Professional Landscape Photographer known for her unique, creative and evocative style based in the northern Scottish Highlands.

Posts tagged ‘Adobe creative cloud’

Top 10~ Tips to help create your perfect Landscape Fine Art image. Featured

Have you ever created an image you loved so much you decided to share on every online platform possible but didnt receive the feedback you expected? You put your heart & soul into this creation but nobody understood what you were trying to convey?

How did it make you feel? Crap? Overwhelmed? Confused? Disappointed, self doubt & dare I say almost envious of others? Trust me, I’ve been there. Receiving negative critism isnt easy & can become extremely upsetting. Asking yourself~ Why do I see things different to others? You know photography is in your blood~ I’m telling you right now, never give up & keep going. Its your ultimate passion, right? And remember~ Practice makes perfect.

Here’s my top 10 tips in no particular order

  1. Lighting~ Mood & atmosphere, probably the most difficult thing to learn as its really something that comes from the heart, you have to feel it to be able to see it.
  2. Good composition ~Visual/intuitive balance & direction of flow helps grab the eye. Rule of thirds where you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines. The Fibonacci spiral also know as the Golden spiral helps to lead the viewers eye through the entire picture. Reduce the distracting elements also known as pokies such as random tree branches poking into the edge of the photo, something I personally call “edge- control police”. Although being naughty~ breaking some rules from time to time is not a bad thing & can work out creatively.
  3. Perfect Raw file ~ A photographers fundamental basic, this is the key where you need to go all OCD. Without this you have nothing, no amount of editing will rectify. A raw file is the foundation of the house, without it the whole image will collapse. Its your blank canvas which needs to be absolutely perfect in every way imaginable. Please do not shoot in jpeg, you can bring out so much more from a raw file.
  4. Editing~ clicking the shutter button is only part of what it takes to producing a great image. For me, I liken it to putting make- up on, making the best of what you have. If your shooting raw the image will be very flat & un- interesting, therefore some editing is needed to bring your image to life. You dont need to spend hours at your computer getting a headache from eye strain, oftentimes twenty minutes maximum can really give your image the va- va- voom.
  5. Camera settings~ Technical skills & knowledge of how to use your camera are needed in abundance. When trying to be creative the last thing you need is struggling to remember how to use your camera. This should be as easy as brushing your teeth & come the most natural thing for you so you dont have to give it much thought~ All you should be thinking about is your creative flair & the beauty surrounding you. I learnt my camera settings blindfolded so I knew I could photograph the night sky at ease, not have to fumble around with torches followed by yelling at my camera as I pressed the wrong button.
  6. Colour~ Colour plays a huge role, much more than most people think. Making it look natural but really its very deliberate & a highly thought out process. Colour can sometimes provide the opposite & cause more of a distraction, this is when black & white plays its role, your stripping back elements to create more of an impactful message~ This is more useful in images that portray deep powerful emotions leaving the viewer with the pure essence of the image. Learn & understand the colour wheel.
  7. Focus stacking~ This can only be done on a tripod. Where you take several images of the same scene. Focused at different points throughout the image, so for example~ Foreground, mid-ground, a distant hill & sky. Then blend together as one in Photoshop for ultimate sharpness from front to back.
  8. Exposure blending~ Similar to focus stacking but with exposures. So for example several images of the same scene taken at different exposures~ One for the shadows, one for mid-tones & another for the highlights. Again blended together in Photoshop for a perfect high dynamic range also known as HDR.
  9. Location~ Personally I think this is an important one. I struggle to accept how a photographer can go to a location never visited before & get the most of out it. For me its something I have to visit several times, different times of the day & seasons. I need an intimate familiarity with the place, feel the spirit, question what makes it special to me. Then I concentrate on that element to achieve the best out of it. All this flows continually right through to the editing process & final image.
  10. What elements & message you wish to convey? Start by what you wish to emphasis in the photo, is it a waterfall, lake, mountain or just a wow sky. Search for different patterns & textures which can convey different emotions to the viewer. This is how you begin to tell your story & how you start growing connections with your viewers, it really does become quite personal & evoke deep emotions.

“I believe photography is a message connecting someone’s spirit to reality. In this crazy world we all live in there are times we need to escape all the madness even just for a few seconds to be virtually teleported to another world”.

“Never give up on your dreams”

Jenny Cameron

Evaluation- 82mm Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND filter on wide- angle lens. Featured

Watch how fast

Super fast & ease

Introduction.

Testing for optimal sharpness, tonality, vignette, bokeh, X-pattern issues, design, functionality, accuracy of stops & colour shifts. Including in-camera video and real time experience from my home in the north of Scotland.

What comes in the box?

