About absences

There is an argument that Hollywood likes to repeat in movies: some characters have a normal life until an event threats to destroy it (usually a rich competitor or a corporation) and they need to get an amount of money or to finish a challenge in a short lapse of time in order to survive. I write it as a way to apologize for the time since my last publication. Certainly I had loved to come back but in a rather unfortunate succession of events my life seemed to turn into that Hollywood argument.

In my previous post a life and months ago I talked about a robbery. I decided to sacrifice a part of my life in order to recover and replace the stolen objects, I got committed in an architectural office that was offered to me, it meant to stop to travel and work less in design and more in the legal side. With the work I got a credit line and used it responsibly to equip the office, also invested on my education getting software, books, education and in last place the tools to work, not the most expensive, in some cases they are second-hand or quite old. The problem was that disorganized place. They were used to charge me with responsibilities but not so fast to comply theirs, my savings and emergency resources ran out and it was clear that I needed to leave that office in the building I designed, calculated and even helped to build with my hands (this is an isometric, a technical perspective):

And that was all. These months my life is just getting a lot of work to try to pay the debts. In the road I simply had to leave so many aspects of my life, including the blogs but tried my best to be able to do it. In some days (two weeks perhaps) my only way food was water from the public service. I don’t write it to impress, is just the way sometimes life happens, we all have problems and is a fortune that it’s just a money related inconvenience. I missed to visit the friends, and I am doing my best to be here with you. My problems are far to have a near end so I thought it was a good moment to give an explanation. I just simply cannot be here, I am reposting some photos into Instagram, but all of them you have already seen them, I do it as a way to get a piece of relax and distraction, I cannot do the same here as WordPress requires more attention.

About my travels I think every place is a place to discover, so even if we don’t take a bus we are already traveling. So I am recording and learning to use the cameras I got:

With a cell phone Sharp SH-06d.

I got a cell phone from 2012, the camera has eight megapixels, I use VSCO to edit them. It has not the resolution of a modern cell phone but I take the care to shot carefully as I think it’s fantastic to have a device at color, in the eighties in my city color film was not able to be processed so my childhood memories are in black and white.

Unicorn for Pan

Is important to me to draw, always. So I drew this unicorn for a friend. I did it in computer with a stylus as a pen.

With a Sigma DP2 camera

My digital camera was a Sony R1. I had the doubt about purchase it again, I don’t buy again what I lost as I feel like I were using an intruder, besides every time is harder to get programs able to work with its files and batteries. In its place I got a Sigma DP2, it is a very little camera with 4 megapixels. I would loved a Samsung NX500 instead but it’s fine, any modern camera can help us to don’t forget the world we see (although these little camera seems to have inside a leprechaun stubborn in drive me nuts xP)

With a film camera Canon Eos 7 and Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 lens.

On Black Friday there were big discounts and I got a SLR, I chose a Canon Eos 7 (Elan 7e in US and Eos 33V in Europe) because it was cheaper, silent, lighter and more modern than the stolen Canon EF (the Black beauty) It’s not more handsome but has amazing controls, it’s wonderful to shot with it and so silent that seems it doesn’t use rolls. I considered to get it just because with another big discount I got an already cheap Yongnuo lens.

Shot with a film compact camera Samsung ECX-1.

The Samsung film camera is a bit ugly, so much that the robbers left it. It’s the example that devices with a lot of specifications don’t mean that are funny to use.  I hope with time get nice photographs with it, in this moment the number of buttons you need to press in order to take the photograph distracts me to just see and record.

So that’s all. Happy to see you again in your blogs. I ask your compression (in case you are still there xD) about my reasons to not be able to be here. If I come back to post time will tell. A smile from far away. : )

Thoughts about Instagram

I opened an Instagram account. It was so funny because a great person I follow wrote about her leaving Instagram. LOl! Of course you already know her but if there is a minimal possibility that not then you can enjoy her Instagram journey here.

Said that I think I don’t have the risks to fall in the dark corner she mentions. I opened my Instagram as a way to share with my ex (while in relationship) and we had a funny time together. Instagram even has a place to chat xP Amanda wished me joy in my new “filtered” life. I don’t see wrong in it, after all cameras are not designed to photograph feelings so Instagram get me close to them: I am not used by it, I use it.

