What is an ND filter anyway and what do I use it for?
An ND filter or neutral density filter is screwed or plugged in front of the lens to reduce the light hitting the camera sensor. This function can be compared to that of sunglasses. Because if you look directly into the sun, after a short moment you only see white. The sensor of a camera can also be "blinded" and is comparable to the iris of the eye. As a result, the image is overexposed and possibly unusable as a result. ND means "neutral density" in full.
The neutral density filters we offer are often used in landscape photography when long exposure is necessary. For example, you can use the filter when taking a picture of a lake that you want to achieve a smoothing effect, or even with moving waters such as a river or a waterfall. The ND filter is especially necessary if, despite the setting of the desired f-number, the exposure cannot be long enough without the image appearing overexposed.
For portrait photography with a relatively open aperture (blurred background) and a relatively short exposure time, an ND filter can also be useful. Especially when taking pictures outdoors in the morning or in the evening when the sun is low, the incident light directly on the sensor can be very extreme. The ND filter then makes photography against the sun possible. Basically, it is always worthwhile to have at least one neutral density filter in your pocket if you want to take pictures in good weather.
Why should the exposure time be extended at all?
To sum it up: To simplify complex scenes (for example in landscape photography).
Surreal-looking images can be created that would otherwise never be seen by humans, as movements are "flowing" through long exposure during the day, such as water or lights. This makes the surfaces appear soft and smooth.
However, there are also other areas of application, for example the use of larger apertures in daylight in order to achieve a reduced depth of field in landscape shots or portraits.
The longer the exposure time is selected, movements are also filtered out with the help of ND filters. This can be used to remove people from long exposures and architectural photography in or in front of buildings without post-processing.
Which accessories do I need for photography with a neutral density filter?
For a long exposure with an ND filter, the same rules actually apply as for a normal long exposure.
First of all, you urgently need a tripod for recording with a neutral density filter. Depending on the focal length, it is not possible for most people to take photos directly from the hand with exposure times of 1/40 seconds or possibly even longer without the image blurring. For professional photographers it is sometimes still possible to take pictures by hand up to 1/20 of a second, but from exposure times of around one second and more it is also the end for professionals. In addition, a remote release is a great advantage. Because the image can also be blurred when you press the trigger. Alternatively, the camera's self-timer also does it.
The correct exposure time with neutral density filter
As already mentioned, the length of the exposure time is linked to the strength of the gray filter. With an ND8 filter, the exposure would be 8 times longer. For example, if the camera specifies 1/20 second as the correct exposure time, then when using an ND1000 gray filter, this results in 50 seconds exposure.
The aperture priority function, also known as the aperture preselection, can also be used. You determine the aperture yourself and the camera automatically calculates the appropriate exposure time. In the vast majority of cases, modern cameras give very good results. For an architecture or landscape photo, you should usually use an aperture value between 9 and 11 in order to achieve the greatest possible depth of field.
So if you want to take photos with an ND filter, you have to have setting options for shutter speed, ISO and aperture. That means that you should take pictures in mode "M", ie the manual mode.
Which ND filter strengths should you buy for your camera and when should you use it?
Three different filter strengths are generally used in photography. These are ND8, ND64 and ND1000 filters. The ND8 filter darkens 3 apertures, the ND64 filter 6 apertures and the ND1000 10 apertures. As a rule of thumb, one can assume that the exposure time doubles for each aperture. It follows that the ND8 filter has eight times the exposure time and the ND64 has sixty-four times the exposure time. With long-term exposure, more infrared radiation comes through the lens to the sensor, which changes the color of the photos and makes them appear in shades of blue.
Table to our ND Filters:
|Neutral Density||Stops|| |
Extension factor shutter speed
The various filters are designed to take the best possible photos in different everyday situations and times of the day. In addition to the gray filters, there are also so-called polarizing filters. These do not reduce the incidence of light, but rather serve to avoid reflections. Polarizing filters are particularly popular for green and blue tones, i.e. mainly in landscape photography.
In which situation is which neutral density filter used?
|ND8 Filter||ND8 filter The ND8 filter is used on sunny days and when the sky is slightly cloudy.|
|ND64 Filter||ND64 filter The ND64 filter can be used for snow landscapes on sunny days, reflective water surfaces or the like.|
|ND1000 Filter||ND1000 filter The ND1000 filter is mainly used in landscape photography to create blurry clouds and soft water.|