Over the course of our mastering filters series, we’ve explored a number of filter options. We already examined neutral density filters on a general level, and dove deep into 5-stop solid neutral density filters as well. In this installment of the series, we move on and bring the discussion to 10-stop solid neutral density filters.
Like the 5-stop solid ND, the 10-stop solid ND offers you the flexibility you need to create stunning long exposure images, but to a greater degree. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of using one of these powerful filters.
Long Exposures in Bright Daylight or Overcast Skies
The bread and butter of a 10-stop solid ND is in allowing you to create long exposures even in bright daylight. Consider this: with a 10-stop solid ND, a 1/250 second exposure can be lengthened to a full 4 seconds. A 1/60 second exposure becomes 15 seconds. These extended exposures are possible because with certain 10-stop solid ND filters, only .19% of available light is allowed into the lens. With an ND filter this powerful, you can easily blur movement, even if the sun is out and shining.
But, the beauty of this filter is that it can also be used under overcast conditions to get you exceptionally long shutter speeds. For example, under cloudy skies, a 1/15 second exposure is extended to a full minute, and a 1/4 second exposure becomes four minutes. With that kind of time, just imagine the possibilities for creating images with exceptional movement of water, clouds, passing vehicles, and the like.
Another advantage of using a top-quality 10-stop solid ND filter is that you can stack other filters with them to enhance the visual effects. For example, you might add a polarizing filter if you’re photographing a subject that is susceptible to reflections, like the surface of water. It’s a simple matter of mounting the polarizing filter to your lens, dialing in the level of polarization you need, and then adding your 10-stop solid ND on top. What’s more, if black and white photography is your specialty, add a color intensifier filter to your setup. Doing so expands the amount of greys in the scene, producing black and white images that have more visual appeal.
Gorgeous Blur on Slow-Moving Water
One of the primary draws of using an ND filter is the ability to blur movement. However, less powerful filters might limit you in terms of the time of day you can shoot, or even limit you regarding the speed of the movement you can blur. However, with the light filtering power of a 10-stop solid ND, you can get that wonderful, milky blur of moving water, even if the water isn’t moving all that fast. With the slow shutter speeds, you can achieve with that much stopping power, a babbling brook or gentle stream can be rendered as a dreamy slice of water that would be impossible to achieve with a less powerful filter. No more looking for white-water rapids or enormous waterfalls with fast-moving water - instead, you can get the same blurred effects by visiting the nearest stream.
Equip Yourself With the Best
Of course, the quality of the long exposure images you create depends in large part on the quality of the filter attached to your lens. If you want the best photographic results, we highly recommend using a Singh-Ray Mor-Slo 10-Stop Solid ND Filter. These filters have gained wide acclaim and high praise from photographers of all experience levels as being the best in the business, and we couldn’t agree more.
Consider this: these filters are specially designed to minimize color casts and maintain color fidelity - two things that cheap filters just cannot do. What’s more, Singh-Ray’s proprietary glass is highly polished, resulting in images that have outstanding clarity. There are also thin-ring options, which helps reduce vignetting when paired with a wide-angle lens.
In the end, if you want to expand your ability to create gorgeous long exposures, a 10-stop solid ND filter is the way to go. You’ll be able to shoot in sunny conditions, and of subjects that move more slowly, yet still achieve the dreamy, surreal long exposures that are so eye-catching. The key, of course, is to set yourself up for success by honing your craft and equipping yourself with a quality product like those from Singh-Ray.