Filters - just wondering

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#1
Do people still use filters now

Or is it a lost art

Am I alone in using my Lee 150 system

Thanks
 
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Toni
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#5
Do people still use filters now

Or is it a lost art

Am I alone in using my Lee 150 system

Thanks
Some do, some don't, and it's not simple. It has become a slightly hot topic here in the past.

For example, I use a polariser when I travel to sunny places because it allows me to better balance sky vs land or control reflections. Evenly coated neutral density filters are great, where you need to reduce the amount of light entering the camera for a multitude of reasons. I can see why people still use skylight filters if they have a reason to be concerned about damage to the front element of their lens.

At the same time I have a deep-seated loathing of grads because unless the horizon is a dead-straight line then the grad affects whatever is sticking up into the darkened section of the filter, like a crudely developed print made by someone just starting to learn how to dodge & burn in a darkroom. They belong in the same bin as the old tobacco and starburst filters. Most of the time, with modern cameras and decent sensors people just need to learn a bit of post technique.
 
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#6
So you would not use such filters as 10 stoppers etc
 
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#8
Only I have heard that like film there has been a recent uptake in the use of filters again. Personally I enjoy the slow process
 

nandbytes

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#9
I like using my ND filters. Always have my 10 stops handy. Didn't much get on with my 5 stops filter so going back to 3 stops now.
Might add a 6 stops if I find one at a good price.
 
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#10
what benefit would 6 have over 5 ?
 
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#12
I very rarely use filters because they will deteriorate the image in some situations and certainly if you stack them. I used to use a UV filter in the days of film but there is no need now. I have no need of a "protection" filter normally because I always use a lens hood and have never had any filter of lens damaged. I do carry a plain glass filter in my bag just in case I have to photograph in a very risky environment but not needed to use it yet. I would not use a Grad as I can do much better in Lightroom. Of course in the past it was an advantage to darken skies by a stop or two but this also darkens object above the skyline. My current camera has a dynamic range of almost 14 stops so there is plenty of range to make such adjustments in the Raw editor (and you can easily deal with items above the skyline). I do have a 6 stop ND but have only occasionally used it. I can even simulate this by taking multiple shorter exposures and averaging them in PS. This latter method does have limitations though. I have nothing against using a big stopper and, if lived near a large waterfall, or the sea, I would capture this type of shot more often.

Dave
 
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#15
Do people still use filters now

Or is it a lost art

Am I alone in using my Lee 150 system

Thanks

1 - yes many do (not most)

2 - Was it ever an art? Back in my film days I had loads of them, even some of the daft arty ones, and still I didn't use them

3 - no you're not alone, a lot of people who have too much money fall for it ;)

Dave

PS - I don't use filters now, I even find 10-stoppers a waste of time now :)
 
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#17
Every landscape photographer I know uses filters, and I know a fair few.

So I’d argue most do.
The OP didn't specify Landscape togs

And even then, I know more Landscapers who don't than do - with one exception, the 10-stopper is still common as its arguably better on water than the otherwise more convenient and flexible option

Dave
 

nandbytes

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#18
And even then, I know more Landscapers who don't than do - with one exception, the 10-stopper is still common as its arguably better on water than the otherwise more convenient and flexible option

Dave
You have me intrigued, what is the more convenient and flexible alternative to a 10-stopper?
 
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#19
For landscape photographers some filters are quite frequently used. The effects of a CPL and 10stop ND can't be replicated in software, but grad filters can be replaced by bracketed exposures and blending. IE shoot one for the bright sky, one for mid tone and one for shadows, then blend them together. If you have something above the horizon then you can blend around that.
You do have to shoot on a tripod for that though and there are odd times when it won't quite work.
You can blend exposures to try to capture motion, but it won't quite look the same and will require more processing.

There are also plenty of film-makers who use variable ND filters to enable them to keep their shutter speed down and there are some photographers who use ND filters to enable them to use prime lenses wide open in bright daylight.

I do use a 10stop ND and CPL and occasionally I use grad filters, but only for landscape work.
 

nandbytes

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#21
Multiple exposures merged.
As an alternative to 10-stopper?
You'd need like 1000 images to achieve that. It's simply impractical.

Older Sony cameras had a app which did in camera merging of up to 256 images (~8 stops) and have a single RAW file as an input. Even that's on the bounds of impractical but at least one can fit more than 4 overall photos on the SD cards :p
 
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#22
The OP didn't specify Landscape togs

And even then, I know more Landscapers who don't than do - with one exception, the 10-stopper is still common as its arguably better on water than the otherwise more convenient and flexible option

Dave

No but I did mean "anyone"
 

Asha

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#23
Do people still use filters now

Or is it a lost art
Talking as a film tog ( b&w LF), yes , filters ( colour prodominantly) are a necessity most of the time and not just for landscapes.

I rarely shoot digital and can't say that filters have been used regularly …...a polariser or ND on odd occasions.
 
