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Options for Landscape and Time Lapse Photography


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#1 Leaviathan

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 08:19 PM

I've been wanting to get into time lapse photography, sunsets and rivers/canals mostly. I plan on picking up a 10 stop ND filter.

 

Secondly, is the 18-55 DX lens suitable for this? If not, what would be your first choice for type and focal length? I was thinking about the Tokina AT-X 116 Pro for some cool wide angle river shots but I'm not sure how it'll work for sunsets.

 

Being I haven't gotten the filters yet I'm thinking 62mm with step down rings since I already have a 62mm ND 3 stop, It would probably save money to consolidate and base everything around 62mm filters.

 

 

 


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#2 Arlon

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 11:05 PM

I have a number of ND filters and went with all 77mm and step down rings. If you ever get any fast lenses, they will be 77mm most likely and you'll be buying them all over again if you get the smaller filters. If you really don't think you'll ever get any lenses with 77mm filters, I guess the smaller ones will get it done (I'm also on a full frame camera so generally larger lens diameters). 

 

 

I've got two of the BW 10 stop filters, Hoya 9 stop, a cheap fader that is essentially useless and the latest is a 16 stop Firecrest from Fommat Hitech. The Firecrest is WAY more neutral in color balance. The others have a color cast and seem to block a lot of warm colors. The Firecrest is the only one that has given me a file with a pretty much intact color spectrum. Problem with those with a heavy color cast is that they also block some colors. So turning up the saturation doesn't get them back because that aren't there. That's why you see so many of these slow shutter speed images converted to BW. There just isn't much way to get a natural color image out of them. The Firecrest has a full color spectrum and can be edited to a very natural color image. Just food for thought. Firecrest is also a noticeably thinner than the others and has less vignette issues with super wide lenses (on full frame). 

 

The Firecrest is the only filter out of the 4 I have that doesn't totally screw up sunset colors. 


Edited by Arlon, 04 February 2017 - 11:14 PM.

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#3 Leaviathan

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 07:17 AM

What are you using for a lens? This guy in a youtube video said your aperture should be set at around 7, or whatever the sweet spot for the best clarity is on your lens. I would have guessed to set the aperture at 22, but are wide lenses better for this application?


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#4 Arlon

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 07:42 AM

One clarification.. You mentioned "time" lapse. I have not done slow shutter time lapse. Only slow shutter single images. Having said that I have used too many lenses to count for the process but probably the lens used most is my 16-35mm F4. Aperture varies just depending on what I want for DOF in the image, changes from F4-16 depending on what I'm trying for. Apertures as small as F22 will probably not give the sharpest image.

 

I have used 80-200mm f2.8 lens, 28-300mm lens, 50mm f1.4 lens and a host of old manual focus prime lenses. Biggest issue for me with slow shutter speeds is sensor noise in a D800E, it may be the absolute worst camera made for shooting long exposures (I have not tried my wife's D7100, it could be worse). Any exposure over 2 minutes I turn on the slow shutter noise reduction which doubles the time it takes to get a shot. When you get up to 5-10 minute exposures that really starts to become an issue. "despeckle" noise reduction in post processing does help.. Noise isn't an issue for small images to post on FB but it is an issue if you want to print them at any large sizes. 

 

Good luck with what ever you go with. Slow shutter photography can be fun. I also use an iPhone app for calculating shutter speeds.. Several of them out there. I just wish I had more time to play with it. I'm always too anxious to wait out a really long daytime exposure. I just need to carry two cameras so I can do something else while one is working on a slow shutter shot! 


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#5 Leaviathan

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 07:51 AM

Yeah I'm just talking 30-120 second exposures etc.. I was looking at the solid Firecrest ND filters and they have the appearance of a very hard graduated filter, it gets confusing as to what is what, because they were listed under solid ND filters on the BH Photo website.


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#6 Arlon

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 10:31 AM

 All the ones I've seen were solid. I have a HOYA grad, it leaves a color cast too. If Firecrest makes a grad, I'm putting it on my wish list. I'm about ready to ebay all the ND filters I have and put the money towards a simpler set of Firecrest ND filters. With the 16 stop at least I won't have to stack them anymore. Something like a 4 stop grad, solid 4, 10, and the 16 would be all I'd ever need. 


