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Thread: Hitech Filters

  1. #1
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    Hitech Filters

    I've been getting more into landscape photography lately and have primarily been using a Marumi 77mm Super DHG Circular Polarizer. I've been very happy with the polarizer, but some shots find the difference between sky and foreground forces me to either apply a fair deal of shadow / highlight adjustments or use gradient functions in PSE 10.

    I'm interested in starting to use rectangular graduated ND filters.

    I've done some research and found that the top of the line GND appear to be Lee and Singh Ray. Other options are Cokin and Hitech.

    Cokin filters don't seem to be received that well in the digital era due to magenta color cast. Lee and Singh Ray are very well received, but also nearly $100 a piece.

    Hitech seems to be in the middle. Reviews generally appear to be favorable with most saying they have good sharpness and no offensive color cast. They are also fairly reasonable at ~ $33 in the Cokin P mount. My plan would be to pick up the Cokin P Wide Angle mount if I went Hitech.

    My question is would the Hitech filters do a good job for me or would I want to upgrade a short time later? Does anyone else here use Hitech? I know many buy the Lee system for the Big Stopper. If I were in the market for a 9 or 10-stop ND filter I'd probably opt for a screw on filter like the Hoya X400 instead of rectangular filters.

    Thanks
    Dave

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    I've been playing with rectangular graduated filters since last February. So, I am still finding my way, but a couple of things. First, my first graduated filter was a screw in. I made the switch to rectangular graduated filters for the primary benefit of being able to determine the vertical location of the transition from clear to ND. With the screw in, you could rotate it, but could not move it the line while composing shots.

    That is a long way of saying, I highly recommend rectangular filters. I went with a Cokin Z-pro filter and bought it in a great deal (50% off current price) in a kit with three 4x6 filters and a case. The P series is less expensive across the board and might be more convenient to pack, but I moved to the large Z-pro due to concerns similar to the following statement from www.2filter.com "All P series / 85 series type gradual filters cover lenses up to 82mm but never any wide angle lenses. The 4x4 100mm holders are right size for most wide angle lenses." The Z-pro is 100 mm, and as I was getting this in part for my wide angle shots, I went with the Z-pro (4" or 100 cm wide). My only two regrets about that is that they are a little inconvenient to pack and they do cost more.

    Thus far, I think Cokin has a bit of a bad rap. At least, I have seen more color cast with my Singh Ray 3-stop reverse ND filter (one of my two most used) than I do with the Cokin 2 stop ND (my other most used filter). I happen to like the color cast, as you will see below:

    No filter:

    Sonoma Sunset-5066 by kayaker72, on Flickr

    Singh Ray 3-stop reverse ND filter

    Sonoma Sunset-5092 by kayaker72, on Flickr

    I haven't necessarily seen the same color cast with my other Singh Ray (2 stop soft grad), so Singh Ray may have added the color cast to "enhance" sunsets, which is the typical intended use of a reverse ND filter.

    Then this shot was taken with the Cokin 2-stop grad ND:

    Chasing a Snowy Owl by kayaker72, on Flickr

    Finally, a shot of several of my filters:

    IMG_1618 small wb by kayaker72, on Flickr

    In my opinion, you can see some color shifts from the different filters. Top row is 1-stop Cokin, 2 stop Singh Ray, 2 stop Cokin, 3 stop cokin. The bottom row is a B+W CPL, 4-stop hitech, and the 2 stop-B+W screw in.

    Regarding the Hitech, the quality is pretty good, but I have noticed a bit of a color cast in a few shots I have taken with it.

    Overall, my two most used filters are the Cokin 2-stop hard edge and the Singh Ray 3-stop reverse ND. I don't do as much landscape photography as I would like, but if I did, maybe I'd have more reason to use more of the filters. But I really think most of us could get by with just 2-3 rectangular filters. Thus, if you are only buying 2-3, I'd go with the "best." So, if I had to do it over again, I'd probably go with a Singh-Ray or Lee 2 stop hard edge and the Singh Ray 4-stop reverse ND. I haven't used Lee yet, so I am stating that based on reputation. But what I have works for now....

    Good luck,
    Brant

  3. #3
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    Last edited by Richard Lane; 10-22-2012 at 01:32 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jayson's Avatar
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    I have the HiTech filters and I like them. I have a 3 stop hard and a 3 stop soft grad. I have only used them a couple times, but they seemed to work out great and I would recommend them. I hand hold my filters or use a rubber band since I use a wide angle and the holder I have vignettes when I attempt to use it on anything UWA. I purchased the Cokin holder for the filters and they fit fine. Here are the only photos I have on my new computer using the 3 stop hard gradfilter. They were all taken within 20 mins of each other. I have been a bit more into HDR recently. I used the soft grad on cornfields and rolling hills and liked them a whole bunch. If I was more into landscapes I probably would have purchased the singh ray brand from the start, but I am happy with what I have for the amount of shooting I do.






  5. #5
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Nice shots Jayson.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Lane View Post
    Dave, Take a look at these links: Try to avoid to skimp on filter quality and size. The Z-Pro-sysytem may be limited to 20mm FF.

    Rich
    That fits with what I've seen. I start running into issues with my Z-Pro system at ~11-12 mm on the 7D.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    I've been out of town too, but appreciate your guys help. It appears the Cokin P wide angle mount is also good to ~ 20mm on full frame.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...le_Filter.html

    Dave

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    My local camera shop had the 77mm Cokin P filter holder + lens adapter for $19 so I decided to go for it. Now I just need to buy a filter or two and start taking photos! 17mm on a crop sensor will still likely not vignette or barely do so. If I go full frame later I'll re-evaluate and likely get the wide angle adapter.

    I really like the idea of Lee, but don't have the wallet for it

    Thanks
    Dave

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Tough to argue with $19 Dave. Enjoy.

  9. #9
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Throgmartin View Post
    My local camera shop had the 77mm Cokin P filter holder + lens adapter for $19 so I decided to go for it. Now I just need to buy a filter or two and start taking photos! 17mm on a crop sensor will still likely not vignette or barely do so. If I go full frame later I'll re-evaluate and likely get the wide angle adapter.

    I really like the idea of Lee, but don't have the wallet for it

    Thanks
    Dave
    I use the Conkin P holder with a 77mm ring on a Sigma 10-20mm and can get to 14mm without the holder causing a problem.
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II
    flickr

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    I just ordered Hitech kit #5 0.3, 0.6, and 0.9 hard edge Hitech 85mm filters from B&H and am excited. The filters should be here middle of next week. Thanks to everyone for your help!

    Dave

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