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Filters - which ones?

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whiteheat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote whiteheat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Filters - which ones?
    Posted: 08 July 2017 at 05:27
Hi All,

Some advice from those in the know. I am on the verge of acquiring some filters. Being down under, when the sun comes out it gets really bright which makes day time outside shooting a bit of a problem at times. The light can be harsh and requires much stopping down and shooting at higher shutters speeds, both of which are not usually desirable. In most cases, the camera sensor can't cope with the dynamic range required to capture details in the very bright/very dark areas. The metering only averages the light.

So, I'm going to get some filters. I've had experience with the 100mm x 150mm square/rectangular system some years ago, unfortunately I was naive and purchased el cheapo stuff from China. The results were crap. The filters introduced a heavy colour cast to images. This time, I'm going for real glass. I want filters that have very low but preferably no induced colour casting. I've googled reviews etc, but has anybody had first hand experience of no colour cast glass 100mm x 150mm system filters? Answers on a post card to....

Ta muchly.
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 July 2017 at 09:13
I did a quick Google search and noticed this is the Lee-system. I guess your best bet is using Lee filters - those are expensive. But I don't have any experience, I own a Cokin-P system but with cheap non-Cokin filters and had the same colourcast you describe, I suppose real Cokins would be better too.

Sorry I can't be of more help...
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whiteheat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote whiteheat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 July 2017 at 09:19
Thanks Addy. I already researched Lee filters. Unfortunately, their grad ND filters are resin, not glass, so not going there. I'm expecting a $700 to $900 AUD hit for a couple of filters, filter holder and a couple of step up adaptors.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote artuk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 July 2017 at 10:14
If you are using E mount cameras, the are 2 Play Memories Apps that are substitutes for filters - "Smooth Reflection" simulates ND stop type filters and another (name forgotten) simulates graduated filters. They are only suitable foe tripod work as they take multiple.shots and merge them into a single raw.
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whiteheat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote whiteheat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 July 2017 at 10:17
No, I'm using an A99 hand held with either a 70-200mm or 100-300mm attached, shooting portraiture and urban geometry. I'm uber sceptical that an app or any digital solution will be a satisfactory substitute for a quality physical filter.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote minolta_mutley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 July 2017 at 11:35
Benro uses glass in it's filters (they told me this on an event) - and that's what i read at some resellers.
Have no clue about the quality though - but it seemed to be well made to me.

 



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artuk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote artuk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 July 2017 at 12:29
Originally posted by whiteheat whiteheat wrote:

No, I'm using an A99 hand held with either a 70-200mm or 100-300mm attached, shooting portraiture and urban geometry. I'm uber sceptical that an app or any digital solution will be a satisfactory substitute for a quality physical filter.


I've been using the 2 apps I mentioned and they are very good. The smooth reflections app allows you to take multiple/many shots which are merged into a single raw to simulate very slow shutter speeds. It's worked very well for me. The Sky HDR app allows you to create 2 or 3 different zones of exposure in a scene, then captures 2 or 3 shots with different exposures, WB etc and merges them into a single raw. You control the position and graduation between each exposure to make the merges invisible (just like a graduated filter). It's takes some setting up to get just right, as with filters, but the results can be good. Obviously both only work on a tripod. They are very good and worth experimenting with, but only work on E mount cameras I'm afraid
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Faldrax Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 July 2017 at 12:28
Are you looking for ND or Grad filters?

Lee ProGlass IRND are (as the name suggests) made of glass - but these are plain ND rather than Grad filters.

Formatt-Hitch make glass based Grad filters - search fro their 'Firecrest ND filters - I've not tried them, but have heard good things from those who have.
(Their Firecrest ND filters are also glass).



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Post Options Post Options   Quote whiteheat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 July 2017 at 14:49
I'm after both. I'm thinking ND 0.6 or 0.9 (2 or 3 stop) and a GND 0.6.

From what I've read doing the research, I'm looking at the new Breakthrough X4 GND and X4 ND filters due out this August. My second choice would be Nisi filter system using 100mm x 150mm filters. As mentioned previous, colour cast free is the top priority and Breakthrough are claiming these new filters to be the "the world's sharpest and most color neutral GND, guaranteed." Quite a bold claim, so I'm holding out until they come out as the predicted cost per filter at around $200 US is quite reasonable if the asserted claims be true. Other top quality colour neutral / cast free filters are in the $400 to $600 US per filter (B+W or Cokin Nuance range).

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/breakthrough/dark-cpl-and-x4-gnd/description

Most of the articles on filters I've found that mention Lee and/or Hitech filters also indicate colour cast issues. Hence now just looking at Breakthrough primary choice and Nisi, secondary choice.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stiuskr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 July 2017 at 17:34
Since we're in the upper end of the price range then don't forget about, or in case you didn't know there's also the Singh-Ray filters.

http://www.singh-ray.com/
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whiteheat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote whiteheat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 July 2017 at 18:40
No, I hadn't forgotten. They only do square filters in optical resin, so that's a non starter. Must be glass.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waldo_posth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 July 2017 at 19:44
Using ND filters is a routine if you work with (bright) daylight and fast lenses when you open the aperture to the maximum for reducing the DOF.

