Practical advices about ND filters PART IV

Staff Blog

Practical advices about ND filters PART IV

Oct 18, 2016

• Typical situations
• Videography
• Exposure control
• Shooting of the Sun
• Choosing the ND filter
• Conclusions


Exposure control

If you are shooting video, for example, with a frame rate of 25 fps, it is recommended to set camera shutter speed to the inverse number of about 1/25 sec. But in sunny weather is almost impossible to fulfill this condition and you'll get overexposure.

The only thing you can do is to speed up the shutter speed, but in this case the final video will look jerky. ND filters allow to reach desired light flux for the optimal shutter speed.

Shooting of the Sun

When the Sun is near the horizon, you also can shoot not only time-lapse, but the usual video. And here you also need to use ND filters to cut an extra light flux.

Choosing the ND filter

Eventually we considered ND-filter types and main situations in which they can be used and the only thing now that remains is to give recommendations for choosing a right model.

If you have sufficient budget and want to seriously go deep into the long exposure, we recommend to use a set of filters. First, you need a filter with a high density level like ND500 or ND1000 with 9 and 10 ND f-stops. Using these filters you can achieve really long exposures. But if you need to slightly adjust the exposure (about 2-5 f-stops), we recommend to use variable ND filter. So, you will have ND filters for different situations. But that's not all. When you need to achieve an extra long exposure, you can make a "sandwich", combining both filters. So that you will get 15-17 f-stops.

The only thing you should pay attention to is a quality of variable density filters, because the common problem for a cheap variable ND filters is decrease in sharpness. Choosing the filter you should look for a well known and respectable brands. Kenko presented by 2 models - professional Kenko Variable NDX and for amateur - Kenko PL FADER.

Speaking of the more affordable way (which is much interesting for most photographers), I recommend to use filters with fixed ND level or a set of these filters. So, if you are shooting portraits with a fast lens, we recommend to use models between ND4-ND16. It will give you possibility to keep the depth of field even on sunny weather. If you are interested in long exposures, for example for shooting landscapes and cityscapes, models between ND32-ND200 will be enough for getting the shutter speed up to few seconds even on the sun. And finally, if you need an extra-long exposures, pay attention on the ND500 and ND1000 models (9 and 10 f-stops) or use a set of a few filters. For example, set of ND8+ND1000 (13 f-stops). ND32+ND500 (14 f-stops) also looks interesting.

Using filters with fixed ND level could look less convenient, but such way is more professional, because you can achieve any shutter speed as you like and it gives much better image quality (in case of resolution and color).


In this article we tried to consider the ND filters in a simple, but more detailed way for amateur photographers. Of course some nuances are stayed behind. For example, we did not speak about half-ND filters or about the color shift of ND filters of some manufacturers.
Also it was briefly mentioned above about the loss of sharpness problem of some variable ND filters. But as it was said at the beginning of the review it was made intentionally.

We hope this review will be useful and inspires you for new creative work.