Finally!!! I had the perfect opportunity to unwrap Hitech’s Pro Stop 10-stop ND filter and use it. The weather has been awful since returning from the UK and i have handled the filter, looked through it, read the instructions and done pretty much everything else apart from using it!!
Anyway, last night we stayed away at a nearby lake and i woke this morning at 6am to the most glorious sunrise. Unfortunately my head didn’t quite wake up at the same time as my body and it took a further fifteen minutes for my head and body to coordinate with themselves and realise it was perfect for the Pro Stop. Despite my fogginess the first thing i noted was that the Pro Stop is just as easy to use as a normal filter and doesn’t take much longer to get set up.
I simply took a reading in Av exposure mode and then switched the dial to manual and corrected the shutter speed according to the chart provided by Hitech. No big fuss. For the image below the original exposure was 1/30th at f16 with the corresponding exposure through the filter 30secs at f16.
The first image was taken without the 10-stop (1/30th at f16) and the second image with the filter (30secs at f16).
Both images were taken in RAW (with Faithful picture style) so pretty much straight out the camera. Notice the slight blue hue to the overall image but this lifted quickly by adjusting the colour temperature from the ‘As Shot’ value of 7000 to about 8400. Problem solved!
Then with a little bit of processing i got the following two images. I corrected the midtones in ‘Levels’ and added some linear contrast in ‘Curves’ before a slight touch up with Noise Ninja. The first image is without the filter and the second is with the Pro Stop.
I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have to say getting the last image alone would have made the purchase of the 10-stop worth it. I love the smooth water and the sharp reeds in the foreground.
I am really impressed by the ease of using the 10-stop. Simple to use in the field and apart from a small change in colour temperature it is just as easy to process as a regular file. But you get such a wonderful blur on the water. Not knowing the amount of blur is a bit strange in the beginning but i guess with time i will get used to pre-visualising the images taken with the 10-stop. In this image i just love the smoothness of the water and yet it is still able to retain some of the colour and detail in the reflections of the clouds and the volcanoes.
I really do love it! It was lovely being able to move beyond just capturing the image and moving into creating something that stands out and adds even more drama to an already dramatic scene. I can’t thank the guys at Formatt Hitech enough and really would recommend a 10-stop ND filter to anyone taking a reasonable amount of landscape shots. Especially if you have a lot of coastal scenes in your portfolio. Even though at first it seems like a lot of money for a filter you might only use once in a while i have a strange feeling i will be using the 10-stop quite a lot!!
I also have to say that i have had a few problems with vignetting on my 24-105mm. Even the smallest, most slimline, UV filter i get quite sizeable vignetting at the 24mm end so i was a little concerned that the 100mm holder would cause unwanted vignetting. I was very happy to notice not even the slightest amount of vignetting. I should say that i was using the MK4 wide-angle holder which has two bays and not the regular three bays and ring mount as well as the wide angle adapter . If you are going to use around the 24mm range or wider i definitely recommend getting the wide angle set up rather than the standard set-up.