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Old 03-05-2011   #1
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Default Hard, soft or both!

Hi,

Although I've been a member of the Photo Camel forum for over a year now, this is the first time I've needed to start a new thread, simply because and mainly thanks to the people of this forum, that invariably I've found the answer to many of the questions I've had. However, I've not been able to nail down some information about ND filters, I'm sure this has been answered before but I've not found that answer yet.

OK, I'm looking to by some ND filters, brand aside I've been looking as 100mm x 150mm, now the set I've seen come with 3 soft graduated filters and 3 hard graduated filters.

Although I know of situations where I can use hard graduated filter, do I really need them? Can I get by with just the soft graduated filters?

So I suppose what I'm asking is what is the experience of people here?

Thanks for reading

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Old 03-05-2011   #2
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Default Re: Hard, soft or both!

Wouldn't it depend on if the horizon line you photograph is well defined, like seascapes or desert scenes or if they were less obvious, like with certain wooded scenes or some mountainous regions?
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Old 03-05-2011   #3
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The sky is usually graduated so you can adjust the softs. Hard edge is good with a very sharp and straight line only. It can be an angled line, but has to be straight across the frame. The hard ones can work will on water flow scenes too, or when you have a building maybe.
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Old 03-09-2011   #4
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Default Re: Hard, soft or both!

Depends on how hard or soft a transition you need. In my landscape work I've seldom needed a hard ND filter. I would suggest starting with soft and see what works for you.
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Old 03-12-2011   #5
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Default Re: Hard, soft or both!

The first ND grad I got was a 2-stop soft, on the recommendations of folks on photo forums. Then I got a 2-stop hard and a 3-stop hard. I wore out the 3-stop hard and had to replace it. The 2-stop soft is the one I use the least. I live in flat country and shoot a lot of seascapes.

Knowing what I know now, if I were to start over, I would get the 2-stop and 3-stop hard GNDs and wouldn't miss not having a soft GND. Your needs may differ.
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Old 03-12-2011   #6
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Default Re: Hard, soft or both!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickF View Post
Hi,


OK, I'm looking to by some ND filters, brand aside I've been looking as 100mm x 150mm, now the set I've seen come with 3 soft graduated filters and 3 hard graduated filters.

Although I know of situations where I can use hard graduated filter, do I really need them? Can I get by with just the soft graduated filters?
In all likely hood at some point you will need/want both. While the main purpose of both is the same, the situations where you will use them are different. Buy them now or buy them later is up to you and your pocket book. I have full, hards and grads and use all of them when the situation calls for it. The only ones I probably wouldn't buy these days are the fulls. Instead I would get one of these in 77mm like I did with my CP.
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Old 03-13-2011   #7
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Default Re: Hard, soft or both!

Hi Folks,

Many thanks for all the advice and input, in the end I went with the soft grads only, as some of you have pointed out I can always purchase the hard grads at a later date.

It's my first time with the ND filters and I believe that I'll encounter more opportunities to use the soft grads.

The filters are a birthday present from my partner and although she was quite happy to buy both sets, I thought I could put the money she would have spent on the hard grads towards a new camera bag.

Regarding the full NDs that gryphonslair99refers to, I've considered these also but again I feel they are not essential just yet, as for the variable version I have provided a link which some of you DIY enthusiasts might be interested in.

How to Build a Cheap and Simple Variable Neutral Density Filter

Kind regards
Patrick


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