For many landscape photographers ND filters represent a very important accessory to carry on every time in backpack. They represent the best way to control light during daylight and achieve the wanted shot in almost every conditions through the control of exposure time
During my photography experience I always used ND filters to capture long exposure in every situations from seascapes to cityscapes passing through waterfalls and light trails. The ND filters are a must have for me, they are the ones that allow you to give greater vent to creativity by playing on the possibility of adjusting the exposure
The choice of the type of ND filter depends on personal tastes and on what you need to photograph. Personally I use mostly the ND64, which is characterized by -6 stops, it is the one that by type of shots I take and situations in which I find myself which I use most
In this article we will look in detail at my experience using the Hoya ND64 filter and my test in the field about long exposures. But before start let’s introduce some technical considerations on the product.
Hoya defines this filter as a middle density filter since it falls on a scale of stop values between 4 and 7 (the range is ND16 -ND200). Indeed Hoya classifies ND filters between 3 categories:
- Light Density Filters (ND2 – ND8): they are mainly used to reduce the depth of field in sunny light situations to create beautiful blurs around your subject
- Middle Density Filters (ND16 – ND200): they are used to lengthen exposure times in situations where it is not always possible
- Deep Intensity Filters (ND500 – ND1000 / ND100000): to lengthen exposure times to create surreal effects or for extreme long exposures
Hoya ProND EX64 it is light and easy to handle, the materials with which it is made immediately convey to the user a feeling of having a quality product in his hands. The optical glass is mounted on lightweight handcrafted aluminum frame, are made using ACCU-ND technology which does not allow infrared to escape from the light spectrum. The and ACCU-ND technology therefore guarantees an excellent final result, guaranteeing an equal lowering of visible light and infrared without affecting color changes.
A first big difference of this system is in the visibility through the filter. I could find that many other brand filters with medium-high stops as well as a ND64 once mounted makes focusing difficult, with the result that whenever a filter is mounted on a lens, visibility is strictly reduced. With Hoya filters this does not happen and even with the filter mounted you can see clearly through the mirror of the camera, even the auto focus works perfectly, a very difficult function with the filters mounted!
Obviously it is recommended to always set the values before mounting the filter on the lens this is a further element in the field that confirms the excellent quality of Hoya lenses
The Hoya ProND EX64 is easily screwed to the lens thread and the latter has front threads so that you can add other filters on it, depending on the desired effect, multiple filters can be stacked to obtain the most disparate long exposure effects. The thread on top allows also to covering it with the camera’s lens cap for later use
TESTING HOYA PROND EX64 IN THE FIELD
To test this filter I focused more on the landscape field of long exposures, nothing better than photographing several courses of waterfalls that I visited during some recent trips, all my tests are made using my camera Nikon D850 with my Sigma 24-70 f2,8 82mm
For the first two images the only edits I made are to lower the exposure by 0.5 on both images, lower the highlights -15 and adjust the white balance.
The element that i really appreciated is the absolute chromatic uniformity between the images, there is no color difference between the two captures of the waterfall. In the comparison on top, moreover, where there is a part of the water flow hit by the direct sun, there are no differences in the alteration of the light (although the shutter speeds are different and related to the different shutter speeds)
The second series of images instead takes a waterfall where the flow of water is in the shade but behind it there are shrubs hit by the sunlight. Therefore there are elements of shadows and highlights here the only perceived differences are related to the exposure times which make the flow of the waterfall more dynamic between the images.
There are no color differences of any kind, particularly appreciated is the management of the highlights behind the waterfall
Talking about strong sunlight, in the last two images both photos are taken during midday, I carried out this test to see the behavior of the filter in strong light condition, impressively the filter seems to be not affected particulary by glare of sunlight. The output images do not seem to be affected by any kind of vignetting
Even in the diametrically opposite condition with subject totally in shadow, there are no differences of any kind and the Hoya Prond Ex64 filter gives to the photographer a final shot based exclusively on the reduction of visible light without affecting colors
Beyond the long exposure photographs that can be obtained with many means nowadays, those who rely on Hoya choose quality but above all professionalism, a quality that can be seen not only from the result that the camera returns but also in the excellence of the materials. In this regard, I can tell my personal experiece that while I was using the filter it dropped from my hands on the ground and without suffering any damage, a further element in favor of the quality of the materials used by Hoya
An excellent quality product, available in different sizes and for different types of reduction, highly recommended in the field of long exposures for professional use without alterations of any kind, a faithful companion to take with you in all long exposure situations