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#25
You have me intrigued, what is the more convenient and flexible alternative to a 10-stopper?
I've been enjoying & using the simulated technique of merging photos for quite a while now. It has a variety of benefits, not least you don't have to shoot with a small f-stop, so you can be more creative by using a shallow DoF and still having a long-exposure blurring; you get the choice of how long the effective exposure was AFTER you've got home, so if you shot for 2 mins worth you can decide that 20 seconds was enough, or 50, or whatever, so its more flexible; its easier to combine areas of blur with areas you didn't really want blurring; and (if shooting wider) you don't get those damn dust-bunnies as bad lol

Oh and its quicker & cheaper too as you don't need any filters :)

Dave
 

nandbytes

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#26
I've been enjoying & using the simulated technique of merging photos for quite a while now. It has a variety of benefits, not least you don't have to shoot with a small f-stop, so you can be more creative by using a shallow DoF and still having a long-exposure blurring; you get the choice of how long the effective exposure was AFTER you've got home, so if you shot for 2 mins worth you can decide that 20 seconds was enough, or 50, or whatever, so its more flexible; its easier to combine areas of blur with areas you didn't really want blurring; and (if shooting wider) you don't get those damn dust-bunnies as bad lol

Oh and its quicker & cheaper too as you don't need any filters :)

Dave
As mentioned above to get 10stops effect you need like 1000 shots. If you shot for 2 minutes say an interval of 1 second each thats 120 photos. That roughly equivalent to 7 stops. But that takes a lot more space and shutter actuations not to mention a lot more time had you just used a filter.

So two pictures below shot at the same location one with merging 256 photos and other at 4 second

Picture A - 4s exposure so took 4s to shoot.


Picture B - 1/100s, 256 shots. So actually took more than 4 minutes to shoot to give roughly equivalent of 2.5s (if I had used a 8 stops filter it would have taken 2.5s not 4 minutes!)


So I am not convinced merging in post is quicker, more practical or enjoyable tbh.

I am a great fan of merging in post for smaller stops (2-5 stops) but for 10 stops!? or even 8 stops when there is no in-camera app doing it for me its rather impractical. I would get 2-8 "final" images on a SD card, worst than shooting with film isn't it.
 
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nandbytes

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#28
Erm ok but that doesn't help with the debate.
Can you explain how it's quicker and/or more efficient when you get to higher densities like 8-10 stops?

I am not trying to start a war here, just trying understand the reasoning behind it. I have given my reasoning as to why I feel it's not quicker or practical and it be would nice to hear the counter point.
 

nandbytes

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#31
I saw it as a genuine question on how you achieve the same effect as a 10 stop filter, I am also interested in this as well if you care to share?
for 10 stops you would need 2^10 shots (i.e. 1024 shots) to simulate 10 stops. Also you can't just buy an A9 and burst 20fps for 51 seconds lol. You need sufficient time interval between each shot so that there is some discernible pixel level movement in the subject (water, cloud whatever). So considering 1 second between shots is a sensible amount of time that's like over 15 minutes on the field for one picture. Then imagine having to merge a 1000 shots in post!
Also if you have a 64GB card shooting RAW you will fit like two "final" images on there. Not to mention you can't review your result and retake your shot. Overall seems totally impractical.

But if someone claims they have way around all this I am all ears.
 
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#33
nandbytes, you are assuming that you need to create the 10 stops to achieve the blurred effect required. I took 10 shots of 1/20 sec of a waterfall when averaged in PS produced a fine blurred image. In my earlier post I mentioned that the method did have limitations because I many circumstances it would require a much larger number of shots (certainly hundreds). This is why I suggested that a big stopper is still important. If intending to take this type of shot, I would use the filter in this case or possibly combine the methods as my filter is only 6 stops. However, if I wanted a shot of say a waterfall and did not have my filter available, I would capture multiple shots rather than miss the opportunity. Unfortunately, the opportunity to take such shots rarely arises for me.

Dave
 

nandbytes

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#34
nandbytes, you are assuming that you need to create the 10 stops to achieve the blurred effect required. I took 10 shots of 1/20 sec of a waterfall when averaged in PS produced a fine blurred image. In my earlier post I mentioned that the method did have limitations because I many circumstances it would require a much larger number of shots (certainly hundreds). This is why I suggested that a big stopper is still important. If intending to take this type of shot, I would use the filter in this case or possibly combine the methods as my filter is only 6 stops. However, if I wanted a shot of say a waterfall and did not have my filter available, I would capture multiple shots rather than miss the opportunity. Unfortunately, the opportunity to take such shots rarely arises for me.

Dave
not at all. I have made no such assumption. In fact I have said above for low densities 2-5 stops I prefer merging in post (where possible, not always possible) which is what your case is describing :)

But there are times when 10 stops is very useful/needed (just as you explained) and to achieve that just using merging technique is impractical is my point.
 
