View Full Version : Neutral Density Filter?


thefilmgeek
01-15-2009, 10:53 PM
For a Canon XH-A1, what is the strongest ND Filter you can get for it, and which brands are the best? I know absolutely nothing about filters. :(

I'm not even really sure if I need the strongest one, or if I'll have to stack them, I don't really know how effective 72mm ND filters are at blocking out the light.

I want to be able to open up the iris as much as I can, use the lowest f-stop the camera offers (get the best shallow DoF I can get from the camera naturally) while still lighting the scene with about 1000-1500 watts of 3-point lighting on my actors. (500w halogen key, 250w fills, scoop light highlights)

Zensteve
01-15-2009, 11:55 PM
Tiffen is a known brand, for filters.

I buy Quantaray, though, as they are usually cheaper and on sale more frequently.

ND filters come in different strengths. The higher the number, the "darker" it is.

They are also available in a few shapes. There are the traditional round ones (such as what you'd use on a regular 35mm still camera, and many kinds of camcorders & S8 cameras) and also square ones that slide into a special box that is mounted on front of the camera. (Forgotten what that box is called)

I have no idea which type your camera would take.

Using either the round or square ones, you could either stack them (not something I would do myself... no particular reason, aside from more glass to clean) or pop in the appropiate strength as a single.

Some other types of filters have ND attributes in them, even if not listed on the box. The polarisers I have are both an effective ND2, for example, even though it's not mentioned on the label. I haven't looked into it, but I would suspect my yellow, green & red ones have a similar effect.

On a different note, I would think that your camera would have a built-in ND function. Many prosumer cameras do. (I don't know if it's a digital effect, or if an actual glass slides into place). You trying to go over that level?

I don't really know how effective 72mm ND filters are at blocking out the light.

Filters might only be a part of it. Screens & flags (along with good placement of light sources) can also help with the overall lighting.

thefilmgeek
01-16-2009, 12:14 AM
Yep want to do more than the built-in ND Filters. :)

Was planning at this point just buying an 'ND 9' strength and trying that out, it's the strongest I could find.

On a side note, will the ND filter act as a protector for my lens, as well? (Sort of the same type of thing people put those UV filters on, for?)

WideShot
01-16-2009, 01:05 PM
"...For example, Tiffen and B+W have 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 ND filters for reducing one, two and three stops of light. Hoya, on the other hand, uses 2, 4 and 8 to indicate reducing 1 (i.e. 2=21), 2 (i.e., 4=22), and 3 (i.e., 8=23) stops. The two ND filters come with Nikon's Coolpack are of ND4 and ND8 type, which means they reduce two and three stops, respectively. "

http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam/User-Guide/filter/filter-ND.html

By the way, smart decision on the ND filters.. They will make a big big difference, especially in ext shots.

thefilmgeek
01-16-2009, 08:13 PM
Heya Wideshot, will I need to also throw on a UV filter as a lens protector, or will the ND filters serve the exact same purpose? (This is a Canon XH-A1 with 72mm threads, by the way)