If you have seen my blog previously you have seen these photographs in a certain way, but at the same time this is the first time you are seeing them because I am using the Instagram filters to get closer to what I feel and see : )

I love the square composition, it makes in a certain way things bigger, more classic perhaps.

Instagram is a faster way to see photographs and follow people and interests. WordPress is something you need usually two or three minutes. More when the publication is longer. But Instagram is quite direct and quickly to appreciate.

The photographs even usually has not a title. So it’s up to you to give to them a personal meaning.

The filters to me are a starting point, not every image has a filter applied and the ones that yes actually I try to use them with the goal to get a natural rendering.

And that’s all. To me Instagram is quite funny. In a way to rediscover my photographs, it’s something fast but at the same time those squares seems to be calmer…

Fill flash

Fill flash at 1/2000 of second

Fill flash is a technique to use the flash in your camera in broad daylight to illuminate the shadows of objects closer to the camera. Because, you know, photography is about the light. It’s quite useful in the beach and other places where the sun is intense and the camera register almost black shadows (never forget: the camera cannot see what your eyes see) For example in the photograph above the shadows of the midday hide the textures and colors of the rocks, the fill flash allowed me to laugh about the problem ;-) you can see the rocks in the distance, how the shadows are just a black void.

But… Is it not easier to use software?

Nop, here an example. The following photograph was shot in midday without fill flash:

Shot without fill flash, the wall in under the shadow

The photograph has no processing and the colors aren’t the ones of the reality because I programmed my camera to have the less contrast and saturation possible to process in home (but that is post for another day). Let’s try to correct the shadows in software with this file and the best we get is this:

The same photograph but modified in software

Shadows tend to be blue so I warmed the image and illuminated the sadows, incremented the saturation the closer to the natural tones and tried to give it more life. Better but know let’s see the same scene with fill flash:

Processed photograph

Can you notice the change? It has more life, the colors are shining, there is more happiness and it’s closer to what our minds see, because the brain compensate when there are strong shadows. As you can see the flash effect is sublte because it hasn’t erase the shadows but just illuminate them enough to show the colors and details.

To say it in a few words I use this technic to give life to the photographs. I use flash at day and never at night. See the apple and the marble:

I love apples :P Fill flash is great for portraits because it gives light to the eyes… the same with this apple. Let’s see what happens with a bit of flash:

The flash illuminates marble and apple in a natural way

With software (HDR for example) it couldn’t end in a natural way.

Speaking of eyes, I have not one from somebody else that gave me an authorization so I’m using a selfie. See, the flash gives a spark to my eyes, it helps a lot to give the impression of life, it’s in the beach and also helps to reduce the shadows:

See the eyes *_*

But there is a catch: you cannot use a camera with interchangeable lenses… they have a nature that make them slow with flashes. The first photograph was shot at 1/2000 of second, the most of cameras with interchangeable lenses just can get until 1/250 of second which is far from the needed speeds at midday or sunny day, I think they need special external flashes to accomplish high speeds. If you have a compact camera as I do you are not going to have problem using the flash in any moment of the day.

These are some more photographs with fill flash:

The boat was under the shadow… although the flash was quite strong with the foreground

A flower in the Titicaca, otherwhise I could got a black flower or a white sky

I avoided a silhouette, The flash illuminated the foreground

Here the flash can look a bit harsh, but I like it. You can use a diffuser.

I used the flash to illuminate and at the same time give sparks to the metalic surface

Without the flash the camera would just got a black mess…

And that’s all, I hope it helps you.

Fujifilm X-E1 camera and Fujinon XF 35mm F1.4R – 2015 Review

This camera and lens combo is no longer in my possession so I thought today would be a nice day to share thoughts about it. As always this is an independent review, I’m not related to Fujifilm and the camera and lens were purchased with my Peruvian soles (our currency is the Sun)

