Most useful ND values for long-exposure, daylight-exteriors?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by studio460, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. What's everyone's experience for the most useful ND values for long-exposure, daylight-exteriors such as seascapes, waterfalls, and rivers? Since variable ND filters are prone to banding and 'X' patterning, I decided to go with several single-value ND filters instead (used individually, not stacked). For the most useful values, I just made some quick calculations and took a guess at what I thought may be the most useful: 10-stop, 6-stop, and 4-stop (I'm buying a range of two to three filters). My photographic goal is that often-seen, "misty water" effect. My primary subjects will include ocean waves shot from the shore, and waterfalls shot from various distances, all shot with a Nikon D800E, using various lenses.
    Here's the filters I'm considering (buying all three):
    1. B+W 77mm 3.0 ND 110 (10-stop ND); $105.00.
    2. Hoya 77mm Pro 1D 64x (6-stop ND); $70.45.
    3. Hoya 77mm Pro 1D 16x (4-stop ND); $62.95.
    The Hoya pro-series seem to be pretty well-reviewed with many claiming little to no color cast; however, Hoya doesn't make a 10-stop ND filter, so I chose the reasonably priced B+W 10-stop ND. Reportedly, the B+W ND filters are among the worst at leaking IR, causing a magenta color cast (which apparently all brands do, to some extent). This effect is also reported to be more severe with Canon bodies than with Nikon bodies. At least two users reported that the cast is easily corrected, and/or white-balanced for. One reviewer claimed the fix was very difficult using Photoshop, but did not indicate the brand or model of camera he was using.
    All that aside, again, I'm looking for the most useful values, (and I plan on buying as many as three different values), not necessarily specific brand recommendations (although welcome, if so inclined). These are for use in Hawaii during the summer months, which often has a mix of direct, sunny daylight, partly cloudy daylight, and overcast daylight. Thanks for any replies!
  2. My set is 3, 6 and 10 - so very close to your thinking. And yes, colour casts can be a pain. To my surprise (preferring to control myself, usually) auto white balance really seems to help on the 10-stop. Although the 10 stop seems extreme, even in the UK it's needed to really blur water on a sunny day.
  3. heard the Goya are better for casts
  4. Thanks, John! So, 10-stop for full-sun, 6-stop for partly cloudy, 3-stop for overcast? Does the 3-stop seem "just right" for overcast days, or do you still need a bit more (or, a bit less)? I guess I'm asking if you had to buy them again, would you still choose the 3-stop, or would you opt for 4-stop instead?
  5. Ray said:
    heard the Goya are better for casts​
    Did you mean Hoya? Yes, I've read that as well, thanks!
  6. 77mm ND filter shopping list v2.0:
    1. Hoya 77mm x400 ND 2.7 HMC (9-stop ND); $77.00
    2. Hoya 77mm Pro 1D ND64 1.8 (6-stop ND); $70.45.
    3. Hoya 77mm Pro 1D ND8 0.9 (3-stop ND); $66.90.
  7. Check out

    Joel Tjintjelaar is a master in long exposures and has various tutorials and tools on his site.