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#35
I saw it as a genuine question on how you achieve the same effect as a 10 stop filter, I am also interested in this as well if you care to share?
This is the sort of thing that just ends up in arguments, suffice to say that nandbytes suggestion of needing over a 1000 shots is clearly wrong, my longest so far has been over 6 mins and just 80 merged shots at f4 on a sunny day due to slow moving clouds; probably not achievable if just using NDs

I'm currently using this technique in a personal project to explore its uses, but for me a 'long-exposure' look to blurring anything that moves together with choosing the length of time of blurring later where I want flexibility, or merely have uncertainty, and being able to shoot wide-open in broad daylight without needing to spend hundreds of £s on filters has lots of benefits :)

Later in the year when I've plenty of varied examples I may post a thread on it, but for now, I've too much else on with Weddings :)

Dave
 

nandbytes

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#36
Debating is not the same as arguments :)
I am not interested in baseless arguments but factual debates.

You claim my math is wrong. It may well be but let me explain it again. Say we have a 1s exposure we want to stop down.
For 1 stop ND filter will get you down to 2s. Top get the equivalent 2s from stacking you need two 1s shots.
For 2 stops down i.e. 4s you will need to stack 4x 1s images i.e. 2^2
For 3 stops down i.e. 8s you will need to stack 8x 1s images i.e. 2^3
So on and so forth which nets in 1024 images i.e. 2^10 images for 10 stops

I believe this the same kind of calculation astrophotographers use to stack exposures to get a very very long exposure when shooting deep space stuff.

If there is something wrong in my math people point it out please and I'll correct my understating.

As @Dave Canon said if people are assuming that 10 stops is needed to blur our water or smear the crap out of clouds that's not the point. That's purely dependant on the situation. The point is to establish how we can achieve 10 stop ND filter effect (regardless of the usecase/situation) in post production without using filters.
 
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#37
Debating is not the same as arguments :)
I am not interested in baseless arguments but factual debates.

You claim my math is wrong. It may well be but let me explain it again. Say we have a 1s exposure we want to stop down.
For 1 stop ND filter will get you down to 2s. Top get the equivalent 2s from stacking you need two 1s shots.
For 2 stops down i.e. 4s you will need to stack 4x 1s images i.e. 2^2
For 3 stops down i.e. 8s you will need to stack 8x 1s images i.e. 2^3
So on and so forth which nets in 1024 images i.e. 2^10 images for 10 stops

I believe this the same kind of calculation astrophotographers use to stack exposures to get a very very long exposure when shooting deep space stuff.

If there is something wrong in my math people point it out please and I'll correct my understating.

As @Dave Canon said if people are assuming that 10 stops is needed to blur our water or smear the crap out of clouds that's not the point. That's purely dependant on the situation. The point is to establish how we can achieve 10 stop ND filter effect (regardless of the usecase/situation) in post production without using filters.
This is defo my final comment on this for now - but

Its the time over the overall effect that matters, so how many seconds or mins of movement are included

If you want the sky to move a certain amount then a 10-20-30 stopper may be needed to have the shutter open long enough depending on how windy it is, or you can simply take any number of images over the same time period at very short exposures and blend those; how many are needed depends on how smooth the final image needs to be

On a fairly windy day 1 shot per second is easily enough, and on a calmer day one every few seconds creates the same effect as a very long single exposure would, you do not need thousands of shots for that

Simples :)

There done - out of here :D

Dave
 
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Tom
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#38
This is defo my final comment on this for now - but

Its the time over the overall effect that matters, so how many seconds or mins of movement are included

If you want the sky to move a certain amount then a 10-20-30 stopper may be needed to have the shutter open long enough depending on how windy it is, or you can simply take any number of images over the same time period at very short exposures and blend those; how many are needed depends on how smooth the final image needs to be

On a fairly windy day 1 shot per second is easily enough, and on a calmer day one every few seconds creates the same effect as a very long single exposure would, you do not need thousands of shots for that

Simples :)

There done - out of here :D

Dave
I was thinking that might be the case, that the actual amount of shots doesn’t matter.

Interesting concept, I look forward to seeing some images when you get time at some point.
 
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#39
I'd sold all my kit and had a long break to see if I was still into photography - I am yay! I'm keeping it small though and won't be buying filters this time round despite using the Lee ND set and landscape polariser previously. I do have a Hoya CPL which I'll use as apparently the only thing Photoshop can't replicate is a polariser. It means stacking shots and a bit of work on the editing side of things to match each frame but that's just how it has to be for me just now. Thinking about it I may get a stopper at some point but that's about it.
 

nandbytes

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#40
This is defo my final comment on this for now - but

Its the time over the overall effect that matters, so how many seconds or mins of movement are included

If you want the sky to move a certain amount then a 10-20-30 stopper may be needed to have the shutter open long enough depending on how windy it is, or you can simply take any number of images over the same time period at very short exposures and blend those; how many are needed depends on how smooth the final image needs to be

On a fairly windy day 1 shot per second is easily enough, and on a calmer day one every few seconds creates the same effect as a very long single exposure would, you do not need thousands of shots for that

Simples :)

There done - out of here :D

Dave
I think we are approaching this from different points of view :)
You are assuming certain situations but I am approaching it from a point of view of simply stacking exposures and maths.
 
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