The purchase

Someday I was walking the streets of Juliaca and I saw this camera among others, people that buys a camera here usually simply buy Canon or Nikon because they are seen in hands of professionals on TV, I don’t think we have a lot of sport photographers to require the autofocus speed of a DSLR… so this Fujifilm was alone and unnoticed. I simulated ignorance and asked if that was a film camera (hehe) and the seller seeing that he could sell that camera that nobody wanted was quickly to show me it was a digital camera with interchangeable lenses, I said “oh, what a pity, I just want a little plastic one with super zoom” (huehuehue) so he gave up and told me a great price for both. I went for a bit of money and we made the challaqui to finish the purchase. Challaqui is when we celebrate a happy business or event, we drink something like beer, wine or our local chicha and before to drink a glass we spill first a bit in the ground to say thanks to the Pachamama (mother Earth) For that the picture with the beer ;-)

Technical Data

Fujifilm X-E1 with three axis bubble level, and wep auto telon 135mm FD mount lens mounted in Sony VCT-R100 tripod.

The camera is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera made in 2012 with an APS-C sensor and the fujinon XF 35mm F1.4R is a lens in term of what is called today a full frame camera equivalent approximately to a 50mm lens. It has the shape of an old rangefinder camera, usually people thinks it’s a film camera. It has a solid construction and perhaps the only detail is the paint of the exposed metal in the corners tend to wear out a bit. It’s a small grip that is enough if you have lenses of moderate size. The fujinon XF 35mm F1.4r is perfect match IMHO. The shape to me is elegant and modern.

In my experience the only downsides where the abundance of buttons but not for the basic functions, an ISO and a white balance button would be very welcome instead of several of them. Also I love to change the focus button with a joystick so I hadn’t much love to the X-E1 way to select a menu and after that move the directional buttons, a joystick would be a giant pleasure. Despite the related shape of the camera with a film one the necessity to go to menus made it a bit digital in the sense to be a bit slow to operate in comparison to other cameras. I understand with newer models the experience is better. But… Is it enough to don’t buy it? My answer: absolutely no! it’s a great tool capable to render amazing image quality to your images, if you don’t get good photographs is because you need to give you a bit of time to understand a machine that has only the necessary and nothing of “smile mode” “sport mode” or others presets in compact cameras. The screen is fixed what is a shame because it makes harder to get shots of flowers, children, or in places where only your hand can reach, a way to get a solution is buying a FlipBac angle viewfinder, basically a mirror attached to the screen, and problem solved!

The software and hardware, save the omission of ISO and WB button, is centered to work setting the aperture of the lens and the shutter in the dial, you can set one or both in “A” mode so you can get any combination between totally manual and totally automatic. With those conditions this camera is going to shine if you know at least a bit about the function of a camera and lens. With the fujinon XF 35mm F1.4R you have an aperture of 1.4 with which you can get a great amount of bokeh if that is your preference, I preferred instead the use at night so I wouldn’t need to raise the ISO and get cleaner image in relation to noise. The lens is a metal beauty. The manual ring was the only thing I wasn’t totally convinced in comparison to a real manual (not by wire) ring of lenses of yore the feedback was a bit strange but enough to work.

Well that’s a resume about the multiple characteristics. Let’s see some pics :P!!!

Characteristics

Colors

The camera tends to convert the reds in oranges and the blues in cyan; this because in part it can’t cope with those highlights in artificial lights and in part because it seems that the color scheme change a bit the hue of the blue color. A way to mitigate it (if you prefer a more realistic rendering) is to shot in RAW+JPEG and set the JPEG file in the list of film simulations to “Pro Neg. Hi” as a reference and change in your RAW file the blue color to avoid the cyan rendering and reduce a bit the luminosity of the red color. The photographs here were edited using PhotoNinja software so aren’t direct from the camera, I rarely use the straight image but if you just shot JPEG you can trust that programming to your taste the camera is going to give you great photographs too. I use RAW more fore a personal way to work my images.

Black and White

The camera has presets to shot directly into black and white. I think is easier to shot in color and modify after it, but if you shot in RAW+jpeg the raw image is going to be always in color. With this camera it was easier to me get nice black and whites what is a lot to say because I’m not so much experienced in it. The lens is quite sharp and the camera resolve quite well the details.

Street photography

Cameras with interchangeable lenses have this thing about the shutter sound, they’re noisy guys that yells to the others you are taking pictures. Despite that the X-E1 has a shutter sound barely audible in crowded places, probably you are going to be the only one to hear it. The resolving power of the lens also helps you to crop with a comfortable freedom so you can take from a certain distance. In those situations a tiltable screen is very welcome so why I bought the FlicBac angle viewfinder. I like to show the life of the city, not to invade the privacy of individuals, for that reason also I post photos of myself.

