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How many stop increments for 4x4 ND filter kit?

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    How many stop increments for 4x4 ND filter kit?

    I just got Formatt Firecrest 4x4 NDs in .6, .9, 1.2, and 1.8 to cover 2-10 stops by stacking filters, but now I'm second guessing myself, as my matte box only accepts 2 filters, and I can't use a CLP or grad ND with 2 stacked NDs.

    What's your solution?

    Do you buy 10 filters to cover every stop, or do you buy 5 filter to cover 2-stop increments compensating with ISO, or do you use a 3-stage matte box?

    Thanks.

    #2
    I'm bumping this, as I'm curious how other people handle limited filter slots.

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      #3
      My answer for the F55 was a single 4 x 5.65 Formatt Hot Mirror clear glass filter for IR cut, in front of a 0.6 ND to be used in tandem with the built-in ND filters on the F55, giving me total up to 8 stops ND plus IR filtering. For other cameras I have a 77mm 3.0 (10-stop IRND) with step rings. I've never needed 10 stops even for shooting Spring sunlight on snow but you never know. My matte box has two places for filters, and no I personally would not consider 10 filters to cover every stop.

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        #4
        Originally posted by Tom Roper View Post
        I've never needed 10 stops even for shooting Spring sunlight on snow but you never know.
        IIRC correctly, the brightest exposures I deal with in New York state are mid-summer mid-day. And on one shoot with my GH5 without ND, just closing down the aperture, I was at ISO 200 1/50 f/16. Possibly between f/11 and f/22. So, that would have required 7 stops of ND to bring me to an f/1.4. If the camera were native ISO 800, then I would have needed 9 stops. So, at my latitude it's hard to imagine needing more than 9 stops unless I were exposing daylight exteriors at a high base ISO (in order to match other material, for example).

        Imamacuser - I think that if you add a 2.4 filter you should be all set? Sure, it would be great to have 10 filters of ND in 1-stop increments. But it's a lot of filters, and when daylight is shifting a bit, it can be difficult to swap your filters constantly and you might be wiggling the ISO and/or aperture a bit anyway? So, you might be better off going with filters in increments of 2 stops. That's what the new Alexa 35 continues to do - it just has 2, 4, and 6 stops of internal ND
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        "If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech." - Noam Chomsky

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          #5
          All of my cameras have built-in ND. 0, 2, 4, 6 stops in my VariCam's and C300; 0, 3, 6 in my F55 and 0, 2, 4, 7 in my Amira. So I have 1, 2 and 3 stop 4x5.65 ND filters for my matte boxes. That covers me for every (single stop) permutation from 1 to 11 stops with every camera(12 for Amira).

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            #6
            Thanks everyone.

            I wanted to build a kit that covers my bases with cameras that don't have built-in NDs, plus some built-in NDs aren't neutral or don't cut IR wavelengths.

            I'm not likely to need a 10 stop ND, but I want to have the option in case I'm using a camera with an unusually high base ISO in Log, plus I can use the filter for long exposure photography.

            I've been buying these on clearance at 1/5th of retail, so that's why I'm considering filling out the kit more.

            In the future, I hope that camera companies either put E-NDs in all their cameras or better yet, multiple gain circuits so that we can just lower the ISO and not have to mess with NDs.

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              #7
              The brightest Noon Sun is 120,000 lux(11,000fc). That's f64 9/10 at 1/48 shutter, 800 ISO. 10 stops of ND will take you down to just under F2.8 at those camera settings. You only need 10 stops of ND if a shallow depth of field, low shutter speed, and 800 ISO are required while shooting in the brightest Sun. You could find it useful for photography or to increase highlight latitude at higher ISOs on some cameras.
              Last edited by d shay; 06-07-2022, 08:04 AM.

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                #8
                Fuji's new camera has a base ISO of something like 1,250 in log; I wasn't planning on buying one, but you never know if the other companies will follow suit. It's pretty common for cameras to have a base ISO of 800 in log.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Imamacuser View Post
                  Fuji's new camera has a base ISO of something like 1,250 in log; I wasn't planning on buying one, but you never know if the other companies will follow suit. It's pretty common for cameras to have a base ISO of 800 in log.
                  I believe my F55 has a base of ~1250 in log.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Imamacuser View Post
                    Fuji's new camera has a base ISO of something like 1,250 in log; I wasn't planning on buying one, but you never know if the other companies will follow suit. It's pretty common for cameras to have a base ISO of 800 in log.
                    and on the sony a7sii the base ISO in log was like 1600 (or was it even higher?) but I would just buy what you need for whatever you're using now. you can always go back for more!

                    Run&Gun - have you ever used 11 or 12 stops of ND? just curious
                    www.VideoAbe.com

                    "If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech." - Noam Chomsky

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by ahalpert View Post

                      and on the sony a7sii the base ISO in log was like 1600 (or was it even higher?) but I would just buy what you need for whatever you're using now. you can always go back for more!

                      Run&Gun - have you ever used 11 or 12 stops of ND? just curious
                      No sir, I don’t believe so. Unless possibly with a Vari-ND, but probably not. I was just saying that with what I have, between external and internal, that’s what I can get up to.

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                        #12
                        my experience is 3 6 9 stops

                        one would like some in between for serious cinematographic control but this is fine.

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                          #13
                          I've always had full 1-10-stop sets of NDs. Currently I have three separate sets - two 4x5.65" sets and one 82mm circular set (for stills lenses). I frequently use quite a bit of filtration, so stacking NDs is something I have no interest in.

                          With cameras that have internal NDs, you can certaily get away with fewer filters these days. But it all depends - for Sony's electronic ND for example, you can't use it safely with polarisers, so I have to carry a full set of NDs with those cameras anyway, since if I need both Pola and heavy ND, then I need to have the external filters with me.

                          What I really want to see, are some affordable, fixed matte box filter trays, that you can permanently mount your filters into - this would take out so much of the pain of switching filters.
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                            #14

                            Originally posted by Grug View Post
                            With cameras that have internal NDs, you can certaily get away with fewer filters these days. But it all depends - for Sony's electronic ND for example, you can't use it safely with polarisers, so I have to carry a full set of NDs with those cameras anyway,
                            I did some non-rigorous testing of the FX6 electronic ND last year and found that;

                            1. The electronic ND introduces significant vignetting which is corrected in-camera. You can see this vignetting by turning off 'lens compensation - shading'.

                            2. I could see a slight shift to cyan when using the internal ND and a noticeable drop in mids. This was with all lens compensation settings turned on. With 1/8 internal ND, the changes to the image were more severe than those from a top-end B+W .9 external ND. I wouldn't have noticed the effect of the internal ND on the image without a side-by-side comparison so it was not terrible but I was surprised the external ND performed better.

                            3. The degradation of the image from the internal ND didn't seem to get worse at higher levels although I didn't test this extensively. A lowish-end B+W 1.8 external ND was WAY worse than the FX6's electronic ND at an equivalent level.

                            The electronic ND is amazing and I haven't stopped using it, though if I was shooting narrative I'd at least consider doing more testing.

                            If the above is contrary to your experience I'd be very glad to hear about it - perhaps my FX6 needs a service!





                            Last edited by Andy9; 06-17-2022, 08:58 PM.

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