
I hope this helps?
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Old 6th March 2013
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Re: ND Filters

Quote:
Originally Posted by IainMacD View Post
I might add that I went for this kit on the recommendation of another forum member Stoates and a local professional photographer who preferred the bigger 100mm filters, but that would have been too much money!
I have a couple of old soft edge grads (Kood I think was the make), but I am now conveted to hard edged and opted for the Hitech ones as they are longer offering more 'range' where the Koods were square.
I hope this helps?
Thanks Iain. I saw Kood and Hitech in addition to Cokin as cheaper alternatives to Lee. Have you noticed a difference in quality of images between these? I'm guessing from your reply that "range" refers to the positioning of the edge in grad filters in the image to allow for larger or smaller skies. Is that accurate?

Rutwij
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Old 6th March 2013
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Re: ND Filters

Hard edged work better if you've got straight horizons. You can mix weak hard and soft edged filters to give you an effect between the two.
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Old 7th March 2013
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Re: ND Filters

Quote:
Originally Posted by rutwij View Post
Thanks Iain. I saw Kood and Hitech in addition to Cokin as cheaper alternatives to Lee. Have you noticed a difference in quality of images between these? I'm guessing from your reply that "range" refers to the positioning of the edge in grad filters in the image to allow for larger or smaller skies. Is that accurate?

Rutwij
Spot-on with the explanation of the 'range'. I seem to have to do less colour correction with the Hitechs than I did with the Koods.
Below is an example of a recent image I posted on the forum, I used a .45 (1.5 stop) hard edged grad aligned along the far shore to balance the exposure of the reflection with the original sky and hills. This was another lesson learned from the professional tog I mentioned above (Ian Cameron - Transient Light), water reflections are nearly always 1.5 stops darker than the original

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Old 7th March 2013
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Re: ND Filters

Further to the advice you have been given already; as Iain MacD said I have been using Hitech filters for some time now and am perfectly happy with the image quality. I have both hard and soft and have changed from using predominantly soft to almost always using the hard edge filters (assuming there is a natural horizon line).

From my experience;

1. The .3 filters hard or soft are not really worth having unless you are going to combine them with another for a stronger effect.

2. If you use ultra wide angle it might be worth biting the bullet and going for the 100mm rather than the 85mm system. I use the Hitech modular holder and have it set up to hold 2 filters. I suffer some vignetting with focal lengths 9-11mm. It may be worth looking at an additional single filter holder for wide work if you need to get the 85mm system. If I was starting from scratch knowing what I know now I would have bought into the 100mm.

3. My recommendation on a good starter set set would be - Hard .45, .6, .9 Soft .6

4. It is possible (and much cheaper) to use Cokin/Kood P Series filter holders. I used these for some time but they became useless once I had bought an 8 stop ND due to light leakage. The Hitech holder, though quite expensive in comparison is well built and recommended (though I did need to source some new brass screws as the ones provided are too long for the 'two slot' option I'm using).

Happy to answer any specific questions you may have - good luck with your choice.
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Re: ND Filters

Thanks Steve. Much appreciated!
Lee holders seem to have the option to use the lens filter screw to attach the holder. Does usage of the brass screw fixture not damage the paint on the lens?
Have you had experience using the big stopper? Would it be worth investing in one?
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Old 7th March 2013
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Re: ND Filters

Quote:
Originally Posted by rutwij View Post
Thanks Steve. Much appreciated!
Lee holders seem to have the option to use the lens filter screw to attach the holder. Does usage of the brass screw fixture not damage the paint on the lens?
Have you had experience using the big stopper? Would it be worth investing in one?
Hi rutwij. The Hitech holder uses rings similar to the Cokin system which attach to the lens thread. You therefore need to buy as many of these rings as you have different lens diameters (I need a 67mm and 72mm for mine). The holder them fixes to these rings using a knurled nut and has no contact with the actual lens. The 4 brass screws I was referring to in my original post hold the various components of the actual holder together and again have no contact with the lens.

