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ND filter: density, photo. What is an ND filter for?
ND filter: density, photo. What is an ND filter for?

Probably, every novice photographer thought about the question, how do professionals capture soft blurry clouds, waterfalls, foggy, as if shrouded in haze, water streams in their pictures? At the same time, beginners cannot achieve a similar effect using a slow shutter speed.

This is because professional photographers use ND filters. Do not confuse with gradient filters - they darken only a certain part of the frame.

neutral density filter nd

ND filters are designed to absorb the light that passes through them without affecting color reproduction in any way. This property will allow the photographer to increase the exposure time.

The density of the ND filter (the amount of light it transmits) can vary.

Density The amount of light the filter lets through Exposure
ND - 2//0, 3 50 1
ND - 4//0, 6 25 2
ND - 8//0, 9 12, 5 3
ND - 16//1, 2 6, 25 4
ND - 32//1, 5 3, 125 5
ND - 64//1, 8 1, 563 6
ND - 128//2, 1 0, 781 7
ND - 256//2, 4 0, 391 8

This article will show you how to use ND filters correctly.

What is an ND filter? Photo

An ND filter is a translucent piece of glass that attaches to the front of a lens. Typically, the filter is either colorless or made of gray glass, which blocks out a significant amount of light, thereby protecting your shots from overexposure.

The neutral filter is able to change or reduce the intensity of all colors of light or waves equally, that is, without affecting the color hue. That's why it got its name.

nd filter

Where are ND filters applied?

Professional photographers find use for these filters, for example, in bright scenes lit by spotlights. The ND filter is very effective in preventing excess light from entering the camera's sensor, which allows you to get a balanced exposure without compromising color reproduction. It is able to darken the entire scene, bringing it back to a normal level of brightness so that the camera can capture it. If youIf you plan to shoot reflections or take photos on a sunny day, an ND filter will also come in handy.

The main purpose of this photographer's assistant is to allow more flexibility with aperture, subject blur, and shutter speed, regardless of atmospheric conditions. The blur effect that the ND filter creates is extremely difficult to recreate even with computer processing of the finished image. And where this becomes possible, processing becomes a very long and laborious process.

What are ND filters good for?

  • To reduce the depth of field in very bright light.
  • In order to deliberately create a blur effect when moving various objects.
  • To increase the shutter speed without damaging the picture.
density nd filter

How can ND filters be used?

In any landscape photographer's bag you will find an ND filter. However, they are much less appreciated by amateurs. Probably because at first glance the ND filter looks like a translucent darkish piece of glass.

This photographer's assistant will not make any visible difference to the resulting image, it will just make the light sensor's "absorption" of the image a little less.

However, if you use it to capture subjects in motion, such as a river, clouds, animals, and even people, the ND filter will open up a whole universe of unlimited creative possibilities. By "freezing" the waterfall with a normal shutter speed, you get a dull and static image, while usingslow shutter speed and filter, you can get a dynamic shot due to the beautiful blur of falling drops.

The flexibility provided by ND filters can be used in a variety of ways: choose the shutter speed and aperture value at will, without looking back at the external conditions that dictate the rules of shooting.

If the photoshoot takes place on a sunny morning or in the afternoon, then using the ND filter, you can slow down the movement in order to convey its feeling. However, this assistant photographer helps to get the most spectacular shots precisely at dusk or at dawn. The photographer can buy a little exposure time - literally a few seconds, and at the same time depict the splashing of coastal waves with a gentle mist.

Types of filters

Specialized stores are ready to provide photographers with a variety of filters. The most commonly used are plate filters that are mounted on mounts (holder frame and ring adapter) and have round threads for mounting directly in front of the objective lens.

what is the nd filter for?

ND filter: what is it for?

So, we come to the most interesting part. How can an ND filter help in the photography process? It has main three functions.

First function - slow shutter speed

Professional photographers with experience behind them usually like to shoot landscapes and nature at slow shutter speeds. Photos with "softening" of waves and clouds, blurry water look surreal due to their blur.

If you are interested inIn order to achieve the effect of otherworldliness and mystery when shooting photos, it means that you need to purchase an ND filter. Using a long exposure requires you to slow down your shutter speed, which in turn allows you to correctly capture the movement of clouds, water or fog in the frame. However, there is one caveat. In some cases, overexposure may occur due to the fact that due to the low shutter speed, an excess of light enters the matrix.

The ND filter you use on the front of the lens will block out the excess light, allowing you to use slow shutter speeds.

nd filter photo

The second function is to intentionally blur motion in the frame

An ND filter can also be used when taking photos where it is important to capture the sense of movement. So, instead of capturing motion to freeze the moment, the photographer can slow down the shutter speed and use a filter to create a blur effect.

Third function is to decrease the depth of field

A neutral density (ND) filter can also be used to reduce the depth of field in a photo. Instead of using a smaller aperture that restricts light from reaching the sensor, you can add a filter that allows you to get selective depth of field while limiting the amount of light. This way you can get a photo of a well-selected object that is in a beautiful background.

ND filter

Buying an ND filter: what to consider?

Many photographers wonder which ND filter to choose. What characteristics should you pay attention to? Now tell!

Materials and coatings

The quality, and hence the cost of the filter, is affected by several factors. These are the material from which the accessory for the camera is made, and its coating. An ND filter can be made from resin, glass, or polyester. The cheapest of these materials is the latter. However, it also distorts the light transmitted through itself to a greater extent.

There are many different types of coatings that successfully reduce ghosting and flare, while black aluminum holders, together with framed glass, help reduce vignetting.

Plate filter or threaded filter: which one do you prefer?

Circular filters are small, easy to install, but lack the important criterion - flexibility of use. It is not uncommon for a combination of several filters to cause vignetting problems, while a given filter only fits a particular lens mount diameter.

To use square plate filters, you will need a holder frame and an adapter ring. These accessories should always be carried with you.

It is not so convenient to deploy the system to install square plate filters, but it will allow you to combine filters quickly and easily. As a result, you will significantly increase the exposure time.

which nd filter to choose

The main and main advantage of a plate filter is that it can be quickly replaced or combined with some other by installing several plates together at once. Moreover, such a combination can include not only one specific, but also several types of filters. You can combine ND plates with other types of filters, such as polarizing or neutral gradient.

Reduce Rings & Adapters

Must purchase inexpensive ring adapters that fit each lens you use to easily install ND plates on different lenses.

If you want to use exclusively threaded filters, then it is better to choose one filter in the store for the lens with the largest diameter along with reduction rings that will allow you to attach other filters to the system.

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