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Old 13-03-2012, 02:12 PM
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iceman (Mike)
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Question Let's talk Photography Filters (eg: cokin/lee)

Hi guys

Found out on Sunday morning that my old Cokin clone filter holder and filters, that screwed onto the front of my 24-105mm lens, obstruct quite a way into the FOV on the full frame 5DMkII camera.

Andrew Murrell was kind enough to loan me his for a few shots, which were much better and bigger, but at 24mm there was still a bit of vignetting in the corners from the filter or holder.

So, what are the recommendations?

For a $2000 camera and a $1000 lens, it's probably not a good idea to have a $20 piece of plastic in front of it all, so I'm happy to go for good quality (within reason).

What are the best (but good value) filter holders and slide in filters for FF cameras and wide field lenses (that don't get in the FOV)?

And where from?

I'll be looking to get a set of Grad ND plus maybe a circular polariser.. what else?
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Old 13-03-2012, 02:45 PM
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I just got a 77mm titanium Tiffen antireflection coated .6 graduated ND filter off ebay. It was about $100 or so as I recall which is good value as these normally are worth closer to $170.

At the moment it is on a Nikon 24-70mm F2.8 ED lens and it doesn't seem to vignette but thats on an APS 40D.

Also I use both a Bower 62mm circular polariser and a 77mm Kenko one.
They both work well and I use them all the time. Better than a UV glass filter as they do some work!

I also got a cheapish 720nm Infrared filter 77mm off ebay. It works quite well and is a lot cheaper than the standard Hoya R72 infrared filter. Although I have only used it a few times so a bit early to recommend it.
The Hoya one was fine (I misplaced it) but a lot more expensive and that was a 62mm or smaller one too.

If you are going to be imaging waterfalls you may consider a .9 ND filter to be able to do a slow enough shutter speed to get the water to blur. Same with your coastal shots. Get that lovely water blur even though you took it during the day.

There was one filter I nearly bought but I'd spent too much already on lenses. That was 2 ND filters that are circular and you spin them around to get the level of gradation you want. It sounded very clever. That was at a Photo shop in Castle Towers in Castle Hill. These filters were about $120 or so. Perhaps you can get them on ebay for a lot less. They sounded very handy. They replace these kits that have several ND filters in them.

Humi would know more on this subject about which ND filters are actually useful. Ken Rockwell for what its worth recommends the .6 and says he rarely uses the .9 or others. I can't confirm that.

I'd like to know more about filters. There was a booklet about Tiffen filters that had lots of different types of filters and when you use them.

I saw a fabulous image of the blue mountains where the sky was very dark blue. I thought maybe it was done using IR filters but they don't create that effect. It must have been done with a heavy graduated ND filter. Similar effects used in CSI Miami - they often show the sky as dark red or almost black as an effect and I wondered how they did that.

Greg.
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Old 13-03-2012, 03:01 PM
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These cross star filters could create an interesting effect in some images:

http://www.camerafilters.com/pages/star.aspx

Like adding diffraction spikes to your terrestial imaging.

The other filter that may be of interest is the red enhancing filter seeing as you will be in the Kimberly and I imagine a lot of the scenes will have a lot of reddish rock in them.

Greg.
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Old 13-03-2012, 03:03 PM
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iceman (Mike)
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I want to use the slide in filters, rather than screw on.

Having to screw on and off filters out in the field, would be a real pain.

I've got the knock-offs already and they're the ones that worked fine on my 40D but have severe vignetting with the FF camera.
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Old 13-03-2012, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iceman View Post
For a $2000 camera and a $1000 lens, it's probably not a good idea to have a $20 piece of plastic in front of it all, so I'm happy to go for good quality (within reason).
The trick with the "plastic" filters by Cokin or Lee is that they have the same refractive index as air. That's why they don't need coating and their exact shape/figure doesn't matter.

I agree though, with glass filters one shouldn't skimp. It pays to spend more on good (and easy to clean) coatings, good mechanical quality and a slim rim.

Since I don't use effect or grad filters myself I can't recommend any. With polarisers I've had good experiences with the B+W MRC series and the Nikon ones (which may not be available anymore).

Cheers
Steffen.
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Old 13-03-2012, 03:13 PM
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I was looking at those square types but I haven't used one.

Just out of interest I read this article about stacking 2 circular polarisers and spinning them to create the same effect as the spinning variable ND filters. I just tried it out and it works. At one point they are almost black (a deep blue).

http://www.digital-photography-schoo...density-filter

I leave the polariser filter on all the time so no problem with screwing on and off but yes the graduated ND needs to be screwed in and its a tad tricky. For daylight shots rotating the polariser really gets a nice sweet point for the sky. I'm a bit new to my grad ND filter but it seemed a touch extreme so far.

I believe the advantage of the square type grad ND filter is you can slide it in or out to suit the scene more exactly rather than half and half like the screw in one does.

Greg.
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Old 13-03-2012, 03:13 PM
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troypiggo (Troy)
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G'day Mike,

Went through all of this not too long ago. H will be along shortly I'm sure as well.

After weighing up the cheaper grad filter options like Cokin, I went with the Lee filters. Think they're at the cheaper end of the higher quality filters. Only trouble with them at the moment is availability. Everyone seems to want them.

