ND filter usage advice needed please

bilbosmeggins

Distinguished Member
Hi all. Just looking for some advice on how to go about the mechanics of actually shooting with an ND filter. I know about the whys and wherefore’s of using them, but it’s the actual operating of the camera that’s causing me some headaches, so could do with workflow pointers….

Okay, so I decided I’d try out my new ND filters yesterday whilst on a day-trip to Pwllheli. The main problem I had was that when using an ND1000, I couldn’t see anything through either the viewfinder, or on the Livescreen mode (Canon 80D), so had to resort to trying to compose the picture without the filter on using different settings, then pop the filter on, change the settings, and hopefully the camera would retain focus etc and take the picture. However, the camera often wouldn’t fire. I had it in full manual mode, and I’m guessing it wouldn’t fire because it wasn’t happy with focus, but I’m not sure. Either way, it was quite a frustrating affair. I did manage the odd picture that I was quite happy with (I’ve added one below), but could definitely use a pointer or two on the operational side of things……

8656576F-A1AF-4C1B-89C4-76D6249FB02C.jpeg
 

icemanonline

Distinguished Member
I have only used Nd few times but...I set the shot up first, then when focused properly, click manual switch on lens or camera body....I used a Canon lens at the time with manual switch on the lens and I changed to manual on body to..... Then attach filter and adjust setting..... With the focusing already set and locked in.... Your timing is what your need to change...... You should be able to get, after a few tries the result you want.....

This might help...




Ice
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
A ND1000 is 10stops so yes you are going to have to frame the shot and put the ND filter in I use Nikon but I am sure the same is true with Canon. You would meter the shot and lock the settings in and adjust by ten stops. Regards focus there is a setting to disable the focus preventing the shutter working which would need disabling.

Lovely picture for sure.
 

bilbosmeggins

Distinguished Member
Thanks both. I didn’t know if there was a way to compose the shot with the filter in place. Now I know that composing pre-filter is the norm I can crack on. Much appreciated 🙂
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Pretty hard to set up a shot with a 1000 on front of the lens. I've not used my ND for a while now but do have a set of Lee ND grads which I use to get a good balance of exposure (I'm crap at post editing). Been using ND grads since the days of good old film. I often turn the grad around when needing to slow the exposure for water. I find the grads more practicable than full NDs.
 

bilbosmeggins

Distinguished Member
I do need to add a couple of grads to my arsenal at some point too. Along with a decent polariser. Just debating whether I should replace my current filters and go “square”. I’ve had a few precarious moments unscrewing the circular ones thus far 😯
 

snerkler

Distinguished Member
As above compose and focus without the filter, set to manual focus, put the filter on (making sure you don't move the focus or zoom ring) and adjust the settings by 10 stops. There are apps that you can get that do the math for you when using ND filters if you can't work it out for yourself.

Some newer cameras do allow you to still see the image with big stoppers attached. I have a clip on filter system so I'm less likely to accidentally rotate the zoom/focus rings.
 

bilbosmeggins

Distinguished Member
As above compose and focus without the filter, set to manual focus, put the filter on (making sure you don't move the focus or zoom ring) and adjust the settings by 10 stops. There are apps that you can get that do the math for you when using ND filters if you can't work it out for yourself.

Some newer cameras do allow you to still see the image with big stoppers attached. I have a clip on filter system so I'm less likely to accidentally rotate the zoom/focus rings.
Yes, I’ve since bagged myself an app making the process a lot more straightforward, taking the trial and error out of the equation.
 

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