One cardboard box with two separate plastic boxes each with internal moulded foam insert to keep your filters protected ..Box (1) One adapter ring and one Magnetic Variable ND 2-5 stop filter. Box (2) One Magnetic Variable ND 6-9 stop filter & one spring loaded Filter cap.

Lets take a closer look. Join me on a Private Highland Estate (non-public access).

What is a Variable Neutral Density (ND) Filter & how does it work?

Basically a Variable ND filter works by using two pieces of polarised glass that darken as they oppose each other, creating the lovely ND filter effect. As you rotate the filter the density is increased or decreased affecting the amount of light that falls through the lens and onto the camera sensor.

Sizes; 

Available in various sizes; 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 & 82mm. I’m using is the 82mm as my lens is a Canon 16-35mm F2.8 (ii). Step up rings also available.

How to measure your lens for the correct filter size.

It may seem obvious, however for newbies just starting out this can be very confusing. So, for the avoidance of doubt- Lens diameter is not the same as focal length. Lens diameter is a physical measurement on the front part of your lens. On my Canon lenses the diameter is etched on the inside of the front of the lens ( image example below). Identifiable by a circle with a line right through the middle with a number at the side, this is the measurement needed to select the correct filter size- Alternatively, you could go old school and get your ruler out to measure the diameter in millimetres.

Why are Neutral Density filters important for video?

In videography theres something called the 180-degree shutter angle rule- which mimics motion the same way a human eye experiences in real life. It helps reduce your shutter speed whilst maintaining proper exposure. For example- your shutter speed should be double your frame rate for smooth motion blur, produces a more natural and professional looking footage- rather than harsh/ jittering/robotic. This is especially commonly seen on fence lines which I’ve experienced myself whilst flying a drone. (By the way as a side note, I’m currently reviewing Haida’s ND filters for DJI Mavic 2-Pro which will be published soon). So, for instance if shooting at 25 frames per second on a DSLR you need to move your shutter speed to 1/50. This is where the Haida Nano-Pro Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND 2-5 stop filter in particular solves this issue perfectly. Theres a reason why Cinematic cameras are expensive- they have built in ND filters.

Construction.

Both filters are constructed the same, the frame part from Aerospace Aluminium making it super strong and extremely light weight, in fact its 9g lighter than previous Haida Variable NDs. The glass part is made from high quality K9 optical glass with Nano-Pro coatings on both sides.

NanoPro.

Featuring a waterproof NanoPro multi-coating on the filter glass, which helps prevent dirt and smudges from adhering to the glass, reduce reflections, scratch and water proof. Applied to both sides of the filter and helps prevent colour cast while maintaining excellent image sharpness. Highly scratch-resistant, durable, can be used under water and super easy cleaning.

X-pattern.

With the filter being on a wide angle lens I did wonder if the dreaded X-pattern (produces hatched areas on the actual image) would be more pronounced especially on the 6-9 stop, but thankfully its not appeared at any focal lengths tested from 16-35mm at approximately 2mm increments. I really did try to push it through its paces as curiosity got the better of me secretly wanting to see what it actually looked like in real life so to speak. Sure I’ve seen it on-line with other filter brands but nothing beats reality. I think what really helps with this particular issue is the way Haida have thoughtfully placed accurate hard stops at each end making it impossible to push the ND effect too far past the weakest or strongest points.

Positive features.

The innovative design of the magnetic attraction provides not only ease of use and speed but also the added bonus of no light leakage whatsoever, which often-times is problematic with strong NDs, usually from 6 stops upwards. No vignette from two stops right up to six inclusive.

Absolutely loved the ability to control shutter speed in ever changing light conditions without stress of fumbling in my filter bag trying to select what I thought would be best then discovering a different strength would have been better. Now, I could simply rotate from 6-9 or remove in literally one second & replace the 2-5 stop ND which I kept handy in my pocket neatly wrapped in a lens cloth for add protection.

Ideally suited for all types of photo &/or video genres including portraiture. I will definatly be using it for my animal work. All in all, I really do love and have thoroughly enjoyed this evaluation. Haida made it very easy with exceptional quality in not only the sleek design and smooth as butter rotation but followed right through from speed of use, incredible sharpness/tonality & contrast with no colour shift (neutrality) in the final raw file. What I did appreciate & use all the time now is the handy filter cap- Personally thought that a really nice final touch. It allows you to leave the filter on the lens packed away in your bag, then you’re all set up and ready for the next location.

Negative features.

I’m still undecided if I would have preferred an adjustment peg on the side to make it a bit easier to rotate from stop to stop without getting greasy fingerprints on the glass from my clumsy fingers or if it’s best without. Certainly not having it makes for a super sleek design which I really do like, not only visually but for storage & less weight. Over time I have gotten used to moving it without intensely watching where every stop is. Other than this I see no other downsides, what’s not to love? If I was being really picky there is ever so slight vignette from 7-9 stops inclusive, but certainly nothing to worry about.

