PDA

View Full Version : Long exposures in bright scenarios




BJB Productions
Mar 26, 2010, 03:13 PM
Hi everyone,
First off, I'm a novice, so go easy on me! :)

I have a Nikon D90 and really want to get into taking long exposure pictures. First off, Here's the lenses I have:

AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm1:3.5-1.6 G
AF-S Nikkor 70-330mm 1:4.5-5.6 G

So...from what I've read, there is no possible way to get long exposures in sun light with these lenses. Am I right? I've tried putting the ISO as low as possible, and of course, the aperture closed as much as possible, but no good.

So..If i'm right with the above reasoning, what lens could you suggest for outdoor long exposures, in a fair amount of sunlight?--I'm a student, so I'm not exactly able to buy the best on the market. I just need something that will get the job done. :)

Thanks



gr8tfly
Mar 26, 2010, 03:16 PM
Neutral density filters should do the trick. They're available in various densities (1 stop, 2 stops, etc.).

BJB Productions
Mar 26, 2010, 03:21 PM
Neutral density filters should do the trick. They're available in various densities (1 stop, 2 stops, etc.).


I can't believe I did not think of that before. :(

Thanks! :)

gr8tfly
Mar 26, 2010, 03:24 PM
I can't believe I did not think of that before. :(

Thanks! :)

No problem. Glad that helped and good luck with your project!

BJB Productions
Mar 26, 2010, 03:59 PM
Is there a density you would suggest for my scenario?..It's possible I would be shooting some landscapes and waterfalls.

jampat
Mar 26, 2010, 04:25 PM
How long a shutter speed do you want? For water, many people seem to like something around 20 seconds. If you are assuming sunny day ISO 100 at f/16 you would be at 1/100 without an ND filter. If you are aiming for around 20 seconds, you would need an 8 stop filter. Those aren't as easy to find anymore, 4's are more common. You can also stack filters if required (may vignette on wide lenses).

Keep in mind that you will have trouble seeing through an 8 stop ND filter, you will have to focus (and maybe even meter?) and then install the filter and adjust the metering by 8 stops.

Personally I'd try a 4 stop as you will have better luck shooting through it without having to take it off all the time. To get the magical flowing water look may require more though.

snberk103
Mar 26, 2010, 04:40 PM
Before you get the ND, get a polarizing filter. They're usually just about 2 stops ND. And of course they polarize.

Then you can stack another 2 or 3 stop ND on top of that if needed. I have a 7 ND that is almost black, if that helps with your thinking. But you should be able to figure what you need if you think about what you can do and what you need.

I teach photography, so I sometimes find it hard to just give out the answer. Better if you work it out yourself if you're a student. :D

BJB Productions
Mar 26, 2010, 04:42 PM
Right, I was also planning to get a polarizing filter, so I could get a ND 4, and then stack the polarizing filter on top. Right? :confused:

snberk103
Mar 26, 2010, 04:56 PM
Right, I was also planning to get a polarizing filter, so I could get a ND 4, and then stack the polarizing filter on top. Right? :confused:

Yep. Just at the risk of vignetting the corners (as mentioned above), and the loss of some sharpness.

If you are really serious about shooting with ND, look at..... oh, dear ... the name escapes me its been that long.... However - they're square filters that fit into a filter holder that is attached to the front of the lense. They were/are popular especially with large format shooters.

IF you think you are going to invest in this system down the road, start with the filters that are oversized. Something that the square filters do really well is "graduated ND".... dark at one end and gradating to clear at the other. With oversized filters you can slide the glass up and down to put the "seam" exactly at the height you want.

You do have to watch out for bright light leaking in the filter assembly with the square jobs. You can get some really washed out images with light bouncing around between the filter(s) and lense. But it's manageable.

romanaz
Mar 26, 2010, 05:23 PM
Yep. Just at the risk of vignetting the corners (as mentioned above), and the loss of some sharpness.

If you are really serious about shooting with ND, look at..... oh, dear ... the name escapes me its been that long.... However - they're square filters that fit into a filter holder that is attached to the front of the lense. They were/are popular especially with large format shooters.

IF you think you are going to invest in this system down the road, start with the filters that are oversized. Something that the square filters do really well is "graduated ND".... dark at one end and gradating to clear at the other. With oversized filters you can slide the glass up and down to put the "seam" exactly at the height you want.

You do have to watch out for bright light leaking in the filter assembly with the square jobs. You can get some really washed out images with light bouncing around between the filter(s) and lense. But it's manageable.

you would be talking about the Cokin filter sets. P series is the one I've used before, and I quite enjoyed them. You can stack up to 3 filters in the P series one I had. And Cokin makes tons of filters, from Graduated ND (the reason I had mine) up to CTO filters and polarizers, just not Circular ones (obviously).

