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Thread: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

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    Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    It is turning out that buying ND grads and other filters for m43s is harder than I expected. Just when I was ready to order a few hundred dollars of filters a post by Terry made me stop and think so I cancelled my order and I wanted to see if anyone had some good advice on using filters with m43s before I waste some money.

    I did some reading today and found a few things that may work. For the Cokin system they make extension tubes to place between the lens and filter holder. This are apparently designed for another problem, but placing the filter holder out a bit further seems like it would help define the graduated transition more clearly at the expense of being a little more awkward. Does this seem like it would work?

    Another option would be the Lee RF75 filter system. It seems like they are aware of the problem and the transitions in their filters happen much more quickly to work with the smaller lenses. On the other hand they call their filter system complete, but it hardly seems so. 1.2 and higher ND grads are missing, and ND filters beyond 0.9 are missing, as well as reverse grads. On the Singh-ray faq they write that they can apparently make custom smaller sizes for a price. I hope they can make the transition area more compact. There are a number of glass filters available on B&H, but they are generally 4mm thick rather than the normal 2mm Lee uses. I'm not sure if the RF system can take the spaces to accommodate the thicker filters, or add more slots up to three.

    IR filters, hot mirrors, high level NDs seem awfully expensive. Unfortunately Lee's clip on polarizer ring also means you can't use other large size round filters and of course P-sized sprockets are out, so no Blue/gold polarizers etc.


    My last resort would be to carry around the 12-60, but that defeats the purpose of having a small system.

    Any thoughts or experiences with what will or more importantly won't work with m43s? Has anyone tried Hitech filters or another system and had good or bad luck?
    Charles - flickr

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    For a grad it seems like the .9 (three stops) would be enough. Seems like if you are going to go further you would be better off bracketing on a tripod and doing the work in processing. I would think anything stronger would really need to be used on pretty flat horizon (ocean/water) as more than three stops where you have mountain peaks would get weird.

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    I have the Panasonic ND filter (46mm) and it is the best ND for the m4/3rds. The coatings are compatible with the rest.

    Unfortunately, the biggest is a 55mm size filter (AFAIK).

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    That's probably true. I do have a lot of oceans with flat horizons around, and I guess I remember seeing 4 stop filters used on a lot of photos I liked. 3 would probably be enough though.

    I just wish there were more options for the RF75mm system. There are a few things I'd like to try that just aren't available. I'd probably be fine, but I dislike the idea of limiting myself when I don't know what I'd want or need. Seems small and lightweight though, so if I had to choose tonight that's what I'd probably get.
    Charles - flickr

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    I have two B+W 58mm 3-stop solid ND filters that I use with step-down rings. Works fine separately or stacked. I got them on ebay for not much.

    I tried other solutions, but the cheaper ND filters cause color shift (toward red) that is amplified by density and exposure time.

    Not sure about graduated. Maybe buy the size closest to your largest lens and step down as needed.

    John

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    I have two B+W 58mm 3-stop solid ND filters that I use with step-down rings. Works fine separately or stacked. I got them on ebay for not much.

    I tried other solutions, but the cheaper ND filters cause color shift (toward red) that is amplified by density and exposure time.

    Not sure about graduated. Maybe buy the size closest to your largest lens and step down as needed.
    I've heard that the B+W filters don't have as much of a color shift. I wonder if they block more IR light than other brands. Good to know. I don't think they make square filters, but I have been considering stacking a screw-on with the holder. I can probably get away with it if the lens isn't too wide. No way to know until you try it though.

    Graduated filters are normally square and fit into a holder. That allows you to change where the horizon is in the photo. Most screw on filters only have the break in the middle which normally isn't where you want it. It's an option, but I'd like to find a good solution that uses square filters.
    Charles - flickr

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    The B+W have a problem for long exposures with IR. The best we've found so far are the Tiffen filters that are ND + IR.

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    The B+W have a problem for long exposures with IR. The best we've found so far are the Tiffen filters that are ND + IR.
    The more I read it's apparent once you get back 3 stops most modern cameras start to show a magenta cast. It can really vary by camera, but stacking filters past that makes it really apparent. Looks like I should seriously consider a IR block filter if I want to go beyond that.
    Charles - flickr

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    I just picked up a Cokin A filter holder with A120 gradual ND to try out on my GF1. It worked great for me! It's a hard-edge grad, but with the size of these lenses, the transition feels just about right. Some images I made this weekend (no HDR, just post-processing)...