At the time I had some money burning a hole in my pocket for some reason, so I went a bit silly buying more than I really do need. But I figure it's an investment and they'll last. I got the foundation kit holder, 6x4 3 stop hard GND, 2 stop soft GND, and 3 stop reverse GND, 4x4 circ polariser, 10 stop big stopper ND. Think that's it.

Very happy with them. No colour cast like you get with some cheaper ones. The 2 I use the most are 3 stop hard for seascapes and the 3 stop reverse.

You don't need the holder, but I found I can't hold the filters in front of the lens long enough. Too clumsy. Think H does hand-hold the filters and "feather".

Don't forget to factor into your budget a filter holder/wallet so they don't get damaged/scratched.
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Old 13-03-2012, 06:06 PM
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Graduated neutral density filters, how I love thee, let me count the ways.

I bought the best money could buy (spent about fifteen hundred bucks on a few bits of glass: 2- and 3-stop grads in both hard- and soft-step varieties, as well as variable neutral density systems with integrated warming polarisers that work from 2-8 stops). This was taken with the variable system at about 4 stops, from memory, and a hand-held 2-stop soft step: http://users.tpg.com.au/octane2/md.html

You can't go wrong with Lee filters, though. For some reason, despite the worldwide shortage, they're readily available on eBay -- brand new, from legitimate suppliers. Don't buy Cokin's. They're not neutral density, rather, grey filters, and, will leave horrible purple and brown casts that cannot be white balanced out.

You need a good quality circular polariser. Hoya Pro1D series are very good, and, have a slight warming effect which helps with natural in-camera saturation.

As mentioned, I don't use filter holders, preferring to hand hold. Yeah, they get scratched this way, but, the scratches have never shown up in any of my work (and, I shoot at f/16 most of the time, which, I know is well past where diffraction effects are theoretically supposed to turn your image to poo (around f/11 on the 5D Mark II), but, it just doesn't). The advantage of handholding filters, particularly when using strong densities, is that it can help prevent gradations showing up in your image. By carefully (slowly) dithering the filter in a random or circular motion for the duration of the exposure, you will go a long way to making the use of a filter subtle.

Hope this helps, some.

H
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Old 13-03-2012, 07:57 PM
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That's a seriously beautiful photo.

Greg.
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Old 13-03-2012, 08:14 PM
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Damn! I remember when I was buying Cokins they were regarded as the "bees knees" and relatively expensive. I must admit that was close to 30 years ago . I've just (like in the last hour) picked up a 40D off Ebay so I might just get a chance to start using them again.

Dithering/feathering with filters seems to be akin to working the exposures under an enlarger. Anyways, I'm watching this thread with interest as I'm learning something new
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Old 13-03-2012, 09:37 PM
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Mike, as H suggests, it's not necessary to use the holder, simply hand holding in front of the lens works well enough for most situations.
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Old 13-03-2012, 09:53 PM
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Another example of strong neutral density and polariser: http://users.tpg.com.au/octane2/iaftw.html

They really are a must have. That shot would not have been possible otherwise.

H
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Old 14-03-2012, 05:33 AM
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Another option priced between Cokin and Lee are Hitech filters. They have both 85mm and 100mm (better for hand holding) and do a few more GND options like hard edge, soft edge and reverse. I don't have any yet but they seem to get a lot of favourable comments.

Steve.
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Old 14-03-2012, 08:47 AM
Poita (Peter)
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I've used Lee filters and they are great.
We use a Matte Box though most of the time, as we have cine filters that we use.

Something like this:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...e_Box_Kit.html

We really need another forum for discussing general photography, not a lot of astro discussion in here lately
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Old 14-03-2012, 10:59 AM
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I always thought this sub-forum was for discussing astrophotography and terrestrial photography/equipment. Am I missing something?

H
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Old 14-03-2012, 12:36 PM
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Maybe it is?

I don't really mind either way, just thought maybe a general photography section could be setup.

I'd love to see a Video Astronomy section too actually.

Anyway, back on track, I haven't tried handholding the filters, I'll have to give that a go.
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Old 14-03-2012, 01:06 PM
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Handholding filters, while a bit more difficult, having to juggle a remote release and depth of field preview button, has proven successful. For me, anyway.

Now that we've been discussing them, I'm afraid I'm going to have to buy some reverse grads. Argh!

H
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Old 14-03-2012, 01:25 PM
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At least the MKIII finally has the DOF button where I expect it to be!
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Old 14-03-2012, 02:54 PM
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We really need another forum for discussing general photography, not a lot of astro discussion in here lately [/QUOTE]


Its been so cloudy for so long. At least there is still light during the day at the moment!!

Greg.
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Old 14-03-2012, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane View Post
Handholding filters, while a bit more difficult, having to juggle a remote release and depth of field preview button, has proven successful. For me, anyway.

Now that we've been discussing them, I'm afraid I'm going to have to buy some reverse grads. Argh!

H
This is an interesting thread as I have the Nikon 14-24mm F2.8 ED and its a beautiful lens but it is often commented you can't use filters on it because of the large aspherical lens at front. The Lee or Cokin holder for it is a cool $700+. So do you think I could handhold a 100 x 150mm filter in front of it and light would not get in through the sides?

What sort of graduated or straight ND filter would you recommend for landscape type shots? I am using a Tiffen titanium .6 grad ND 77mm filter on my other lenses. It seems fine except it is rigid in that the graduation is at the halfway point only. Whereas a square of rectangular filter you could slide up or down to suit.

Greg.
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