Landscape

I read in some places that for landscape this camera cannot render well, specially vegetation, I cannot notice it neither OCC JPEGs nor in my RAWs processed with Photo Ninja. The detail is great thanks to a super lens that doesn’t need digital corrections and the files can be manipulated without problems, that’s a great characteristic in these times when even companies like Leica rely in digital corrections. As always you have to remember that my point of view is amateur, I’m not a professional, I don’t print for galleries.

Usually a classic lens (in equivalence the fujinon is in the practice a 50mm lens) isn’t considered a landscape lens, when I needed a wide angle of view I simply stitch. You can see my ICE review here

Low light

The photograph above was shot when the twilight was almost finishing, the fujinon at F1.4 allow you to shot without rise so much the ISO, and the big sensor of the camera allow you to shot beyond the base ISO without introduce disgusting noise. There is noise but it’s not disturbing nor obtrusive. This combo gets you opportunities to shot at night and even get stars. To me that’s important because when you live at 3800 meters above sea level (13 000 ft. aprox.) you want a camera that can see the stars as you see with your eyes.

Bokeh

I’m not very fond in the photographs with excessive bokeh, but I find quite pleasant the one in the XF 35mm, and at 1.4 it can get you enough defocus to play.

By the way, I tried to adapt a telephoto lens, but in the end much better was to use the XF 35mm and crop the image.

CONCLUSIONS
Pros
  • Extraordinary quality at a relatively low price thanks to the newer models (but the lens still holds its value)
  • Multiple options to program the camera so you are going to obtain your ideal output.
  • Compact combo. It’s very comfortable to carry.
  • Discrete shutter sound in street.
  • People don’t feel intimidated by this camera because it has a familiar look.
  • It looks like a camera, it seems strange but I loved the design so to me it’s a pro.
  • The lens doesn’t rely in digital corrections, but it’s optically corrected, so you can use any RAW converter without the need of built-in profiles.
  • Flexible RAW files, you can edit with freedom and the files still look natural.
  • Versatile camera, it works well in several types of photography.
  • Excellent high ISO rendering and the noise looks natural.
  • Nice black and whites.
  • Did I already say excellent image quality?
Cons
  • Sometimes slow autofocus, mostly at low light, in that case rely in manual focus.
  • The screen is not tiltable, you can correct with a FlicBac angle viewfinder.
  • The white balance tend to be a bit in the cold side, but could be that my screen is not totally calibrated.
  • Electric reds tend to orange and blue skies can look cyan.
  • So much buttons doing nothing important (lack of WB and ISO buttons)
  • The tripod socket is not centered with the lens axis.
  • The lens is a bit noisy when it’s getting focus.
  • It’s not to photograph running kids.
  • The digital level is slow, better mount a three axis bubble level in the hot shoe ;-)

Verdict

Fabulous camera and a lens that IMHO could be a classic. I haven’t studied photography and if I could get the photographs you see in this publication then you can as well. I think it gave me photographs I couldn’t have done with my current equipment, not so easily anyway. Of course there are some compromises, specially referent to shot quicker, but the photographs you can make with this camera and lens are wonderful and considering the price you can find in places with ebay (always verify the reputation of the sellers there) it’s quite a nice camera. The lens is more expensive but it’s a marvelous lens.

Highly recommended!

84.5mm medium reversed Graduated ND Square Filter Review

Filter applied to reproduce the tones of sunset. The darker part coincide with the lower part of the sky.