Color cast is the more troublesome the darker the filters are. This comparison might give you an idea (all glas filters).

Not mentioned in the test is a filter maker that is not as expensive as Lee, Singh-Ray and Breakthrough: Haida. I have several 100x100mm and 150x150mm filters (ND, C-POL, ND Grad) - and they are all almost free of any color cast. For an exemplary test see here.

100x150mm usually means that you look for ND GRAD filters (the additional length providing some shift space to compose the darkened part of the image). Despite your experience with cheap Chinaware ND GRAD resin filters made by Cokin (for the Z system) behave quite well - showing almost no color cast (older ND GRAD filters in the Cokin P systems have been not as neutral, I can tell).

Another option would be 82mm circular glass filters and step down rings. That's definitely an easier way if you look for C-POL filters.
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whiteheat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote whiteheat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 July 2017 at 19:58
Yeah, I saw that article previously. I was also considering Haida but hadn't mentioned it previously, wanting to reduce the choice to just the most obvious contenders to my mind.

Otherwise, I agree. I'd be shooting portraits along beach/coastal fronts on bright days hence the combination of both ND and GND stacked together. The square system is the only way to go in my mind. Much easier to work with than a circular filter arrangement.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote whiteheat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2018 at 10:24
Hi All,

Thought I'd give you an informal product review of the filters I decided to go with.

I purchased a soft GND8 and an ND8 filter, filter holder plus a bunch of step up adapters, from Breakthrough photography based out of San Francisco. These arrived in November last year, some 4 months after I ordered them. I also the X100 Circular Polarised filter with holder, but this hasn't arrived yet. Such are the precarities of purchasing through a kickstarter project.

Fist up, the product look and feel. Well I can see where the money went. The filter are made of relatively thick schott glass and have bevelled corners, making them easier to ingress/egress from the filter holder. They also have the article particulars etched in to the glass along the bottom, lest you were ever inclined to forget what rating pertained to the filter. All in all, nice, precise pieces of glass. All Breakthrough filters come in their own rated and padded cases - really nice and useful.

Next, the filter holder. The X100 filter holder is also well made and put together. I can't find what material it is made from but I suspect it is aluminium. It fits precisely on to an adapter ring and the glass enters smoothly in to the holder slots but with just the right amount of resistance. The step up ring attachment lock/release bolt works like a charm, no catching or use of excessive force necessary. When mounted on a step up ring, the X100 can rotated freely with minimal force but isn't loose, so the thing won't swivel of its volition. You can have any amount of glass protruding vertically out of the holder and as long as the glass is held firm by the X100, even turning the thing upside down won't cause the glass to fall out. But, the glass is not gripped so firm that it is difficult to move the glass up or down. The X100 also comes with four additional filter mount screws in black, in case you don't like the current ones fitted which are silver. Again, an elegant padded case is supplied for the X100.

The step up rings are like the rest of the filter system components, well engineered with well executed fit and finished. Very good tolerances. Screws on to the lens seamlessly with no slack or play. The X100 clips on with minimal fuss and complication. Once attached, no chance of accidentally coming off but still easy to rotate with just enough resistance in the combination of the holder and step up ring to hold the X100 at any angle so desired.

All items are delivered in their own premium quality box, replete with cleaning cloth. My filters came without any edge foam sealer to prevent light leak. An omission Breakthrough fessed up to and sent me the sealers separately once the mistake had been realised. I didn't even know the filters were supposed to have them. That said, I have been using the filters without the foam edge sealers and not had any adverse effects. I am also wary that adding the foam which may hinder the smooth insertion of the glass in to the X100. No matter, I can add them at any point should I feel the need.

All in all, I am extremely please with the product quality, which is first rate. Also, very pleased with how the X100 filter system components work when coupled to a lens and its use in the field. I did not seem to encounter any problems with it in real world use. I find this to validate the cost of these items. The X100 filter holder, 4 step up rings, 1 CPL filter and holder, 1 soft GND8 filter and 1 ND8 filter for only $646 US. The equivalent of this setup from other comparable manufacturers would have set me back an additional $200 to $300 US, so I am stoked I got what I needed for a good price.

So, what results can these filters yield? Well now, I obtained these filters to even out the light across the frame. Down here (down under), we get very harsh bright sunlight for much of the year. That makes shooting during the middle of the day somewhat challenging. I have found these filters to live up to my expectations and then some. I get more deeply saturated images with no blown highlights. Below are some images I got with both filters. Nothing special in terms of composition or emotive punch with these images, just used them to illustrate saturation and non highlight blowout characteristics:

Product Images

GND Images

ND Images

Edited by whiteheat - 03 June 2018 at 10:39
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