    Cokin A120 with 52mm ND400 and ND8 stacked as well:


    Cokin A120 and ND8:


    A picture of the setup on that last one:



    The Cokin A system seems OK for m4/3, although you might want to go for the P size if you shoot wide or ever plan to use these filters on a DSLR. None of my lenses are larger than 52mm thread at the moment, so it works out for me nicely.

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    I use the regular Lee holder with my 9-18mm M.Zuiko. Previously I used it on my OM 18/3.5 witch has 72mm filter thread, so I just bought a 52-72mm step up ring and it works great. I use 0.9 and 0.6 soft and hard grads and also have The Big Stopper (10 stop ND).

    E-P1 + 9-18 + Lee 0.9 hard grad
    Hrannar Hauksson
    http://www.hauxon.com

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    Sorry for the late reply, I've been giving some thought to be my options.

    Graham. Really impressive photos there. I like the first photo quite a bit. Didn't you have problems with color casts stacking two strong NDs together? The ghostly birds are awesome. Gives it an eerie feel beyond just the water.

    Hrannar, the photo looks great. It sounds like you get a hard enough edge even with the large Lee filters. That's a good sign.

    I think I'm going to go with some Hitech 85mm filters first to try out. There are a few more options in that size, the filters aren't expensive and I already have a lot of the Cokin holders/accessories to go with it. The other alternative I'm considering is the Lee RF setup, but it's considerably more expensive even for just basic setup. I'll have to decide soon if I'm going to get it before or after I head to Spain.

    Thanks for all the feedback.
    Charles - flickr

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    I tried Hitech, but the color shift was terrible. I'd make sure you have the option to return them.

    John

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    That probably won't be an option. I'd be ordering from England to Japan. I'll keep the order size down, but the hassle and cost of shipping means I'm probably just better off eating the loss if they are that bad. Can I ask which filters you saw the terrible color shift in? I know their old high stop ND filters (6 stops+) had a lot of problems, but I haven't heard too much bad about their 1-3 stop filters.
    Charles - flickr

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    Quote Originally Posted by cjlacz View Post
    Graham. Really impressive photos there. I like the first photo quite a bit. Didn't you have problems with color casts stacking two strong NDs together? The ghostly birds are awesome. Gives it an eerie feel beyond just the water.
    Thanks!

    I did not notice any problem with color casts. I'm shooting RAW anyways, but most of my post-process was adjusting curves, not color. My ND filters are both Hoya--they have performed well for me. I need to go out with my tripod more often.

    The Cokin A filters have been a great deal for me, just buying on ebay. I purchased a whole set of interesting ND grads, color grads, and color filters for less than $20 shipped. I'm going to try these out some more when I have the time next month.

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    Charles, I had the 1.2, which are 4 stops. There was a strong red color cast with long exposures. Of course, more so when two filters were stacked.

    John


    Quote Originally Posted by cjlacz View Post
    That probably won't be an option. I'd be ordering from England to Japan. I'll keep the order size down, but the hassle and cost of shipping means I'm probably just better off eating the loss if they are that bad. Can I ask which filters you saw the terrible color shift in? I know their old high stop ND filters (6 stops+) had a lot of problems, but I haven't heard too much bad about their 1-3 stop filters.

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    Re: Filters, ND Grads and m43s

    I use mainly HiTech filters. The quality control varies a bit on HiTech and so does the impact depending on the type of filter.

    One of the people I shoot with has a 3-stop soft grad from HiTech which has a strong magenta cast visible to the naked eye. It is worse on the Canon sensor that she uses. My 3-stop hard grad does not suffer from the same problem.

    I have an old P-series 8-stopper that in certain light will give a stong magenta colour cast.

    I have a more recent Z-Pro sized "Pro" series 10-stopper that has a mild green cast, similar to the Lee filters 10-stopper (Lee filters while good are generally not neutral but it all depends on the sensor). The Olympus E-P3 sensor itself tends to give a green cast for long exposures so this doesn't help much with that camera however cleaning up a green colour cast is much easier than a magenta colour cast which seems to have the effect of making the end result too monochromatic.

    I have generally found you can stack to 5 or 6 stops before magenta colour casts become a problem.

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