Daniel Frei Photography: Blog https://www.danfrei.com/blog en-us (C) Daniel Frei Photography danfrei@danfrei.com (Daniel Frei Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:36:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:36:00 GMT https://www.danfrei.com/img/s/v-12/u381162172-o408122098-50.jpg Daniel Frei Photography: Blog https://www.danfrei.com/blog 80 120 Get Crisp Stars in your Sky Shots https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2014/1/Get-Crisp-Stars-in-your-Sky-Shots One of the most common questions that come up when discussing night photography is: “How do I get my stars to not look like lines?” Nighttime landscape photography is different from daytime landscape photography in that high ISO is not only perfectly acceptable, but sometimes necessary.  You see, you can’t just use a low ISO and keep the shutter open to achieve the proper exposure. You have a time limit at night, unless of course you are shooting star trail images. Because the Earth rotates, celestial objects appear to move across the night sky even though they are completely still. Because of the Earth’s movement, there is a maximum amount of time your shutter can be open before it starts to capture this motion. There is no hard and fast way to determine what is and what isn’t an acceptable amount of captured movement. That is entirely up to you and your interpretation. But there is a starting point which is called the “500 Rule”

What happens when you use too long of an exposure when photographing the night sky.

This is what happens when you use too long of an exposure when photographing the night sky. The stars all trail in the image and it appears somewhat blurry.  This is why we use the “500 Rule”

The “500 Rule” is where you take the number 500 and divide it by the 35mm equivalent focal length of your lens to get the maximum shutter speed. This gives you the longest exposure before any noticeable star movement appears in your image. What I mean by 35mm equivalent focal length is if you are using a crop sensor camera, because they are smaller than full frame (35mm) sensors, there is a magnification crop factor. Canon’s crop factor is 1.6, while Nikon is 1.5. This means a 12mm lens used on a Nikon crop sensor DSLR is equivalent to 18mm on a full frame DSLR. (12mm x 1.5 Nikon crop factor = 18mm equivalent focal length) Including this in our equation helps us include other sensor types in our formula instead of just full frame cameras.

Your equation for the “500 Rule” is:

500/(Focal Length x Crop Factor) = Shutter speed

Now some examples:

For a full frame camera with a 14mm focal length lens your “500 Rule” formula should look like this:

500/14 = 35.7 seconds (or effectively 36 seconds)

Now, if you have a crop sensor, like say a Canon 60D with a 12mm lens your formula would look like this.

500/(12 x 1.6) = 26.04 seconds (or effectively 26 seconds)

Here is a quick table/cheat sheet to show some typical “500 Rule” calculations:

Focal Length Full Frame Nikon 1.5 Crop Canon 1.6 Crop
10  - 33 31
14 36 24 22
16 31 21 20
20 25 17 16
24 21 14 13
28 18 12 11
35 14 10 9
ws-psIMG_1457

Here I used a 30 second shutter on a Canon 60D (1.6 crop factor) at 12mm here. “500 Rule” gives me 26 seconds, the “600 Rule” gives me 31 seconds so I’m right in between both rules.

The “500 Rule” evolved from the “600 Rule”. The “600 Rule” is the same as the “500 Rule” except you use 600 instead of 500. The “500 Rule” came about because some thought the “600 Rule” was not effective enough at calculating a shutter speed without star trails. To each their own, I say. Personally, I’m typically somewhere in between.

Using the “500 Rule” formula will give you your starting point to determining how long of a shutter speed YOU think you need to use for your shots. Rules are always meant to be broken, but this should help guide you in the right direction.