Edited by Arlon, 05 February 2017 - 10:31 AM.

D50, D90, D100 IR, D700, D800E and a bunch of old manual lenses..
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#7 Dennis

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 10:45 AM

Arlon, why didn't you get the square ones with the filter holders ? Just wondering.

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#8 Leaviathan

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 11:04 AM

I just ordered a 62mm Firecrest and a step up ring. The square one was $100 more! 


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#9 Arlon

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 11:09 AM

Arlon, why didn't you get the square ones with the filter holders ? Just wondering.

They are a pain with slow shutter speeds. It's too hard to get a good light seal. Cost is another reason. Portability is still another. Many of the square filters are acrylic instead of optical glass.. Only place a can see a benefit for a square filter with a holder is for a graduated ND filter so you can adjust the composition of ND portion a lot better. 


Edited by Arlon, 05 February 2017 - 11:10 AM.

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#10 justshootit

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 04:07 PM

I believe there's a time lapse tutorial at theslantedlens.com. Might want to check into that.
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#11 ericbowles

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 09:01 AM

I've bought a couple of Firecrest filters recently and have been happy with them.  Mine were a 10 stop and a 5 stop so I could stack them.

 

Generally color casts become an issue at 10 stops and higher.  The main reason is that until recently, most filters did not block IR spectrum.  They only blocked visible light.  Your camera sensor has about 15 stops of IR blocking on the sensor.  So if you are not blocking IR, at the 10 stop point you have underexposed IR light that starts to be noticeable.  The 15 and 16 stop filters were much worse.  The IR light has a magenta cast, but with white balance you could turn it into different colors - still a color cast and all wrong.  

 

The Firecrest filters and several other recent releases have started using films that block IR spectrum as well as visible light.  I've tested them on my IR converted cameras and confirmed that they block IR light in the same manner as visible spectrum.  

 

I have one tip that may help in using strong ND filters.  Be sure to cover the viewfinder during your exposure.  Light can "leak" in through the viewfinder during long exposures.  You can get light leaks from other areas such as the focus distance scale and even the mount, but those are less common.  If possible, try to avoid having direct sun hitting your camera and lens if you find problems with light leaks.  Light leaks are either light areas or magenta areas that show up in your image.  They have a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the source of the leak. 


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#12 Leaviathan

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 09:12 AM

I was experimenting with my Firecrest 10 stop just before sunset yesterday, it was cloudy so there were no colors at all, and the shots were very over exposed with only 5 second exposures. I started at f7.1 and ended up in the f22-32 range. So I believe the sun has to be completely gone, either that or buy an additional filter and stack it.


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#13 Dennis

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 09:44 AM

I was experimenting with my Firecrest 10 stop just before sunset yesterday, it was cloudy so there were no colors at all, and the shots were very over exposed with only 5 second exposures. I started at f7.1 and ended up in the f22-32 range. So I believe the sun has to be completely gone, either that or buy an additional filter and stack it.

 

What was your ISO?


Thanks, Dennis.

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#14 Leaviathan

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 10:28 AM

 

What was your ISO?

100. Just posted a photo in Other Photographs, much better results.


Edited by Leaviathan, 09 February 2017 - 10:30 AM.

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#15 Arlon

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 12:02 PM

Reason I got the 16 stop filter was because 10 stops just wasn't enough on a bright day. The 10 stop filter is great for strong overcast/early and late shots but I wanted something I could use in the middle of the day. 

 

I also use a hand towel to throw over my camera for slow shutter speed shot. I close the viewfinder but light still creeps in when things get over a few minutes. Heavy dark towel seems to help. 

 

I did try to stack 2 10 stop B&W filters and it was a total failure due to the horrible unfocused magenta cast from the IR. Why I purchased the 16 stop firecrest again. It blocks the IR so I can stack it on top of ones that don't. 


D50, D90, D100 IR, D700, D800E and a bunch of old manual lenses..
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