How do I slow the camera down?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by raymondc, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. Okay ... after a bit of digging, I am still looking for answers.
    I am wanting to slow the shutter speed down to produce creamy water effects. I do have a Hitech ND 4 Stop, but got a refund which the store allowed me to keep it. It's so red that, I need a manual 50,000 WB correction in Lighroom. I do have a Xrite ColorChecker with the "ColorChecker Passport" software, but it won't even create me a profile. That's a gonna.
    Next, I have two B+W filters - 2 stops and 6 stops. I guess they might be workable with water and rocks but if you are photographing landscapes with greens it washes the greens out.
    So the question: Do any of you guys have any solid ND filters pictures like without and with the filter so I can better see what I can expect from these filters? And, how do you deal with it? With my skills in postprocessing I cannot get my greens back. I don't have a newer dSLR but as I understand you could shoot at ISO 100 or maybe even 50, might not be technically as good as 200 but least I get my greens back and maybe use a cheaper lens that allows you to stop down to f/22 or even f/32 and accept diffraction. I also still shoot some slide film and like to preview off a lightbox - so yeah. No software then.
    Many thanks in advance :)
  2. mtk


    First, before going down the road of ND filters etc...... You say you don't have a newer dslr...but what camera and lens combo are you using? Are you using a tripod with slow shutter speeds? If so, how have those shots turned out for you? Different ND filters are used in varying light conditions, so no single one may be ideal for all applications........
  3. If I want "Slow Water" , i put my iso fixed to 100, shut down the aperture to the edge that still performs good on the lens used ( mostly F11, aperture priority) and maybe, depending on environment, put on a polarizer on front of my lense ( gives meenhanced color rendition)

    Then... i get up early and use the wonderful morning light, and shoot RAW, so that the white balance at time of the shot is not to important anymore...

    In bright environments i then sometimes add a B&W ND4 filter in stead of the polarizer, but only if the light is to bright for the previous list. I find this B&W filter to be very colour neutral, so it maintains the colors i want ...
  4. Maybe is one way to avoid the ND filters with greens and go out in overcast days or morning'ish so I can avoid the ND filters ......
    Equipment is a Nikon D70, at the time 80-200mm f/2.8D - the lens is now sold. Not yet replaced. The camera's lowest ISO is 200. It does not have a LOW setting.
    The image above is how it turns out. I used both the 2 and 6 stops (B+W 102 and 106). The greens gets washed out. The EXIF was 1.3" (full seconds) at f.8 or f.11 at ISO 200. I used a telephoto lens because I was on a bridge and you couldn't get down b/c it was barricaded, it's protected. I hav a tripod yes. Gitzo 1228 and Kirks BH-3 ballhead, the camera has a L-bracket.(Edit - at the time I was using that lens's lens collar).
    OTOH, if I am photographing rocks and water, it's more usable as follows:
    I might have had both the 2 and 6 stops and might have even combined a Nikon CPOL-II.
  5. Could I get a comparison without and with the ND4 filter please? I did buy my 2 B+W filters off eBay so not sure if that was the problem. But they look and feel every bit real. But then again my Hitech which I bought from B&H is even worst and that's just a 4 stop. Preferably shot with some green gardens and blue sky.
  6. The last time I tried this, my D300 allowed me to do a Custom White Balance on a grey card with the ND`attached. Worked fine. Admittedly it is a good B+W filter, but it really was pretty neutral with no specific colour shift. I think I ended up with about 4 seconds at F11/16 @ (forced ISO 100).
    As CPM mentioned, the nicer light is also at the 'dimmer' parts of the day, dawn + 2 hours or dusk - 2 hrs.
  7. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    As mentioned, use Raw and correct in post. Here is a quick adjustment.
  8. It may be the compression in uploading them here, but if imported into PS CS4, a simple auto contrast and auto colour balance does wonders for the beach scene........
    Sorry, just found it got to 101KB...
  9. The only ND filter I've used that adds no color cast to my photos (Shot on a D700) is the Singh Ray Vari-ND. I'm not on my photo computer right now, but there's definitely no color cast like in the couple of photos above.
    You can find the filter:
  10. @Ray House - could you elaborate on what you did on the edits. I'll spend some time on the edits ....and the thing is I still shoot slide film so software won't be in my workflow for film work.
    @Mike - thanks. Yep could have spend more time on it.
