Will an ND filter solve the problem? Overblown skies are killing me.

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by mesmerized, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. mesmerized

    mesmerized FujiXspot Regular

    Mar 26, 2014
    Hello there,

    I've been trying to take as many shots as possible with my X-T1 recently and I have to admit that overblown skies are killing me. I'll post some pictures here once I get access to my VPN but for the time being I'd like to ask what ND fliter would be best. As far as I know there are "half-filters" that change the exposure of the skies while keeping, for example, the ground unchanged. Is that what I need? How many stops would you say such a filter should have?

    Thanks a million
  2. flysurfer

    flysurfer X-Pert

    Feb 1, 2013
    Rico Pfirstinger
    I don't use gradual ND filters, I prefer using the DR function.

    That said, a grad ND filter can certainly reduce such contrasts, so you might want to give both approaches a try.
  3. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    A graduated ND filter is a great solution, primarily if you'll be shooting with a tripod and/or taking the time to set up each shot. However, if you're talking also about just general snapshots, perhaps trying the DR function is worth a try. Sometimes a polarizer can help as well depending on the time of day and the lighting.
  4. mguffin

    mguffin FujiXspot Regular

    Apr 10, 2013
    New Jersey
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  5. mesmerized

    mesmerized FujiXspot Regular

    Mar 26, 2014
    Thanks for all replies.

    How exactly can I use the DR function? The camera always sets DR automatically.
  6. flysurfer

    flysurfer X-Pert

    Feb 1, 2013
    Rico Pfirstinger
    Just set it manually to the value you like most for a scene. You can also try DR bracketing to get an idea of the different settings.
  7. mesmerized

    mesmerized FujiXspot Regular

    Mar 26, 2014
    Thanks for your answer.
    In all honesty, I don't know what DR bracketing is but as far as the DR option is concerned I have only two possibilities:

    1) AUTO
    2) DR100

    DR200 and DR400 are inactive... I don't know how to turn them on.
  8. Frank

    Frank FujiXspot Regular

    Jun 21, 2014
    Iso set from Iso 400 are the settings active.
  9. RFPhotog

    RFPhotog FujiXspot Rookie

    Aug 9, 2014
    Oshawa, ON Canada
    Robert Fisher
    The grad filtef in LR won't recover true blown out pixels.

    While the DR function innthe Fuji cameras is pretty good, I'm hesitant of using tools like these (Nikon has its Active D-Lighting, Canon has a highlight protection functiin as well) because what they essentially do is reduce exposure to protect the highlights then boost the shadows back up to try to bring back some ofnthe detail. The net result is increased noise in the shadows and a flat, low contrast image. You can do the same thing yourself by metering for the highlights then boosting shadows in your RAW converter of choice.

    GND filters work in situations where you have a fairly level horizon. But if not, they are less effective.

    You might want tolook at exposure blending of bracketed shots. It can be done manually with layers and masking or be more automated with HDR software. With proper tonemapping you can get excellent, realistic results.
  10. eddie1960

    eddie1960 FujiXspot Regular

    Oct 28, 2014
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    It's dependent on many things, for landscapes and shooting from a tripod a grad nd works well (that was the solution shooting chromes which had no room for error), I think even better is the exposure blending or HDR alternative mentioned above (also best done with a tripod) a well tone mapped hdr will look very natural, not the cartoon-like thing you think of some times
    Last expose for the sky and recover the shadows. it will look underexposed when reviewing but it's much easier to bring back shadow detail than it is to fix blown out skies, and modern sensors have some headroom room for that and modern software is much better at it as well (the in camera DR does some of that same idea)
  11. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Feb 15, 2013
    Hood River, OR
    I initially had this same issue when I went from the X100 to the XT1. The solution for me was to turn down the highlights by 1 step, and to shoot is Pro Neg Hi or Astia a lot when the sky is that bright. I saved those settings as 2 of my 7 profiles, and use them constantly. I also brightened up the shadows by 1 step as well, which I found helped reduce some of the harsher contrast on bright days. So, DR settings aside (and those can also help), I'd try dropping the Highlights 1 step and see how much better you like it.
  12. roicead

    roicead FujiXspot Rookie

    Nov 30, 2014
    if you shoot raw then changing the dynamic range or highlight tones won't help you. they only help with jpgs. if you do shoot jpg then they could help you.

    a grad nd would help you, so would bracketing and hdr. in most cases i don't use either.

    i leave the histogram on the screen and look for a sharp spike on the very right side of the histogram. if there is a sharp spike on the right edge then i know that the whites are blown out. i'll decrease the exposure until i see that spike move left or disappear. i shoot raw so in lightroom i'll use the shadows slider to open up the detail in the shadows if needed. i may also use the highlights slider to darken the highlights if needed, but this won't happen if you blow out the whites completely and don't have any data to manipulate.
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