For the traveller in mind.

If you’re tired of hauling around lots of different filters on your travels and need to go lightweight this could well be your answer.

Field tests.

Comparative images below at the bridge- taken with Canon 5d mark iv, Canon 16-35mm F2.8 (ii) lens on Gitzo tripod. Settings used; Without filter = ISO 100, F8, 1/15– With Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND filter @ 9 stops; ISO 100, F8, 30 seconds @16mm. Both raw images (straight out of camera). Location- Sutherland, Scotland.

Without filter (straight out of camera) @ 16mm. ISO 100, F8, 1/8 sec.

Comparative images below at the beach- Taken with Canon 5d mark iv, Canon 16-35mm F2.8 (ii) lens on Gitzo tripod. Settings used; Without filter = ISO 100, F14, 1/4 sec– With Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND (2-5 stops) filter @ 5 stops; ISO 100, F14, 08 seconds @16mm. Both raw images (straight out of camera). Location- Sutherland, Scotland.

Without/ with filter
Edited in Adobe Creative Cloud

Comparative images below of the bridge- Taken with Canon 5d mark iv, Canon 16-35mm F2.8 (ii) lens on Gitzo tripod. Settings used; Without filter = ISO 100, F8, 1/15– With Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND (6-9 stops) filter @ 9 stops; ISO 100, F8, 30 seconds @16mm. Both raw images (straight out of camera).

Without/ with Filter
Edited in Adobe Creative Cloud

Very pleased to tell you my field test was successful in checking the stop numbers are accurately placed.

On location- Behind the scene images below

Summary.

Variable ND filters seem to be trending at the moment. Having never used one before I was quite sceptical the quality wouldn’t be as good as a traditional single stop ND filter. I was pleasantly proven wrong and really fallen in love with this option. Having the magnetic part is a total bonus, making this super fast and easy to set up. In the past there’s been times when I’ve been a bit lazy and not bothered with filters as it’s such a faff, not so much the past couple of years but certainly before it was slow going and fiddly. 

All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. “Haida” in English translates to “All rivers run into the sea, all rivers flow to one”. If you’d like to visit their website &/or Facebook .

Conclusion.

The most versatile filters I’ve ever used, certainly the fastest and most practical system. The innovation and thought gone into the design/ build, coupled with the high quality optics makes this filter an incredible piece of kit and serious contender in the photography/ videography marketplace for many types of genres.

All in all this latest innovation from Haida has very much impressed me.

I hope this provides you with some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions or contact me below or Facebook Messenger.

If you would like to see more of my work; Follow me on Facebook & Instagram.

“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2021

Good-bye Winter

More rambles from Jenny Cameron landscape fine art photographer in Scotland during lockdown & the mental struggles.

Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND filter 77mm.

Introduction;

Haida kindly invited me to evaluate their latest innovation; Interchangeable Magnetic Variable Neutral Density (ND) Filter (2-5 stops & 6-9 stops). My test review will be in two parts, this being part 1 testing the 2-5 stop Magnetic Variable ND filter which not only is the perfect tool for photographers but also videographers. In other words, one filter ranging from 2- 5 stops and another from 6- 9 stops interchangeable in 1 second, yes I did say that correctly, one second!! Have I got you intrigued now? Let me walk you through & you show you this great innovation. Do I sound biased already? I’m sorry I am, but I will be honest & tell you some downsides

I will be testing for optimal sharpness, tonality, vignetting, bokeh, X-pattern issues, design, functionality, accuracy of stops & colour shifts.

What is a Variable Neutral Density (ND) Filter & how does it work?

Basically a Variable ND filter works by using two pieces of polarised glass that darken as they oppose each other, creating the lovely ND filter effect. As you rotate the filter the density is increased or decreased affecting the amount of light that falls through the lens & onto the camera sensor.

Sizes; 

Available in various sizes; 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 & 82mm. I’m using is the 77mm as my lens is a Canon 70-200mm F2.8 (ii).

NanoPro;

Featuring a NanoPro multi-coating on the filter glass, which helps prevent dirt and smudges from adhering to the glass, reduce reflections, scratch and water proof. Applied to both sides of the filter and helps prevent color cast while maintaining image sharpness. The Haida Nano pro filters are highly scratch-resistant, durable and super easy cleaning.

