In 2016, David Strauss wrote an article on Fstoppers about how purchasing an ND filter holder set might be a better option. I, being the smartass that I am at times, left the following comment, "Or you can be really cheap and just mean stack exposures :P, plus it prevents long exposure noise." Without doing any actual comparisons between the two, I had made up my mind about filters and decided against them. Recently, however, a close friend of mine, Imran Mirza, asked me to keep an open mind and give neutral density filters a try. For that reason, I have been testing some filters from NiSi over the last few weeks. In my latest video, I compare using neutral density filters to using Photoshop techniques such as mean stacking.
Mean stacking can be a great way to get a long exposure type look with moving subjects like a body of water or clouds in the sky. The added benefits of this method are that, for one, you're not required to spend any money upfront, also your images will have significantly less noise. On the surface, this method seems like the perfect option, however with companies now producing significantly better filters, how do both of these methods compare? Do filters still hold a place in the photography industry, or are they just too expensive and not required to get the desired look?
Check out the video for the full comparison.