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ND Filter on strobes for CFWA


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I am wondering if anyone is using ND filters on their strobes and their experience with them if so.

 

On a recent trip, I had constant issues placing my strobes where I wanted to place them as they were too much and provided too much light even on their lowest setting. I am shooting Inon Z330s on manual.  In particular for CFWA I can’t place the strobes where I should (according to Adam’s wonderful book) as I always blow out the image. I think part of this is that I am shooting at high ISO to expose the background right and it is very dark so high ISO, slow shutter speed, etc.  From a composition standpoint, I don’t want to drop the exposure and so instead I have been moving the strobes well away from the camera body and angling them to get a more diffuse light and still light the subject, but it can lead to shadows that I don’t love plus I couldn’t always get as close to the subject that I wanted and still light it smoothly.

 

I know that Inon makes ND filters for these strobes & I was planning on picking up a set, but I was wondering if anyone has experience using ND filters for this purpose.  

 

So people have something to look at - here is an example that was fixed in post by bringing all the highlights and whites WAY down and having to use the DR of the camera to its fullest.  And this wasn’t even one of the dark sites - ISO 5k, f/10, 1/40th R5. 


 

McM23_ColdDarkDiver.jpg

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Yeah, I had the same reaction as Davide. Nice pic!  
 

Nope, never used NDs on strobes and, must admit, I can’t imagine the need given the ability to adjust ISO etc even allowing for wanting a well light background. But then, so what? You used them and it worked nicely. Crack on!

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7 hours ago, ColdDarkDiver said:

I am wondering if anyone is using ND filters on their strobes and their experience with them if so.

 

On a recent trip, I had constant issues placing my strobes where I wanted to place them as they were too much and provided too much light even on their lowest setting. I am shooting Inon Z330s on manual.  In particular for CFWA I can’t place the strobes where I should (according to Adam’s wonderful book) as I always blow out the image. I think part of this is that I am shooting at high ISO to expose the background right and it is very dark so high ISO, slow shutter speed, etc.  From a composition standpoint, I don’t want to drop the exposure and so instead I have been moving the strobes well away from the camera body and angling them to get a more diffuse light and still light the subject, but it can lead to shadows that I don’t love plus I couldn’t always get as close to the subject that I wanted and still light it smoothly.

 

I know that Inon makes ND filters for these strobes & I was planning on picking up a set, but I was wondering if anyone has experience using ND filters for this purpose.  

 

So people have something to look at - here is an example that was fixed in post by bringing all the highlights and whites WAY down and having to use the DR of the camera to its fullest.  And this wasn’t even one of the dark sites - ISO 5k, f/10, 1/40th R5. 


 

McM23_ColdDarkDiver.jpg

Not surprising that you are blowing out at ISO 5K.  ND filters are very straight forward - as long as they are reasonably neutral they should only reduce the flash exposure by the rated number of stops. 

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Thanks for the compliments on the picture and the info.  I wasn't going to post a bad pic to demonstrate the challenge 🙂 but this was an example of what could be saved whereas others were more challenging - especially when shooting white subjects. 

 

Davide - the marbling on the surface is algae growing on the underside of sea ice - ice and snow thickness makes them have different colors and it is mesmerizing.  

 

 

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I'm more into video, so the question could be silly. 

Why cranking ISO to 5000?

 

6 minutes ago, ColdDarkDiver said:

Davide - the marbling on the surface is algae growing on the underside of sea ice - ice and snow thickness makes them have different colors and it is mesmerizing.  

 

Stunning effect. Where did you dive?

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On 1/15/2024 at 11:37 PM, Davide DB said:

Why cranking ISO to 5000?

I'm guessing to properly expose the background with very limited natural light. 1/40th is at the limit of reasonable shutter speed, so it's either a wider aperture, or higher ISO. I personally would sacrifice corners and go for something like f/5.6 or f/4 at lower ISO, but it's a matter of personal preference.

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I went ISO 5000 for as Bermaglot said - to expose the background and then fill the foreground.  I chose the sharper corners and so smaller aperture, but yes - always an internal debate for me as to whether shoot wider open or bump the ISO.  Either way, the strobes would still overexpose.  I find 5k is very workable on the R5 and I can shoot 1/40th with the IBIS and usually get crisp images (5k ISO is workable as long as I get the exposure pretty close in the first place).

 

I usually try to stay between F/8 and F/13 - but sometimes the corners should be sacrificed.

 

The image was in the Southern Ross Sea, Antarctica at a spot called Explorer's cove ~ 78 degrees S.  

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I tried the Inon ND filters for Z330/D200 that were according to Inon more directly designed for still shooters wanting to shoot macro at wide open F/numbers like @.8/1.8/1.4.

 

I have done the same thing for years by using a 67mm DH filter threaded onto the macro port or other sizes threaded to the lens.

 

Not indicated what lens you are using but you may want to give the land filters a try.  

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4 hours ago, Phil Rudin said:

I tried the Inon ND filters for Z330/D200 that were according to Inon more directly designed for still shooters wanting to shoot macro at wide open F/numbers like @.8/1.8/1.4.

 

I have done the same thing for years by using a 67mm DH filter threaded onto the macro port or other sizes threaded to the lens.

 

Not indicated what lens you are using but you may want to give the land filters a try.  

The problem is the strobes over powering ambient light and if you put a filter on the lens it reduces both ambient and flash light and you need to boost ISO for ambient and you end up back where you started.  Macro is entirely different as you are generally using flash as main light.  According to the specs the Z330 ND is 4 stops - so hopefully that is enough for the task.

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I'm curious why you don't reduce your ISO and shutter speed for static scenes like that? In low light I'm commonly shooting longer than 1/10 (sometimes multiple seconds). As an example, dropping down to 1/10 would lower your ISO to 1250, which would surely get you into range for proper strobe exposure. And even if there's slight camera movement during the shot, your subject will remain sharp since it is predominantly strobe lit, and the background probably won't look much different since it's already out of focus. Of course, using ND filters on the strobes will work too, but you'll still be at ISO 5k, which obviously will yield lower image quality than ISO 1250. 

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I used a homemade ND filter when I tried shooting fish portraits at a wide aperture (2.8 or even 1.8) for an art effect. In this case, the strobes also overexposed the object even at minimum power.
An additional translucent spacer (any piece of white plastic) allows you to normalize the exposure.
 

In this case, I see no reason to close the aperture to 10. When shooting in such conditions, I calmly opened the aperture to the maximum (2.8 old fisheye or 4 new fisheye). And the edges of the frame remain sharp when using a large sphere.

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