Positive features (in no particular order)

  • Filter protector cap.
  • Sleek design.
  • Accurate placed stop numbers.
  • No X pattern.
  • No colour shift ( neutrality).
  • Great contrast & tonality throughout.
  • Sharpness.
  • No vignetting.
  • Magnetic attraction.
  • Ease/speed of use.
  • Exceptional image quality.
  • Hard stops at each end which works as a bit of a fail safe. Preventing you from going past the weakest or strongest points, therefore impossible to push the ND effect too far. You simply place the marker over whatever number you want. This means you won’t suffer from entering into the infuriating X pattern (produces hatched areas on the actual image) terrority.
  • Absolutely no light leakage.
  • The ability to control your shutter speed in ever-changing lighting conditions
  • Incredibly smooth rotation in hand with enough friction enabling you to easily rotate the filter to the precise stop required.
  • Ideally suited for all types of photo &/or video genres including portraiture. I will be using it for my animal work.

Negatives

  • I’m still undecided if I would have preferred an adjustment peg on the side to make it a bit easier to rotate from stop to stop without getting greasy fingerprints on the glass from my clumsy fingers or if it’s best without. Certainly not having it makes for a super sleek design which I really do like, not only visually but for storage & less weight. Over time I have gotten used to moving it without intensely watching where every stop is.

For the traveller in mind

If you’re tired of hauling around lots of different filters on your travels & need to go lightweight this could well be your answer.

In the field tests

Test shots at different focal lengths starting at 70mm to 200mm in 10mm increments at each stop on the filter to see if all stops are true & consistent.

Sunset images below taken with Canon 5d mark iv, Canon 70-200mm F2.8 (ii) lens on Gitzo tripod. Settings used; Without filter = ISO 100, F11, 1/60 – With Magnetic Variable ND filter 2-5 @ 3 stops; ISO 200, F11, 1/8 @70mm.

Without/ with filter.

Very pleased to tell you my field test was successful in checking the stop numbers are accurately placed.

Conclusion

So far the most versatile filter I’ve ever used, certainly the most enjoyable, easiest, fastest & most practical system. The innovation and thought gone into the design/ build, coupled with the high quality optics makes this filter an incredible piece of kit & serious contender in the photography/ videography marketplace for many types of genres.

All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. If you’d like to visit their website &/or Facebook .

I hope this provides you with some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions or contact me below or Facebook Messenger.

If you would like to see more of my work;
Follow me on Facebook & Instagram.
“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2020.

Test review of Haida Red-diamond soft GND 1.2 & Haida M10 round “drop-in” CPL+ND 1.8 combi

Introduction

Welcome to my test review of the Haida round “drop-in” Circular Polariser and Neutral Density 1.8 (6 stop) combination filter and Haida Red-diamond soft graduated neutral density 1.2 (4 stops).

If you enjoy landscape photography I cannot stress the importance of investing in a good quality set of filters. I’m well aware of what it feels like having a restrictive budget and fears of making the wrong decisions buying new gear. This is where I hope I can help by providing my hand on heart honest opinion. Haida is not the cheapest filters on the market but by no means the most expensive for the optical quality achieved, you really do get a lot of bang for your buck! We all strive to buy the best lenses so why scrimp on a cheap filter and ruin optical quality, it makes no sense to me.

Haida M10 round “drop-in” CPL+ND 1.8 (6 stop)

When Haida offered me the opportunity to test their M10 combination-filter with built-in light barrier I was intrigued, to say the least, questioning myself what the downfalls if any would be. Whilst stacking filters can work and something I do regular, however, this practice is not optimal for a couple of reasons;

  1. Forcing light to traverse through more elements, therefore more likely to get slightly refracted, possibly resulting in softness or even chromatic aberration.
  2. Increased risk of light flares.

The more I thought about it the more I couldn’t wait. Initially, I planned waterfalls for this particular test. Although I could see it being very useful after a midday rainstorm which happens a lot here in Scotland when the sun bursts out it’s great to slow down the exposure a wee bit and allow the filter to do the work. Rainfall hasn’t been great the past few days so I headed to the beach at sunrise instead.

Inserting the filter into the Haida M10 filter holder is incredibly fast, it simply drops between the holder and lens creating a perfect seal from any stray light. Oftentimes in the past, I’ve struggled with the issue of light leakage and had to resort to putting hats or cloths over the gap between filter and lens, not an ideal situation unlike any of the Haida M10 round “drop-in” filters such as this combi filter which have a built-in light-barrier.

from vid 2

Inserting filter into the rear of the M10 filter holder

This is an ND 1.8 filter meaning it will lose six stops of light. But don’t forget it has the added CPL which generally lose between 1-2 stops of light, collectively this will provide a total of almost eight stops. For me personally, I like a six-stop ND for moving water as it doesn’t blur everything to oblivion like say a ten stop would. A six-stop shows slight movement which I prefer to portray. A neutral density filter should be exactly what the name suggests “neutral” in every which way and let me tell you all the Haida NDs I’ve ever tested are all neutral, no crazy coloured undertones, no vignetting and no loss of sharpness from corner to corner. What you see is what you get.