 

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danfrei@danfrei.com (Daniel Frei Photography) 500 Rule 600 Rule Blog How-To Long exposure photography Michigan Photographer Michigan Photography Night Photography Night Sky Pure Michigan Pure Michigan Photography Pure Michigan Photos long exposure star trail star trails stars https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2014/1/Get-Crisp-Stars-in-your-Sky-Shots Wed, 22 Jan 2014 06:15:14 GMT
The Arctic of Lexington https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2014/1/The-Arctic-of-Lexington I decided to shoot up to Lexington, MI on Saturday morning in hope for a sunrise photo shoot with an icy shoreline. Well I got my wish. When I first made it there, around 6:15 am there was not a cloud in the sky but there was a LOT of ice. I searched in and around the icy shore and got a feel for how strong the ice was. A couple of times I fell about 5 or 6 inches into some patches of broken up ice pieces which scared me a little. I finally started to feel comfortable on the ice and knew where I could and could not go. I started to set up my camera and take pictures as the morning progressed. Here were my results.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Pink Salt Ice
Pink Salt
This ice chunk reminds me of the pink salt you see in the grocery store. I never do know what to do with that. Anyways, for this shot I had to pull my camera off the tripod because I needed the camera on the ground for the shot. I placed the rising sun directly behind the ice chunk and fired the image. 1/4 second, f/6.7, ISO100
Icy Shards
Icy Shards
Broken up ice filled an area on a giant iceberg on the shore of Lake Huron. 1/15, f/8, ISO100
Frozen Dawn
Frozen Dawn
There was, what appeared as a pathway of broken up ice pieces, I started to walk over it and instantly fell through about 5 or 6 inches. I proceeded to stop, lay flat and set up the camera where it was. 30 seconds, f/8, ISO100, 2stop ND grad
Glacier Coast
Glacier Coast
Taken about 35 minutes prior to sunrise, just as the soft glow on the horizon was starting to get more intense. 15 seconds, f/8, ISO100, 2stop ND grad
Icy Symmetry
Icy Symmetry
Although not perfectly symmetrical, I do like the way the edges of the iceberg follow the same rough path as the edges of the clouds do. 20 seconds, f/16, ISO100, 2stop ND grad
Icy Chunk
Icy Chunk
The ice chunk is chilling on the iceberg watching a sun rise. Such a simple life. 1/4, f/11, ISO100
Tip of the Iceberg
Tip of the Iceberg
This was literally the tip of the iceberg I was standing on for most of the morning. From this perspective it looks like you can walk all the way to the horizon. 2 seconds, f/22, ISO100
Icy Sunrise
Icy Sunrise
The sun has risen in Lexington and casts and colorful glare onto the ice along the shore. 1/4, f/11, ISO100
Arctic Sunrise
Arctic Sunrise
The sun peaks over the Lake Huron horizon at Lexington Harbor. 1/3 second, f/13, ISO100

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danfrei@danfrei.com (Daniel Frei Photography) Blog https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2014/1/The-Arctic-of-Lexington Sun, 05 Jan 2014 22:38:55 GMT
Turning Night into Day https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2014/1/Turning-Night-into-Day I started doing “Night to Day” images almost by accident. I had set out to take a star trail photo and had taken just a simple 30 second exposure at a high ISO to check my framing. When I got back to my computer I looked at the file and played around with the processing and loved the way the night looks as if it’s exposed like a daytime shot. The moon can cast such a strong shadow as well as really light up a scene during the course of a long exposure. About a week later I set out to try this method and I fell in love with it.  There is so much story told in the images. Stars move across the sky(actually the Earth is rotating and the stars are stationary) that look almost like meteors, the clouds streak across the sky and the water turns to glass and there is something magical about moonlight on a camera’s sensor that I just can’t get enough of. So many unique advantages appear during the long exposure which sets it apart from a typical daytime shot of the same scene.   Through the next several paragraphs I’ll walk you through how to set up and take your “Night to Day” shot.

pIMG_2273

25 minutes, f/5.6, ISO100. Although it was relatively cloudy this night, the clouds streaked across the sky adding a really cool effect.

Gear: For this type of shot, there are a few special requirements. First and foremost, you need a stable tripod. Night photography means long exposures and your camera must be completely still if you want a crisp shot. I can’t say enough about having a very stable tripod. It is as important as the camera is. Second, you will need a camera with a bulb mode. Most cameras will only go to 30 second exposures and you will be going much longer than this. That brings us to our next piece of equipment, remote cable release. This can be either a manual shutter cable or a programmable intervalometer. I know some cameras even have more advanced devices which communicate via wifi through your smart phone. Either way, you’ll need one.  A very bright flashlight which will be used for focusing and composition.

