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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Sue McLeod
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/27/2005
 

Neutral Density Filters


Hi Everyone! I am wondering if anyone could advise on whether you can/should use a neutral density filter for portraits on the beach and what to watch out for. I try to shoot in late afternoon so that the sun is behind me (East coast of Australia) but sometimes there is still a lot of glare from the water (and sometimes peope want shots in the morning! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

12/9/2007 4:20:53 PM

 
Bob Fately

member since: 4/11/2001
  Sue, I don't believe an ND filter would be of help in the situations you describe. The purpose of these filters is to simply cut down on the light entering the lens across the spectrum. On the other hand, if you want to open your lens wider than is possible due to too much ambient light, the ND can help. That is, if you set the ISO to 100 and use the highest shutter speed possible and still have to use f8 to get proper exposure, then an ND filter can be used to cut the light so that you can open to f2.8 or whatever and get less depth of field.
Now, as for glare on the water, you might want to try a polarizing filter. Assuming you use a modern camera, you'll need to get a so-called citcular polarizing (CP) filter (the older linear type polarizers don't allow modern auto-focus systems to work properly). CPs usually also cut light out by 1 to 2 stops, so in a sense, they act as ND filters - but they do much more than that due to the effects of polarization.
Hope that helps.

12/9/2007 9:47:59 PM

 
Sue McLeod
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/27/2005
  Thanks Bob. I have a CP for my older lens but not for my new ones. Are there some better than others as I never felt I was getting the best out of the old one!

12/9/2007 10:22:09 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com

member since: 12/13/2005
  Get the better CP filter with multi coating glass. I use mine quite a bit and it is worth the extra $$. I have a B&W Kaesemann & Promaster (both 77mm) that fit 4 of my lenses. They do a great job of cutting reflections off of the water and add color to the sky and a little more detail with darker areas. I also use a tripod and slow shutter speeds which I use for shooting waterfalls but may not be ideal for portraits. You will lose a couple of stops so you may need to increase the ISO a bit to get faster shutter speeds and retain the DOF you want. I tested a few of them and the B&W Kaesemann was the best I have tried.

12/9/2007 11:56:33 PM

 
Sue McLeod
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/27/2005
  Thanks Carlton! I will have a look at them...

12/10/2007 12:37:32 AM

 

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