We are joined by seascape and astrophotographer Ben Maze to discuss the practical application of NiSi filters. All types of outdoor photography – be it landscape, seascape or astrophotography – are unique and mesmerising. There's no element of nature that does not capture the eye of an outdoor photographer. But the question is – with just a camera and lenses, would you be able to do justice to the beauty of the natural elements?
Well, this is where lens filters come into the picture to optimise your control of exposure. As photographers, when we mention lens filters, the first brand that immediately comes to our mind is 'NiSi'. NiSi is one brand that has understood the requirements of different photography genres and curated unique lens filters.
NiSi has developed a premium range of lens filters, perfect for landscape and astrophotography. To help you understand the uses of these filters, we called in an experienced photographer. Ben Maze takes us through his use of NiSi filters to capture jaw-dropping landscape and astrophotography shots.
Ben's Journey With the NiSi Filters
Ben takes us through the journey to show us where and how he uses his trusty Nikon D810 and Nikon 16-35mm lens for landscape and seascape shots. He experiments with the NiSi 100mm Filter System & Circular Polarising filters. What's more, he uses these filters to achieve different effects while shooting seascapes.
He carefully analyses the frame and picks the perfect spot – just by the waves dashing against the rock – to capture his excellent shot. He decides to use the filters once the sun shows up, and the entire scene illuminates with the golden rays of the rising sun. In the predawn light, Ben opts only for the polariser along with the ND 8 (3 Stops), ND 64 (6 Stops) and the ND 1000 (10 Stops). The ultra-slim polariser filter has been enhanced for landscapes and gives out deeper colour and cuts more reflections, too.
Ben demonstrates how to use the Graduated Filters to achieve rich-toned images of seascapes at sunset. Similarly, he takes us through the process of capturing astrophotography with the help of the NiSi Natural Night Filter.
Now that we understand the products Ben has used, let's get to know them better. For this, we have listed the NiSi filters, their features, and what exactly makes them worth the investment. Read along to find out more.
NiSi's Ultimate Kit For Outdoor Adventures
Following the very popular V5 Pro Holder success, NiSi introduced this fantastic NiSi V6 100mm Filter Holder with Enhanced Landscape CPL & Lens Cap after considering the feedback they got from photographers. The V6 is one of the most advanced and refined 100mm filter systems ever created, and photographers across the world vouch for this fact too.
Made of aviation grade steel, this filter is tough and durable, making it fit for outdoor and nature shooting. It features a matte black frosted finish on the surface, which helps deal with reflections. The filter holder can accommodate three 100mm filters and a circular polarising filter at any given time.
The NiSi V6 100mm Filter Holder with Enhanced Landscape CPL & Lens Cap kit comes with an ultra-slim 86mm Enhanced Landscape Circular Polarising Filter. You additionally have four adapter rings for the most popular and frequently used wide-angle lenses (67mm, 72mm, 77mm and 82mm). The filter holder will not cause vignetting on ultra-wide lenses, which is a huge plus point for you as a landscape photographer.
The NiSi V6 100mm Filter Holder with Enhanced Landscape CPL & Lens Cap is smaller and compact than the V5, which facilitates easy removal of the NiSi filters. It also features a locking knob that locks the holder in a particular position. Along with a brand new soft pouch, you also have a raised CPL or Circular Polarising Filter, which is very convenient to use in seascapes.
Every feature of the NiSi V6 Filter Holder makes it perfect for landscape and seascape photography. Features like minimal vignetting to the display of bright tones and accurate colours make this filter holder a must-have in every outdoor photographer's kit.
Control Exposure With The NiSi Explorer Collection ND8
The NiSi Explorer Collection 100x100mm Nano IR Neutral Density filter – ND8 (0.9) – 3 Stop filter provides a 3-stop exposure reduction. It is the first ND filter that Ben experimented with, and the results were there for us all to witness. The 3-stop density of the filter darkens the entire image. It allows you to photograph with a wider aperture or slower shutter speed than you would usually shoot in.
When you shoot in a wider aperture or slower shutter speed, you control the depth of field more effectively. It helps you capture movement more quickly, without it looking hazy or blurred. These features make this NiSi Explorer Collection 100x100mm Nano IR Neutral Density filter – ND8 ideal for landscape and seascape photography. Be it the motion of waves crashing onto rocks or trees swaying wildly in the wind, this filter will help you capture it all with perfection. It will result in natural images and not ones that look entirely edited or artificial.
The filter works well with digital sensors and effectively reduces the impact of visible and infrared light. Image sensors are susceptible to infrared light, and with this unwanted light, you would end up with colour casted images. The Explorer Collection 100x100mm Nano IR Neutral Density filter – ND8 filter features the NiSi Optical Nano Coating on its surface to ensure clean, clear and colour-cast free images. It not only helps deliver quality images but also protects your lens from oil as well as water. Moreover, with the nano-coating on, cleaning the filter would be a super easy job too!
Smooth Out Turbulent Water With NiSi ND64
With a 64x filter factor, the NiSi Explorer Collection 100x100mm Nano IR Neutral Density filter – ND64 (1.8) – 6 Stop provides a 6-stop exposure reduction. Thanks to the 1.8x density, you have the flexibility to experiment with a much wider aperture or slower shutter speeds. Both these aspects give you better control over the depth of field and allow you to capture natural elements in all their glory.
The hardened glass filter is tough, durable, and less prone to accidental damage, which is very common in outdoor shoots. Every feature of the filter build keeps in mind the requirements of active photographers who love adventure.
