UPDATED 21st April – see below
I mentioned in a recent blog post that I was waiting for a Tiffen apeX 10 stop filter to arrive through the post that was being sent to me to try out. I had a little go with it at the weekend and noticed it had a bit of a colour cast – so I decided to head to Talacre beach last night to compare this with three other 10 stop filters I own.
This was a simple test – I setup around 7.30pm with little cloud in the sky I was guaranteed relatively consistent lighting. I then took a test shot without filters at f8, 1/125th second, ISO 200.
I then quickly applied one filter at a time taking a single exposure – note, I changed aperture to f11 to get a slightly longer exposure – so instead of 10 seconds, these are all 20 second exposures.
The filters compared were Tiffen apeX 10 stop, B+W ND110, Lee Filters Big Stopper, Formatt Hitech Firecrest 10 stop.
I’ve merged the five exposures into a single comparison image below – these are all based on straight out of the camera jpegs from my Fujifilm XT-1 using the camera auto white balance.
If you click on the above photograph it’ll take you to a full size copy plus a gallery containing the five original jpegs. N.B. inevitably when changing filters there’s a bit of camera movement so the photographs aren’t perfectly aligned.
After sharing this, I was asked to do a further comparison given I’d captured these as RAW and jpeg files. As stated above the original comparison was to see how these were captured using auto white balance – this is how I normally shoot (and how pretty much everyone who I know who does LE goes about it) so I wanted it to be a ‘real world’ test. However a valid question was raised – how would these look if the white balance setting of the original unfiltered photograph was used for the others.
So I’ve taken all four filtered RAW files into Lightroom and adjusted the white balance – both temperature and tint. No other adjustments were made – these were then imported into photoshop to allow me to merge the files into one comparison (I also saved these as jpegs)
I’ve created two versions of this comparison – the same as the original above and one just showing the lighthouse element of each photograph which someone requested of me.
For information, these were the original white balance settings listed in Lightroom for each RAW file:
Unfiltered – Temp 5100k; tint 4
Tiffen – Temp 4750k; tint 62
B+W – Temp 5000k; tint 0
Lee – Temp 6600k; tint -6
Formatt – Temp 5150k; tint 0
N.B. I’ve spent quite a bit of time creating this comparison and I hope you find it useful. I welcome this being shared but if you do, please credit the source.