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Author Topic: ND filters, polarizers, A beginners guide please  (Read 4349 times)
Morris Taub
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« on: September 24, 2007, 10:39:11 AM »
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Can someone point me at books or online guides for their use, please?

I've never used them. I think I'd like to try. Or is it better to bracket and layer in photoshop? Other techniques? Things to be careful of?

I'm planning on shooting landscape for the first time with an intent to sell images. I'm hesitant to invest too much money in the filters simply because there are already so many great landscape photographers out there...so many great images online in tons of stock agencies.

First things first. Prime lenses? Zoom? I haven't locked myself into a 'system' yet so giving advice here may be a problem...i was thinking Canon 5D with their 17-40 L...or pehaps 70-200 L4. Right now I'm wanting to shoot the french countryside, rolling vineyards, stone houses, mediterranean blue skies...

This might be for another thread,...but...

Really, I know or think I know a 'serious' landscape photographer would probably choose MF but I'm not headed down that road, not yet anyway. Forgive please if you're a landscape photographer and use a dslr. (I just don't have the money for MF). Today I'm thinking 5D or D300 if the quality proves good enough. Maybe something else, can you reccommend something? Maybe I'm wrong, does a landscape photographer need MF?

I'd like a minimum of 12mp to satisfy a minimum size requirement for an image agency. I might go for the 5D successor if one is announced in February at PMA. I might be able to stretch my budget to acquire a D3, again waiting to see real world results...any thoughts?

Ok, any help appreciated and thank you in advance. I've gotta start looking at michael's essays for a start.

Morris

Ps...tripod/head considerations...what say ye? something not horribly expensive...
« Last Edit: September 24, 2007, 10:49:21 AM by momo2 » Logged

dobson
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2007, 11:18:04 AM »
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Opinions on equipment vary widely, but I'll give you mine.

I usually shoot landscape in remote areas. This gives me incentive to go as light as possible with very little extraneous equipment. I rarely even carry filters with me, unless I anticipate and overriding need for them. I would rather work in post-processing than carry more weight in my pack. I also consider what lenses will give me the most bang for the weight. Slow, but sharp, zooms are the ticket here. I regularly take the 17-40 and the 70-200 f4 with me; these lenses cover the focal range I usually use and I don't need a fast aperture in the mountains.

Get a good tripod that you like and a remote, too. I hate my tripod because it's heavy and cumbersome. As a result, I don't take it with me as often as I should. You have to be willing to use the thing or it really can't help your photography.

Hope this helps a bit

Phillip Dobson
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2007, 12:36:47 PM »
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Morris:

As Phillip said, every photographer has his or her own opinion as to the best way to do things.  Some prefer to do as much as they can 'in camera' so to speak, and others prefer to take the shot and do as much 'fixing' as they can in post-production.  For me, I've been around cameras (and film) long enough that I still tend toward thinking about capturing as much as I can in the field.  It's simply a different mindset and depends on you and your knowledge of cameras and photography as well as Photoshop and other software.  One thing, though.  You can't really duplicate the effects of a polarizer in post-processing.  Glare creates highlights that burn out to white, which is essentially a lack of information and there's nothing there to fix later.

As to being a 'serious' landscape photographer... well a serious landscape photographer would bypass MF and go straight to an 11x14 camera with photographic plates and an assistant to help carry everything!  Okay, I'm kidding.  Each format has its own pros and cons and one must consider practical things (like budget) along with everything else. Working with a large format camera and working with a DSLR is an entirely different experience.  Buy the best of whatever format you can afford and go from there.  Quality equipment can make a difference, but a bigger difference is the 'eye', the skills and abilities of the photographer.

Megapixels (the number of pixels on the sensor) is a bit of a misnomer because there are (basically) two factors to consider.  One is the number of pixels on the sensor and the other is the size of each pixel.  In theory at least one could pack 100MP onto an area of 1cm x 1cm but the results wouldn't be of much use.  There's more to consider than simply the number of pixels a specific camera has.  That's without getting into the different types of chips.

As far as tripods, there are again many different opinions and many different uses.  Heavier tripods tend to be more stable, but graphite is lighter than aluminum and does a better job.  There are also practical considerations like your height and the height at which you do your photography.  Keep in mind that while some tripods have a center post, if you extend the tripod legs and then extend the center post to the top of its length you now have a monopod, not a tripod.  If you like macro shots of flowers, for example, you're going to need a tripod that extends low to the ground.  If you travel by air you're going to need a tripod that folds up short enough that you can take on the plane.  If you plan to take entire days wandering around in the woods you need a tripod that won't feel like a lead weight on your shoulder at the end of the day.  Some photographers prefer ball heads will others like the individual controls of a tilt/pan head.

Canvassing opinions on a board like this will yield a lot of information, and some of it might even prove useful, but going to a camera shop, finding a knowledgeable clerk and seeing for yourself how things actually feel to you is an entirely different experience.

My $0.02

Mike.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2007, 07:37:30 AM »
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You would receive much better responses if you can provide some background info about your photography, such as:

- what equipment are you using now?

- besides landscape, what have you been shooting, and for how long?

- have you been selling your work, and for how long?

- who do you think your landscape customers will be, and at what price point?

- will the sales of your landscape work be your primary income?

Without these info, responses can be completely out of context.

Quote
Can someone point me at books or online guides for their use, please?

I've never used them. I think I'd like to try. Or is it better to bracket and layer in photoshop? Other techniques? Things to be careful of?

I'm planning on shooting landscape for the first time with an intent to sell images. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141570\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2007, 12:19:51 PM »
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ND filters, polarizers..

