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Perfect Exposures Using A Tamron Lens And ND Filter

Perfect Exposures Using A Tamron Lens And ND Filter - Here's how an ND filter works and how you can get better exposures using one with a Tamron lens.

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Category : Filters
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Smooth water
Image by David Pritchard, taken with a Tamron SP 24-70mm lens

Have you ever considered using an ND filter with your Tamron lens? ND filters are a great tool for a variety of photographic situations, and we'll look at what the filter is and where it can be used here:

What is an ND Filter?

An ND (Neutral Density) filter is plain grey and is available in different strengths, something which we'll discuss later on. The filters screw on to the front of your Tamron lens. Basically, an ND filter restricts the amount of light that can get through to the camera's sensor, allowing you to shoot at slower shutter speeds without overexposing the shot. It doesn't effect the colours in your shot, only the brightness. 

Where will an ND filter be useful?

Because an ND filter enables you to slow down your shutter speed and still get a well exposed shot, they're ideal for use where you want to capture silky smooth water or capture a city scene without capturing the people walking past. These uses and others are covered in more detail below:

Waterfalls -  This is where having the different strengths of filter comes in - ND filters are available in about 5 different strengths, each one letting less light in than the last. The strongest filter available is the Big Stopper, which is equivalent of stopping down 10 times, making it really strong. So, the more silky you want your water, the longer the shutter speed will have to be and the stronger the ND filter. You'll need a tripod to avoid the shot blurring and possibly a remote trigger, too. The ND filter can also allow you to use a wider aperture for shallower depth of field, too. 

Buildings/ busy city or town shots - If you want to photograph a famous landmark, or simply want to shoot buildings you usually have two options, either wait until it's later on and there aren't as many shoppers and tourists, or get up really early. With an ND filter of the right strength for your shutter speed, you will effectively be able to erase moving subjects from your shot, as the shutter speed will be so long that they won't show up on the shot as they pass by. An exposure of around 4 seconds should be enough to make this work effectively. 

Aperture - As mentioned above, it's not just the shutter speed that you may want to improve either. If you are shooting in bright conditions you may find the aperture the camera is selecting is small and the resulting picture will have far too much front-to-back sharpness known as depth-of-field. This is often the case with portraiture or flower photography where a distracting background ruins the photo. Using an ND filter will help you open up the lens and provide a shallow depth-of-field.

Flash - Another use for an ND filter would be when using flash. You can often reduce the exposure of the flash using auto settings, but for close ups that may not be possible. The ND filter will provide the key to this essential barrier.

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