(Disclaimer: I’m not related to 84.5mm, this review is not sponsored and I bought the filters with my own money)

Continuing my series of reviews today I present my thoughts about a reverse graduated filter manufactured by 84.5mm in Slovakia. Their filters have great quality at an accessible price, but first some basic data:

  • What is a Reverse Graduated ND Square Filter? Is a filter that can be made of glass or resin with a half part totally clear and the other half darkened, this dark half usually is darker in the top and less dark in the end of its half, but in a reversed filter the darker part is at the bottom. It’s square so it needs a holder to put in front of the lens; ND stands for neutral density so it shouldn’t deform the colors of your scene. In short it’s like put a shadow in part of the front of your lens.
  • Do I need a Reverse Graduated ND Filter? If you shot landscapes, sunsets, sunrises… yes! Because the camera cannot see what your eyes can see in terms of highlights and shadows. If your camera is old then absolutely, but if you have a camera manufactured in 2014 or 2015 with a big sensor then not so much, you can simulate more or less successfully the effect with any modern raw converter.
  • Which one to buy? The cheapest you get is probably to be unusable for you. The cheapest ones have magenta casts. There are brands like Lee that sells them but they are expensive to my budget so I canont say much about them, the only problem with the most of companies that make them is that they are mostly made of resin and they always get scratches. I can say that 84.5mm’s filters are of quite good quality with a great price but they’re also made of resin (optical glass) and recently Chinese companies have real glass reverse graduated filters that I want to try next to reduce the costs to be buying one new every year.
  • Why you don’t use a soft or strong graduated ND filter? I can use my reverse filter to replace those filters, I’ll explain it with more detail.

The filter in the camera

84.5mm medium reversed ND mounted in camera. It’s attached via a Cokin type “P” holder, it allows me to rotate it to any position I want.

The filter is unfocused here, but it shows the effect. The sky under the “shadow” of the filter get the tones I see with my eyes and the the clear part is crystal clear.

THE 84.5mm REVERSE GRADUATED FILTER IS IDEAL FOR ME TO
SUNSETS AND SUNRISES

The darker part of the filter in the lens in mode tele coincides with the position of the sun rendering perfectly with the subtle warm tones.

I don’t use soft or hard graduated filters because they are darker in the upper part, and the sun never is going to be in the upper part in sunsets and sunrises.

Also I prefer to use graduated filters over digital techniques like HDR because in that part of the day usually there is wind or movement. And it feels more honest, of course every photograph here was shot in RAW and processed, but with the goal to get a photograph closer to what my eyes saw.

Stitched image with three photographs. The filter helped to get the field illuminated and the colors in the mountains show the highlights perfectly rendered, without it either the fields had been dark or the sky almost white.

As in the previous photograph the fields are not black despite the sun has gone and the sky shows detail in the clouds. Notice how the tree look like a silhouette but it’s the natural way we looked we our eyes.

CLOUDY DAYS

Without the filter the detail of the fog and clouds hadn’t be so well rendered.

This photograph could look not so amazing but the detail I got in the shining parts of the morning is amazing, without the filter that white line would be just something empty.

The clouds have such a drama… the filter allowed to make it possible, for me it’s vital to landscapes, its effect is quite subtle in comparison to using only digital tools, at least in older cameras.

TO BE CREATIVE

I darkened the top of the hills, so the silhouette could make them more impressive.

If you use this filter just to avoid clipped highlights then you’re using it just mechanically, you are not exploding the creative opportunities this filter opens for you. You can add drama shadowing parts of the scene, highlighting other parts. It can helps you not just to reproduce an scene but to say what you want to mean.

I darkened the part of the distant city, it was so shiny and my goal was to highlight the errant animal, its loneliness.

The darkest part of the filter coincides with the crashing waves in the foreground, so they could conserve their details, another benefit is that the stones are silhouettes so they contrast better with the clear water.

I CAN USE IT AS A SOFT FILTER

I used a reverse filter with this landscape and I didn’t need a soft graduated filter (another thing in the bag, nah!)

What happens when do you use a reverse grad on a landscape that is not flat? usually something nasty like it:

The darkest part literally is cutting the hills, in this case it doesn’t look natural so except to an artistic interpretation try to avoid this.

The trick is quite simple: buy a reverse graduated filter whose dark part is bigger than the diameter of your lens so you can invert the filter and align the middle (the darkest part) with the top of your lens and the top (the less dark part) with the bottom. Then it would be similar to another filter called attenuator. That way I make photographs in landscapes with hills.

Using my method I can use the reverse gnd like a soft filter.

THIS FILTER (OR ANY SIMILAR) IS NOT FANTASTIC FOR
QUITE IRREGULAR SHAPES

I loved the clouds in the part illuminated by the sunset so I used the filter despite annulling the hills.

