Talk to me about filters

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#1
Not something I've had any dealings with in the past, but I've been watching a guy on you tube who uses them a lot and thought I might like to have a crack.

So for landscape type images where I want to get dramatic skies / water what sort of kit am I looking for?

I'm a bit of a gear nut, so I'm going to want to go for something decent, so I'd like to go with a Lee set up.
I don't want to go straight in with everything, will build it up over time if it is something I enjoy.
I'd like the holder that you can put two or maybe three filters in plus I'm guessing I'll need adaptor rings for my lenses.
There seems to be a few starter type kits that they do, but which one do I want... I'm not sure.

So any help with recommendations for a start into Lee filters would be really useful.
 
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Soeren
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#2
A lot can be done in software so the only one you "really need" would be a polarizer. Big stoppers can be usefull if you want long exposures but go with a system only if youre really dedicated to use filters instead of the alternative
 
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Terry
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#3
I'd go for Formatt Hitech and not Lee if you want 10 stop or more ND filters.

Lee (and others) have a colour cast on the big stopper type filters that you don't get with the Formatt Hitech Firecrest filters.

To keep costs down you may want some circular ND's and a polarizer. If so buy them in the largest filter thread you have and get cheap stop down rings so they fit your smaller lenses.

I use the Hoya Pro ND filters if using circular and, again, there is no discernible colour cast.

Have a look at the Kase magnetic filter system. Not cheap but a very clever idea and top quality filters.
 
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Jason
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#4
So for landscape type images where I want to get dramatic skies / water what sort of kit am I looking for?
A reliable weather forecaster, a map, boundless patience and willingness to travel at the right time (and be disappointed when you get there that someone will inevitably say "you should have been here a week/day/hour ago, it was amazing" :cool: (and some good luck thrown in) - unless you live somewhere like I do in which case you rarely see another person.

Filters wise: I routinely use nothing at all, a 6-stop ND, a 10/12-stop ND or a circular polariser - very rarely a 16⅔-stop ND

Key for me is location and knowing when to be there - https://www.talkphotography.co.uk/threads/lets-see-some-sunrise-and-sunset-shots.344548/post-8626181 - was a jump out of the car on the way to work job - no filter, only "special" equipment is the tripod. You can use planning tools like The Photographers Ephemeris (they have a web verison at https://app.photoephemeris.com/ ) or PhotoPills to predict where the sun/moon will be at what time - then you're only at the mercy of the weather!
 
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Soeren
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#6
Combined with the landscape polarizer I dont find colorcast to be an issue
 
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Dave
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#7
I don't use any filters now, so if you were asking me on one of my Landscape Photography 1-2-1 days I'd say...

Price up Lee's NDs, Polariser and a Grad or two - then don't bother and put the money you've saved into going out to shoot instead :)

Dave
 
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Lee
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#8
You might want something like a Foundation Kit with adapter rings to fit your lenses, front ring to carry the CPL. The actual 105mm CPL, 3/6/10 Stop filters, a hard edge 2 stop and a soft edge 3 stop.

Or you could book a two week holiday somewhere :)

In all seriousness, CPL as a minimum.

Grads if you want to get it as good as possible in one shot.

ND's to control your shutter speed. If you like the daytime, 5 minute exposures then a 10/16 stop. If you like nice wave movement then a 3 stop or 6 stop.
 
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David
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#9
I do not normally use filters now. They can result in reduced quality which is easy to measure if you use raw. I never used Grad filters for landscapes anyway as it is easy to fix in LR. With my previous camera, if there was any doubt about capturing the dynamic range I used multiple exposures. With my latest DSLR with almost 14 stops DR and using raw there is no need to capture multiple exposures for routine landscapes. I do have a big stopper but rarely get chance to use it as I do not live near lakes or seas. However, I have even created this effect by using multiple exposures. While I do have a polarising filter I have not used it for many years. Darkening a blue sky if needed can be done in LR so the only use I would have is for unwanted reflections which rarely occurs.

Dave
 
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Paul
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#10
I don't use any filters now, so if you were asking me on one of my Landscape Photography 1-2-1 days I'd say...

Price up Lee's NDs, Polariser and a Grad or two - then don't bother and put the money you've saved into going out to shoot instead :)

Dave
So Dave, on your 1-2-1 days how do you teach achieving the effect of a polariser? or achieving wide apertures for minimal DoF in bright light? I know one can achieve long exposure effects in software so I guess you'd teach your students how to do that?
 
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Paul
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#11
You might want something like a Foundation Kit with adapter rings to fit your lenses, front ring to carry the CPL. The actual 105mm CPL, 3/6/10 Stop filters, a hard edge 2 stop and a soft edge 3 stop.

Or you could book a two week holiday somewhere :)

In all seriousness, CPL as a minimum.

Grads if you want to get it as good as possible in one shot.

ND's to control your shutter speed. If you like the daytime, 5 minute exposures then a 10/16 stop. If you like nice wave movement then a 3 stop or 6 stop.
I'm with Lee on this, his recommendation would be mine. Whether you use Lee, Case, Format Hi-Tech or any other brand is subjective, I use Lee and have no issues with them.
 
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Dave
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#12
So Dave, on your 1-2-1 days how do you teach achieving the effect of a polariser? or achieving wide apertures for minimal DoF in bright light? I know one can achieve long exposure effects in software so I guess you'd teach your students how to do that?


