Soft GND filter
These filters have a very soft gradient from transparent to dark. This makes them suitable for scenes that have a broad or interrupted transition from the sky to the actual foreground. An example of a scene that should be captured with a soft GND filter is a mountain landscape that crosses the horizon line. A rock formation in the sea is also predestined for photography with the help of a soft GND filter.
Tips for using GND filters
First you should make sure that you use the correct adapter ring for the lens you are using to mount the filter system.
If a CPL filter is also to be used, it should first be screwed into the holder before the filter holder is mounted on the lens.
When photographing with gray graduated filters, you should ensure that the gradient from light to dark is correctly positioned. This can be easily determined with the live view function of the camera. Checking is particularly important when using hard or reverse GND filters, as a filter that is inserted the wrong way round can falsely darken elements of the scene.
You can also combine a gray filter with a gray graduated filter in order to capture a higher dynamic range of a scene. With this so-called stacking of a gray filter with a gray graduated filter, the ND filter should be placed in the filter slot of the holder that is closest to the lens. The GND filter can easily be placed in one of the outer slots.
You should make sure to keep the filters clean in order to achieve the highest possible image quality. This is particularly important when taking pictures in more humid environments such as waterfalls or by the sea.
Once the scene is recorded, all you have to do is make sure that the filters are stowed away safely and cleanly. This means that they can then be used without damage or stains.
What are the advantages of plug-in filters?
Depending on the size, plug-in filters / rectangular filters are suitable for several lens sizes through the use of adapter rings, up to ultra-wide-angle lenses
Vignetting occurs significantly later or not at all when using rectangular filters
More combinations are possible with plug-in filters than with screw filters
Plug-in filters can be changed much faster than screw-in filters
Graduated gray filters in a filter holder enable precise adjustment to the respective horizon line by being able to move it flexibly. Because with many motifs this is not in the middle.
In which situation do gray graduated filters make sense?
What appears differentiated and rich in contrast to the human eye, such as the sky, can still look like a gray mass in the image. Because if a subject has a high dynamic range, i.e. has very light and dark areas at the same time, a graduated gray filter is able to compensate for this high dynamic range directly when taking the picture. An alternative to this would be digital post-processing on the computer. Here, two images are merged into one image. The result is usually nowhere near as good as when using a gray graduated filter. In addition, the appeal for most photographers is to capture an almost perfect picture with just one shot. It is not half as fascinating to achieve the result by piecing together different images. Because the attraction of photography lies and has always been in the best possible and most creative compromise.
Is there a difference between gray graduated filters and graduated filters?
As the name suggests, both types are graduated filters. Graduated gray filters have a gradient from gray to transparent. However, there are also filters that go from one color to transparent. In the 1980s, for example, tobacco graduated filters were very popular. Nowadays, however, colored graduated filters are rarely used because this effect can be created with little effort on the computer.