Neutral Density Filters
Check it out! I told you I’d get around to writing about the new ND filter. ND stands for neutral density and comes in varying grades varying from 1 to 8. Mine is an ND 8 by a company called Tian Ya. Yes it is from Hong Kong and isn’t a well known brand like Cokin or Hoya, But those were $40 and mine was $12. But does it work!??! That is indeed the most important thing. Below are two pictures, both done on manual with settings of f/22 1/8s shutter speed an ISO value of 100. The first is without the filter and the second is with.
As you can see, the filter allows you to capture bright details with a slower shutter speed, so if you wanted the clouds streaking across the sky, this is the filter for you. Obviously the trees in the shot are under exposed and you could achieve the same look in the picture I have shown by using a faster shutter speed, but that’s not the point I was trying to make. I just wanted to show the amount of light it blocks out. It’s kind of like sunglasses for your lens! And it goes on just as easy, just screw it into your lenses existing threading. The one that I got has threading on both sides so I can screw on my macro or wide angle lenses on top of the ND filter, or another ND filter on top to make it an ND 16!!!
*EDIT* I wrote this post a looooong time ago and since then I have had numerous requests to give my opinions of the filter. My verdict? It’s great! I have taken some fantastic long exposures with this filter which is the reason I bought it. The reason I think it’s s great is because It only cost me $12 and it does what I wanted it to do. So why would anyone pay four times the price for a Cokin or Hoya? Well lets use some common sense; would you pay $1200 for a fancy new lens and then stick a $12 filter on the front and expect the image quality to be the same? Nope. Well you might, and if you do then I have some magic beans you might be interested in buying. I don’t know if the TianYa filter is glass or plastic, but it’s somewhat heavy for the size of it, so I’m leaning more towards glass. In either case the build quality is pretty sturdy and the image quality is good enough for me. I’m using it on the 18-55mm kit lens (brilliant lens, and cheap) and I’m not shooting ads for billboards or celebrity head shots, so super sharp images that can be scaled up to be huge are not my priority.
My final two-cents: If you want to try out some long exposure photography, buy it, it works. If you are a professional photographer using glass that costs more than my car, why are you spending $12 on a filter? Buy a Hoya you cheap bastard. Now enjoy some photos I took with the filter. And if you have more questions on filters then read THIS post that explains what filters do what or leave a comment.