Other than camera gear, I also suggest bringing a chair or sitting pad, snacks, cell phone with games, maybe a book or a magazine and a low light or red light headlamp. These exposures can get really long, upwards of 45 minutes. Find something to occupy yourself.

p036

4 minutes, f/7.1. ISO250

Ambient Conditions: Not every night is great for this type of photography. You will need at least 3/4 moon on a relatively clear night for the moon’s light to illuminate the scene enough. The best time is the couple of days before and after a full moon. You will also want to wait for both the sun to be set for about and hour and a half and the moon to have risen at least an hour and a half. And of course, if you are doing this in the morning, an hour before sunrise and before an hour until the moon sets. The reason for this is first for the sun, you want all the sun’s light gone, that interferes with the light from the moon and gives you a different feel. You can still end up with a cool image, but it won’t have the same appearance as a shot lit entirely by moonlight.

pIMG_2267

16 minute exposure starting just after sunset and just before moonrise.

Compose your shot: This can be difficult in the dark so make sure you have a strong flashlight. Obviously if you have enough time, get to your locations while it is still bright outside and go through the motions of setting everything up. I will generally compose my night shots 1mm above what I plan on taking it with. That means I’ll compose at 13mm and shoot at 12. This helps make sure everything I want is in the frame and leaves room is my horizon isn’t perfect or if an edge object didn’t make it entirely into the frame.

Focus: In doing night photography, I have learned the value of hyperfocal distance. I always like to shoot at ISO100, so that leaves me with shutter and aperture to control the exposure. Typically with daytime landscapes I’m shooting at f/8 or f/11(sometimes higher, sometimes lower depending on the situation.) but having an aperture in that area for night photography can drastically increase your shutter length to very long durations and it isn’t entirely necessary. When shooting with an ultra wide-angle lens, you can have nearly an entire scene in focus at f/4. You can figure this out using any of the many depth of field calculators. Here’s the one I use. Using the settings for my setup (60D, 12mm, f/4), it figures if I focus on the spot 6.26 feet in front of me and I will have everything from 3.13 feet in front of me to infinity in focus. Now, I’m not out there with a measuring stick figuring all this out. I guesstimate the distances and have just gotten good at them over time. In using this method, focusing on a calculated distance might leave you focusing on nothing but blades of grass, which can be very difficult at night. For this, if there is an object at my hyperfocal distance, I’ll shine my bright flashlight on it and use Live view and 10x magnification and check my focus. If there is not an object, I’ll place my flashlight on the ground at the hyperfocal distance and use Live View 10x magnification to set focus.

Hyperfocal Distance

Hyperfocal Distance for a Canon 60D @12mm, f/4

Calculate Exposure: When calculating my night exposures, I’ll start with a 30 second exposure, f/4(or whatever your lowest aperture is) and ISO6400. From there I will look at the HISTOGRAM. Do not look at the image preview. The preview on the LCD is not very telling if you have the shot exposed properly. Exposure is important during night photography because pulling up dark nighttime shadows in an under exposed image in post will reveal a lot of noise. Here is where you want to favor the “expose to the right” method. It’s where you set your exposure so your histogram is all the way to the right side without clipping. This gets rid of any dark shadows and keeps the image bright and lower in noise. So, check the histogram and make sure you are away from the left side of the histogram. If not, change your settings accordingly and repeat until you get a good histogram with no clipping of shadows or highlights and the bulk of the histogram is to the right. From there, calculate your exposure to ISO100 and whatever your aperture is going to be set at. For example, if 30 seconds, f/4, ISO6400 looked good, its equivalent exposure would be 32 minutes, f/4, ISO100. You can do this in your head or use an app to calculate it. When I know I’m going to be in the 20+ minute range, I’ll normally do both, just to be sure.

Shoot To The Right Histogram

This is what your histogram might look like.

Now that you’ve composed your shot, focused your shot, and calculated your exposure you’re all set right? Well almost. Now let’s go over some additional settings. First and foremost, shoot in RAW format. This is very important. When you shoot in RAW format, your camera retains the most information about that image and saves it for you to manipulate later in post processing. Things like changing the exposure or the white balance in post will yield better results with the RAW file than it will with the saved JPG output from the camera.

