Singh-Ray Galen Rowell filters

Discussion in 'Nature' started by dseltzer, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. Having just noticed one of the POWs (Morning Light by Dave K) was done using a ND 2 Singh-Ray Galen
    Rowell filter, I set about finding out what they are. Well, I've found them in several places, and so far I'm
    clueless as to how one uses them. Are they hand held in front of the lens? Is there some sort of bracket or
    holder one can use?

    I appreciate any enlightenment you can give this learner!
  2. I guess you are talking about the square filters? If so, depending on size of filter, Cokin & Lee make the holders. You will get a ring that screws onto the end of the lens, like a filter. Then you slide the holder over the ring untill it locks. You then simply slide the filter into the holder and adjust it to horizon. That is how the cheaper cokin works. Not sure how the Lee works, i am sure it is similer and a much better quality.
  3. Thanks, Derek. I thought there had to be something like you've described. If I'm
    understanding, one needs a converter ring for the lens, then the holder and a filter. Just
    snooping around a little, it looks like there are multiple makers of the filters, or are they all
    actually Cokin or Lee?
  4. Hey David... I recently went through the same research. The cokin webesite is somewhat informative. I don't know what sort of camera you are using, but for they make various holders for many types of cameras (even point and shoot). I have a Canon XTi and I bought the Cokin ring and filter holder (P series size). The Cokin filters are classified according to the size of lenses you would use. I have a Cokin sunset filter, but also have the Singh Ray Galen Rowell 2 stop graduated neutral density, and 2 solid neutral density filters by a company named HiTech. I researched for many hours on various sites and there is huge debate about the best, or rather "true", neutral density filters. I think I came to the conclusion that Singh Ray nd's are best, Cokin the worst. Good luck on your research and shopping.....Lesa
  5. Recently, on the PBS program "Travels to the Edge with Art Wolfe," I noticed that Wolfe just
    holds the filter up in front of the lens with no special holder of any kind - just his hand.
  6. Obi, Thanks for the info about Art Wolfe. I'm glad to know that, though not surprised... I'm
    sure lots of folks do similar "improvised" use of equipment. Actually, it could be that the only
    time hand holding the filter would not be OK would be if the shot needed a slow shutter and
    vibration could be a factor. Beyond that, it seems like a holder would be mainly a
    convenience... and not a small expense considering the holder *and* the adaptor ring!
  7. Beyond that, it seems like a holder would be mainly a convenience... and not a small expense considering the holder *and* the adaptor ring!
    It is a small expense compared to the cost of a Singh-Ray graduated ND ($99 each, last I checked). And having used these filters both in holders and hand-held, I FAR prefer the former approach. IMO, hand-holding is something you do as a last resort, not as a routine method.
  8. The problem with handholding a filter is two-fold. You cannot keep the filter in the same position for several expsoures and it is sometimes hard to find the right place without stopping down which makes it even more difficult to hand hold it. And secondly, it is easy to scratch the filter against the metal front of the lens when handholding and adjusting it up and down. With filters made from plastic and costing $99 each, it is better to invest a few dollars in a holder that solves both problems.
  9. david_henderson


    I'd agree that hand-holding a grad filter should be a last resort. Especially with hard-edge grads you need to be able to position them accurately to get the effect you want. The Cokin holder and ring fits Singh Ray filters I believe and is very cheap.

    If you need to save money on this then you'd be better off selecting a less costly brand of filters than doing without a holder. Singh Ray's products are not unique and Lee and HiTech offer similar items at lower cost.
  10. If you buy the Singh Ray filters, they come with a copy of Galen's article on how to use them. I agree with using the cookin holder; saves hassle without much weight. A few other tricks:

    If your camera has a depth of field preview, use it for two reasons. First, it's easier to see where the filter is especially in dark conditions, and second, positioning does depend on aperture.

    When using a telephoto, you will almost always use the hard stop version because you are shooting through the transition; it can be very hard to see the transition through the viewfinder when using a telephoto.

    I recommend these filters; I would be lost without them. Well, more lost than normal...
  11. Many thanks to Mark, Ilkka, David H. and David C! I so appreciate all your info and advice. Not surprised about the position and scratching issues, and all the tips and experience based info is so valuable!!! Your kind and helpful feedback is a lot of why I love PN!
  12. The Singh-Ray Galen Rowell filters are not square but rectangular, longer than most on the market, allowing you more ability to place a horizon line very low or very high in the frame.
  13. stp


    Regarding hand-holding a GND filter, sometimes it might be done if one wants a much more
    diffuse boundary between the two portions of the image. Marc Adamus recently posted a
    photo in which he did this. The biggest problem I've run into is being sure that the filter
    covers both left and right sides (it's easy to drift too far to one side when hand-holding).
  14. "Actually, it could be that the only time hand holding the filter would not be OK would be if the shot needed a slow shutter and vibration could be a factor."

    No really, as long as the camera does not move, slight movement of a filter wont hurt a thing. Ever develop B/W photos in a lab?

    I hand hold my 4x6 lee filters, works great and it's quick. . .
  15. This has become increasingly interesting and informative... far more good info than I'd imagined. Yes, Tony, I have developed B/W in a home darkroom (same as lab?), so I think I know what you mean.

    Anyone have a favorite place they'd recommend for purchasing Singh-Ray filters? B&H? Web? I'm guessing the pricing will be similar in most places that sell them. Just curious which stores people prefer.
  16. David, the best people I have dealt with yet is B&H. My brother told me B&H so I gave them a try and three days later my order was at the door. The other 2 companies I dealt with prior took 7 and 13 days. Since then I have made many purchases from B&H and all of them arrive in 3 working days. However, they have a lot of holidays.

    I would get the Cokin P holder with the apropiate mm rings. The holder is made to hold three filters at once and a polorizer. If you want to use it on a wide angle, like 12-24mm, it will not work unless you hacksaw off the last two filter holders. This will leave the polorizer and one holder. They also make a special wide angle holder.

    It is said that the cokin filters are cheap and to stay away from them. I did just that and use singh-rays and hi-tech. My favorite high-tech has several scratches on it and still takes wonderfull shots. I am sure that a new cokin is better than a scratched high-tech. If you want to save some bucks give cokin a try.
  17. Hi David, Everybody here has given you lots of good advice. I have had great luck using the Cokin P holder with the Singh-Ray Split ND Grad filters. (I cut the front filter holder off of mine with a hacksaw too). They're lightweight and relatively cheap. I have had much less luck handholding them. Also, it takes a bit of practice to get it right...nice to be able to take a shot and then move it a little bit. It's all to easy to end up with a shot that 'looks' like you used a split nd grad. Also, depending on your typical shooting situation you may prefer different ones (they come in 2 or 3 stop variations, both of which come in 'hard' or 'soft' edge). Here's another thread that talks about the virtues of each... As I've switched away from film in favor of digital shooting I do more blending of multiple exposures, and less use of the split nd, though there sure is something nice about getting it done in the camera! Have fun!
  18. Greg, Thanks! All info is much appreciated.
    Really beautiful sunrise shot you posted here!
  19. Dave,

    Looks like you are in the same position i was in 6 months ago with the same problem. I spent
    hours and hours researching the best filters and which ones to get. I bought a cokin set to try
    first which worked fine until i tried the lee filter system and then immediately changed to Lee
    from then on.

    If you are passionate about your photos then its worth knowing that you have the best quality
    filters available. If the pictures you are taking are not up to scratch, then you know its not your
    equipment and just a lack of knowledge and experience. Go with the Lee filter system and
    their ND Grads and also try some the singh-ray reverse filters that will fit on the Lee Filter

    Best of luck

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