The Hoya (Hassleblad) or the mid-range filter?

Hello all,

I’ve not done a lot of long-exposure, and my filter collection comprises a single ND8 (3 stops) and a circular polariser (which gives up to 1 extra stop of darkening). Not Hoya, but budget filters.

When I was out last weekend, lowest ISO, just before golden hour, the longest exposure I could manage was 2 seconds. Though this gives some pleasing results, I would like to go up to 30s, so 4 more stops.

I only have kit-lens glass. Is it worth lashing out :moneybag: on a Hoya variable-ND filter, in the opinion of the collective wisdom and experience here? I’m inclined to go instead with middle-range - not the cheapest, but not the Hassleblad either. :wink:

I’d be grateful for opinions.

G’day mate,

Hm. Sort of a difficult question…
How about this way of reasoning?
If your eyes can spot a difference
between the Expensive One and the
Not-Quite-So-Expensive One, by all
means: get the expensive filter.

How is the higher quality 2nd hand
market down there?

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

The cheapest ND filters are plastic, avoid them. The medium priced ones probably exhibit some slight color cast, I find this to be generally tolerable and easy to correct in post, especially if you’re aware of it and note something white in your scene. The expensive filters don’t add color cast, just density.

You can also stack your ND filters. If you’re happy with the price and performance of your 3 stop filter, just buy another.

The better image quality will be with not stacking, as there are fewer transitions between air and glass to go thru.

Here is a piece of optical glass that goes for 20 USD.

ESDDI 58mm ND 1000 Filter Neutral Density MRC ND 1000 Professional Photography Filter Dark Black Aluminum Frame Lens Bundle for Lens

That looks like a fun 10-stop filter to try. 8-stops are popularly available at the local Best Buy. To get long exposures there are other things that make interesting low-fi photos like welding glass, pinhole lenses, gels with solar coatings, your hand, etc.
If I were making some pro image with it, I’d try and adapt a real expensive plate of optical filter to my rebel. But on the budget I’m ok with some store-bought filters.

Thank you @Claes, @paperdigits and @HIRAM for your feedback. I was intending to go without stacking and mid-range, so I feel affirmed in that. When I have a few captures I may also post a playraw.