Next you will need to decide if you want to use your cameras Lone Exposure Noise Reduction function. (I am a Canon user and that is what they call it, Nikon has their version of the same function.) I like to utilize this because during the course of the long exposure, the sensor heats up and pixel sites will become “hot” and leave spots all over your image which typical noise reduction does not take care of. This is also more prevalent with crop sensors than full frame sensors. What it does is it takes a second exposure, using the same settings from the first but with the shutter curtain closed. It then finds all the hot pixels and maps them out and writes it to the RAW file, thus cleaning up your image. During this “second exposure” you can pick up your tripod and walk around and start to set your camera up for your next shot because remember, the shutter is closed. I find this much more appealing than going through in post processing and cloning out hundreds of little spots on my images. It can sometimes take a long time, depending on what your exposure is, but I’d rather spend more time in the field than on my computer.

Now your ready to take your shot. Once you’ve ensured you’ve set everything up to your liking, fire that remote cable release button. The last thing you want to do is forget something and wait 30 minutes to realize it.

pIMG_2275

Turning night into day during the fall season brings wonderfully saturated colors with little to no channel clipping due to the soft moon light.

I hope this gives you a great head start on taking really neat nighttime images and that you’ve found this post useful. I’ll update this post with new or corrected information if I find it and let me know in the comments if you have any tips or tricks you’d like to add. As well, if this article helped you take a Night to Day image, I’d love to see it.

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danfrei@danfrei.com (Daniel Frei Photography) Blog How-To https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2014/1/Turning-Night-into-Day Thu, 02 Jan 2014 21:43:31 GMT
How I Process My Images https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2014/1/How-I-Process-My-Images This is just a quick video I made to not only show everyone how I process my photos but to hopefully give you some insight, tip, or trick which can help you out in your processing as well. Comments and feedback are always appreciated.

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danfrei@danfrei.com (Daniel Frei Photography) Blog How-To https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2014/1/How-I-Process-My-Images Thu, 02 Jan 2014 20:43:29 GMT
Feisol CT-3441s Review https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2013/2/Feisol-CT-3441s-Review I recently went through a tripod upgrade and I thought I’d share my experience. As those of you who are looking for a new tripod, it can be a tedious task. With material options, height, weight, options, vendor preferences; there is a lot that goes into this decision. Through all of this, not all local stores carry all different brands, nor do local stores have the best deals either. I think get my point. Buying a solid tripod is not an easy task.

First let me run through my previous tripods:

A little over 2 year ago, I was using a $35 special Dolcia Proline tripod. I had used that tripod for 2 years while I was learning the in’s and out’s of photography. Although not the most stable tripod, if you’re running an entry level DSLR, a kit lens and learning the ropes of landscape photography, this might be a good start. I put it through the ringer and it took what I gave to it. Mud, sand, and water all took their shots, and it kept on going. Now, this tripod isn’t without it’s annoying quirks, and this isn’t a top quality tripod, but if you’re starting off and want something cheap, I’d start there.

I then upgraded to the Manfrotto 190CXPro4 tripod because I wanted a lightweight, stable tripod to carry around with me through the backwoods. I paired this tripod with a Giottos MH1000-652 ball head. Overall, I was very happy with the tripod. I would regularly take 3 and 4 min exposures, or even shoot star trails and would have no camera shake. Very stable setup. The setup, however, was top heavy(the ball head weighed half as much as the tripod), and the flip locks kept getting caught in the tripod holder on my bag(LowePro Fastpack Sport 10L). This caused me to carry my tripod in hand on my hikes, and with it being off balanced(Top heavy), it was awkward on my hikes. So it was time for something new.

