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Author Topic: What Square/Rectangular Filters to Start With?  (Read 2274 times)
neacail
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« on: February 17, 2014, 08:50:37 AM »
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Hello, everyone.

I'm coming back to landscape photography after 20 years. Years ago, when still shooting 35mm film, I shot in black and white and used solid Nd, red, and polarizer filters, screwed onto my lens (not necessarily all at once).

I've decided I'm going to go with the Lee filter system now (none of my old filters will even fit on my current lenses), but all of the filter options have me a bit confused. I live in an area where I have quick access to wide varieties of landscapes: mountains, prairie, and even desert badlands. Combine the varied landscapes with digital colour photography, and my head is left spinning.

What would your recommendations be to start my filter kit with, and why? I'm using a Canon 24-70 f2.8 ii right now, and I'll be picking up a 21mm Zeiss Distagon as my "go-to" landscape lens in the not to distant future.

Also, why does it seem that polarizers have almost gone the way of the Dodo? I'm not seeing them mentioned much, and the shops I frequent don't carry much in the way of them.

Thx!
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Shelley
Alan Klein
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2014, 12:11:28 PM »
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For digital, polarizers are important and are accessible on line.  Lee and lot of others manufacture them.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Polarizer/ci/115/N/4026728357

Graduated ND also and ND's.  Check the same B and H site.  They often have free shipping.

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neacail
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2014, 03:16:56 PM »
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Thanks, Alan. Smiley

I'm concerned a bit about the graduated NDs. Will they just create more work for me in post if I'm shooting more mountainous or hilly terrain?
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Shelley
Alan Klein
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2014, 04:54:54 PM »
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Grads will create less adjustment work in PS if used properly.  Of course if you have a lot of zig zags then the head might be better not used.  Tone mapping and multiple shots may work better.
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bretedge
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2014, 11:13:56 PM »
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If you really want or prefer to use GND's, I'd suggest either Lee or Singh-Ray.  I used Singh-Ray GND's until last year, when I gave them up for the more precise control afforded by blending multiple exposures together by hand.  Not HDR - this is using luminosity masks to blend in just the parts I want to use.  The results are very natural and don't suffer from the typical HDR, tone-mapped look.  And, better yet, you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive GND filters!
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2014, 12:06:11 AM »
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Two shots blended in Layers to the job very well, no need for HD.

What I see is missing in my setup are NDs for shooting flowing water and getting shallow DoF.
Polarizer also helps occasionally.

So what can not be done in post is:
- NDs
- Polarizer

(almost) everything else can be done in post or by taking additional shots.

Cheers
~Chris
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bretedge
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2014, 07:05:10 AM »
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Two shots blended in Layers to the job very well, no need for HD.

What I see is missing in my setup are NDs for shooting flowing water and getting shallow DoF.
Polarizer also helps occasionally.

So what can not be done in post is:
- NDs
- Polarizer

(almost) everything else can be done in post or by taking additional shots.

Cheers
~Chris

Very good point about what can't be done in post.  Sure, you can somewhat replicate a polarizer's action on the sky but when it comes to removing reflections from leaves, wet rocks, etc. nothing in the digital darkroom can replace it.  The only two filters I still carry are a solid ND and a polarizer.
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neacail
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2014, 09:00:57 AM »
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Thanks for the tips, everyone!

I don't have something set right in the forum settings, so I wasn't notified of the developments in the discussion. I'll see if I can fix that. Smiley

I will definitely pick up a polarizer as my first filter. I used to shoot in a very smoggy area, and a polarizer was my go to filter. Maybe moving to a different part of the country is reflected in the way polarizers are stocked by shops. I'll pick up a solid ND as my second filter (maybe a "Big Stopper?"). My third filter will be an ND grad to play with, to see if I can become comfortable with it.

I recently installed Magic Lantern on my 6D, and I've been playing with dual iso imagery. It is a really interesting concept, and it may deal with most of my dynamic range issues (once I get the hang of it). I have been playing with HDR (stacking images, not tone mapping), and I'm getting some reasonably good results. I do need to learn how use luminosity masks. I don't know how to use masks in photoshop at all, and I need to fix that.
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Shelley
NancyP
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2014, 10:33:50 AM »
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You will enjoy the Zeiss 21mm f/2.8, it is a lovely landscape lens.
I use CPLs a lot (52 and 72mm), but have not yet settled on a large CPL for the Zeiss, either a 82mm CPL or a 105mm CPL that fits in front of the Lee system. CPL on a 21mm FF lens will give you weird skies if you have sky all across your photo, but there are plenty of other reasons to use CPLs on ultra wide lenses - waterfall/stream reflections, improvement of foliage saturation being the two pertinent uses in my local (Ozarks) landscapes.
I settled on using the Lee holder, and bought a Big Stopper 10-stop ND filter, a 2 stop soft graduated ND filter, and a 3 stop reverse graduated ND filter (sunsets and sunrises). I am going to be using the filters on 4 x 5 film, and on a Sigma Foveon sensor camera, which has less dynamic range than a standard Bayer CFA sensor on a DSLR.
Try www.2filter.com, they are very helpful and will answer your questions, in fact the owner is a chatty guy. 2filter may have the best access to Lee filters in the US, they seem to have them in stock far more often than at B and H.
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