Buying Filters

While photographing a mountain stream some days back, I realised the need for a dark ND filter. I was hoping to capture some motion blurs too. Unfortunately the darkest of the filters that I had were not dark enough for the purpose. Faced with a need to buy a dark ND filter, I started searching for one and in the process, came to know how overwhelming the choices are. Buying a simple filter can be a daunting task. There are a huge number of variables and various things to be considered. Filters have come a long way and now these are not just a simple piece of glass in a ring.

Stack of Bamboo

(Stack of Bamboo – Clicked with a Nikkor 105mm lens with polarizing filter mounted on it)

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Buying a Camera Bag

Safely and comfortably carrying all the expensive cameras, lenses and other accessories is what every photographer wants to do. If I had my way, I would have loved a ‘Mary Poppins’ kind of magic bag where I can fit in everything and still get away with a small form factor which is easy to carry around. Imagine having all those long lenses or studio lights close at hand whenever required. In the real world, there are however no such bags and laws of physics still apply. Lots of equipment also adds up to the weight. So, what are some of the good options for camera bags?

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Monopods

There was a time when monopods were not as common as tripods but lately I have been seeing them all around. What started off as a portable option to tripods has now become one of the most useful supports available for cameras. Monopods as the name says are the camera supports that usually have just one leg.

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Buying a Tripod

A good sturdy tripod is probably the next best investment, after a good camera and lens. Regardless of what people might say, nothing works as well as a tripod when it is required. The lack of information and the choice of brands (including many unheard of names) becomes a nerve-wrecking experience. So much so, that after browsing the overwhelming choices available, many photographers just let it go and stick to whatever aids they had been using earlier.

Waterfalls

(Waterfalls – Nikon D200 with Nikkor 18-35mm, 1/8 sec)

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Neutral Density Filters

There was a time when the film was not too sensitive to light and manufacturers were trying their best to boost up the sensitivity. These low sensitivity films required long exposure times and huge amount of light. No wonder that the old portraits had all serious looking people. Imagine being made to stand for many minutes in one pose and sometimes under bright uncomfortable lights! With the advancement of film sensitivity rose another requirement. There were times when the overall light entry had to be reduced without increasing the shutter speed or constricting the aperture too much. This is when the dark filters stepped in.

Waterfalls CloseUp

(Waterfalls – Nikon D200 with Nikkor 50mm, 1/4 sec with ND filter)

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Batteries

Batteries come in all shapes and sizes and work on different principles of chemistry. The common batteries used in cameras and speedlights are AA in size though the smaller version called AAA is also becoming quite popular. I will restrict my discussion on these batteries since this is where we are faced with choices. The odd shaped batteries that come in DSLRs and some other cameras are made as per camera specifications and we really don’t have much choice there. I do not recommend using cheap third party batteries after having invested a huge amount in your camera.

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