Fort Gratiot Lighthouse

2 minute exposure of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in Port Huron, Michigan

At that point, because I was incredibly satisfied with the quality of the Giottos ballhead, I opted for one of their Giottos VGR8255-S2N Vitruvian Carbon Fiber Tripod. And this was perfect in size, weight, and balance, but lacked somewhat in stability(compared to the Manfrotto). I put up with it for about a week. There was a lot of play in the legs and I found I had to really crank down on the twist locks to stabilize them. In doing so, one of the non-rotating legs started to rotate and would get jammed. Kudos for their customer service, I had new parts in only a couple of days, but it did not fix my problem, the leg still rotated and would jam up. My fault? Did I over twist them? Maybe, but it was necessary to stabilize the tripod. Ultimately I was not happy with the quality and returned it. I should mention that I was delighted by the lightness of the tripod and how everything felt, but from the second I opened it up, I new I had a less stable tripod than the Manfrotto.

So from there I went to the tripod which all of you are likely here to see. Wait no more here it is. I then went out and purchased a Feisol CT-3441s tripod. I choose this based on a recommendation from a local photography group member who had one of their Tournament series tripods. I opted for the traveler series because it folded up a few inches shorter and expanded a few inches higher, thus giving me more flexibility. As it turns out, I probably would like the Tournament series better because, there is no center column(or a short center column) allowing me to get close to the ground, which I found out on my first day using it how much I actually like to do that. And secondly, it goes up higher than I need it to. None the less, this is still an excellent tripod.

I mentioned how when I opened the Giottos tripod, I knew I had a less stable tripod. Well when I opened up the CT-3441s, I knew I had a more stable tripod. This tripod came packaged with Feisol’s CB40 ballhead. All around, this tripod is very stable, very balanced, very well made and I am happy with it.

Now I’ll start running down a list of things I like about it.

1) Very sturdy(without center column extended or only extended a little). After setting it up and giving it the “twist test” there is very little flex in the legs, even less so than the Manfrotto.
2) The leg locks are pretty large and that makes them easy to grip. I’m not a big guy and I can take on hand, twist them all about a half twist and that’s enough slack to let gravity do the work and they all extend themselves downward.
3) The carbon fiber tubes are actually pretty thick. The lower leg, or fourth section on the Feisol is equal to roughly the third section on the Manfrotto.
4) I like that I have the option to telescope the center column if I need. If it’s not a windy day and I’m shooting a large building or structure and I want to get rid of some of the tilt from looking up at it I can. I wont use it very often, but it will be nice to have.
5) Right height for me. I’m just under 6 feet tall and with the center column extended about 4 inches, including the ball head and the camera, it is just the right height for me. (I also like to lean in to look through the viewfinder)
6) Packs up really small. The feet fold up over the head which reduces the overall height of the tripod and allows it to easily fit into a suitcase or backpack.
7) RAPID leg system(non rotating legs) make collapsing the tripod a breeze and they feel really sturdy.
8) It is well-balanced. The head and tripod are very well-balanced so when you’re carrying it around by its legs, it isn’t overly top-heavy.
9) The head is very sturdy. There is no creep at all. Where you lock it in it stays!

Now that I’ve mentioned what I do like about it, let me state some criticisms about it, but let me just say this. I love this tripod. No tripod is perfect. There will always be quirks. So here is it

1) Not very tight when folded up. When folding the legs up over the head(CB40 that was paired with it from the Feisol) they don’t close in entirely making the circumference larger on one side compared to the other. Not a huge deal, just something that could have been better configured.
2) Although very lightweight, it is kind of bulky. This does add to some of the stability of it, but it doesn’t feel entirely like a small, travel tripod.
3) Telescoping center column isn’t necessary. Not sure how much weight you would have saved but shooting landscapes primarily(95% of the time) I likely wont use it too often. I wish they had a replacement center column that didn’t telescope. They do, but it’s only 3 inches tall.
4) You cannot get very low to the ground. I realized the first time I went out shooting with this that I get very close to the ground when I shoot, and I can’t with this tripod. I have already ordered the replacement short center column which will allow me to get lower to the ground. Not sure if that will stay on it permanently or I’ll throw it in my backpack. Either way, it’s was an issue and that was fixable.
5) Hook on bottom of center column is not spring-loaded/retractable. They could have a better design there. It keeps getting caught on the loops of my tripod holder on my bag.
6) The CB40 ball head. Very sturdy ball head, don’t get me wrong, but the design somewhat puzzling. The knobs are very bulky. The one that attaches to the arca-swiss clamp is so big that it knocks into my chin. Now, I might have a large chin but still, it’s large and bothersome. So I turned it to the size and that got it out of my way, only when I go into landscape mode it bumps into the panning base part of the head and doesn’t allow me to go a full 90 degrees. Yes there are two other positions(Front of camera and the other side of the camera) but my point is, it’s big. The knobs are also very firm. This could be just my winter usage of it, but that’s my feeling now. The bottom of the ball head where the mount thread is located is hollowed out. Maybe to save weight, but if you have to pull off the ball head in sandy/windy/unpleasant conditions to mount it to say a shorter center column, debris could get in there. Not sure what it would do, but it’s in the back of my mind. As well, when in the full 90 degree portrait mode, the ball head shows its hollow center, and thus allowing debris in if in undesirable weather conditions, which I’m normally in. Basically, it’s a sturdy ball head but I think that might be my next upgrade.

