ND filters on the Panasonic 7-14mm F4

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Pic Man
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ND filters on the Panasonic 7-14mm F4
4 months ago

Anyone that owns this lens knows it is a special lens, it's extremely sharp and it gives a very unique perspective at the wide end. It's not without its flaws however, it can flare in certain conditions because of the bulbous front element and if you're an Olympus shooter you can get some annoying purple blobs showing up from time to time. The other downside to this lens is its inability to take filters. I really love this lens but I've always wanted to take some long exposures in daylight so I decided to invest in a filter system from a 3rd party maker.

There are a number of options you can take here. One option is to adapt a conkin P filter holder to fit using a rubber collapsable hood. Shown here.

http://the-random-photographer.blogspot.tw/2012/07/filters-on-panasonic-7-14mm-problem.html

The problem I found with this method is getting hold of strong ND filters for it. They can be expensive and not very good from the reports I found online. The other problem I've heard about is light leakage as light can get in through the corners of the built in lens hood of the 7-14.

Another option is to put filters on the back of the lens. There is a thread bookmarked on this forum that goes into detail on how to do this. I seriously considered this option because it has the advantage of not taking up any extra space in your bag. There are a few reasons I didn't go for this option. First, I couldn't get hold of the part needed at the time. It was sold out everywhere I looked. The second reason was that I wasn't sure how it would work in practice. There are occasions when you cannot achieve focus because there isn't enough light. If the filter is on the front you can compose, lock focus and then put the filter on. I don't think this can be done with filters on the rear. Even if you can lock focus it can be difficult to compose. The other thing is, I've read that it can be tricky changing gel filters and it's best done indoors. If you use gel filters on the rear please correct me if I'm wrong.

The option I went for was the Wonderpana system by Fotodiox. It's very expensive for what it is, I think I paid about £200 for it. Here are a couple of pictures of it attached to the lens.

without filters

2 filters attached

with filter cap

As you've probably noticed it's not small. The filters are 145mm and I think they have to be to cover such a wide angle. It comes with two ND filters, and ND16 (4 stops) and a ND 32 (5 stops). The filters can be stacked for 9 stops. You would think there would be some vignetting with stacked filters at the widest setting but I was very pleasantly surprised when I found there wasn't any. If you want I think Fotodiox now sell a single 10stop 145mm filter as well.

I've had this system for about a month but I haven't really had a good chance to try it out properly until now. I went to the southern coast of Taiwan to a place called Kenting. Unfortunately weather conditions weren't favourable as there was lots of rain and ocean spray but I got a couple of pics that I thought were ok. This was the first time I've tried long exposures using ND filters and I was surprised that even with a 9 stop ND filter it still doesn't slow your shutter speed as much as I would like in broad daylight. I had to stop down to f22 to get shots between 6 and 10 seconds. Looking back I probably could of timed my shots better and used a faster shutter speed which I will try next time. I also had a problem with spray splashing the filter. As the filter is not right next to the lens it gets picked up in the shot and looks like sensor spots. You have to wipe the filter if using it in dusty or wet environments. Overall though it works wonderfully and I have no regrets in buying it.

Anyway I apologise for the long post and here are a couple of shots. First was at 8mm and second 7mm.

long exposes kenting flickriver

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