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VINE VOICEon September 5, 2010
These days many effects that old school filters used to be required for can now be done via software, alas there are a few that cannot be replicated. One is the graduated neutral density filter, such as this one. Sure you can darken part of an image in Photoshop, but you're missing the real benefit of having that ability at exposure on the lens. Sunsets or other scenes where bright lighting in part of the image can hinder the ability of the sensor to capture and record details in darker parts of the scene. This is also true of film, but most of you who are still using film probably already know this.

To be honest, most users will probably benefit from a setup like this Cokin U961 Z-Pro Grad Filter Kit, SQ/ Z Pro Filters, but I needed something compact that could work on my Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras without vignietting. It did the trick, and I never regretted going with a round grad ND vs a square one (which you can slide to adjust the horizon as needed). My only real complaint is that it does scratch quite easily.

For those of you debating between a 1 stop (B + W 77mm #501 Color Graduated Filter - Light Dark Grey Neutral Density (ND)) and 2 stop grad ND (such as this one, the 502), I strongly suggest a 2 or maybe 3 stop one.
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0Comment25 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 8, 2007
I'm not going to get into why one would want this specific type of filter - there are books on the subject that will go into a lot more detail - here is one example - there are many: The Photographer's Guide to Filters (Photographers Guide).

I will comment on the quality of this product. B+W filters are made in Germany. Germany is consistenly one of the best producers of high end glass and optics. I have been told the reason the quality of these filters is better than most is that they don't make them as separate units, but instead they build a cylinder of glass and cut each filter off of it. Consistent quality. Screw ring is hard metal, so it is very difficult to strip the threads. I have messed up the threads on cheaper brands by accident.

In my experience, buying filters falls into the category of you get what you pay for. Cheaper brands are out there, but if you want a very high quality filter, that is durable and consistent with what you want to achieve with it... you can't go wrong with B+W filters.

Be sure to choose the right size - for example, Nikon prints the size on the back of the lens cap.
22 comments28 of 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 8, 2007
I'm not going to get into why one would want this specific type of filter - there are books on the subject that will go into a lot more detail - here is one example - there are many: The Photographer's Guide to Filters (Photographers Guide).

I will comment on the other review here in that this filter works fine if you use it as it was designed to be used, in most cases its to filter down a bright sky and keep your exposure correct for the rest of the shot (landscape). It is a round filter, so yes, you are limited on some of the choices compared to external plate filters, but that doesn't mean this filter is a flop.

B+W filters are made in Germany. Germany is consistenly one of the best producers of high end glass and optics. I have been told the reason the quality of these filters is better than most is that they don't make them as separate units, but instead they build a cylinder of glass and cut each filter off of it. Consistent quality. Screw ring is hard metal, so it is very difficult to strip the threads. I have messed up the threads on cheaper brands by accident.

In my experience, buying filters falls into the category of you get what you pay for. Cheaper brands are out there, but if you want a very high quality filter, that is durable and consistent with what you want to achieve with it... you can't go wrong with B+W filters.

Be sure to choose the right size - for example, Nikon prints the size on the back of the lens cap.
0Comment10 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 8, 2007
I'm not going to get into why one would want this specific type of filter - there are books on the subject that will go into a lot more detail - here is one example - there are many: The Photographer's Guide to Filters (Photographers Guide).

What I will review is quality of this product. B+W filters are made in Germany. Germany is consistenly one of the best producers of high end glass and optics. I have been told the reason the quality of these filters is better than most is that they don't make them as separate units, but instead they build a cylinder of glass and cut each filter off of it. Consistent quality. Screw ring is hard metal, so it is very difficult to strip the threads. I have messed up the threads on cheaper brands by accident.

In my experience, buying filters falls into the category of you get what you pay for. Cheaper brands are out there, but if you want a very high quality filter, that is durable and consistent with what you want to achieve with it... you can't go wrong with B+W filters.