So that’s all I can come up with now. If you have any questions I’ll gladly answer them the best I can. I’ll also update this post as I use it more and get a better feel for it but so far, I’m just happy I was able to cut so much weight off my tripod and still have a super stable tripod to go hiking deep into the woods without killing my back.

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danfrei@danfrei.com (Daniel Frei Photography) Blog Reviews https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2013/2/Feisol-CT-3441s-Review Sat, 02 Feb 2013 20:15:24 GMT
Reflecting Composition https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2012/4/Reflecting-Composition Those that know me know I am a heavy left brain thinker and right brain need not apply. This has proven to be a successful trait in my life and my career. When I started getting serious about photography, I always tried to just capture what nature gave me, in the broadest form. Ultra wide angle, vast landscape views. What I ended up with were shots that everyone else has taken. I realized if I wanted to take my photography to the next level, things had to get less technical and more abstract. I need to paint a picture with a scene, and the scene needs to tell a story. It needed to draw the viewers interest to do more than just glance at the image.


I read articles by photographers like Ian Plant and Kurt Budliger, where they take a photo and it’s more than just a scene, there’s a story behind it, and they are able to tell a story with the photo, almost without saying a word. Although I am still a ways away from where I want to be, it’s happened once in the past, and it happened again this weekend. My right brain took over and made a shot more compelling. I was shooting a reflection of a tree in a small pond. As I was lining up the shot a couple I was with were unknowingly walking their way into the frame. Whereas in the past, I would have let them pass and finish the picture. I thought the dark silhouettes of people walking by framing the tree in the reflection would make for a more interesting composition, so I put the camera to my eye, lined it up and waited for them to cross into the frame and snapped.

Although looking back, I am happy that I had the creative idea to shoot a reflection to add more drama to a shot, but that I also had the foresight to see something in a picture to make it better is what makes me so happy about this shot. This photo might not win any awards or shoot me into a career of landscape photography, but this gives me hope that there is a creative side to me and I am getting better at photography. I know it’s small, but it’s nice to know you’re advancing at something you work so hard at.

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danfrei@danfrei.com (Daniel Frei Photography) Blog Photography https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2012/4/Reflecting-Composition Tue, 17 Apr 2012 13:34:00 GMT
Black Rapid RS-7 https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2011/7/Black-Rapid-RS-7 Just received my Black Rapid RS-7 in the mail today. Initial impression is impressed. Defiantly a step up from the stock camera strap. I may do a full review at a later date if enough people request it, otherwise, here’s a quick video of how it works. And when I say quick, I mean real quick.
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danfrei@danfrei.com (Daniel Frei Photography) Blog Reviews https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2011/7/Black-Rapid-RS-7 Sat, 23 Jul 2011 01:39:00 GMT
Marumi ND8 Filter Review https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2011/7/Marumi-ND8-Filter-Review  I recently went through the process of evaluating ND filters for an upcoming trip I am taking. In my search I had the following requirements I was looking to attain.