If you’re not wanting the polarising effect you can simply rotate the small dial (three gear linkage design ) on the mount independently, very smoothly to reduce or completely remove depending on the scenario of the scene. Once you start turning, you’ll instantly see the polarisation intensify on your live view screen. I tend to always rotate a CPL 360 degrees first to check the availability of contrast, saturation, and reflection. The strongest effect takes place at an angle of 90 degrees from the sun, ie make sure your line of sight is perpendicular to the direction of the sun. The filter is easily removed or exchanged by gently squeezing the red plastic tabs on the top and lifting it out without disturbing your composition. The choice is all yours and easily very adjustable.

Image of raw file with a filter on, zoomed in 100% in Lightroom to demonstrate maximum sharpness of the rocks. It’s clear to see the quality is second to none, excellent detail even in the darkest of shadows at blue hour.

zoomed 100 percent )jpeg)

For this very demanding scene above with the bright sunrise and dark foreground, you need the best support from your gear. Let me tell you this filter made my job very easy, provided excellent control over the whole dynamic range, ultimate sharpness, no colour cast or vignette, and really made me smile. Constructed from high-quality optical glass, each filter has ten layers of anti-reflective coatings, scratch-proof, provides the best clarity, includes the famous nano multi-coating to reduce reflection, waterproof (meaning any droplets of water literally roll off like beads, no ugly smears) and the dreaded fingerprints wipe off easily with a soft microfibre cloth.

The M10 round “drop-in” filters are available in a selection of: ND 0.9, 1.8 3.0, 4; CPL; Clear-night; GND-0.9 1.2; ND+CPL 0.9 and 1.8.

Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @19mm -With-without-M10 round “drop-in” CPL+ND 1.8 combi. No post-processing on either, other than lens correction in Lightroom.

raw-without-(1-of-1)

Without filter = ISO 100, F14, 0.6 sec – With Haida M10 round “drop-in” CPL+ND 1.8 combination. = ISO 100, F14, 30 seconds @19mm

Finally post-processed in Adobe Creative Cloud

Fragil rock (jpeg for web)

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Haida Red-diamond soft GND 1.2 (4 stops)

Earlier this year I tested the Haida Red-diamond medium 0.9 (3 stops) read review which totally stole my heart since then it’s rarely been off my lens and I can’t wait to tell everyone how thrilled I am in using it. My love affair with this series only intensified, I had to try the Red-diamond soft graduated neutral density 1.2 (GND 4 stops) filter. Packed my kit and off I went to Aberdeen for sunrise to see how the soft grad stood up to the medium and let me tell you I was not disappointed.

The main purpose of a GND filter is to balance exposure in an image that contains a bright sky and darker foreground. As you can see from the photos below this filter is rectangle in shape and sized 100mm x 150mm, providing flexibility to move the filter up or down within the filter holder for ultimate control. Providing such a beautiful soft progression from dark at the top where you would place over the sky to clear at the bottom in a neutral manner and achieving endless creative possibilities.

What makes this series stand out from its predecessor and other brand filters are listed as follows:

  • Shock resistant, low risk to any accidental damage.
  • Scratch-resistant, the perfect partner in demanding weather.
  • Zero colour cast.
  • Waterproof, oil and fingerprint-proof Nanopro coated surface.
  • Improved optical glass.
  • R5 rounded corners – make it easier to slide in and out of the filter holder, no sharp corners.
  • K9 optical glass.
  • True colour.
  • Ultra-thin nano multi-coating.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Double the strength of other glass filters whilst at the same time retaining ultimate sharpness.
  • Still retaining 2 mm in thickness making it compatible with the Haida 100-Pro filter holder and other brands the same size.
  • The Red Diamond series is double the strength of a normal glass filter. You may have seen online the Haida Red Diamond drop test video? Where it’s thrown onto a concrete floor and no sign of damage to the filter. If you are accident-prone this would be the perfect filter series for you.

Images below-showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @35mm with no filter and with Haida Red-diamond soft GND 1.2 (4 stops). No post-processing on either other than lens correction in Lightroom. As you can see the soft GND significantly transforms the quality of the image.

with-without-filter-(-gif)-May-2019-Dunnottar

Without filter = ISO 100, F10, 1/20 – With Haida Red-diamond soft GND filter 1.3 = ISO 100, F10, 0.8 seconds @35mm.

Finally post-processed in Adobe Creative Cloud

final edit (jpeg)

Sunrise over Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

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All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China.

