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Hi there i am starting to look more into the technical side of photography as i have kept away from it for to long. Now i have a nikon d300s and a nikon d7000. The d7000 will only allow me to stop down in 1/2 stops but the d300s does 1 stops,. Now i am trying to work out how many stops of light it is for a image which has highlights at 1/60th of a second and forground at 2" is this 7 stops of light ?. So there for if it was 7 stops would it be pointless in grading down as i would need 3 filters. I am trying to understand a bit more as feel i need to understand this at some point to get further.
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Yes, it is 7 stops.
The advice from the pros varies, but if they want to get the image right in camera some will bring the bright parts down to within 1 stop of the average point, others will use 2 stops. But maybe you do not need to bring the brightest part within range - for example, with a sunset you just accept the sun itself will be a blown out ball of yellow so meter off the sky in an area just to the side of the sun and use that as your 'brightest' measurement and you may find the difference is closer to 5 stops. Also, do you want the foreground to show detail or be a silhouette?
Three filters is still feasible (the pack of 3 ND grads that I have will give me 6 stops) but you could also use bracketing and then blend in post processing.
Thanks mike thats really helpful,. Would some nice person with microsoft excel help me make a chart for shutter speeds and stops using A priority. I have placed all my shutter speeds in the chart just need some help putting in the speeds for each 1 stop down so i can meter and get the correct exposure from the chart.
If you are using aperture priority, why would you need this chart? When you set the aperture the camera automatically sets the shutter speed and the skill is in recognising when to apply exposure compensation. If setting the right shutter spped is important, you would use shutter priority (with exposure compensation where necessary).
Charts such as these are usually for working in fully manual, and there are several on the web which can give a good start such as http://www.youngimaging.com/online/ApertureAndShutterSpeedChart.pdf (all combinations on the same row give the same exposure).
It would be a guide for helping decide which ND Graduated filter to use by showing the shutter speed that you have metered for the sky.
The only thing mike i am not good at doing the shutter speeds. I have written all the avaliable shutter speeds in microsoft excel for the nikon d7000. now all i need is some kind person to help. All i need is the shutter speeds divided into 1 stop up to 7 stops and the shutter speed it would give if this makes sense. Then all i would do is spot meter the brightest part of the sky apart from the sun and take the reading into this graph then i would take the reading from the forground then on the same line it should give me how many stop i am going to need i though it was an easy way whilst out in the field to make things simple.
How good are you with Excel?
I think what you need is follows:
The vertical list you have should be a list of shutter speeds from 8000 down: 8000, 4000, 2000, 1000, 500, 250, 125, 60, 30, 15, 8, 4, 2, 1sec, 2sec, 4sec, 8 sec, 16 sec, 32 sec.
Highlight this column from the 8000 down and press 'copy'. Click on the 8000 cell again and go Past Special\transpose\OK. These values will now be copied horizontally on that row, with the '1' column showing 1 stop difference from 8000, the '2' column showing 2 stops difference etc
Go to the 4000 row, highlight 4000 down, Copy. Click on the 4000 cell and go Paste Special\transpose\OK.
Repeat this for each row. If 7 stops is the maximum you are interested in you can then delete anything to the right of the '7' column.
The original columns shows shutter speed of the brightest part, the '1' column now shows one stop exposure shift for the dark area all the way to 7 stops difference.
So when you have selected your aperture, meter the brightest part - that is the row you work with. Meter the darkest part and follow the row across until you reach that shutter speed. The title of the column shows the difference in exposure values and you can then see how many levels of filter you need: if the difference is 5 stops, you need 3 or 4 stops of filter effect or you need 5 stops of bracketing.
Done it mike made myself a pocket sized chart just tried it in the back way and works a treat everytime. i made up to 7 stops on the chart but wouldnt use up to that i dont think. I think after 5 stops i would be thinking of blending two images or even three. think i have got it at last. thanks so much for your help. andy. Also i have 1 or 2 stops i can go over on the sky is this correct so if i had 5 stops from sky to forground i could use a 0.9 and it should be fine or i could use a 0.9 and a 0.6 together but maybe it would would give a blackness to the sky.
If there are 5 stops difference, I would start with 0.9 on the sky (this is a 3 stop filter which would make the difference 2 stops). Then try 0.9+0.3 to make it 1 stop difference. But so much depends on the final image you want to create and the prevailing conditions so have fun experimenting.
I have just really been guessing for a long time and it frustrates me sometimes as i feel i still dont know what i am doing correctly if this makes sense but it is starting to make sense now for some reason its only took 6 years with my dslr lol. cheers mike
If you have a mobile phone, there is a free app called Long Time that will do all that for you. Have a wee look at it - I think it might help.
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