[Video] How To Use An ND Filter With Your Strobes

Have you ever been shooting with your big boy lights and wished you could shoot with your aperture wide open, but your lights are too bright to allow this? You, my friend, need a Neutral Density Filter. In this video, Mark Wallace breaks down the uses of ND filters and how to use them properly. But reducing the amount of light hitting the camera's sensor, you can keep your lens's aperture wide open without having to use less powerful lights. Watch the video below to learn how you too can use this simple technique as well as take it to the extreme by overpowering the sun at f2.8. Enjoy!

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19 Comments

it does, but you have to READ it, lol

Jackson Henney's picture

Thank you! This is the best article, and not only because of the actual ND Filter subject, but because the video was posted on a channel that had this video I have been looking for for almost 2 years now!

It was a video on Slow Shutter Speeds by Adorama TV and I forgot all about it except for the "Colourful TV wallpaper" in the background and straight away from watching the beginning of it I knew I had finally found the channel again :D

lol, glad I could be of service to :)

You can also ND your strobes with ND gels if you don't want to use / cant afford ND filters

Good lord, that's one strong light!

Buying all the filters will cost you a small fortune so I went for the poor man's variable ND filter consisting of two 82mm CPL filters (front one reversed). 

http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Variable-Neutral-Density-Filter/

Budget CPL filters which work well:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?rt=nc&Filter%2520Effects=Polarizing&a...

I also bought various step down rings so I can use those the two CPL (ND) filters on my other lenses that have different filter sizes like 67mm, etc.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trkparms=65%253A12%257C66%253A2%257C39%2...

Ghima Laresco's picture

Can ND Filter interfere on sharpness of the image?

Yes I would expect any extra glass in front of your lens to impact image - especially in the last case where he's shooting into the sun.

No discussion here as to how the AF system copes with +3 or +9 stops less light, especially in the studio environment.  Anyone know if this is an issue?

I love him.... but I am going to send him some new shirts...

So using for example the PW's TT1 & TT5 can do this darkening of the background 'cause it say's that it can sync to 1/8000th.

what if you can't see through your ND filter? ;)

I've used once ND8 in studio and what I didn't like was how dark was in viewfinder. Another thing to remember is that the AF receives less light and lens f/2.8 becomes f/8 so bright modeling light will be necessary for smooth AF.  

j.j.'s picture

Chris Thorn, you setup your shot, with tripod, focus, and then put on nd filter (if its really that dark) and then shoot.

I will update the body of the post to address your ND questions :)

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

if someone wants to get real ghetto you can use a welders shaded glass. That is how we do it down south. 

That is interesting, can you email me some photo how it's look like?  Thanx jakub.egermaier@gmail.com

Todd Davidson Photo's picture

So you ever get weird flare with a ND filter.  I always debate putting a $50 filter on my $2000 lens.  

Clement's picture

For the studio shot, he could have used ND filter gels on the flash. Much cheaper and much better. The VF remains bright. 

Of course, that's a different story for the outdoors shot