Grey Beard
Mar 26, 2010, 05:27 PM
If you are really serious about shooting with ND, look at..... oh, dear ... the name escapes me its been that long.... However - they're square filters that fit into a filter holder that is attached to the front of the lense. They were/are popular especially with large format shooters.
I think that you may be thinking of the French maker 'Cokin' I have a heap of their stuff "somewhere"

KGB

funkboy
Mar 26, 2010, 06:21 PM
An ND filter is the most obvious solution, but here's something less obvious:

It might not be appropriate for the look you're going for, but if you're shooting for black & white then an R72 infrared filter will also cut out most visible light, and the low-pass filter on your sensor means that it's probably at least 8-10 stops or so less sensitive to infrared light than the visible spectrum.

I've seen some really cool stuff recently where folks created an infrared profile with DNG profile editor's profile creator & a colorchecker. The results are impressive as it really shifts the white balance far beyond where it can be set with the normal sliders.

Westside guy
Mar 26, 2010, 06:41 PM
For solid ND filters (no graduation) I use the screw-in ones. I've got a 3 stop, a 4 stop, and a 5 stop - that gives me a lot of flexibility for stacking. Since I'm generally shooting landscapes with these, I'm stopped down quite a bit - so vignetting has never been an issue.

For graduated ND filters you really have to buy the Cokin- or Lee- (both are basically big rectangles) sized filters because you need to be able to adjust exactly where the transition region falls on your lens.

Whatever you get, buy good ones. Don't buy $20 filters and expect to get great results. My solid NDs are B+W, and my graduated NDs are Singh-Ray. Also remember you need to buy the holder for the Cokin-style filters; but that's cheap.

At some point I may replace the screw-ins with Cokin-style for flexibility's sake.

snberk103
Mar 26, 2010, 06:46 PM
you would be talking about the Cokin filter sets. P series is the one I've used before, and I quite enjoyed them. You can stack up to 3 filters in the P series one I had. And Cokin makes tons of filters, from Graduated ND (the reason I had mine) up to CTO filters and polarizers, just not Circular ones (obviously).

I think that you may be thinking of the French maker 'Cokin' I have a heap of their stuff "somewhere"

KGB

Yep, those were the ones. Thanks! :D And I have bunch tucked away some where too.... one day, one day....

BJB Productions
Mar 27, 2010, 10:10 AM
Thank you for the comments all--very helpful. I'm still trying to decide what I'm going to get, but most likely it will be a polarizer and a ND 4.

What is your take on UV filters? I would really like to have something on both my lenses at all times to protect them, but I don't want to pay a ton.

snberk103
Mar 27, 2010, 11:47 AM
Thank you for the comments all--very helpful. I'm still trying to decide what I'm going to get, but most likely it will be a polarizer and a ND 4.

What is your take on UV filters? I would really like to have something on both my lenses at all times to protect them, but I don't want to pay a ton.

The first time you bang the front of the lense into a rock, or building corner, or street-lamp, or... etc etc and UV lense cracks - you've just got your money's worth because it would have been the more expensive lense cracking. I dropped a lense once that landed on the UV filter.... totally buggered up the filter, but the lense had no significant damage (though I'll never be able to sell "like new").

Filters also let you not clean the multi-coating on the lense front element. I've never really worried about what I clean my filters with (bad habit, probably) - but I take great care cleaning the lenses.

Westside guy
Mar 27, 2010, 12:00 PM
Jumping back to the ND filter and polarizer topic... I would strongly suggest you standardize on a filter size like 77mm, and then buy inexpensive step-up rings for your lenses. That way you're not re-purchasing the same filters over and over, which does get expensive over time.

On the other topic - there are a number of threads discussing whether or not you should use protective filters. I'm not a big believer in them, but it comes down to personal biases. Lenses can be repaired; plus scratches on a front element usually don't affect the quality of your images. If you do decide to buy one, though, don't bother with a UV filter - that's a holdover from film days, and even then their benefit was debatable. There are clear glass protective filters from companies like B+W, Hoya, and the like.

Ruahrc
Mar 27, 2010, 02:07 PM
The trouble I always had with standardizing on a large filter size like 77mm and using step up rings is that it usually precludes the use of the lens hood- which can be very important when combating glare. And, IMO the lens hood is a very effective means of protection because if you happen to bang your lens on something the hood will get hit and not the glass. And the hood is actually (potentially) increasing your image quality not decreasing it!

