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Author Topic: best GLASS gnd filters  (Read 1741 times)
leeonmaui
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« on: April 26, 2013, 06:04:07 AM »
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I've been using high tech rectangular filters for some time, GND filters are one of my favorite things to work with.

Any thoughts on the best glass filters out there, I'm replacing my high tech filters, and want ideas on filters with the least color cast...
Seems the high tech filters scratch too easily and have a pretty rough color cast.

This time price is really not an issue :-)
Also portable case solutions for the field, I'm thinking some sort of mini hard case...


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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2013, 07:48:38 AM »
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Any thoughts on the best glass filters out there, I'm replacing my high tech filters, and want ideas on filters with the least color cast...

Hi,

It seems like the choices for graduated glass NDs are limited, Tiffen and Schneider come to mind. I haven't tried them myself, because I don't like the look of straight line edge transitions on anything that is not a straight line edge transition. I prefer exposure blending for stills. For regular motion picture or video, grads can help.

Cheers,
Bart
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mshea
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2013, 12:29:43 PM »
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I bought a few Tiffen grads years ago that came in cases. Don't know if they still sell them that way. I agree with Bart though. For me, the best approach is exposure blending.

Merrill
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2013, 02:58:56 PM »
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Lee filters..... these are what I use, they sell cases....I would assume Schneider are also excellent..
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torger
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2013, 01:29:06 AM »
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As far as I know there's really not much competition with Schneider MPTV multi-coated glass filters, originally designed for video but also used by landscape photographers.

The Lee filters are uncoated resin filters. As far as I know Tiffen have that many densities to choose from so you can't really make a proper filter set out of them.
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torger
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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2013, 01:32:43 AM »
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It seems like the choices for graduated glass NDs are limited, Tiffen and Schneider come to mind. I haven't tried them myself, because I don't like the look of straight line edge transitions on anything that is not a straight line edge transition. I prefer exposure blending for stills. For regular motion picture or video, grads can help.

A "new" method is to shoot with ND and then take a calibration shot using a milk-white glass in front (LCC shot in medium format terms) so you can cancel out the grad effect in post-processing, and apply a new more precise grad digitally. I do that sometimes. What you gain from that is that you can capture the scene in one shot (which I prefer to do from an artistic perspective), and rely on more photons in the darker parts (rather than low sensor noise).
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leeonmaui
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2013, 02:00:37 AM »
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Aloha,

thank you for the thoughtful response.

I'm assuming a "milk white shot" is like to a black screen shot.
I shoot with a Pentax 645d, when using the camera in bulb mode and shooting exposures over
30 seconds, the camera will build a black screen shot and do an in camera noise processing of the exposure, comparing the noise signature of the two exposures. Some of my friend use software for Astro photography that does the same thing.

I love working with grads, as the feel of creation in camera is very gratifying to me as well.

I'm just looking to get better quality filters, but maybe, some post editing tools might be an alternate way of cleaning up the shot to my tastes. 
I'm looking to get three soft grads to replace my three soft high tech ones... 
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torger
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2013, 02:42:24 AM »
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I'm assuming a "milk white shot" is like to a black screen shot.

It looks like the attached image. You take an extra shot with that piece of semi-transparent white plastic in front. For tech cameras it's primarily used to record color casts (due to ultra-short flange distance of the wides you get magenta casts on the sensor) so you can cancel them out in post, but it also works for cancelling out sensor dust spots or a grad filter if you shoot it with the grad filter on.

The cancel out operation in post-processing is called "flat field correction" or something similar.

I actually use formatt hitech resin filters myself. The quality is not optimal, I've discovered that some of them visibly reduce sharpness slightly so one have to make some test shots and discard bad ones and get a good one. The lack of coating can be a problem in some situations too (shadow images of very bright highlights). The advantage with them is that they are small, light and cheap. If I would upgrade I'd look into Schneider MPTV for sure. The disadvantage is the large size, as I use small tech cam lenses and is not into ultra-wides I don't need the large size.

Really nice colors in your images by the way!
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langier
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2013, 10:11:06 AM »
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I had TIffen glass grad filters years ago. For film, I think they did have a cast, but much, much less than the Coken they replaced. I've replaced the TIffens since with Signh Ray grads and they are dead-on neutral. However, with the dynamic range of today's sensors and using a little bit of post, I seldom even think of bringing my grads in the field today. Even with longer lenses, the Signh Ray didn't seem to create focus or sharpness issues.

Today, I can create a higher quality image by usually shooting additional exposures in the field and then crafting the image in post. For me, this gets me around the limitations of grad filters. Sometimes, I use multiple exposures, sometimes simply double-processing the file. In any case, the thing that was always an issue to me is that the filters worked great with an image with a straight horizon, but if there was anything that stuck above this line, it darkened whether I wanted it or not, such as trees, rocks, buildings, canyon walls, etc.

For some images, the grads are fine, but for most of my work, post is a much better approach.
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Larry Angier
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leeonmaui
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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2013, 05:15:05 PM »
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Aloha,

I am not so keen on moving to multiple exposures, although I am sure I will be doing some of it in the future, as I can clearly see some of the benefits.
I use soft edge grads so the horizon effect is not nearly as noticeable. I love working with grads is all, its fun and adds a little extra to some shots...
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leeonmaui
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« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2013, 05:37:24 PM »
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Aloha,

The colors and light of The Fitz Roy valley are just nothing short of astounding, If there is something better than Heaven for photographers; this place is it.
I can not think of a place with such diversity of subject matter so close together, I went there primarily to shoot fall colors, so I did not even try and shoot the glaciers, which are very close by. You can do day hikes from El Chalten- I camped at Poincenot base camp, but you could do it either way.

In the waterfall shot, I was blessed that the tree in the left foreground was on fire with color, I could see a big difference in color between when I arrived on the 7th and when I had to leave on the 15th, probably colors peaked sometime in the last part of April. The light is frustrating and magnificent.
Take all your lenses as there is plenty to shoot at any focal length...

I develop to Fuji Flex so reds just sing!
I am a bit worried the tree in the waterfall might be too overpowering, but maybe it will just help reset the eye back down to the start of the image, i will see proofs from my lab in about 10 days, I never worry about it or get my hopes up till i see a proofing print...
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SangRaal
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2013, 12:35:43 PM »
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How can you continue to live without a complete set of Singh - Ray filters especially a complete set of the "Galen Rowell" series and the 5 and 10 stop mor-slos! mmmmmmm--- just add in a blue and gold polarizer.
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