Conclusion

My overall conclusion is both filters are superiorly optically and I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending to anyone whether beginners or advanced and using for my own portfolio.

I hope this provides you with some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions.

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If you would like to see more of my work;
500px, Facebook, Viewbug, Instagram
“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2019

Rituals

Callanish Stones, Isle of Lewis

My first trip to the world famous Calanais Standing Stones on the beautiful Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. I’ve been wanting to make the trip for a couple of years now and finally I made it.

The stones are arranged in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle for ritual activity dated back to the Bronze age and actually older than Stonehenge in England.

On arrival approx 6pm the light was bouncing all over the place, it had been one of those typical Scottish days where you get all four seasons in one day, this can prove to be very successful for landscape photography as it seems to bring the purest of light, what I call magic light. However this can bring difficulties with light management …You need to be in control of the light, not the light controlling the image with dark shadows and/ or crazy blown out highlights. To do this I firstly used a Haida M10 CPL which is my go to filter to control highlights and lift some beautiful saturation. This still wasn’t quite right so I upped the game by using my Haida Red Diamond Medium 0.9 ( 3stops) … I was almost there but not 110% happy. I decided to expose for the foreground, stones, sunstar, skyline and clouds in separate manual exposures, knowing I could easily blend in post processing when back at my computer. Doing it this way also meant I could nail the focus better resulting in sharpness from front to back, I prefer this method rather than just going for one at say F16 or F22.

The sky didn’t pop as much as I hoped due to the time of year and day time temperatures. I stayed till dusk quietly watching the sun dip below the horizon, all very peaceful.

I hope you enjoyed my thought process and final image named “Ritual”.

If you live in the UK and looking to purchase any Haida filters, please contact Haida’s agent in Germany …. Pro-Photoshop/Timetrends24, Mercatorstraße 18, D-21502 Geesthacht, Germany. Tel: 49 4152-136 03 17.   www.haida-deutschland.de

 

 

 

 

Haida M10 and Red Diamond test review Featured

Introduction

I’m excited to introduce the new Haida M10 adapter ring, M10 filter holder, M10 round “drop-in” circular polarizer, M10 “drop-in” light barrier,  M10 round “drop-in” neutral density 3.0 (10 stop) and Red Diamond medium 0.9 (3 stops).

This test review was based on a shoot around Assynt, a remote area of the Northern Scottish Highlands using my Canon 5d mark iv ( full-frame camera). Tested at the widest focal length I use, 16mm with my Canon 16-35 mm USM L lens. Gitzo tripod and ball head.

As a landscape photographer, I have learnt how invaluable a great filter system is to my arsenal of tools. It’s something you can buy a bit at a time to build up your collection, but choosing the correct brand is the tricky part. Thankfully for you, I’ve made the mistakes and now ready to reveal the latest from Haida filters, the only brand for me.

I started using Haida filters in January 2018 with their Pro 100 series. As much as I regard them highly, I can’t stress enough how Haida’s design team have really upped their game and left their competitors way behind with their latest generation M10 filter holder system for the 100 mm series filters, including a selection of round “drop-in” filters (CPL, NDs and Clear-night)  also their Red Diamond series ND’s (soft, medium), Hard GND, Reverse GND and horizon GND. These were all launched in October 2018 at Photokina and are now readily available. Haida has really listened to their customers and actually done something about it.

They kindly sent me their M10 filter holder and a selection of filters early in January 2018. So far, they have travelled almost two thousand miles with me on a road trip from the North Coast of Scotland to Southern England and a couple of local photoshoots. I wanted to really spend time in the field conducting this review and putting everything through its paces to give my most honest opinion. I can proudly say I now know them so well I could use them blindfolded. The whole set up – from screwing on the adapter ring to sliding in your first filter – can be done in less than 10 seconds!

All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. Haida’s new generation are such a genius method and design.

Haida M10 filter holder kit for the 100mm series filters includes the filter holder, CPL, light-barrier, adapter ring and leather case.

HaidaM10

M10 Filter Holder System

Haida M10 adapter ring

Works solely with the Haida M10 filter holder which is part of Haida’s new generation. Constructed entirely from aluminium for strength and light-weight, and also slim in design. From my experience, this helps with any unnecessary vignettes when shooting at wide angles. You simply screw it easily onto the front of your Lens. This is the foundation for the M10 filter holder: it’s a bit like building a house – without a solid foundation there’s no point installing the windows.

These can be purchased to fit most popular lenses in sizes 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 and 82mm.