Re: the ND filters, a 4-stop is about what you need to get shutter speeds of like 1-2 secs in bright daylight. If you want like 20 secs or minutes, you'll need to look into those super dark 8-10 stop ones.

Personally I'd stay away from the Cokin filters, my cousin brought them on a trip he and I took and they had a color cast. All of his pictures turned pink. My Hitech filters, OTOH, remained color neutral. The problem is that high quality rectangular ND filters are not cheap. They're like $60 each. Oh and I also recommend the oversize ones too (150mm). With oversize filters it is easier to hand-hold them which means you don't have to fiddle with the little holder if you don't need to stack filters. I bought the holder but ended up rarely using it- handholding most of the time.

Ruahrc

Westside guy
Mar 27, 2010, 02:20 PM
The trouble I always had with standardizing on a large filter size like 77mm and using step up rings is that it usually precludes the use of the lens hood- which can be very important when combating glare. And, IMO the lens hood is a very effective means of protection because if you happen to bang your lens on something the hood will get hit and not the glass. And the hood is actually (potentially) increasing your image quality not decreasing it!

You have a point re: protection from the hood, although when I'm moving around I've generally got my lens cap and hood on the lens, and when I'm in the act of shooting I'm not generally in a situation where I feel the lens needs special protection (it's going to depend on what type of shooting you do, obviously). I don't leave the step-up rings on the lenses - they're only on there when I want to use a filter.

As far as dealing with glare goes, what I did was buy a 77mm screw-in collapsible rubber hood. If I was more worried about the lens during the shot, I'd probably buy a screw-in rigid hood - they are available, but cost a bit. A quick search shows that Nikon's HN-31 screw-in 77mm hood is almost 50 bucks (US).

snberk103
Mar 27, 2010, 02:26 PM
I think what we have in this thread is one of the essential lessons about serious photography. It's all about trade-offs... :D

Do you go for the UV/clear glass filter, at the cost of some sharpness?
Do you go for the oversized filters, at the cost of effectively using a lense hood? (Ruahrc makes some good points?)
Do you go for the oversized filters, at the cost of portability?
Do you go for several strengths of ND for the flexibilty, at the cost of losing sharpness?
Do you go for long shutter-speeds, at the cost of increased DOF? (as a result of closing down the aperture to get the long shutter-speed)

If you are a studio photographer, size and weight of filters, hoods, filter holders don't matter. If you are packing your gear 35km, the you may measure every ounce (I'm Canadian, so mixed measures are 2nd nature ...)

It is all about trade-offs and balancing one aspect against the other. I wonder if that is why photographers can be such nice people? We are used to the 'give and take' of good group dynamics? Just an idle thought.....

funkboy
Mar 27, 2010, 08:22 PM
What is your take on UV filters? I would really like to have something on both my lenses at all times to protect them, but I don't want to pay a ton.

The professionals I know either use a really good multicoated UV filter like Heliopan, B&W, Rodenstock, etc. or no filter at all, depending on what kind of photography they do & the environments in which they shoot. In general the wedding & portrait folks I know tend not to use filters too much, but people with a likelyhood of exposure to dust, rain, or hard knocks use them & carry a spare for their most used lens when they travel.

The multicoating is important as it reduces reflections, which means that there's less chance of flare and more light is getting to your sensor rather than being reflected off the filter.

Personally, I've got multicoated filters on all my nice glass, & the girlfriend's plastic lenses for her 350D have the single-coated filters on them that I have from when I started out in photography <grin>.

jampat
Mar 27, 2010, 10:44 PM
What is your take on UV filters? I would really like to have something on both my lenses at all times to protect them, but I don't want to pay a ton.

Don't do it unless you have lots of extra money. A hood provides much more protection from a fall than any filter (you need something to crush and absorb energy, a filter can't crush much).

Check out the incredibly detrimental effect that cheap filters have on images in the following links. Cheap UV filters make all of your images look like crap. Anything that's not multi-coated should go in the garbage. Personally I use a UV filter when shooting concerts as the lens get sprayed with beer and water and I am quickly cleaning the lens 10 times a night(UV filter is also needed to complete weather sealing). The rest of the time, my UV filters stay in the bag.

Check out:
http://lenstip.com/113.1-article-UV_filters_test.html
http://www.kenandchristine.com/gallery/1054387_ucZqa/1

BJB Productions
Mar 28, 2010, 05:23 PM
I keep my lens hoods on at all times, thanks for the tips.