When using the NiSi Explorer Collection 100x100mm Nano IR Neutral Density filter – ND64, the resultant images are free of colour cast. Colour cast is something that every nature photographer comes across very often, and it does end up impacting some stunning photos. But, with the ND64 6-stop filter, you have no reason to worry at all.
The filter does not affect the image's colouration and is perfect to use with other filters. The surface of the NiSi Explorer Collection 100x100mm Nano IR Neutral Density filter features NiSi's Optical Nano Coating. Its coating helps counter the effects of infrared light and visible wavelengths, contributing to maintaining colour neutrality. It also suppresses colour cast due to increased exposure times, making it perfect for landscape and seascape photography.
NiSi ND1000 - Stop The Light In Its Tracks
If there's too much motion in the frame, you can opt for the NiSi Explorer Collection 100x100mm Nano IR Neutral Density filter – ND1000 (3.0) – 10 Stop – just like Ben did, to ensure the picture quality is perfect. With this filter, Ben was able to capture stable photography of the seas, irrespective of how rough they were at the given time. He smoothed out the waves and spray.
With a 1000x filter factor, this ND filter offers a 10-stop exposure reduction. It allows you to photograph the scene with a wider aperture and slower shutter speed. In turn, it helps you to control the depth of field and capture movement in the frame easily.
The NiSi Explorer Collection 100x100mm Nano IR Neutral Density filter – ND1000 (3.0) – 10 Stop is constructed with hardened glass, making it super durable for outdoor shoots. The 2mm-thick optical glass also offers clarity and colour fidelity, which are critical aspects of quality photography. You can easily use the filter with other filters, too, as it does not affect the image's colouration.
The surface of the filter includes one layer of NiSi's Optical Nano Coating. With this coating, the filter is in a better position to tackle infrared light and visible wavelengths. It helps maintain colour neutrality and also suppresses colour casts due to increased exposure times.
Let NiSi Take Control Of Dynamic Range
The rectangular NiSi Explorer Collection 100x150mm Nano IR Medium Graduated Neutral Density Filter – GND8 (0.9) – 3 Stop helps darken specific image areas. Whether it's bright skies or glossy waves, this filter helps add a touch of darkness to the resultant images. It balances your composition and maintains a suitable dynamic range. The filter is dense at one end and graduates to a clear finish at the other. It gives a medium amount of transition between the dense and clear areas.
The GND8 filter is particularly beneficial for shooting images that do not strongly define the transition between the sky and foreground. The neutral density filter does not affect the colouration of the image. Plus, it provides up to a 3-stop reduction in light entering from the lens.
The NiSi 100x150mm Nano IR Medium Graduated Neutral Density Filter provides a high level of neutrality across visible and infrared spectrums. It ensures that you have clear, cleaner, and colour-cast free images. Like the other filters, this one too features NiSi's Optical Nano Coating on the surface. Thanks to this, the filter results in an improved beading effect. The coating also makes it very easy to keep the filter clean and protected from oil, water, and other external elements.
See Throughout The Night
The NiSi 100x100mm Natural Night Filter (Light Pollution Filter) is one of the newest additions to the NiSi range. It is also the first filter that has exclusively created for night photography. Light pollution caused by city lights often mars night photographs. So much so that photographers end up travelling into remote areas such as hills, mountains or deserts to catch a glimpse of the clear sky. But with this Light Pollution Filter, you don't need to worry.
If you love shooting at night and are interested in astrophotography, you need to consider investing in this fantastic filter. The NiSi 100x100mm Natural Night Filter (Light Pollution Filter) is compatible with the NiSi 100mm filter system and other filter holders. It helps reduce the appearance of night sky light pollution in images with illumination from artificial light sources. It further blocks yellow light from mercury-vapour lamps, sodium vapour lamps, or low Color Rendering Index LEDs. Likewise, it also enhances the visibility of astronomical objects with less glare and improved contrast.
The optical glass construction Nano coating increases light transmission and reduces lens flare. The resistance coating makes it very easy to wipe off water, oil, and dust. It also protects the NiSi 100x100mm Natural Night Filter from scratches and abrasions.
NiSi Filter Pouch - One Pouch To Rule Them All
Outdoor photography comes with its challenges. In such situations, protecting your photography gear is very important. And when it comes to fragile equipment like lens filters, you need to be all the more careful. Otherwise, they may end up getting damaged with the slightest mishap.
NiSi has considered this issue and come up with the NiSi 100mm Filter Pouch for 4 Filters (Holds 4 Filters 100x100mm or 100x150mm). The pouch can hold up to four filters. so you can easily place the CPL and the three other filters in this pouch.
The NiSi 100mm Filter Pouch for 4 Filters (Holds 4 Filters 100x100mm or 100x150mm) has a compact design and mounts on a tripod for easy access and usage. Lightweight and soft, these pouches easily fit into your camera bag. The pouches are also suitable for holding the V5, V5 Pro, V5 Alpha, V5 Galaxy holders. Additionally, you can place your filter holder, adapter rings, and polariser in the pouch.
These filters and polarisers from NiSi are essentials for nature photographers who love shooting at different times of the day. NiSi offers a broad range of unique filters as you can see in our review here. As Ben says, these products from NiSi are beneficial when cutting down reflections, darkening the images only as much as required while maintaining the tonality and colour of the resultant imagery. Ben vouches for each of the filters, as they allow you to experiment with the shutter speeds and exposure to get smooth textured images. Also, you don't have to worry about the colour cast, vignette or tints either! So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself these unique filters right away, either in-store or online, at Georges Cameras.