FZ200 ND filters

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Malcb
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FZ200 ND filters
3 months ago

I thought I'd share my experience. I've recent got the FZ200 and also picked up a set of filters, UV, CPL, ND8. These were a set so you'd think they were the most common. UV as lens protection in harsh conditions and CPL is obvious. ND8 I expected to be for waterfall pictures but really it is far to low. Maybe this is because of the FZ200 narrow range of F2.8 to F8.

I recently tried to take a slow waterfall picture in Barcelona, so fairly strong sunlight. Best I could achieve was 1/6s which was f8, ND8, and, the CPL. The CPL I've since measured as ND3-ND4 so this was f8 + ND24-N32. As it turned out 1/6s was about what I wanted since I didn't have a tripod so I reckoning of 25mm -> 1/25s but then 2 stops gain from stabilisation so 1/6.

I've recently tried a cheap variable ND filter that claimed up to ND400. I measured the useful range as ~ND3 to ~ND26. Above ND26 the reduction is uneven and you see a purple cross rather than a smooth reduction. This would seem to be an interaction between filter and camera as you don't see this cross with the naked eye. I've come to the conclusion that variable ND filters are not a very good idea (and linear) so I'm glad I didn't spend a lot on this one.

It seems to me that a better option is stacking filters. The FZ200 will take 2 with no vinigetting at 25mm and 3 if you zoom a bit (30mm?, a lot less x 2 anyway).  The other thing to do is to think of ND in stops, so ND2 = 1 stop, N4 = 2, ND8 = 3, etc..  I've bought an additional ND32 filter (5 stops).  Hence I can now get -3 (ND8), -5 (ND32), -8 (ND8+ND32), -11 (ND8+ND32+CPL).  As the FZ200 was a 3 stop range then I can continuous cover -11 stops below f2.8 with 1 or 2 filters, or to -13 stops with 3 filters.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
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