HBOC
Mar 28, 2010, 07:15 PM
There are no "long exposure" only lenses. Any lens can shoot long exposures. If you are shooting waterfalls, the best time to do that is early morning or late evening with either a 3 or 4 stop ND filter. Overcast is ideal, as it allows you to shoot anytime of day.

This shot was used with a 2 stop grad and a 30 second exposure. I believe f/14 ISO 100.

Tripods are a must, MLU (mirror lock up) and a cable release are also ideal.

compuwar
Mar 28, 2010, 09:36 PM
Thank you for the comments all--very helpful. I'm still trying to decide what I'm going to get, but most likely it will be a polarizer and a ND 4.

What is your take on UV filters? I would really like to have something on both my lenses at all times to protect them, but I don't want to pay a ton.

Lee's Gelsnap ND filter set is useful, and Kodak makes a 13 1/3 stop (ND 4.00) filter that's great for nuking people out of a scene on a sunny day.

Paul

toxic
Mar 29, 2010, 12:26 AM
Tripods are a must, MLU (mirror lock up) and a cable release are also ideal.

MLU is not needed for exposures longer than ~2 seconds, or faster than ~1/15 (though it doesn't hurt). a sturdy tripod will be needed for any long exposure. don't cheap out on your tripod.

maddagascar
Mar 29, 2010, 12:32 AM
what is mirror lock up? i've always heard about it, but don't know how it works???

but yes, don't cheap out on a tripod, i've tried some long exposures during the day and ND filter is great!

but the tripod, you want it to be sturdy, very sturdy. and a release cable, or a wireless remote will do just fine.

gnd
Mar 29, 2010, 12:58 AM
what is mirror lock up? i've always heard about it, but don't know how it works???

When you're using a tripod your number one concern is having no vibrations. That's why you're using it in the first place. Every time you look through the viewfinder and take a photo there is a lot of mechanical movement that happens inside the camera. There is a mirror inside the camera body that guides the light that comes through the lens to the viewfinder. This mirror has to move out of the way and let the light hit the sensor. The mirror has mass and thus its movement introduces vibrations in the camera. Which you want to avoid. No matter how sturdy your tripod is. What mirror lock up does is move the mirror out of the way a few seconds before taking the photo. This way all the vibrations that the mirror causes die out by the time the photo is taken.

maddagascar
Mar 29, 2010, 01:03 AM
When you're using a tripod your number one concern is having no vibrations. That's why you're using it in the first place. Every time you look through the viewfinder and take a photo there is a lot of mechanical movement that happens inside the camera. There is a mirror inside the camera body that guides the light that comes through the lens to the viewfinder. This mirror has to move out of the way and let the light hit the sensor. The mirror has mass and thus its movement introduces vibrations in the camera. Which you want to avoid. No matter how sturdy your tripod is. What mirror lock up does is move the mirror out of the way a few seconds before taking the photo. This way all the vibrations that the mirror causes die out by the time the photo is taken.

ahhhh, i seee. now has is that activated? does everybody usually use that? i just always ahve my camera on a 2 second delay and click my wireless remote to activate the shutter.

HBOC
Mar 29, 2010, 01:33 AM
I only use it if i am doing long exposures. It is critical on night photography, you don't want the mirror flapping around.

Not all bodies have MLU. I know the rebel XSi has it, don't know if the XS has it. It is located under the custom functions. On the XSi is is CF 11. Cable release is also very helpful. When doing night photography, remember to cover your viewfinder with either your hand or camera strap. Stray light can enter through the viewfinder.

toxic
Mar 29, 2010, 02:41 AM
what is mirror lock up? i've always heard about it, but don't know how it works???

the mirror inside the camera, which allows you to see through the lens, must raise quickly in order for the camera to make an exposure. the vibration from the mirror hitting the top of the chamber is significant enough to affect exposures less than 1/30s. after about 2s, the vibration becomes increasingly insignificant because it is very short relative to the total exposure time.

when using MLU, the camera should be on a tripod and the shutter should be released using the self-timer or a remote release. releasing the shutter using the shutter button would defeat the purpose of MLU because the act of pressing the shutter introduces vibration.

maddagascar
Mar 29, 2010, 10:34 AM
the mirror inside the camera, which allows you to see through the lens, must raise quickly in order for the camera to make an exposure. the vibration from the mirror hitting the top of the chamber is significant enough to affect exposures less than 1/30s. after about 2s, the vibration becomes increasingly insignificant because it is very short relative to the total exposure time.

when using MLU, the camera should be on a tripod and the shutter should be released using the self-timer or a remote release. releasing the shutter using the shutter button would defeat the purpose of MLU because the act of pressing the shutter introduces vibration.

wow. never knew all that. i've been taking long exposure shots at like 15-30 seconds using my wireless remote with a 2sec delay. but glad to know i can do that too!

and i always wondered what that thing was around the neck strap. i didn't know it covers the viewfinder.

kallisti
Mar 29, 2010, 11:38 AM
While pricey (and thus not something the OP will want at this time), Singh-Ray makes a variable ND filter with a rotating front element that can provide between 2 and 8 stops. Very convenient if you find yourself using ND filters often.

