A neutral density filter is one of the essential tools for a landscape photographer. Digital photography offers endless possibilities for experimenters.
What is Neutral Density filter
The Neutral Density Filter (ND) is a filter placed in front of the lens to reduce light intensity. Long Exposure Photography is one of them. Shutter speed control is a key method for taking LE pictures. The ND filter does not change the color of the light captured by the camera.
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What is an ND Filter used for
This allows you to create creative effects, such as using a wider aperture for depth of field effects or longer shutter speed for temporary effects, such as smoothing the movement of water into the sea or blurring the clouds across the sky.
There are some ways to use a Neutral Density filter:
- Extended time exposures
- Reducing the depth of field in bright sunlight
- Adding motion blur to moving objects
- When using a wider aperture
Neutral Density filter Chart
Select the required aperture before adding the ND filter, then reduce the shutter speed or increase the aperture to compensate for the number of stops reduced by the ND filter.
The ND filter reduces light by one stage, has a filter factor of 2, two stops 4, three stops 8, etc. D. The light reduction is doubled with each further reduction of f-stop.
How do I know how long ND filters can be used in the last 30 seconds? This table of ND filters will help you.
Free download ND filter Chart PDF
Using ND filter
Do I need to use an ND filter for landscape photography?
As I said, a neutral density filter is ideal for achieving long exposure effects. Water, and especially waterfalls, are great examples.
The ND filter reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor. This allows you to use a slower shutter speed to compensate for the lost light.
OK, what kind of ND filter do you need? It depends on your creative idea.
If you want to blur the water slightly, you can use low-density ND filters such as ND2, ND8. And if you need a strong effect, you should use ND400 or ND1000.
High-density ND filters are needed for landscape photography in daylight. See the neutral density filter table!
How do I know how long to expose for using ND filters past 30 seconds
Follow these simple steps:
- Determine your composition without the ND filter and focus the lens so that your image has the perfect focus point.
- Set the lens to focus manually so that the lens does not shift the focus point when shooting.
- Measure the exposure without the ND filter.
- Add an ND filter to your lens.
- Use the ND filter Chart to recalculate exposure and remember this.
- Set the camera to manual mode and add aperture and shutter speed.
Type of a Neutral Density filter
Most ND filters are round and screwed to the front of the lens. You will need an adapter ring to use the ND filter on different lens sizes.
Some ND filters are square and are inserted into special holders. Since the use of square filters provides more flexibility, this solution is preferred by professional photographers.
How to avoid terminology confusion
ND 0.9 vs. ND8 what the difference?
In fact, it is the same thing. The manufacturers label their filters using the Optical Density of the filter, and some of them use the Filter Factor.
Hoya, Cokin, B+W use the Filter Factor and it called ND2,4,6,8,10,16…
Lee, Tiffen use the Optical Density and it called 0,3ND…1,2ND…
Each step equals f-stop.
Example, ND1000 is 10-stop; ND32 is 5-stop. 0,3 is 1-stop; 0,9ND is 3-stop.
In other words, each subsequent ND filter doubles the Shutter Speed.