There are days when you just need to get rid of light. Odd, I know, especially since we are always looking for more light! But true nonetheless.
My first line of defence used to be my trusty old polarizer but I only drop about 1 to one and a half stops of light with the risk of blacking out my skies or sometimes getting very funky effects. Many times this is enough, but not always.
Enter the big guns: B+W MRC F-Pro ND (110) 1000x
The ND1000 is a standard neutral density screw in filter with a massive 10-stop effect! Taking it out of its box, unless you are looking at an arc welder or the sun, you typically would not be able to see through it on an average day. LEE calls their 10-stop ND version “The Big Stopper” and if losing light is your aim, these filters will get rid of it for you!
It’s claimed as a Neutral Colour Cast filter but my own impression and others feel it definitely has a warmer tone. A little bit of research on the matter explains that in the colour spectrum, red has a higher transmission ratio causing the warmer tone. Some people like it, others hate it. Personally I didn’t find it interfering with my images and found it actually quite pleasant.
So where would you use something like this? Well, if you have ever seen those images of “smoke on the water” taken at a beach near you, that was most probably taken with a ND filter in place to extend the exposure as far as possible. Also often used near running water or rivers, etc… Just smoothes out any surface completely.
Where I have recently used it was during TimeLapse shots. You do not want your aperture to open and close every time (for instance, by setting f/8 on the lens) because of very small variances, when stitching it all together to make a video clip, you tend to get a “flicker” from the changes in exposure. Small, but noticeable and irritating! So if you have an f/4 lens, you can shoot it wide open, in the middle of the day at 2 second exposures instead of 1/250th.
This footage was the test footage created with Triggertrap Mobile in the various Timelapse options.
Thank You to Sunshine.Co for the unit (http://www.sunshinecompany.co.za/index.php/category/sales/c/triggertrap/)
Thank You also to Joe & Jonelle Louw of TimeLapseSA (www.timelapsesa.co.za) who took us along on a timelapse weekend to play with the SHUKUMA Dolly and learn more about the intricacies of doing Time Lapse!
For our review of the unit, Please Visit: www.shootsimaging.co.za
One thing I did notice. If your lens suffers from vignetting, any heavy ND filter is going to ‘enhance’ the effect, so it’s a good idea to plan for it, or at least be aware of it.
This is a ’heavy’ filter. I don’t know how else to describe it. I have seen thinner and lighter version of 10-stop ND filters crack and break from tension and small knocks, even in pouches, so this feels a bit more sturdy, and I think will last. I did not have enough guts to drop it and see… The glass texture, although completely smooth and flat almost feels sticky or Matt, like its coated in something… You will notice this feel as soon as you try and clean it with a lenspen or microfiber cloth, it doesn’t just slide over the glass. The surface can damage easily, so take care not to get it scratched. And keep your fingers off! Fingerprints stands out beautifully!
In the end, I actually like the colour cast but if you don’t, it cleans up beautifully in your raw converter. The total image quality through this filter is very good, but because of the thickness, stacking it with another filter or gradient filter in a holder will most probably cause a solid vignette. All in all, a good investment!
Sean has been shooting since schooldays (started with a borrowed Pentax K1000 from His sister, also a photographer) but only became seriously involved with photography when he returned from living in Eastern Europe. While overseas he did shoot some non-profit editorial work and also made the big switch from Nikon to Canon. Today, Sean likes to shoot Stock. "Stock is the 'best of both worlds' industry, that requires creativity and very set guidelines to be successful..." Sean also teaches photography (basic, advanced & other Stock-related courses) and frequently arrange "shooting days" for photography clubs and individual groups.