Singh-Ray Vari-ND (http://www.singh-ray.com/varind.html)

HBOC
Mar 29, 2010, 11:55 AM
I have wanted one for years. I believe they are like $440 for the Vario HD and $390 for the other one. I might pick up a 4 stop B+W ND this week.

grouper
Mar 29, 2010, 09:42 PM
Don't do it unless you have lots of extra money. A hood provides much more protection from a fall than any filter (you need something to crush and absorb energy, a filter can't crush much).

Check out the incredibly detrimental effect that cheap filters have on images in the following links. Cheap UV filters make all of your images look like crap. Anything that's not multi-coated should go in the garbage. Personally I use a UV filter when shooting concerts as the lens get sprayed with beer and water and I am quickly cleaning the lens 10 times a night(UV filter is also needed to complete weather sealing). The rest of the time, my UV filters stay in the bag.

Check out:
http://lenstip.com/113.1-article-UV_filters_test.html
http://www.kenandchristine.com/gallery/1054387_ucZqa/1


thanks for those links

BJB Productions
Mar 30, 2010, 10:29 AM
Thank you for all the comments, all! It's been very helpful. I have learned many things :)

--Hope to get my filters today.

HBOC
Mar 30, 2010, 12:50 PM
what kind did you buy?

BJB Productions
Mar 30, 2010, 01:06 PM
what kind did you buy?

Have not purchased them yet, but I know I need to get multicoated filters.

mmoto
Apr 2, 2010, 02:08 PM
While pricey (and thus not something the OP will want at this time), Singh-Ray makes a variable ND filter with a rotating front element that can provide between 2 and 8 stops. Very convenient if you find yourself using ND filters often.

Singh-Ray Vari-ND (http://www.singh-ray.com/varind.html)

Check ebay.
You can buy Tiffen/Hoya-quality (not brand) Variable ND filters for ~$100-$140.
I just picked one up for 7D SLR video, where I want to maintain 1/50 shutter and large aperture for low depth of field 24P in bright conditions.

-Brad

HBOC
Apr 2, 2010, 07:39 PM
Check ebay.
You can buy Tiffen/Hoya-quality (not brand) Variable ND filters for ~$100-$140.
I just picked one up for 7D SLR video, where I want to maintain 1/50 shutter and large aperture for low depth of field 24P in bright conditions.

-Brad

well, i don't think Tiffen is in the same ballpark as B+W, Singh-Ray (well, they are in their own league) or some high end Hoyas.

I sold my Tiffens to buy better quality stuff. Ended up selling my 77mm filters (had a 2 stop ND and a Polarizer) for $25 each.

But this is just my experience.

Westside guy
Apr 2, 2010, 09:22 PM
well, i don't think Tiffen is in the same ballpark as B+W, Singh-Ray (well, they are in their own league) or some high end Hoyas.

I sold my Tiffens to buy better quality stuff. Ended up selling my 77mm filters (had a 2 stop ND and a Polarizer) for $25 each.

But this is just my experience.

I'd agree with this. And while Singh-Ray is indeed "in its own league", I have absolutely no complaints regarding my B+W ND filters - no color casts or unevenness at all. That's the usual complaint with lower-cost ND filters (Note that B+W aren't low cost by any stretch of the imagination - they're just not in Singh-Ray's price bracket).

HBOC
Apr 3, 2010, 12:52 AM
that is for sure. They do have some high $100 stuff, but i wont pay more than $100 for anything other than a Singh-Ray.

I wanted to head out to the gorge or silverfalls/woodenshoe, but with this weather, i will wait until we get regular rain, lol

mmoto
Apr 3, 2010, 09:50 PM
well, i don't think Tiffen is in the same ballpark as B+W, Singh-Ray (well, they are in their own league) or some high end Hoyas.

I sold my Tiffens to buy better quality stuff. Ended up selling my 77mm filters (had a 2 stop ND and a Polarizer) for $25 each.

But this is just my experience.

Of course Tiffen is not in the same league as Singh-Ray or B+W.
I was just pointing out that if the OP did not want to spend $400 on a filter there is a decent alternative for $100.