H2 Landscape - Neutral Density or Polarized?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by joe_casey|5, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. I recently acquired a Hasselblad H2 (film back) with a 50-110 zoom lens. I also picked up two B&W filters (hard to find for 95mm), one linear polarizing filter and one warming filter. My question is whether or not I should pickup a split neutral-density filter for shooting mountain ranges and shots with big skies in the upper frame? I prefer shooting predominantly landscape, from a distance, sunset shots and panorama views. I've heard most people prefer a polarized filter but I've also heard the neutral-density filter can help tone down sunlight and make mountain and rock images pop more. So which one would give me better perspective or should I consider, at times, using both together?
  2. A split ND won't do much good as a screw-in filter. You need a rectangular version that can slide in a holder (q.v., Lee, Cokin, etc). That way you can fine-tune its position to affect only the part of the scene you want.
    This technique is most useful when you have a bright sky and a foreground in shadow, so you can reduce the light from the sky, keeping detail in both the sky and foreground. I wouldn't bother with a sunset. The sun is so bright you might as well expose for it and let the foreground go to silhouette.
    I see no compelling reason to use both at the same time. A polarizer will darken blue sky and reduce glare on rocks and water, neither of which calls for a split ND. On the other hand, a split ND will darken a cloudy sky, on which a polarizer has no effect.
    A non-split ND filter affects all parts of the scene equally. It won't make anything pop in that sense. It will let you use a wider aperture or slower shutter speed. This allows for selective focus (e.g., blurring the background) or creative motion blur (e.g., moving water), which can often improve isolation and composition.
  3. Joe,
    Most certainly use ND grads to enhance your photographs. Combine them with your polarizer too. As also said, use rectangular filters, such as Lee. For your 50-110mm lens you'll need the Lee 100mm Push On Filter Holder:
    I use grad filters for many photographs. Good luck with your H2.
    Kind regards,
    Derek Jecxz
  4. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I think that the vast majority of serious landscape photographers will carry a polariser and at least one or two graduated ND filters. Very occasionally I'll use both together but its rare.
  5. Joe,
    Unless you are only going to use the camera in Manual mode and meter via a seperate handheld exposure meter, the Linear Polariser is going to be next to useless.
    Autofocus cameras (as well as some manual focus ones),require a Circular polariser due to the beam splitting aspect of metering/focussing design. Linear ones will lead to incorrect exposure readings if used.

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