A shape in “V” is quite complicated to resolve with graduated filters. Perhaps there an HDR could be useful but that’s another complication I don’t want to introduce to my shots.

WIDE ANGLE LENSES

See the tree in the right. It’s noticeable the line of the shadow of the filter. I cropped it to dissimulated it a bit but you can see it.

In wide angle lenses the line of these filters is more noticeable, a way to reduce it is reducing the aperture to f8 for example. Here I admit that a soft gnd would be ideal, but I can live without it.

CONCLUSIONS
PROS
  • High quality filter with no color casts.
  • Very affordable prices with regular promotions.
  • They send worldwide (I live in Peru)
  • Several lines for cokin P size and professional size.
  • Resistance to flares.
  • Durable considering the material.
CONS
  • They’re made of resin, durable but they scratch anyway. These days Chinese have lines in high quality glass.
  • They don’t sell a box to storage them, in their package they scratch with the time and to the size I choose, taller than the square Cokin P filters but with 84.5mm of width hence the name, there is no box were to reduce the damage.
VERDICT

They are the best alternative in relation quality/price I got. So I bought one the last year and another one this year. But this is a hobby to me so I cannot justify to buy every year again and again, in my personal case I’m going to buy a Chinese one, a bit pricier but not so much. If you are used to resin filters I can recommend warmly these filters for you.

*UPDATE: You can see the official page of 84.5mm with the e-shop here.

Perfect landscape.

Fight!: Photographing the same subject with different types of cameras – A

Film versus Digital

FILM: Canon EF film camera with Canon FD 50mm F1.8 and expired roll of Kodak Proimage 200

Digital: Sony R1, APS-C camera. Processed in Capture One and vignetting artificially added to match film rendering.

I shot these ones in closer moments at twilight, when the light change so fast. As my goal is not to do technically perfect photographs but learn from other mediums, in this case 35mm film, to apply to my main digital camera I added vignetting and modified the saturation to the digital file. In so little light, both are long exposures, I couldn’t see how would be the depth of field and certainly the 1.8 in the canon lens has much thinner depth of field compared to the zoom lens in an aps-c camera.

I processed the photograph to match the one I liked more.

Modern APS-C Digital Camera (Fujifilm X-E1) versus Old APS-C Digital Camera (Sony R1)

Modern APS-C camera. Fujifilm X-E1 with Fujinon F1.4 R lens.

Old APS-C camera. Sony R1 with fixed Carl Zeiss lens set to match the Fujinon lens focal length.

I’m happy with both versions. I processed the RAW files of both cameras to match colors and cropped both for aesthetical reasons. The Fujifilm has more pixels, the lens seems sharper and with more contrast but with the Sony I can get great results too, at least at day.

Film versus cheap Cellphone

Film. Canon EF camera and Canon FD 50mm F1.8 lens with expired roll agfaphoto 200.

Cellphone camera. 2 mpx. and focal length equivalent to 35mm in 35mm format. Cropped slightly to match better the film version.

In this point the bad quality of an expired roll of film and the poor lens and the tiny sensor of the camera makes obligatory I think the use of digital filters to compensate. But that’s for my personal taste. I edited the cell phone camera so much time ago, I know that today I could get it closer to the film one.

***

Is there a winner?

Nope, shot anything you want, use any tool which you feel comfortable, have fun, stop to read this blog turn off your tablet or computer and get out, any camera of today can record memories. Life is shorter to live it according to the thoughts of others.

I shoot with different cameras for curiosity and the bigger I printed is A3 (what is little to my architectural projects that can go beyond A0) Personally I just want comfort in a camera and composition in my mind, any camera today is good for that task ;-)

Haida Slim Pro II MC ND1000 Review

Exposure of 25 seconds

Today I’ll continue my reviews of the filters I lost. In this occasion is the turn of  the Haida ND1000. Let’s begin with general questions:

  • What is a ND 1000 filter? Is a dark or Neutral Density filter that reduces the light forcing the camera to take longer time exposures capturing the motion; indeed it forces the camera by a factor of 1000 (one thousand or ten f-stops) so if your camera normally would take a photograph in 1/1000 of second with this filter will take the same scene in one second, if normally it requires 1/250 of second with the filter it will need 4 seconds.
  • Do I need a ND filter? It depends, if you like to photograph the motion of people, wind, or water then it could be quite useful to you, otherwise it could end forgotten in a bag.
  • Which one to buy? You get what you pay for. They aren’t specially expensive but, if your lens can accept filters, I suggest you to play with the cheapest filter you can find and if you like the effect then buy one of the highest quality. This kind of filter is easy to introduce color casts in your images that are hard to edit even in raw so a good filter as Haida pays its price quickly with the security to shot more outside than be in from of a boring screen.