    @ Richard - that's an expensive filter. I have thought about the Singh Ray's George Lepp's filter as it is square should I go towards larger formats, as I still shoot film now/then. I have emailed Singh Ray but didn't get a email from them. Would it be too much to ask to get a sample off you when you have time. I have read that the Vari ND filter creates more of a cast ....
    Are these normal to you? Shot in daylight WB (with "0" WB adjustment on the camera itself) off my D2h.
  11. Not a solution for me as I still shoot slide film.
    Re: digital. This is what I can achieve by balancing out the color in Adobe Lightroom with a WhiBal card. I copied and pasted the settings. Do I try a Lee or Singh Ray ND filter, experiment with correction filters myself thru stacking, simply give up and shoot when there is less light or am I just too picky? Edit - Lee does not make a 85mm Cokin P filter AFAIK. So that leaves the Singh Ray George Lepp only.
  12. Ray,
    Filters induced colorcast affects the image as an all not just a particular color like your greens.
    When you use Whibal card you shall do it without the filter on the lens and eliminate the colorcast in the edition. If you shoot RAW (I hope so) you can leave WB in auto and correct it during "development" - I mean WB not the colorcast
    I can suggest you a procedure using Photoshop (I use CS5 but it's probable it will work with a previous version).
    1. - open the file in PS
    2. - duplicate the background layer
    3. - Go to the menu Filters -> Blur -> Average (it will turn to the cast's color)
    4. - Open a Curves Adjustment layer
    5.- Click with the curves layer mid tones picker on the layer created in 2 and modified in 3
    6. - Turn off the layer created in 2
    7. - If your WB was correct you shall se your greens (and other colors) back as the cast shall be gone
    8. - You can delete the layer in 2 now if you want to continue edition or just flatten the all thing and save the result.
    I hope this can solve your problem
  13. Looks like some of those so-called ND filters are letting Infrared through while only reducing the visible light - not good! I would expect plastic (sorry, resin) or "gel" filters to be much worse in this respect than proper glass. I've used some cheap glass 3, 6 and 12 stop NDs and not noticed any such effect. So I guess you don't always get what you pay for.
    IR leakage, if that's what it is, will be reduced by not shooting in bright sunlight. However, I see you're still shooting film, so another possiblilty is that you're into the reciprocity-failure region of the film's exposure. The only cure for this would be to use CC filters according to the maker's data sheet, depending on the exposure time and in addition to the ND filter.
    Digital cameras have no such reciprocity effect, but a small colour shift in a deep ND filter is still to be expected. Like polarizers, it's very difficult to find a truly neutral ND filter. This isn't usually a significant problem for digital shooters, since the WB can be so easily adjusted.
  14. Since the OP's original question is: "How do I slow the camera down." My advice is:​
    Skip the ND filters. You're complicating this more than it needs to be. Shoot on an overcast day, late in the day, after sunset maybe. I've posted a few flowing water shots here and no ND filters were used:
  15. Ray-
    I'm a bit confused. You have a D70 and then say to peoples digital based answers...
    'Not a solution for me as I still shoot slide film.'
    Have I missed something important?
  16. Hi Ray,
    I have not done much of this kind of work and the advice given here so far seems helpful. IMHO I think the best way to control this kind of effect is to let nature do her thing instead of adding optical elements. Low light is the way to go here. There is a narrow window of opportunity twice a day depending on the orientation of your subject. I would experiment with low light exposure to find the light that works best for what you are doing. I promise you won't be disappointed. You will find fewer harsh highlights and hi contrast crushed blacks as well a the gentle blurring of motion. Best of luck!
  17. @Mike - the sample provided was with my Nikon D70 yes. But I also shoot slide film as an interest. So naturally if I were to use ND filters I would like a neutral filter.
    Here is an image I shot on slide film - with the Hitech 4 stop ND filter.
    Looks like it's going to be without a filter - or use the less dense filters or just reserve them for digital photog and adjust in post. Or simply throw into a black and white image.
    Going by these reviews, the 10 stops really have a strong cast and people do pay $150-200US for them and just edit in post.
  18. I don't shoot Nikon (I shoot Canon), but I have been using Hoya circular ND filters for my long exposure work, and have had no problems with colour cast even when I stack multiple filters. I am presently using their ND400 (9stop) multi-coated, as well as their ND8 (3 stop) multi-coated filters. On a bright sunny day, I can stack these two filters and get around 60-90 second exposures at 100 ISO. If I am shooting late in the evening with the same ISO, I can get around 3 minute or longer exposures, and really flatten the water out.