    Good luck.
  8. Thanks, Bart! Excellent site! Very valuable, detailed information! Answered all my questions and more! Much appreciated!
  9. From the long-exposure FAQ, linked here by Bart, photographer Joel Tjintjelaar recommends 10, 13, and 16-stop ND filtration for the most common types of long-exposure images--note that these are at a given base ISO of 100. Since my D800E can go to an ISO-50 equivalent, I can still use all-Hoya filters for consistency, and distribute my filter values accordingly (unfortunately, filter-stacking is both necessary, and unavoidable). So, if I take away one-stop by halving Joel's ISO-100 base setting (to ISO-50), I now get: 9, 12, and 15 stops as my target filter values. Add this one-stop reduction back to each of these values, and you get the correct sums:
    ISO 50: 2.7 ND = 2.7 ND (9 stops + 1/2 ISO = 10 stops)
    ISO 50: 2.7 ND + 0.9 ND = 3.6 ND (12 stops + 1/2 ISO = 13 stops)
    ISO 50: 2.7 ND + 1.8 ND = 4.5 ND (15 stops + 1/2 ISO = 16 stops)
    All this can be accomplished with the three-filter Hoya set I mentioned previously:
    1. Hoya 77mm x400 ND 2.7 HMC (9-stop ND); $77.00
    2. Hoya 77mm Pro 1D ND64 1.8 (6-stop ND); $70.45.
    3. Hoya 77mm Pro 1D ND8 0.9 (3-stop ND); $66.90.​
  10. I've been using a combination of Hoya MC 6-stop and 3-stop. This is so I can take daytime photos with my 1840s-1850s vintage Petzval lenses mounted on my Chamonix 4x5. These lenses have no shutters so I use a black hat to start and stop exposures of 1-second or so, using Efke ISO 25 film. The lenses are around f3.5. I like the Hoya multicoated filters because they are flare resistant and a good value for the money. Since Voigtlander and Derogy Petzvals don't have filter threads, I just attach the filters with painter's tape. By using a combination of a couple of ND filters I can better adjust to light conditions in the field. Just one filter would really limit me--my lenses have no f-stops (not invented until around 1859.)
    Kent in SD
  11. On digital, I never much noticed colour cast with my B+W ND106 (6-stop). If it's there, it's slight and uniform enough to correct with whote balance. Can't say it has been a cause of problems on any of my photos so far. Example and example (the second photo in very late daylight, so the uneven colours are actually reflections of the sun setting - I've got a non-filtered photo shot shortly before, and it's pretty much the same colour-wise).
  12. By a good hot mirror filter to put behind your ND. It will help with the IR contamination.
  13. That set should cover most eventualities Ralph. I have 3, 6 and 7 stop filters, as well as having been lucky enough to find a no-name 12 stop filter, which surprisingly still allows exposures of under 30 secs in broad daylight. I habitually shoot raw, so colour balance isn't really an issue, and I can save a custom WB compensation for any of those filters.
    The one Hoya ND that I own is noticeably green so I hardly ever use it, but it is quite an old filter. I would hope that Hoya have since improved the neutrality of their "neutral" density filters.
    FWIW, two of the best and most neutral ND filters I've ever come across are made by Sony and Bolex for cine/videography use. They're both of dichroic construction, where the density is got from a thin metallic surface coating. This makes their neutrality superb, and the thinness of the ND coating means there's no additional vignetting from oblique rays passing through thick, mass-dyed glass. That's one thing to be aware of with dyed glass filters; they'll give added vignetting with WA lenses. Unfortunately those cine ND filters seem to be only available in a limited range of densities and diameters.
  14. Rodeo Joe, I have been thinking of getting a heavy ND filter to put on my wide angle to capture long exposures during the day. It's a Tokina 11-16mm that has a 77mm filter thread. What kind/brand of ND filter would you suggest? I was thinking the Lee "Big Stopper". Is the vignetting very noticeable at 11mm focal length?
  15. Thanks for your reply, Joe. I read at least one user on who claimed the new Hoya Pro 1D-series filters to be pretty good. The price is pretty good, too, for the Hoyas--gonna give them a shot. However, the Pro 1D-series maxes out at the ND64 model (6-stops).
  16. Slightly-off-topic: vignetting
    Has anyone stacked two, standard-depth filters on an AF-D Nikkor 16-35mm f/4.0G VR? This is the lens I'm planning to use with the ND filters, and will have to stack two filters.
  17. Kent said:
    I like the Hoya multicoated filters because they are flare resistant and a good value for the money.​
    Yes, I assume I'm actually getting a pretty good filter in the Hoya Pro 1D-series product, and at a good price! Incredible camera you have there, Kent!
  18. Michael said:
    By a good hot mirror filter to put behind your ND. It will help with the IR contamination.​
    Yes, Joel mentions the use of IRND filters also. Infra-red NDs (i.e., "hot mirrors") are yet another arrow in the quiver to consider. Thanks for your comments!
  19. Wouter said:
    On digital, I never much noticed colour cast with my B+W ND106 (6-stop). If it's there, it's slight and uniform enough to correct with white balance.​
    Thanks for your comments, Wouter. Yes, a number of users mentioned magenta casts at higher ND values (e.g., ND 2.1 and above), so perhaps at 6-stops, it's barely noticeable. Again, according to one report, IR filteration in Nikon bodies was claimed to be stronger/better than Canon's IR filtration. And, again, some reported that the cast was easy to eliminate--some claimed it was difficult; though most didn't make it clear if they shot .JPG or RAW (for this type of photography, certainly, RAW would be preferred). Note that Joel mentions in his FAQ, that you see the color casts mostly in the blacks.
  20. ND, NDG, Singh-Ray filters definitely the best, developed first for NASA, and later on they start to sell for photographers too. After using Hoya, B&W, etc., and dissatisfied, even the film era, I switched to Singh-Ray. No more problem.
  21. I have the B+W 6 stop which there is a cast. I will post a link. When combined with the 2 stop it really shows. 2 stop is fine by itself. I would maybe go with Hoya, yeah Hoya it was.... I read that Lee had a blue cast to their stop stops. For me. Maybe I would just shoot it when the light is low so I don't need to use these ND filters, so if need be stack a 2 stop with a CPOL. The Hitech 4 stop square is even worst.
  22. Thanks for that report, Ray! Yes, I read about the Lee filters going a bit blue--the user commented that he just dialed his Kelvin a bit warmer and got rid of the cast.
  23. Bela said:
    Singh-Ray filters definitely the best . . .​
    Thanks for your comments, Bela. Yes, they may be the best, but they're extremely expensive! I think I'm going to order the Hoyas, and give those a try.
  24. The Lee Big Stopper [10 stop] has a very noticeable blue cast in the evening/night - not sure about during the day as I've not had a chance to experiment with mine yet.
  25. if u still reading tried on d600 basically no cast diff sensor I guess when I read it canon 350d has no cast but.same filter on the Nikon d50 d70 and d2h. but I read the 30d had it too but the newer one may have been cast free, just got to try I guess. I think it is the filter but diff sensors make it little effect I mean while not affect some digicams it still affects film.

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