I had a polariser for years, didn't like it, don't want/need one for the look I like - or the fact that it slows things down too

I often use long-exposure shots wide open on sunny days for the super separation/isolation it gives in simulation, and as its so much more flexible than using an ND filter as you can change the length of exposure afterwards as just one of the benefits - and yes I teach that


Dave
 
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Lee
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#14
I had a polariser for years, didn't like it, don't want/need one for the look I like - or the fact that it slows things down too

I often use long-exposure shots wide open on sunny days for the super separation/isolation it gives in simulation, and as its so much more flexible than using an ND filter as you can change the length of exposure afterwards as just one of the benefits - and yes I teach that


Dave
I don't think turning a CPL takes much time and personally I use one most of the time for glare and reflections from the ground, rocks, leaves, etc

But, can you explain the ND part of that in more detail please?
 
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Dave
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#15
I don't think turning a CPL takes much time and personally I use one most of the time for glare and reflections from the ground, rocks, leaves, etc

But, can you explain the ND part of that in more detail please?
I used to have a CP but didn't get on with it so I gave it away

The long-exposure without an ND is a blending in Photoshop, so I often take up to 30 shots and blend them all into what looks like a 30 sec long-exposure; but this way I can shoot wide open on a sunny day and still get the effect I want, and also if 30 secs is too blurry, I can try 20, 15, 10 etc. when back home - clearly not an option with an ND. Its also easy to have just one shot where I keep some of the details as shot, so perfectly sharp, so I can easily have blurred skies and yet long grass close to camera can remain sharp, or just slightly blurred instead of extremely blurred like it would be for real in a 30 sec exposure. I find this technique works more creatively for how I like my long-exposures to look, mostly as the exposure length is not set at the time of shooting - oh and its cheaper too lol

Dave
 
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Lee
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#16
I used to have a CP but didn't get on with it so I gave it away

The long-exposure without an ND is a blending in Photoshop, so I often take up to 30 shots and blend them all into what looks like a 30 sec long-exposure; but this way I can shoot wide open on a sunny day and still get the effect I want, and also if 30 secs is too blurry, I can try 20, 15, 10 etc. when back home - clearly not an option with an ND. Its also easy to have just one shot where I keep some of the details as shot, so perfectly sharp, so I can easily have blurred skies and yet long grass close to camera can remain sharp, or just slightly blurred instead of extremely blurred like it would be for real in a 30 sec exposure. I find this technique works more creatively for how I like my long-exposures to look, mostly as the exposure length is not set at the time of shooting - oh and its cheaper too lol

Dave
Ah.. So a bit like the old Sony App thing they had, Smooth Reflections or something I think it was called - I never used it. Actually, the camera itself may have blended the images for you possibly.....

Does that work well for waterfall images and receding waves too?
 
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Nightmare
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#18
I don't think turning a CPL takes much time and personally I use one most of the time for glare and reflections from the ground, rocks, leaves, etc
Indeed it can completely change the appearance of the lake or water stream. Sometimes that is desirable and sometimes not so much. Having that choice is always good. I find CPL most useful these days shooting interiors. It helps to cut glare from reflective surfaces and recover some annoying highlights before even pressing the shutter.

Having said that less than 20% of my outdoors shots use CPL.

The long-exposure without an ND is a blending in Photoshop, so I often take up to 30 shots and blend them all into what looks like a 30 sec long-exposure; but this way I can shoot wide open on a sunny day and still get the effect I want, and also if 30 secs is too blurry, I can try 20, 15, 10 etc. when back home - clearly not an option with an ND. Its also easy to have just one shot where I keep some of the details as shot, so perfectly sharp, so I can easily have blurred skies and yet long grass close to camera can remain sharp, or just slightly blurred instead of extremely blurred like it would be for real in a 30 sec exposure. I find this technique works more creatively for how I like my long-exposures to look, mostly as the exposure length is not set at the time of shooting - oh and its cheaper too lol
Does that work well for waterfall images and receding waves too?
I use software extensively for post processing but that is one area where I don't touch. Sometimes ISO and aperture tweak is enough to get you "there", but sure ND8 or 16 can easily get you to 0.5-2s range shooting seascapes while the light is still a bit too bright for that.
 
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Lee
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#19
Indeed it can completely change the appearance of the lake or water stream. Sometimes that is desirable and sometimes not so much. Having that choice is always good. I find CPL most useful these days shooting interiors. It helps to cut glare from reflective surfaces and recover some annoying highlights before even pressing the shutter.

Having said that less than 20% of my outdoors shots use CPL.

I use software extensively for post processing but that is one area where I don't touch. Sometimes ISO and aperture tweak is enough to get you "there", but sure ND8 or 16 can easily get you to 0.5-2s range shooting seascapes while the light is still a bit too bright for that.
That's what I found in Wales last year (we're returning for a few days in a few weeks) with the waterfalls. I only had a CPL & a 3 stop ND for my 40mm lens. I was finding to sit around the 1 second shutter speed, even dropping down to ISO 50, I was still around f/4.5 whereas I wanted to shoot some stuff around f/2.8-3.2 - I came back & swapped my 10 stop for a 6 stop. 3 stop is sometimes about right for sunset/sunrise coastal stuff to get that 1-4 second exposure for some nice movement. I've always done that type of shot 'in camera'.
 
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Dave
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#20
Does that work well for waterfall images and receding waves too?
Pretty well, but the individual specular highlights tend to remain so it can look 'sparkly' (can't explain it well sorry), so its not as smooth on water as a real long-exp is

That said, I rather like it anyway so its not an issue to me

Dave
 
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Lee
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#21
Pretty well, but the individual specular highlights tend to remain so it can look 'sparkly' (can't explain it well sorry), so its not as smooth on water as a real long-exp is

That said, I rather like it anyway so its not an issue to me

Dave
(y) I'll stick to carrying the ND's then if I go near water.
 
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