    I agree with what Kelly Way is saying, but only to a certain point. I find I have got some of my best long exposures when the ambient light is not too dim. Let me explain. I find that if the light gets too dim, then you lose the subtle shadows that you want to create form in an image, or at least lessen this modeling effect.
    The only issue you have to watch out for if there is a substantial amount of light is the sky, as it can get pretty bright. I use ND grads to help with this, as well as reverse ND grads. I started with Cokin grads, but found the colour cast unacceptable, so I have been working with High Tech filters, and these have been much better. I know that some people complain about colour cast from High Tech grad filters, but I think it is mainly when you stack them. I have .6 and .9 High Tech grad filters, and they have worked well in virtually all the circumstances I have come across. I chose these filters because the Lee's were so much more money. Having said this, I did get a Singh Ray reverse ND for sunset shots/ long exposures when the sun is really close to the horizon, and this has been a godsend.
    The only downside of the Hoya ND400 is that you have to frame your shot, and then put the filter on after you have focused etc. This is where variable ND filters are nice, because you can frame without the ND effect, and then adjust the number of stops wanted to create the effect you are looking for. However, I find that this has not been a problem for me, and I adjust my workflow in the field to make these Hoya filters work. I am posting some examples to show the range of effects I can get using these two filters. I hope this helps.
  19. Oops. The first image was 1/6 sec. This image was taken using the ND 8 to get 1/2 second exposure, and some movement in the water flowing over the lava bed in the foreground.
  20. This image was taken in the early morning using the ND 400 alone.
  21. This final image was taken with both filters stacked, to get a 90 second exposure. It was taken at about 11 am, so the light was getting pretty bright in Kauai. Good luck.
  22. One last thing. I have shot a number of streams and waterfalls, and I find that I can usually get away not using a filter if the water is moving fast enough, and the light is low enough in the area. If not, I pop on my ND 8 filter and I am good to go. Once again, good luck! This is a fun style of shooting!
  23. One last image taken of a stream near Mission BC, using an ND 8. The last two images were taken with my 40D (no slouch), and the other images with my 5D. I wanted to mention that I found using a full frame camera more forgiving with longer exposures (above 5 minutes). My 40D did not fair so well once I got above 5 minutes. I know that these images are all under 2 minutes, but i read somewhere that crop sensors limit is near the 3-4 minute range because the smaller sensor heats up to much (or something like that). I cannot remember where I read this, but this is what I have observed using both a crop and full frame sensor, but then again when I was shooting with my 40D I may have just had poor technique as this was the body I first used when getting into long exposures. Take care.
  24. Cheers Paul - what sort of post processing did you do?
    It might have been the ND400 - I read on B&H and the reviews said it gets a pink cast?The Lee Big Stopper gets a blue cast, the B+W 10 stopper gets a brown reddish cast. As in my prev URL link.
    I also read that the Singh Ray Vari-HD gets banding with wide angle FL and if you go past a certain setting you get blotches in the image. I was reading also on the Flickr "neutral density filter group". But that's an expensive filter.
    Maybe reserve it for digital photography and maybe go out early/later in the day......
  25. Hi Ray. The only processing I ever do is adjustments to exposure, contrast, and some dodging and burning (if necessary for my vision of an image). I did not have to do any white balance adjustments in any of these photos as there was no color cast whatsoever. I remember, from reading the article on long exposures that you provided the link to, that the author praised the Hoya ND 400 filter the most for it's lack of color cast. I definitely have never seen any pink color cast with my ND 400, but you know the way manufacturing can have some variation in it from one filter to the next, just like lenses. I was somewhat surprised to hear the negative feedback on the Singh-Ray variable ND filter, although I have never used that item, mainly because of its price tag! Too bad if that is true, because the idea is excellent, and would present a more streamlined workflow in the field. Take care, and I am glad that you are closer to your decision.
  26. Thanks Paul and your email - appreciate it :)
    I do like the square filters so I can combine with them with graduate filters.
    Yes, the Singh Ray's are very expensive. If they are the only ones that make reverse grads, grads are not not that bad but $360 is it or abouts for a Vari - HD - eeek (!). You can even get duo or tri filters around $400! At least for the normal grads the Hitech works out ok if a bit more contrast in the filtered areas but their solid NDs are bad, found someone who had one just bad ad mine.
    I found this with the Singh Ray Vari-HD:
  27. Hmmm .... maybe you have a Canon sensor. I heard that someone who used a (I thought) bad Hitech filter, got no cast with his Canon Rebel but on a Nikon D50 got a strong red cast like mine .... which is the same era as both my Nikon D70 and D2h (which both have this strong red cast). I think I will ask a Canon buddy of mine or go into a store and test one or two of my filters out.