Haida M10 filter holder

This is Haida’s successor to their 100 Pro filter holder. The new M10 filter holder is made from aviation-grade aluminium and PC materials for super strength and is lighter in weight than its predecessor. Its genius design makes it exceptionally user-friendly, with super-fast set up, and effortless to change and remove filters. Simply clip the M10 filter holder onto the M10 adapter ring by using the red push-and-release (spring clip) locking lever (see photo below). The innovative design gives a very secure and solid connection, and at the same time, the ability to rotate 360 degrees – which I found especially useful when using the Red Diamond medium 0.9 ( 3 stop) graduated neutral density filter. The non-slip sponged coating on the bottom of the filter holder provides more of a grip when rotating which I think is a nice touch.

It’s designed to take up to three filters ( 100 x 100mm or 100 x 150mm @ 2mm thickness, compatible with other brands at the same size ) on the front of the holder if you wish to stack, and one filter slot at the rear closest to your camera lens where the new round “drop-in” M10 filters are used. Boasting a choice of neutral density filters ( 3, 6, 10 and 15 stops), circular polariser (included in the kit), clear-night (light pollution filter), graduated neutral density filters ( 3 and 4 stops) and ND + CPL ( 3 and 6 stops). But only using one at a time which is the only downside if you like using several ND/s and a CPL as I often did with its predecessor. If you don’t wish to use any of the round “drop-in” filters, you must use the M10 “drop-in” light barrier (see photo below) which is simple and easy to use the sealing ring to prevent any light leakage (also provided in the kit).

Stack of 3 100mm x 100mm Haida NDs in the front compartment and CPL in the rear compartment of the M10 filter holder.

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Housed in a smart black eco-leather zipped storage case, with a handy carabiner attached to the top which can be neatly clipped onto your tripod or belt for ease of access. Internally lined with a lovely grey velvety fabric with a net pocket for storage. Also included: screwdriver, extra pair of filter holder slots and gaskets to provide a third slot on the front of the Holder )which I’ve left on permanently).

Video of me using the M10 adapter ring, M10 filter holder, M10 round “drop-in” circular polariser filter together with Red Diamond medium 0.9 filter.

Haida M10 round “drop-in” circular polariser filter

My favourite of all the filters has always been the CPL. A vital piece of kit every landscape photographer should have and something which cannot be replicated in post-processing. I rarely shoot without – it’s the perfect light manager. And let me tell you, Haida`s new M10 round “drop-in” CPL will never be off my lens.

I was curious to test if any slight vignette was present, and I can happily confirm that there is none at all, even pushing it through a tough test at my widest 16mm on a full-frame camera. It gives amazing contrast, and cuts through some of the haze, especially on the clouds and the polarisation is visible in the sky producing some great detail. Removed almost all the unwanted glare and the see-through effect is well achieved on the water. Added some beautiful saturation which gives an overall instant pop to the image. Always remember with any filter – it brings into the equation a fourth dimension to the exposure triangle. With a CPL you will generally lose between 1-2 stops of light. As you can see in the comparison EXIF data below, I have lost around 1.5 stops.

Inserting the round “drop-in” CPL into the M10 filter holder is the fastest I’ve ever used, never mind witnessed. It simply drops between the holder and lens creating a perfect seal from any stray light. It’s almost like gravity does the work for you –  once you hear the click it’s locked in place. There is a three gear linkage design on the mount which rotates independently and very smoothly. Once you start turning the adjustable black dial which is centrally placed on the top of the filter, you’ll instantly see the polarisation intensity on your live view screen. I tend to always rotate a CPL 360 degrees first to check the availability of contrast, saturation, and reflection. The strongest effect takes place at an angle of 90 degrees from the sun, ie make sure your line of sight is perpendicular to the direction of the sun. The filter is easily removed or exchanged by gently squeezing the red plastic tabs on the top and lifting it out without disturbing your composition.

sliding in M10 round CPL into M10 filter holder

Inserting M10 round “drop-in” Circular Polariser (cpl) filter into M10 filter holder.

Constructed from high-quality optical glass, each filter has ten layers of anti-reflective coatings, scratch-proof, provides the best clarity, includes the famous nano multi-coating to reduce reflection, waterproof (meaning any droplets of water literally roll off like beads, no ugly smears) and the dreaded fingerprints wipe off easily with a soft microfibre cloth.

I have to say how solid it feels, plus it’s very fast and easy to use. In the past, CPLs I’ve used can be fiddly, hard to screw on especially when it’s freezing cold, you’re up at silly o’clock waiting for sunrise and half asleep. Haida has really listened to their customers and produced this truly clever design making our life so much easier. It’s an absolute pleasure to work with.

The round “drop in” filters are available in a selection of: ND 0.9, 1.8 3.0, 4; CPL; Clear-night; GND-0.9 1.2; ND+CPL 0.9 and 1.8.