I have used the 'big stopper' on several occasions and have so far been disappointed with the results. There is a very heavy colour cast present and my attempts to correct this in LR have been unsatisfactory. However, I tried a new approach in some tests this week setting a custom white balance on the E-5 using the 'One Touch White Balance' facility with the filter fitted. I then 'tweaked the WB 'A' and 'G' settings with a + 2-3 in both giving the best results. This gave an image that was close enough to be able to further manipulated in LR - I found I needed to change the Red Hue and Saturation and increase overall contrast but the results were encouraging. I need to test it in the field now. (I am actually interested in any other members' exoperiences in correcting casts with these filters but don't wish to hijack this thread).

I haven't noticed too much of a cast using the ND grads in isolation but have seen some when either stacking 2 together or in combination with a standard ND but in all these cases it was easily corrected in PP where necessary.
Hope this helps?
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Old 7th March 2013
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Re: ND Filters

Quote:
Originally Posted by stoates View Post
Hi rutwij. The Hitech holder uses rings similar to the Cokin system which attach to the lens thread. You therefore need to buy as many of these rings as you have different lens diameters (I need a 67mm and 72mm for mine). The holder them fixes to these rings using a knurled nut and has no contact with the actual lens. The 4 brass screws I was referring to in my original post hold the various components of the actual holder together and again have no contact with the lens.
Thanks again Steve. That puts my mind at ease.
Is there a way to use these filters for lenses without filter threads? I'm thinking about lenses like the 7-14mm.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stoates View Post
I have used the 'big stopper' on several occasions and have so far been disappointed with the results. There is a very heavy colour cast present and my attempts to correct this in LR have been unsatisfactory. However, I tried a new approach in some tests this week setting a custom white balance on the E-5 using the 'One Touch White Balance' facility with the filter fitted. I then 'tweaked the WB 'A' and 'G' settings with a + 2-3 in both giving the best results. This gave an image that was close enough to be able to further manipulated in LR - I found I needed to change the Red Hue and Saturation and increase overall contrast but the results were encouraging. I need to test it in the field now. (I am actually interested in any other members' exoperiences in correcting casts with these filters but don't wish to hijack this thread).

I haven't noticed too much of a cast using the ND grads in isolation but have seen some when either stacking 2 together or in combination with a standard ND but in all these cases it was easily corrected in PP where necessary.
Hope this helps?
I'm not sure where I stand with colour casts. I adjust WB for almost every situation using the colour temperature scale and try and make the images warmer or cooler depending on my subject and the effect I'm trying to achieve.

A good example is the 2 long exposures of the Forth Railway Bridge on my Flickr. One was exposed at 2000 kelvin and one at 9000 I think. As long as the cast produced by the filter can be compensated using the WB scale, I wouldn't be averse to using it.
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Last edited by rutwij; 7th March 2013 at 11:42 AM. Reason: Incorrect display of quoted text
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Old 7th March 2013
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Re: ND Filters

Quote:
Originally Posted by rutwij View Post
Is there a way to use these filters for lenses without filter threads? I'm thinking about lenses like the 7-14mm.
I haven't seen anything which would allow this but then again I haven't really looked too hard as my lenses are all threaded. I do remember seeing a thread some time ago about using filters on the 7-14mm though which may answer your query.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rutwij View Post
As long as the cast produced by the filter can be compensated using the WB scale, I wouldn't be averse to using it.
I have found that this is the problem with the colour cast on my 8 stop ND. The cast does not seem 'linear' and I have not been able to use WB in isolation in PP to adequately correct it. I know that early Hitech 'big stoppers' were badly affected by IR but I believe this has supposedly been addressed. Perhaps there is still an element of this going on?
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Old 7th March 2013
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Re: ND Filters

No complaints about the HiTech filters, mine must be around 20 years old now. I used them habitually with film, hardly at all with digital although they're still in my bag just in case.
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Old 7th March 2013
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Re: ND Filters

It possible to remove a very bad colour cast quickly in ACR using the WB tool

This shot with welding glass as a big stopper

Before

Parton beach unprocessed by alf.branch, on Flickr

After

Parton beach 8 by alf.branch, on Flickr

I have better since this then needed a colour balance layer in PS to bring out the colours(not really the version shown)

A good quality filter will be easier to use and correct.
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