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  #1  
Old 06-19-2007, 11:19 AM
marioana marioana is offline
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Default ND Grads

If you were to be stuck in the middle of no where with your basic equipment and only 1 ND Grad, which would it be? i know it depends on the situation, but as an all-round useful filter, what would you choose? I'm trying to buy some grads and want to make the right choices without filling my bag with a lot of overlapping equipment.
Regards, Steve.
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  #2  
Old 06-19-2007, 11:32 AM
Wirraway Wirraway is offline
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Default Re: ND Grads

Hi, I use 3 GND filters, 1x 2 stop hard,1x 2 stop soft and 1x 3 stop hard, if I could choose only one it would be my HiTech 2 stop soft. hope this helps.
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  #3  
Old 06-19-2007, 04:05 PM
AdrianW AdrianW is offline
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Default Re: ND Grads

I'm going to vote "none".

Just shoot a bracketset and HDR it later!
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  #4  
Old 06-19-2007, 05:48 PM
Keitht Keitht is offline
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Default Re: ND Grads

It's not always practical to bracket and use HDR after the event. HDR can also look very unnatural if not used very carefully. Using ND grad in the field can avoid a lot of work after the event.
If I could only carry one it would be a 2 stop soft.
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  #5  
Old 06-19-2007, 06:21 PM
isabib isabib is offline
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Default Re: ND Grads

Hi Adrian,

would you then need a tripod?
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  #6  
Old 06-19-2007, 07:35 PM
mossphoto mossphoto is offline
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Default Re: ND Grads

My vote would be either .3 soft or .6 soft

~V~
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  #7  
Old 06-19-2007, 08:10 PM
oochappan oochappan is offline
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Default Re: ND Grads

I agree half on that, filters have an impact on natural coloring, extra work to get them out again properly.

Experimented with bracketing and HDR
but
came back to manuel overlays, much more control over dynamic light range, even lightroom can't emulate eyeperception that well.
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  #8  
Old 06-19-2007, 09:29 PM
ben4321 ben4321 is offline
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Default Re: ND Grads

If you want to be tied to your tripod by all means give HDR a go, but as others have said already, unless it's done well it can look very unnatural. It also has the disadvantage that it only works with static subjects such as architecture and landscapes; if you're shooting moving subjects filtration is the way to go.
I think it's much better to get things right in-camera. Not only does it reduce the amount of time spent in front of a computer monitor but it's also more in keeping with the spirit of photography - capturing a moment in time, not combining several moments in time on a bloody computer!
Anyway to answer the question, I find that a 0.6 (2 stop) soft grad works great 90% of the time, and as I can't be bothered to carry any more filters to cover the other 10% it's the only one I use. I recommend Lee filters, I've tried the cheaper Cokin ones and they're rubbish. They leave a horrible colour cast whereas the Lee ones are neutral, just as they should be.

Cheers,
Ben
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  #9  
Old 06-19-2007, 10:10 PM
marioana marioana is offline
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Default Re: ND Grads

G'day Ben.
Thanks for your input. Firstly, I already shott quite a bit, maybe too much, HDR. I get good results most of the time and manage to keep them looking fairly natural. The big problem with HDR is as you say, moving subjects. Water is o.k, as with a coast or river the water is expected to show some movement, but the big problem is with plants, trees and flowers and grass on even the slightest of windy days. Over a three or more bracketed exposure time there's way too much blurr in the subject. That's why I want to try the grads for these moving subjects. I will start with Cokin as I already have the holder and a few simple filters, and once I'm familiar and comfortable I'll look at other brands. Yes I've heard about Lee, they sound good. One last thing that has me a little baffled is the diffrence between hard and soft grads. I understand the hard and soft blending of the ND area versus the clear area but I can't find where it says anywhere which are which. Even Cokin's site doesn't say wether a P121M is a hard or soft grad for example. Any further help would be apreciated. Thanks to all who responded.
Best regards, Steve.
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  #10  
Old 06-19-2007, 10:31 PM
ben4321 ben4321 is offline
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Default Re: ND Grads

I don't know about other brands, but Lee sell both hard and soft versions of their ND grads and both will be clearly labeled as such, both on the filter and on the packaging when you buy them.
Hard grads have a more abrupt transition from the shaded to the clear part of the filter, and are more suited to subjects such as seascapes of flat landscapes. With subjects with an uneven horizon such as a hilly landscape or a cityscape, the soft grads are a better bet and for general shooting soft is the way to go.

Cheers,
Ben
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