Having dabbled a few weekends ago in some long exposure shots using a 9stop ND filter and really enjoying the test shots and results I felt I needed to try and expand my camera and lens options for producing graduated ND options for landscape dark sky’s and long exposures with the Fujinion 35mm, 18-55 on the X-E1 and on the X100. I wanted to cover the range of 18-55 for both options to fit the 58mm 9 stop ND filter I have bought and some old Corking graduated ND holder and sides I have left from the old Nikon gear. Is a complex arrangement I bought a full set of reducing rings from Amazon for about £10. With some reversing and some glue I was able to set up the following options.
It’s not 100% but very close. Read on to see what is missing and what is possible.
I will set about this by camera starting with the X-E1. Firstly I wanted a long exposure option on my 18-55 thus the first purchase was a 58mm 9 stop HLC filter ND filter. Is a mid priced filter. The pricing can range from under £20 on EBay up to high end filters upwards of £400. The HLC came in at £70. Web research suggested the cheaper versions have very poor optic quality and can have defects and cause problems with white balance where the high versions have only very small pixel peeping improvements as the price rises. I have not seen enough resulting images with the HLC filter to pass judgment on the results other than to say there are no physical defects in the optics. So I have a 58mm that will now screw directly on the to the Fujinon 18-55 offering f / 2.8 to f/22 this is a great range covered.
Next up I would have really liked to now attach the old Corking filter holder to the front but this would limit other options I was planning. This is the quickest and simplest set up for long exposure close up and landscapes.
Next up I wanted the HLC 9 stop on the 35mm f/1.4 so that if I wanted I can have crazy depth of filed and long exposure. Revering and glue together a combination of 58-55/55-52/52-49 with a reversed 49mm glued inside the 52mm (you will see later why ) I am now able to screw the 58mm HLC onto he front of the 35mm f/1.4.
Now as another option I can expand this out to fit the massive old 72 mm Corking setup I used on my old Nikon 18-200 lens. I add the remaining adaptor rings from 58mm to 72mm. I can’t really think why I might want to take grad filtered landscape shots at 35mm (50mm equivalent) but I might, the main reason for this one is that the grad on the rectangular filters I have is large enough to cover the complete lens as well and graduation. This give me the option of 1-5 stops for the 35mm, and having the internal 3stop ND filter on the X100 having it missing on the X-E1 is a shame and its needed. So not I can have 1-9 stops at 35mm f-1.4 is needed. Neat eh for long exposure options. And it looks like this.
That completes the options on the X-E1, pretty wild look but is light cheap and portable. So I needed to provide some options for the X100. It already has a 3 stop filter. That’s great for dealing with sunny days a wanting to shoot at f/2 but struggles to give any longer exposures suitable to meet my needs. Reversing the adaptor rings with the bonded set allows me to attach the 58mm HLC filter to the X100. Looks like this.
Add the built in 3 stops to the 9 stop HLC gives me 12 stop filtering at f16 can give some som very long exposures indeed. Great stuff. Lastly to try and make up for not being able to fit the graduated corking filter to the 18-55 on the X-E1 I am able to no attach the second adaptor rings 58 through to 72 allows me to fit the grads to the 23mm f/2 fixed lens. So I have a wide options for graduated sky’s for landscape with the X100 and combined with the built in 3stop gives me quite a range. This ends up looking like this beast.
In both cases I try to keep my tripod options ultra light and portable and again another advantage of the mirrorless over the DSLR (sorry to bash it again ) is I can fit them to smaller tripods and in this case a Joby gorilla pod. Keeping options open on this one as I am not over confident the Joby with be suitable for very long exposure times. I will have to test.
So that’s it.
1 x 9(12) stop ND filters sets to suit 2 camera 3 lens’s range f/1.4 to f16 and focal lengths 18mm 55mm
1 x grad ND filter set to suit 2 cameras 2 lens range f/1.4 to f/16 and focal 23mm to 35mm
In both cases I will be using the Joby gorilla pod and a mechanical screw in old school shutter release cable. The X100 cannot use an electronic one and I don’t want to have to carry two shutter releases. Lastly both camera’s in T or bulb mode I can set the view to show the timer running giving me the times to control my longer exposures.