filters and polarisers question

mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
edited February 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras

i am thinking of getting some nd filters, for ya know, clouds, and whatever, and light trails at night maybe .... in the end id like to end up with some nds, some grad nds, a polariser and all that stuff, but for now, id like to spend just maybe spend $300 ish

i was thinking of getting the lee 100mm stuff, maybe get like a 2 stop a 4 stop and 6 top nd or something like that. however, i have seen people also use polarising filters too, sometimes alongside nds, and graduated nds, and i dont have a polarising filter yet either.

but i have also seen that polarisers act like nd filters, and seem to kinda act like variable nds a little bit

so if you guys were buying, what would you get and why ?

1) a bunch of nds, and forget the polariser for now
2) maybe 1 nd and a polariser
3) screw the nds for now and just get a polariser
4something else ?

i have seen the variable nds, but, i dont fancy them because they have that "cross pattern" thing sometimes

what would you do and why ?

i have 77mm and 58mm lenses, and would prefer if it was all compatible with stepup rings if needed too

id like to hear your thoughts please


  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    edited February 2013
    Hard to say, it really depends on what kind of shooting you like to do, etc.

    E.g., if you love shooting wide angle then a polarizer might not be ideal... in the sense that the polarizing effect will be unevenly spread across the frame. (Personally though I like using polarizers with wide angle lenses.)

    If you're really into sunsets and things then obviously a set of NDs or graduated NDs or reverse graduated NDs (you see where I'm going) might fit the bill better.

    If you want to shoot video on your DSLR then variable NDs might be the one best choice.

    But if you're into HDR and do a lot of bracketing then you might never need NDs at all.

    So at the end of the day only you can decide. I'd pick just one filter that you feel you can use right away and go from there.

    ps. A variable ND filter is usually just two polarizers stacked together, one on top of the other.
    Post edited by Ade on
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    I've one polariser, B+W M77, System Käsemann and one ND 8x Hoya DMC LPF. Both together are already over your budget, so I'm interested to read other's advice. I just thought buying cheap is at the end more expensive and I think I was already lucky: when ordering the polariser they gave me the wrong price. The Käsemann thing makes it the most expensive, but I need it also for reflections on glass surfaces and it has a very thin ring, good for wide-angles like 10-24, 24. I feel it worth the price.

    For other lenses I've got a very lowcost set of step-down rings, nonetheless well-made. Disadvantage clearly is the height (16mm) of the combination 77-72-67-58 when stepping down - but all 7 rings were less together than one single step-down, so I use them only occasionally and never with wide angles.

    I also was interested in the Lee System and maybe I get one day 1 or 2 grads (harsh and soft). But not the holder or the rest of it. ND filters are used tripod-based most of the time, so I can hand-hold it. It's not only the massive costs - I just need to transport all that stuff by myself.
  • PapermanPaperman Posts: 469Member
    If you are a landscape person , the first ones to go for in my view are

    1. Polarizer
    2. Split / Grad ND

    You need the NDs only for water/waterfall type of shots. Last time I took mine out of my bag was 2 years ago !
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    My suggestion is, unless you are purchasing from a store going out of business, i.e., Ritz, where the filters were almost first decide the shot you want to take.

    I have always purchased equipment based on what I wanted to accomplish. This allows me to rationalize the very best. If we are shooting for a living, then it becomes very clear which equipment is needed for a specific venue. In some situations, the client will end up paying for the entire cost of the lens, etc., we are purchasing for a shot.

    And, your idea of the 77mm filters is excellent. Use the step down rings for the rest.

    But, first, chose your shot, then your equipment.
    Msmoto, mod
  • flight3flight3 Posts: 379Member
    I am also looking into buying a filter or two for my landscape shots. I was wondering what brands people recommended? Like is a Tiffen worth the money?
    Nikon D3100, 18-55mm VR, 50mm 1.8D, Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 OS, Yongnuo YN-560 II Speedlight Flash
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I think if one spends much less than $100 on a 77mm filter, you may not get the best quality. For circular polarizers and graduated ND filters...close to $300. Tiffen makes a large range of filters.
    Msmoto, mod
  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    hi thanks for your replies. i was wanting to go out at the weekend and take some shots in london, maybe some light trails, i wasnt sure if i would be needing a ND or not (perhaps small aperture would suffice?), so i was thinking just to get one in case

    like i said, im sure i will end up with it all eventually anyway

    i got the lee dslr starter kit, and a hoya polarizer, with a step up ring from 58 - 77

    perhaps they will come in useful on saturday, we shall see. but either way, i am happy they are now in my bag for the future !
  • ArchibillArchibill Posts: 3Member
    I've collected a whole bunch of filters of all sizes through the years. I started by standardizing on 62mm with step-up rings for smaller lenses. Then I went to 72, thinking that was about as big as they would get! But no, lately, I've standardized on 77 with step-up rings. In my opinion, with digital or with film, by far the most important filter is the polarizer. Except for the ND filter, it's the only effect you can't get in Photoship or Lightroom. I use it on almost all daylight outside shots 28mm or above. Even on overcast or wet days, it brings out color and reduces veiled reflections. It does things like making windows darker on architectural subjects. On wide angle lenses, banding in the sky becomes apparent at less than 28mm and increasing the wider you get. This is because the polarizer works best at an angle 90 degrees perpendicular to the path of the sun. With a very wide angle, the effectiveness of the polarizer varies because it "sees" more of the field on both sides of the optimum that is not 90 degrees and these areas are lighter--hence the band. You can get a good 77mm polarizer for around $100-150. I have Nikon, B+W and Hoya ones that are very good. I'm not sure top of the line buys you any more. Often the cheaper polarizers have a more pronounced effect.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I use a polarizer all the time, you just can't accomplish the same thing in the computer. I agree with Archibill, make sure to get a good one, as not all polarizers are made the same and quality does make a difference.

    One of the great benefits is that it will cut glare and reflections in windows, glasses, and water. No brainer in my mind. You can also get different polarizers that warm the scene, intensify colors, change colors, etc. I have often looked at those, but they are usually made for various landscapes which I love doing, but have better uses for my $$ at this point.

    LEE Filters Digital SLR Starter Kit maybe all you need, depending on what you shoot. Looks like a good kit.

    Btw - star trails are not made with ND filters, just long exposures of multiple photos edited together.

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    @TTJ I think he was talking about light trails from car traffic, not star trails.
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