What Should Your First ND Filter Be?

When it comes to landscape photography, few accessories are more useful than the ND filter, which allows you to extend your shutter speed to introduce creative effects in water and the sky. ND filters come in several variants, however. So, which should you buy as your first option? This excellent video tutorial will show you. 

Coming to you from Attilio Ruffo, this great video tutorial discusses why a 10-stop ND filter should be the first you purchase. I generally agree with Ruffo for a few reasons. The reason landscape photographers buy ND filters is to blur water or the sky. Generally, 3- and 6-stop filters don't lengthen the shutter speed quite enough to really smooth out the water. On the other hand, options like a 15-stop filter start to make the shutter speed almost too long to be practical in many situations, and the difference from a 10-stop often isn't that pronounced. A 10-stop, which lengthens the shutter speed by a factor of 1,024, is often the sweet spot for this application, making it a great starting point for anyone who wants to explore long exposure techniques. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Ruffo. 

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out "Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi." 

Log in or register to post comments
Zdenek Malich's picture

Not a hope... 10stop to start is way to strong.. Start with 6 stop... If you really passionate about photography and landscapes especially you wont get any luck when shooting sunrise / sunset with 10 stop ND.

John Perhach's picture

Mine was a 3 stop, but I really only used it for a bit before really never using nd filters at all. At this point a CPL is all that I ever use minus rare times.