The Haida ND1000 got great reviews in internet compared with the best brands but with a more affordable price so I purchased one online, I wouldn’t guess that it would be a filter I would use so much. My lens starts with 24mm (equivalent to aps-c sensors) and as I usually stack it with a polarizer I got the slim version to don’t end with heavy vignettings in my photographs.

This is how it looks in the field:

As you can see it’s like a black hole in the camera :D With longer exposures a tripod is a must so I have a lightweight tripod. Well, enough of technical details: let’s go to the pics!

THE HAIDA SLIM PRO II MC ND1000 WAS FANTASTIC FOR ME TO:
Capturing the motion of water

Exposure of 30 seconds

Longer exposures renders the water in an almost dreamy way, it emphasize the gentle movement. Usually used with waterfalls it can get a nice effect in any body of flowing water.

WITHOUT filter: exposure of 1/2000 of second

WITH filter, same scene exposure of 4 seconds. I reduced the aperture to get a longer exposure. There is no color cast but I set warmer white balance to get a warm atmosphere.

I like both photographs, simply they have different composition, one works with surfaces and the other isolate an static element.

Avoiding color casts

Ten seconds exposure

If you want to know if your filter is of low quality you can discover it seeing if your photographs look like shot under the red Sun of Krypton. The magenta cast is synonym of cheap and besides artistic intentions you shouldn’t use it in your lenses. Said that the Haida are definitively excellent considering that ND 1000 filters usually have color casts, even the ones from the big names. You just need to be aware to do one thing: Set your white balance to auto. Manually I didn’t get nice results and took a bit more time to edit. Despite that there is a minimal cast, although it’s so little that sometimes I don’t see the need to correct it.

WITHOUT filter, exposure of 1/125 of second

WITH filter. Exposure of eight seconds. Note how the clouds are less prone to clipped highlights. The color is intentionally warmer

I like both photographs but after shoot the first one I noticed that despite the use of the polarizers the elements under the stream weren’t highlighted as I wanted so I used the filter to allow me to “erase” details to the stream.

Capturing the wind and time

Exposure of five seconds and a windy day

Exposure of 30 seconds

Other uses are to reduce people in touristic places but I didn’t get a chance to try that option.

WHEN THIS (OR OTHER SIMILAR) FILTER IS NOT FANTASTIC
When the light is poor

Exposure of eight seconds

Actually at twilight the filter can take several seconds or minutes but that’s overkill, you could get the same effect with a ND filter of less intensity. The photograph above was quite dark so the next ones needed much more time.

When stacking with another filters

30 seconds exposure with circular polarizer

In this photograph I stacked the Haida filter with my also lost Marumi circular polarizer, I can see a little of vignetting. I tried with a graduated filter but it was tough to position it in the composition because the ND 1000 is black. You can set the focus manually and with care set the graduation of the circular polarizer but with a square graduated filter you are better serviced with a square ND 1000 filter so you can put in position the filters and after that slide in the ND 1000 filter.

CONCLUSIONS
Pros
  • High quality filter.
  • Almost no color cast setting in auto white balance.
  • Affordable price.
  • It has a square version too both made of great glass.
  • Good presentation.
  • The coatings work.
Cons
  • The ring has no texture so it could be hard to separate if is attached to another filters.
VERDICT

This filter allowed me to photograph movement so I could say this is an essential filter. It has characteristics of the famous brands so if you are an amateur like me this is probably your best choice. Now I’m going to try a brand called H&Y so I’ll tell you if that is an option too. A pair more from the Haida meanwhile ;-)

Exposure of 2.6 seconds

1.6 seconds of exposure under an intense sun and the landscape turned with more contrast and definition :-)