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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎01-27-2018

Question on how to use Lee ND Grad filters

Hello Experts,

 

I think I have a good graps of what to do with Netrual Density Filters, e.g. 6 and 10 stop filers. I have no clue on how to use those Graduated ones. Thus any suggestions and recommendations are most welcome.

 

My guess would be, to take a read of the foreground and the background scenes and compare the reading between the two, the differences called for the type of ND Grad filter to use. Is that accurate or completely bogus?

 

Thank you,

LV

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,504
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Question on how to use Lee ND Grad filters

That is right. Nowadays it is much much much easier to just take two shots at the two exposures and combine them in post. Or just use the HDR function on your camera.

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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,615
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Question on how to use Lee ND Grad filters

Lee Filters has put out a number of YouTube tutorials on the topic.

 

In short, you meter the sky and note the exposure.  You meter the foreground and note that exposure.  E.g. suppose you determine that it's a 2 stop difference (rounded values are close enough) then you'd use the 2 stop filter.

 

The filters come in "hard edge" and "soft edge" versions.  The difference is simply how quickly it changes from clear to dark.

 

If your scene has an obvious line separating the bright & dark regions, usually a hard-edge filter works best.  But if there are lots of object from the foreground that protrude into the sky such that there's no clean line of separation... then usually the soft works best.

 

You slide the filter into the holder while looking through the camera to find the point where the tinted area best covers the bright areas (usually the sky).

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
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Posts: 9,592
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Question on how to use Lee ND Grad filters

"My guess would be, to take a read of the foreground and the background scenes ..."

 

This is called "bracketing". It is and has always been the photographers best friend.

 

" Nowadays it is much much much easier to just take two shots at the two exposures and combine them in post. Or just use the HDR function on your camera."

Smiley Very Happy

I could have said that myself.  Filters for the most part have become obsolete.  Yeah, you can make a case in certain situations for ND's and in those cases they are great.  Also, polarizers still have a place but the rest can all be done in post. And, it can be done better!

If you don't bracket and/or you don't use HDR, you really need to learn how.  Plus if you are not up on how to use a good post editor, you really need to learn it also.  The best things about post editors is layers and masking.  These are powerful tools that have a much greater impact on a photo than any filter could ever manage.  Of course the top of the line is Photoshop and Lightroom. But they are subscription only which some folks don't like.  If you are of that mind set, you need to check out Photoshop Elements.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV, along with, a lot of other stuff.
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎01-27-2018

Re: Question on how to use Lee ND Grad filters

Noit sure if i am doing something wrong but I am seeing some unexpected results with the 3 stop soft ND grad. It tense to leave a drastic transition from dark to light more repaidly than i thought it would be. Was expect the soft edge is less visible than hard or medium edge!

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎04-04-2018

Re: Question on how to use Lee ND Grad filters

[ Edited ]

I agree but want to add one thought. If there is some movement between bracketed shots (waves, birds, etc.), it may cause a problem combining them in post-production.  That depends on the scene though.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎04-04-2018

Re: Question on how to use Lee ND Grad filters

[ Edited ]

@limvo05 wrote:

Noit sure if i am doing something wrong but I am seeing some unexpected results with the 3 stop soft ND grad. It tense to leave a drastic transition from dark to light more repaidly than i thought it would be. Was expect the soft edge is less visible than hard or medium edge!


Maybe that's because you used a 3 stop soft ND grad (I think some call it a 0.9).  Perhaps if you try a 1 or 2 stop, it would be less drastic.

 

I could not see the photo attachment which you may have tried to add so I am just imagining what you saw.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎01-27-2018

Re: Question on how to use Lee ND Grad filters

Hi, Not sure why I can nolonger upload photos here.

 

Yes, I have thought of using a 1 or 2 stop ND grad. That said, I thought 3 stop is needed for the sence I was trying to capture.

 

Based on my limited understanding of how this thing supposed to work, it's best for landscape where there top area (often sky and clouds) are way brighter than the foreground. As said, I was surprised to see the cutoff and transition line between fore and background was rather obvioius and distinct.

 

Lastly, I am noticing the filter leaving a strong blue impression, this is especially true with the big stopper.


Thanks,

LV

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎04-04-2018

Re: Question on how to use Lee ND Grad filters


@limvo05 wrote:

Hi, Not sure why I can nolonger upload photos here.

 

Yes, I have thought of using a 1 or 2 stop ND grad. That said, I thought 3 stop is needed for the sence I was trying to capture.

 

Based on my limited understanding of how this thing supposed to work, it's best for landscape where there top area (often sky and clouds) are way brighter than the foreground. As said, I was surprised to see the cutoff and transition line between fore and background was rather obvioius and distinct.

 

Lastly, I am noticing the filter leaving a strong blue impression, this is especially true with the big stopper.


Thanks,

LV


 

I understand now.  I read that stronger ND filter may leave a color cast, so some people choose to take RAW photographs and adjust it later.  I admit that I too have difficulty using ND, but I think I just need more practice.

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