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ND filter for a point and shoot.

Robert Reiss , Aug 22, 2010; 11:06 a.m.

I plan to buy a compact point and shoot (or similar) for travel pics in Israel. A thread on photo.net mentioned that the brightness of the light might cause photos to get "washed out." Would an ND (neutral density) filter help? If so, which compact travel cameras would allow easy attachment of an nd filter?

Responses

Jerry Litynski , Aug 22, 2010; 11:49 a.m.

Best bet is to find a point-and-shoot with 'M' Manual as one of the settings the camera can use. Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic all have them (as far as I know.)

Putting a filter on a point-and-shoot camera may - may not be easy to do. And a circular poliarizer filter might do better in taming bright light by reducing reflections in the scene -- if the sun is at a right angle to you holding the camera.

Something like a Nikon D80 (non-point-and-shoot camera) and a AF-S 18-55mm lens [uses a 52mm filter] or AF-S 18-105mm VR Nikkor lens [uses a 67mm filter,] and one circular polarizer filter might be easier to use over putting a filter on a point-and-shoot camera lens.

Howard Vrankin , Aug 22, 2010; 11:58 a.m.

Canon's G10 has a built-in ND filter and hopefully, the updated G11 does as well. These are excellent cameras. ND filters are a good idea with small sensor cameras. They begin showing diffraction effects (loss of sharpness) as soon as f/4 in some cases. The best results from the G10/11 for instance, are actually at f/2.8. Good luck, in your search.

Andy Szeto , Aug 22, 2010; 12:14 p.m.

In my opinion I don't think a ND filter is needed. Although most p&s type digital cameras do not have manual control, like Tv or Av priority, they do still have exposure compensation. If you think the image is overexposed, you can simply under expose the scene using exposure compensation feature. Or use one of the scene modes like "snow" or "beach" mode. Those little p&s cameras can adjust the exposure accordingly. The one who said 'the brightness of the light might cause photos to get "washed out" ' probably don't know what he/she is talking about. Hope this helps.

Mendel Leisk , Aug 22, 2010; 12:27 p.m.

I've got graduated neutral density filters on my mind, and have been reading up a fair bit on those (see my recent posting). These filters are clear at the bottom, then darken towards the top. This type of filter will help with pictures where you would otherwise have overly bright, washed-out skys.

But a regular neutral density filter is uniformly dense, it's only function is to reduce overall light coming through. Their prime functions are to use in situations where it's otherwise impossible to achieve correct exposure, or for effects like daylight time exposure.

In your case I don't think you need a neutral density filter. Also, compatibility will likely be an issue with your point-and-shoot. Graduated Neutral Density filters are a big plus for daytime shots, to improve skys/clouds, but again: with time short, and using a point-and-shoot, likely now is not the time to get into it.

Jean Spector , Aug 22, 2010; 09:23 p.m.

A local here.
If you're going to visit in August, then taking photos is gonna be quite a frustrating experience - it's very bright during the day, trees are covered in dust as it never rains during the summer (I don't count a couple drops of dust+water mix) while the desert with its sand is never far away. The skies are washed out - almost white - and no filter can fix that. Most chances you won't see any clouds during the day. Now if you can get up before sunrise, your chances of getting a decent shot improve immensely - the light is better, the clouds might be there for a couple of hours.

Regarding filters, some P&S camera have adapters that allow you to use screw-in filters - for example Nikon 4300 I used to have years ago had this. Also check out the Cokin system - the have a version for compact cameras here . Note that you can always just hold a filter in front of your camera, though it might be quite inconvenient in case of CPL filters.
I have to say that while you mentioned an ND filter it's not going to help you in this situation - you need CPL (Circular Polarizing) filter to improve your chances of getting some color into the shots - make sure to practice using it well in advance as it takes some time to get used to the effect so you can recognize when it's worthwhile to take it out of the bag.

Israel is a very interesting country with lots of stuff to see and photograph and I've exaggerated some of the potential problems, but going in October could be a much better idea if photos are a significant part of your trip - and you won't be suffering from extreme heat we currently "enjoy".

Enjoy your trip,
Jean Spector

Douglas Stemke , Aug 22, 2010; 10:47 p.m.

If you need the filter as long as you have a tripod socket you can use the Cokin filters. They make an adapter for compacts that screws in the tripod socket and then allows you to use their smaller square filters.

Ted Raper , Aug 23, 2010; 11:25 a.m.

The Canon G11 does have a built in ND filter and it is quite handy and very simple to use. I have also had some luck using a small ND (46mm, bought for my wife's Panasonic FZ28 camera which takes 46mm filters) filter held on front of the lens while the camera is on a tripod. That's workable only on short exposures, though and you have to be careful not to jar the camera (thereby negating the use of a tripod) while holding the filter against the lens.

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