Long exposures in bright scenarios

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by BJB Productions, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #1
    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
     
  2. macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    ~119W 34N
    #2
    Neutral density filters should do the trick. They're available in various densities (1 stop, 2 stops, etc.).
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #3

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

    Thanks! :)
     
  4. macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    ~119W 34N
    #4
    No problem. Glad that helped and good luck with your project!
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #5
    Is there a density you would suggest for my scenario?..It's possible I would be shooting some landscapes and waterfalls.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors 603

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    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #7
    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
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #8
    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:
     
  9. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #9
    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.
     
  10. macrumors regular

    romanaz

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #10
    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).
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Grey Beard

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Location:
    The Antipodes.
    #11
    I think that you may be thinking of the French maker 'Cokin' I have a heap of their stuff "somewhere"

    KGB
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    Location:
    elsewhere
    #12
    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.
     
  13. macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy part of the Pacific NW
    #13
    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.
     
  14. macrumors 603

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    #14
    Yep, those were the ones. Thanks! :D And I have bunch tucked away some where too.... one day, one day....
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #15
    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.
     
  16. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
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    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #16
    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.
     
  17. macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy part of the Pacific NW
    #17
    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.
     
  18. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #18
    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
     
  19. macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy part of the Pacific NW
    #19
    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).
     
  20. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #20
    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.....
     
  21. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    Location:
    elsewhere
    #21
    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>.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #22
    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
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #23
    I keep my lens hoods on at all times, thanks for the tips.
     
  24. macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    PDX
    #24
    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.
     

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  25. macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #25
    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
     

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