Beginner Hard or soft for landscapes

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335
Name
Simon
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#1
Good morning,
I am looking to purchase my first set of filters for my landscapes. I'll not be spending a fortune but by the same token, I don't want to waste money buying the wrong thing. Is one type of filter better/easier to start with than the other? is one "density" more useful for starting out? Is there a general rule? Not having used filters before I thought to seek knowledge.

Thank you
 
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2,468
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#2
Basically if you have a definite line between sky and land with no interfering objects use a hard filter, if you have an undulating landscape, trees etc. use a soft filter. Therefore a soft filter maybe more useful, the question would be what density range to choose.

A hard graduation filter was used when I took my avatar image, as I wasn't bothered that the rock was silhouetted against the sky
 
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5,080
Name
Rob
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#4
What landscapes do you generally photograph? I’ve always been told hards are mainly good for seascapes and softs for in land landscapes where the change between land and sky isn’t as well defined. There is also reversed ND grass that could be useful where the horizon is the lightest part. There is a way the stack two grads to make a reversed ND grad.
 
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11,773
Name
Toni
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No
#6
TBH I hate images where a *obvious* grad has been used - it's crude, uncontrolled and with the dynamic range of modern sensors is generally un-necessary. Much better to expose carefully and then control sky and land tones with grads in post than to do it in camera. That's not to say it can't look good if used well with a landscape where nothing sticks up into the sky, but it can often look a bit of a dog's breakfast.

My vote is no grad and get it right in post.
 
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4,968
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No
#7
TBH I hate images where a *obvious* grad has been used - it's crude, uncontrolled and with the dynamic range of modern sensors is generally un-necessary. Much better to expose carefully and then control sky and land tones with grads in post than to do it in camera. That's not to say it can't look good if used well with a landscape where nothing sticks up into the sky, but it can often look a bit of a dog's breakfast.

My vote is no grad and get it right in post.
The filter naysayers are here already.

You can’t always expose carefully and not everybody has fancy cameras with 14 stops of DR. Trying to polish a turd in post will most certainly like the dogs breakfast.

The correct use of filters will not be obvious but that does mean a single hard or soft grad will usually not be enough and filters won’t work in every situation.
 
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2,770
Name
Mark
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#8
I only usually shoot sunrise so I have an expensive 2 stop reverse grad to usually served me right .... instead of having a bag full of filters I never use!
 
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