Images below-showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @16mm with no filter and with Haida M10 “drop-in” CPL filter. No post-processing on either other than lens correction in Lightroom. Demonstrating how the CPL has retained every bit of sharpness.

without-cpl-(1-of-1)

Without filter = ISO 100, F18, 1/13 – With Circular Polariser filter = ISO 100, F18, 1/8 second

Finally post-processed in Adobe Creative Cloud.

edited version (jpeg)

Location – Loch Assynt, Sutherland. Scotland.

Haida Red Diamond Medium

take wording for blog post & pic

The Red Diamond filter I am testing is a medium 0.9 equaling 3 Stops. Rectangle in shape and sized 100mm x 150mm, providing more flexibility to move the filter up or down within the holder for ultimate control, homogeneous graduated blending from light to dark and endless creative possibilities. I really enjoyed using this filter in combination with the M10 filter holder. It’s fun the way you can rotate the holder if you want to darken the sky on one side or turn it upside down if you’re looking over bright highlighted water.

sliding in red diamond medium with M10 round CPL in back. Feb 2019

Inserting Red Diamond medium 0.9 into M10 filter holder with M10 round “drop-in” cpl filter in the rear compartment

I predict this latest series from Haida becoming “The big daddy” of them all for landscape photographers the world over. Haida named this new series “Red Diamond” as they’re amongst the strongest diamonds in the world, therefore being the strongest of all Haida filters.

What makes this series stand out from its predecessor and other brand filters are listed as follows:

  • Shock resistant, low risk to any accidental damage.
  • Scratch-resistant, the perfect partner in demanding weather.
  • Zero colour cast.
  • Waterproof, oil and fingerprint-proof Nanopro coated surface.
  • Improved optical glass.
  • R5 rounded corners – make it easier to slide in and out of the filter holder, no sharp corners.
  • K9 optical glass.
  • True colour.
  • Ultra-thin nano multi-coating.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Double the strength of other glass filters whilst at the same time retaining ultimate sharpness.
  • Still retaining 2 mm in thickness making it compatible with the Haida 100-Pro filter holder and other brands the same size.
  • The Red Diamond series is double the strength of a normal glass filter. You may have seen online the Haida Red Diamond drop test video? Where it’s thrown onto a concrete floor and no sign of damage to the filter. If you are accident-prone this would be the perfect filter series for you.

Images below-showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @16mm -With-without-Red Diamond medium 0.9 (3 stops). No post-processing on either, other than lens correction in Lightroom.

With-Red-Diamond-Medium-Filter-base-edit

Without filter = ISO 100, F14, 1.1 sec – With Red Diamond medium 0.9 = ISO 100, F14, 3.1 sec

Finally post-processed in Adobe Creative Cloud

red diamond medium across strath (jpeg for web) edited version

Location – Lochen on a private Highland estate.


M10 round “drop-in” 3.0 ND (10 Stop) Filter

The round “drop-in” 3.0 ND, equalling 10 stops of light with its built-in light barrier, is particularly useful for any super long exposures. Oftentimes in the past, I’ve struggled with the issue of light leakage and had to resort to putting hats or cloths over the gap between filter and lens, not an ideal situation at all.

Before I started my love affair with Haida filters over a year ago, I was using Lee filters. My go-to neutral density filter was always the Big Stopper but more times out of ten the images produced had a slight purple tint and vignettes at wide angles. Although it’s easy enough to change in post-processing, it is another job. All these wee jobs can mount up a lot, meaningless creative time and enjoyment in the great outdoors with your camera – and surely they’re the best parts?!

I was curious to test if any vignette were present, and I can happily confirm none at all was found. You would think attaching any filter over your lens would affect the level of sharpness, but it’s clear to see from my findings below that there is no loss of sharpness from corner to corner – it’s pin-sharp. Absolutely no colour tint was found, making this one of the most neutral NDs I’ve ever come across. I particularly liked the design of the plastic holder that the round glass sits in, making it ultra-easy to drop in and remove the filter holder without any disturbance to the composition. The M10 round “drop-in” series of filters feature the same nano pro coatings, producing excellent image quality. It’s clear to see that Haida has really thought through every single part of the process and know the issues that can be caused in the field.

Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @16mm -With-without-M10 round “drop-in” N.D 3.0 (10-stop). No post processing on either other than lens correction in Lightroom.

with-without-nd3.0-(10-stop)

Without filter = ISO 100, F14, 0.4 sec – With M10 “drop-in” ND 3.0 filter = ISO 100, F14, 130 sec

Finally post-processed in Adobe Creative Cloud

across strath (jpeg for web) 10 stop m10

Location – Lochen on a private Highland estate

Collection of images taken during my field test

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I hope this provides you with some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions.

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