Recommendations for an ND grad system

Started Jul 5, 2013 | Discussions
andywhoa
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Recommendations for an ND grad system
Jul 5, 2013

Hi!

I'm taking a trip next month to Colorado, and I'd like to use an ND grad system to take some landscape pictures with.

I haven't used ND grads in a long while, so I'm in the market to purchase a kit.

I'm looking for slides as opposed to a screw on filter.  The camera I'm taking is a Fuji X100.  The thread size is 49mm.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

Thank you for your help.

Fujifilm FinePix X100
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Kuppenbender
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Me too!
In reply to andywhoa, Jul 5, 2013

Thankfully three of the better know square filter brands have recently brought out systems for smaller lenses.

Lee Seven5 - expensive but highly regarded.

Cokin Snap - cheap and cheerful rebranded A series

and sitting somewhere in the middle

Hitech 67mm series - much less expensive than the Lee Seven5, but hopefully better than the Cokins.

I'm inclined to go for the Hitech series as Cokin (and some of the cheap 'no name' brands) appear to suffer from colour casts. I'd be interested in hearing any first-hand opinions of these systems.

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andywhoa
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Re: Me too!
In reply to Kuppenbender, Jul 6, 2013

Thank you for your reply!

I'm really interested in the seven5 system.  I'll check it out!

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Recommendations for an ND grad system
In reply to andywhoa, Jul 6, 2013

I learned photography with film and to save money you had to do your best to get it right in the camera.  Using ND Gradient filters with film made great sense.

Today I wouldn't bother with a ND Gradient filter - I would do HDR.  Even if you only take one shot for the foreground and one for the sky you can put the two images on layers and add a gradient layer mask to one image to get the same results as you would have gotten with a ND Gradient filter.

Add a third shot by using your camera's Exposure Bracketing and you now have a much wider dynamic range available than you can ever get with filters.

Remember, a HDR image does not have to have that fake HDR look - it can look just like a normal image with lots of details in the highlights and shadows.

Instead of investing in an expensive ND Gradient filter put your money into a good tripod and ball head to make doing HDR easy.

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Clueless Wanderer
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Re: Recommendations for an ND grad system
In reply to andywhoa, Jul 8, 2013

Ive had Hitech ones for years I highly rate them. Then sailor blue points out the alternative, which I do from a single raw file. I pp the raw file, then make a virtual copy in Lightroom and under or over expose the copy by one stop, depending on what is needed. I then combine them in Photoshop. The most I have ever done is four different exposures of the same file.
Grads save you a hell of a lot of time pp, so I carry them with me and decide at the scene which option I will use. I use a cokin z pro holder with Hitech soft edge ND's. Its not been unknown for me to slide a darker filter in from the top for the sky and slide a not so darker one from below to darken the foreground. Again this can be done in post, But sliding in a grad is a hell of a lot faster..

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Footski
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Re: Me too!
In reply to Kuppenbender, Jul 8, 2013

I have very recently bought he Cokin Snap system and out of he box he whole set up looks very good quality. I have grads and full ND filters. I will nope fully be putting ether all to the test later this week.

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FlowBerlin
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Re: Recommendations for an ND grad system
In reply to Sailor Blue, Jul 21, 2013

Sailor Blue wrote:

I learned photography with film and to save money you had to do your best to get it right in the camera. Using ND Gradient filters with film made great sense.

Today I wouldn't bother with a ND Gradient filter - I would do HDR. Even if you only take one shot for the foreground and one for the sky you can put the two images on layers and add a gradient layer mask to one image to get the same results as you would have gotten with a ND Gradient filter.

Add a third shot by using your camera's Exposure Bracketing and you now have a much wider dynamic range available than you can ever get with filters.

Remember, a HDR image does not have to have that fake HDR look - it can look just like a normal image with lots of details in the highlights and shadows.

+1 on this! Anything you need to fiddle around with or carry with you in addition to the camera is a burden.

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wazu
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Re: Recommendations for an ND grad system
In reply to andywhoa, Jul 21, 2013

andywhoa wrote:

Hi!

I'm taking a trip next month to Colorado, and I'd like to use an ND grad system to take some landscape pictures with.

I haven't used ND grads in a long while, so I'm in the market to purchase a kit.

I'm looking for slides as opposed to a screw on filter. The camera I'm taking is a Fuji X100. The thread size is 49mm.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

Thank you for your help.

I have 49mm thread on my RX-1 and decided since I have several 52mm lenses to get a stepup converter to 52mm. Then I purchased the Heliopan variable ND 0,3-1,8 which has 12 markings for bracketing purposes.

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