Be sure to choose the right size - for example, Nikon prints the size on the back of the lens cap.
33 comments17 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 8, 2008
This filter is very hard to use because even with the depth of field preview button you struggle to see the gradation line. Also, you can't move the line up and down as the scene demands. I really recommend, and have personally gone to, the 4X6 rectangular graduated ND filters and the results are far superior. Hitech also makes an acceptable resin filter in both the 4X6 and Cokin P sizes (go for the 4X6 if you can). Singh Ray's are the absolute best as they are glass. A bit pricey though. Don't bother with the circular ones at all.
44 comments35 of 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 16, 2009
If you're reading this then you already know what a GND filter does, so I'll skip the documentation.

When you first hold the filter, you feel the weight of quality glass in your hands and not some cheap plastic. The graduation is fine and evenly spread out, and the transition is smooth.
However, and that's the reason I gave this 4 stars, once the filter is attached it's really difficult to see where the clear and the dark sections are. I looked in the viewfinder, and I kept rotating and I could barely notice any difference.
The best way to do this is to look at the front of your lens while attaching it and make sure it's where you want it to be.
But don't let this dissapoint you, it's worth the money, you'll see the results on the picture after you take it, it's unmissable.
0Comment3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 6, 2007
B+W 501 and 502 graduated neutral density filters vary tremendously in color and density. They have a serious quality control problem.

My needs for 3D filming left me with no alternative but to find a matched pair of B+W 502 filters - it took three months to come up with a pair that had the same density and color and even then, they have a slight blue-green cast. It's next to impossible to find a B+W 502 that's actually grey (neutral) like it's supposed to be.

[...]

If you are using a rangefinder or any other camera that does not allow you to examine the effect of the filter through the camera lens, there is unfortunately no alternative to the B+W 501 and 502 in a round, screw-in mount other than the Heliopan graduated ND filters, but these are ridiculously low in density for their rating. The Heliopan graduated ND filters are all but useless.

If you are using an SLR, DSLR, or some other design that allows you to look through the camera lens (such as a view camera with ground glass), you should seriously consider the use of a rectangular graduated ND filter in an ajustable holder (instead of a round screw-in filter). Have a look at those made by Singh Ray, Lee Filters, Formatt, or Schneider Optics. They are all offered in both hard and soft edge gradients - the soft edge gradients are best for wide angle lenses, hard edge for normal or telephoto lenses.

Mike
22 comments14 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 8, 2007
I'm not going to get into why one would want this specific type of filter - there are books on the subject that will go into a lot more detail - here is one example - there are many: The Photographer's Guide to Filters (Photographers Guide).

What I will review is quality of this product. B+W filters are made in Germany. Germany is consistenly one of the best producers of high end glass and optics. I have been told the reason the quality of these filters is better than most is that they don't make them as separate units, but instead they build a cylinder of glass and cut each filter off of it. Consistent quality. Screw ring is hard metal, so it is very difficult to strip the threads. I have messed up the threads on cheaper brands by accident.

In my experience, buying filters falls into the category of you get what you pay for. Cheaper brands are out there, but if you want a very high quality filter, that is durable and consistent with what you want to achieve with it... you can't go wrong with B+W filters.

Be sure to choose the right size - for example, Nikon prints the size on the back of the lens cap.
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 19, 2012
I don't like to do much post-processing to my pictures. My photoshop abilities are average, however I prefer not to use it so much. I prefer to use some filters and play with my camera features, and even invest some more time taking pictures that spend the time on the computer processing the images. With that said, this is my opinion on this filter.

Is great to produce better landscape pictures, you can get more detailed clouds and sky, you can improve this type of photography removing that washout effect that you get when there is a lot of light in the sky and not so much on the foreground.
Easy to put on and remove from my lenses (tried a couple).
Built quality is good.

You see the difference with cheap filters quickly and easily (believe me, I've got a couple of cheaper filters in the past).
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 17, 2010
The item arrived fast and in perfect condition. It seems well-constructed and has a good gradation from dark to clear. It definitely takes a little getting used to - not like non-grad's that stop light across the entire filter. Two stops is about accurate for this filter.
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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