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ND filters, what ND value works best and rules of thumb?

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by emilewski, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. emilewski

    Mar 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, CT
    Hello! So there are tons of threads about ND filters, where to buy and if people like them. I just received a set of filters (ND2, ND4, ND8 and ND16) which can of course be combined into lots of combinations. No where have I seen a recommendation on a sunny day as to what I should use? I know if shooting 30 fps I would want ideally a manual setting of 60 shutter speed. To bring the shutter speed down without it all washing out I need ND filters. But other than trial and error by flying up, finding ND not high enough, landing, swapping filters, trying again, etc, do people have a recommendation?

    Is ND 16 adequate for sunny days? ND 32? What do people find best (with the understanding that local conditions will vary requiring some adjustment)? I can do the trial and error thing but was hoping for some starting advice. Thanks!
  2. msinger

    Approved Vendor

    Oct 30, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Harrisburg, PA (US)
    This video explains how to decide which filter to use:

    Hono likes this.
  3. Hono

    Jul 17, 2015
    Likes Received:
    It is depends on the weather,I always use ND 32 for the bright sunny day,and Using ND 8 Normally,actually,you can use your filters or take out the filter to take some shot at the same position in order to see the different
  4. zryall3

    May 28, 2014
    Likes Received:
    How optically clear are your ND filters? Is any sharpness of the lens lost? As a long-time pro still photog, I know various glass lenses you buy for DSLR's can diminish the sharpness if they are not high quality.Thanks
  5. beatnik

    Jun 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    I shoot video for a living. It's really about lowering the ISO and keeping the shutter speed about 1/2 the frame rate. So if you need more ND to do that, then you go up to the next ND. If you can set your camera to 30fps and 60 shutter and 200 ISO with the histogram centered and no over exposure, you are in the zone that gives you that nice rich cine look. or shoot 24 fps if you prefer . I happen to prefer 30 fps and 100 or 200 ISO daylight. Lower ISO means less noise. Lower shutter means softer motion, all the way down to 30 shutter at 30 fps which looks blurry at the edges of the frame and when you turn the quad (to much motion blur at 1/30th of a second shutter)

    I have one ND for the phantom, it's the combo ND POLA from SRP. I think ND 16/CP
  6. jack1144

    Jul 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Here's what I do.
    Use a light meter. Can use a camera's light meter.Set to f2.8 ( that's what the Phantom lense is)
    Set exposure and read the shutter speed. Calculate how many stops you need to get the shutter speed down to 2 or 3 times the fps..Use ISO 100. ND2 =1stop ND4=2 stops ND8=3 ND16=4 etc
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