    Anyone know if film lacks a strong IR filter too .. but certainly goes red on my film.
  28. Well, I guess the older the camera the less efficient the sensor's IR blocker filter is. That's why those who do IR photography prefer the older bodies or have to mod newer ones.
    The different colour casts would be explained by the way the different sensor (either age or manufacturer) 'sees' and records IR wavelengths, ie whether they are interpreted as R, G or B or a R + B = Magenta etc
    Take a frame, pop a Hot Mirror on aswell and see what, if any, difference there is.....
    As the exposure with the ND changes, the proportion or visible to IR will change too = changable colour cast ;-))
    And of course if that's not enough, changing the time of day is going to change the proportion of IR out there and possibly it's wavelength too. This will really screw around with colours!! Good Luck!
    Hot Mirror should fix EVERYTHING.... ;-) maybe.......
  29. Ray, I believe some people use bits of slide film as visibly opaque but IR transparent filters. Can't remember what for, but I think it was to cover the pop-up flash visibly but still trigger the off camera IR sensors on flash guns...
  30. Ray - I've been doing this style for years, with both film and digital in DSLR and medium format film cameras. IMHO, the most important filter you should have for including greenery in the frame is a polarizing filter. In any water scene there are lots of reflections, from the surface of the water and from the surrounding rocks and leaves. Use of a polarizer eliminates the reflections that sometimes rob green plants from looking really "green." Plus, the polarizer adds from 1.5 - 2.5 stops, depending on the brand.
    The other advice I would offer is to use 100 ISO (or digital equivalent), shoot on an overcast day, and use a tripod. I've never had to resort to a ND filter, and routinely get shutter speeds from 1/2 second to 2 minutes. Usually anything slower than 1/2 second will produce the creamy effect you are looking for.
    In years of shooting streams in the Great Smoky Mountain national park there have been many days when it was just too sunny to work. Or, I've had to shoot very early in the morning or very late in the day to get the sun in the right spot. I'm sure you know that sometimes capturing the shot you want is not a matter of equipment, but a matter of patience.
    For beach or ocean scenes, the ND filters may be more appropriate.
  31. Ray - I forgot to mention that I was generally shooting at f16.0 or thereabouts. Partly for the long shutter speed it required, and partly for max depth-of-field.
  32. What is a hot mirror?
    Well I forgot to try the Hitech on the D90 in the shop. The B+W filter (6 stop) was similar to my D2h both shot at the shop.. I came across this off the B+W site - it does say it gets a warm cast on the 6 stop and says can be remedied with a 486 filter in front.
    The samples concur to mine ...
    I didn't try it on a Canon body. Maybe yeah ... as Google goes, those who had color cast maybe it is true - warm cast on B+W particularly with dense filters and maybe the Hitech goes wacko with the earlier cameras. I'll try both filters on someone's Nikon D200 and a Canon 5D II.
  33. If anyone still following this. I think it is to do with the particular camera's sensor and/or the low pass filter. What I can say it is bad on the D50, D70, D90 and D2h. I heard the 350D Canon and the 20 and 30D works fine but it's back on the 40D.
    I shot some E100G Kodak slide film on my Nikon F100 with the same filters along side my D70. Whilst I didn't shoot any greens, it was just water and rocks. The results were a world apart. I am gonna shoot some greens on a roll of Provia 400F side by side with digital and compare the results afterwards.

    You've already seen the digital's results. The film results, well okay there is no such thing as 100% identical color neutral. Ok. But if you used a 2 stop B+W filter you would be hard pressed to note the diff. The 6 stop B+W has a v slight red cast but nowhere as bad as on digital. The Hitech 4 does get a red cast but it's no where as bad as digital. It is maybe less of a cast but it attenuate the reds. Like the rocks and water is still look not the same but still quite natural.
    Hot mirror or IR cut filters are pricey. Rather get a newer camera, LOL.
    I am thinking that the good filters block out some IR wavelengths.
    Compared to film maybe some digital camera models have a much weaker IR filter.
    Will post images later when film is processed.
  34. Of course we're still following this!
    I suspect the glass ones cut out more IR than the resin ones.
    Hot Mirrors occasionally pop up on the *bay, I picked up a 77mm for £10 ~ $15
    There's a 52mm for under £10 (in the USA) at the moment!

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