Must be Glass
Must be Multi-Coated
Must be True 3 Stops
Must be Circular
Must have no color cast
Must not affect image quality

There are a lot of brands out there to chose from, once you remove all of the plastic/resin filters, your selection is much smaller. Many people have their preference and will never go with anything else. Me on the other hand, I am open to new products, objective information and good deals. I should note that I have never tried any other brand ND filter so I have nothing to compare this to, however, I thought I’d just share my thoughts and experiences with regards to the Marumi 77mm ND8.

Product Descripton
Marumi® brand. DHG Multi-coated Light Control 8 ND8 Neutral Density. Pro quality filter. Made in Japan. Ultra-low reflective coating minimizes reflection off internal CCD & CMOS sensors. Multicoated (6 coatings) optical glass filter. Black rim: Edge treated with black ink to eliminate reflections. Low profile: Just 5mm high (not inc rear threads). Great for Wide angle lenses, no vignetting. Non-reflective metal frame eliminates reflections. Metal, double threaded frame to allow additional filters or hoods. 4 main uses: 1. Enables slower shutter speeds to be used. To display movement instead of freezing motion. Example, creative waterfall shots. 2. Decreases depth of field. Effectively blurring the background. 3. Reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor, but with no affect on color balance. Reduces light intensity, (sunshine, snow etc). 4. Allow video cameras to operate in bright light. Brand new in package.  

Hands on Review

The filter was packed nice and feels very solid. It has a metal ring with a dull matte black finish to it. The optics look great and you can see the effects of the multi coating when pointing it at a light reflecting a green and magenta reflection.

Experiment Notes: 
Shots were taken indoors with florescent lighting and custom white balance on a Canon 60D.
Each shot was manually focused using 10x magnification in live view using Canon 50mm f/1.8 and step up ring from 52 to 77mm.
Shutter speed is the only difference in this test as it was necessary for proper exposure.
All shots taken at f/7.1
The only “modification” to the image was lens correction in Adobe Camera Raw
Please make note that you are viewing a  72dpi JPEG image with quality set to 12, then whatever Google does to them when uploading and posting them.

This review consists of 3 objectives, review image quality, test for a color cast and ensure a true 3 stops of filtering.

Image Quality
Here are 100% crops of the focus point I used when manually focusing the image.

 Use this as a reference when looking at the other images. I should note that with the step up adapter attached to the lens, it is very difficult to get my fingers in to focus the image. I think I did a pretty good job of lining them up, so take that for what it’s worth. 

I selected what I thought was a good representation for crisp lines. The printing on this bottle was better than the other and there is higher contrast between the dark bottle and the white label where you might notice a softer edge. As far as I can see, their is no discernible evidence of any image quality degradation.

Color Cast
I used a white cloth backdrop and shot a 1-stop over exposed image of it as reference for my in camera white balance setting. The images look very close. If I wanted to be picky, I would actually say the shot WITH the filter looks better and the one WITHOUT is sort of yellow. I would probably attribute that to changing ambient light coming in through my basement window(Cloudy/Windy/Sunny day). It also could have been due to the stupid yellow ball I put into the test also. With that said, I consider this is a true Neutral Density with no color cast.

 
Is it a true 3-stop ND
Yes. Whether shining it at a light, a flower, a white wall or my car, it always adjusted by 3 stops. I don’t know of any way to graphically display this other than taking a video using live view, but my camera phone needs a serious upgrade, so you will just have to take my word for it I guess.
Conclusion
Considering the favorites out there, Singh Ray, B&W and Hoya, I stumbled across this manufacturer while shopping for filters on Amazon. Searching Marumi I was only able to find but a couple reviews on Amazon and only a couple random forum posts. That is what prompted me to create this review. At nearly half the price of the big names, being multi-coated glass and a true 3 stop (a lot of reviews had the Hoya at 2 1/3 to 2 2/3 stops ) Overall I have been very happy with this filter thus far and in a couple weeks I will get to actually use it shooting real landscape scenes and not just flowers in my back yard.
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danfrei@danfrei.com (Daniel Frei Photography) Blog Reviews https://www.danfrei.com/blog/2011/7/Marumi-ND8-Filter-Review Tue, 12 Jul 2011 20:26:00 GMT