I’ve just updated and revised my Guide to Neutral Density Filters to take on board several changes:
1. The New Hoya ND x400 Filter
In the last revision to the Guide, I noted that Hoya had released the famous ND x400 (The Black Glass) in an 82mm thread size. This means you can now shoot with an ND x400 on, say, a Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L II and one of the best landscape lenses on the planet, the Carl Zeiss Distagon 21mm f2.8, and others.
If Hoya have managed to pull this off with a filter the quality of its smaller thread sizes, eg 72mm and 77mm, then the new 82mm size will basically eat the market. This is simply because the bigger the diameter of the glass, the harder it gets to actually manufacture a workable extreme ND filter and the Lee Big Stopper (the only alternative for lenses with an 82mm thread) produces colour casting and only just fits the humungous 82mm thread-sized lens. (Not good for hangovers.)
I have just tested the Hoya ND x400 82mm filter after picking one up from DDP for $205 (it was only $195 less than 2 weeks ago), and I have now updated my Guide to reflect the results.
So, how did the new Hoya ND x400 go? Well, you’ll just have to see the results in the Guide to find out.
2. Long exposures and small apertures
Recently my good buddy Joe Meirose sent me a bmail about a problem he had been experiencing when using the B+W 3.0 ND Filter – horizontal banding across the image. Something about his specs leapt out at me, I did a little searching, and the suggestion I made may have solved the problem. Joe has kindly offered up a sample image showing the banding for the purposes of the discussion I’ve included in the Guide about the problem. Thanks Joe!
3. New images
I’ve replaced all the images demonstrating Sample 5: Monochromes with more recent (and I’d like to think better) samples. And added one too. (The samples show increasing exposure times.) I personally think the image I am now showing for the sample of a 45 second exposure is the best photograph of a waterfall I have shot to date. At the same time, I’ve gone through the Guide and tried to get consistent large sizes happening for all samples to improve the visual experience!
4. Deletion policy
The other day a pedant joined RB specifically to be able to make a Comment to contradict two sentences I’d written. (The Guide is 10,000 words.) Unfortunately, he/she/it played the man and not the ball, and in any event I deleted the comment. My policy with my Guides is that if anybody has a problem with anything I’ve said in one, email me the issue and I’ll take it on board and to delete any narky comment which ignores that request. I have edited the ND Guide to make this policy now, hopefully, 100% clear.
5. Stuff removed
Unfortunately, I long ago maxed out the 160,000 character limit on the ND Guide, so every time I add something, something else has to go. I tried to minimise the impact this time around like the other times, but it has meant I can no longer show the images of the people on RB who inspire me with their monochrome long exposures, I can now only name and link to their portfolios. Sorry guys.