Polaziers cut out haze and can make skies bluer

the can also see through reflections in glass and water.

Very useful

ND

A simple ND cuts light into the lense allowing use of a slower shutter speed or a wider aperture

a slower shutter speed can enable things like wooshihng streams look

A wider aperture can enable you to isolate your subject more

you are unlikely to need an ND to do the second because you can probably increase your shutter speed to get a wide aperture

GRADUATED ND

Enables you to cut light out of part of the frame (typically darkening the sky)

Nowadays considered a little passe becuase more accurate effects can usually be acheived by either shooting raw or similar exposures (braketed - different settings) , producing two exposures and blending them together in photoshop

In terms of eqipment I would go 5D over D300 becuase the wide lenses are cheaper/better becuase of the bigger chip

COnversly you will get more depth of field from a D300 because of the smaller chip

In terms of quality stitching is the way to get quality on a budget

In terms of furether resources - this site and google

SMM
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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
www.sammorganmoore.com -photography
Morris Taub
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2007, 09:44:33 AM »
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Quote
You would receive much better responses if you can provide some background info about your photography, such as:

- what equipment are you using now?

- besides landscape, what have you been shooting, and for how long?

- have you been selling your work, and for how long?

- who do you think your landscape customers will be, and at what price point?

- will the sales of your landscape work be your primary income?

Without these info, responses can be completely out of context.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141729\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

First, Phillipe and Mike, thanks for your responses...slowly helping me to have a clear picture of what I need to consider...

Ok, Chris...here's my story...

Equipment : Canon D60 and a Fuji F30...only one lens for the Canon, a 20-35...I have three older Nikon lenses from my film days...back then I was shooting an F3...oh, I started with a Mamiya Sekor (a DSX 1000 35mm) with a 50mm lens in school (1975)

What I've been shooting : Mostly street photography, but some landscape, some portrait stuff for about 35 years with periods where I didn't do any shooting and periods when I couldn't put the damn camera down...

Selling my work : I have used some of my photos for book covers over the years,...I'm a graphic designer...most of my time in publishing/books as designer or art director...i have sold some of my photos via jupiterimages and nonstock...

landscape customers and price point : no idea...they'll be through jupiterimages and price will be dependant on usage...

primary income : no, I don't think so, but I'm not sure what to expect...I'd be happy if it did become primary income...

Briefly : jupiterimages wants more images from me...they won't accept images from a D60. They want minimum 11mp because they rez up images to like 60mb...they told me a Canon 5D is fine, any of the Canon 1 series and the Nikon D2X(s)...

I'll have to wait to see if they'll take images from a Nikon D300...I'm leaning that way, if the image quality is in the Canon 5D neighborhood, because I already have three older, good Nikon lenses from my film days that would be compatible and I'd add one or two high quality lenses to that...if not I'll buy the Canon offering with a couple of lenses...

I don't want the Canon 1 body or the Nikon D body because of size and weight...I like street shooting and can't see lugging one of those tanks around all day...

Living in the south of France I want to take advantage of the wonderful countryside and offer jupiterimages some landscape images...hopefully with just enough 'difference' or 'personality' to make them acceptable...I mean they must already have more landscape shots than they know what to do with...and I'd guess great quality too...

cityscapes would be part of what I offer them as well,...

I've never shot with polarizers or nd filters and so my questions...I've seen how they enhance landscape, beach images and like the look/feel so want to try for myself...

I'm working with a budget so I'm trying to carefully plan what I want, what I need, what I can afford, all with the goal of buying in March or April of 2008.

I'm secretly hoping that Canon offers an upgraded 5D at PMA so my decision is a little easier...I just like the files I've seen from that camera and would assume a new version would be at least as good or better...No idea what to expect from the D300 and noise/low light is important to me...I don't use flash,...i prefer available light...that's why, despite my nikon lenses, i've been leaning toward Canon...

ok...sorry to go on...any other questions, I'll be happy to respond...in the end I want great image quality, a kit that's flexible, and one that won't break my bank...I'm wanting to start out slow, small, but keep the quality as good as I can and add as I go...bang for buck important...

Thanks for the help Chris...

M
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Morris Taub
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2007, 09:57:36 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
ND filters, polarizers..

Polaziers cut out haze and can make skies bluer

the can also see through reflections in glass and water.

Very useful

ND

A simple ND cuts light into the lense allowing use of a slower shutter speed or a wider aperture

a slower shutter speed can enable things like wooshihng streams look

A wider aperture can enable you to isolate your subject more

you are unlikely to need an ND to do the second because you can probably increase your shutter speed to get a wide aperture

GRADUATED ND

Enables you to cut light out of part of the frame (typically darkening the sky)

Nowadays considered a little passe becuase more accurate effects can usually be acheived by either shooting raw or similar exposures (braketed - different settings) , producing two exposures and blending them together in photoshop

In terms of eqipment I would go 5D over D300 becuase the wide lenses are cheaper/better becuase of the bigger chip

COnversly you will get more depth of field from a D300 because of the smaller chip

In terms of quality stitching is the way to get quality on a budget

In terms of furether resources - this site and google

SMM
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141777\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Morgan, thanks for the short, precise summary...i find it really helpful...And I'm kind of leaning toward photoshop for the ND work...I've got to read a bit more about it...

Can you suggest a circular polarizer that's not too expensive but good/decent quality?...I've seen some B+W here on a website in france...they range from about 60-120 euros depending on size...Cokin starts out much cheaper...they offer 'thin' as well...there's also a brand here called Hama...

any thoughts?...

Thanks...M
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