Leading landscape photographer Tony Sweet has been experimenting with various fixed 10-stop ND filters for a while, and although they all block the correct amount of light, Tony says there's a problem: "There is an obvious color cast -- mostly strong magenta -- that can be difficult to correct even in post-processing. Sometimes it adds a nice dramatic touch, but often it's problematic, and about the only way to make the image useable is to convert it to black and white. This is acceptable much of the time, but when the color matters, it's been tough to make an acceptable color image of a long exposure... until now!
"The new Singh-Ray 10-Stop Mor-Slo Filter is a quantum leap improvement in image quality. After using this filter, I found that the color migration was natural and acceptable, the filter adding only a slight warm (amber) cast, easily manageable in software, or by using custom white balance. No more bizarre color casts!
"As you can see in the pair of images above, the 10-Stop Mor-Slo added a soft, lyrical look to this 59th Street Pier in Ocean City, NJ," Tony continues. "This is one of my favorite scenes on the east coast, and it's relatively close to our home. The minimal warm cast to the Singh-Ray Mor-Slo works very well here to slightly warm this scene shot in very low (blue) light at dawn. The 10 stops of density rendered a four-minute exposure to record the very smooth water and cloud movement. The stark black pilings stand out nicely against the silky smooth background. Although the colors are slightly warmed, which can be adjusted easily in software, the basic tonality remains intact, maintaining the mood and look I had visualized.
"Shooting long exposures such as these in bright light is a really great way to achieve a much different look than the traditional long exposure look, shot in low light. This final pair of images was shot along the jetty at Sunset Cove in Cape May, NJ, which is a great place to catch the last light at sunset. The issue was the inability to get a super-long exposure in bright, warm late afternoon light. The 10-Stop Mor-Slo was the perfect selection for a couple of reasons. First, the silky smooth water was achieved by the 90-second exposure, and second, the warm light was accentuated by the inherent slightly warm cast of the Mor-Slo.
"So, it's an exciting new era in long-exposure-landscapes with the Singh-Ray 10-Stop Mor-Slo!"
Of great interest to portrait, wedding, and other specialized photography professionals...
In addition to longer exposures, the 10-Stop Mor-Slo lets you take advantage of wider apertures, even in bright daylight, for shallow depth of field effects and enhanced bokeh and softening of distracting backgrounds. We took a few casual shots to demonstrate the effect. The first set of images below shows the difference between a shot made at f/16 and one made at f/1.4, as well as the gentle warming effect of the filter.
This next pair shows both images being "cooled" from their "daylight preset" color temperature of 5200K to 4200K for the no-filter image, and 3500K for the filtered image. This shows that the 10-Stop Mor-Slo only warms your images by about 700K, similar to an 81A filter, and that it's easily neutralized in software with no unwanted side effects.
For this third set of images, a custom white balance was set in-camera just before each shot was taken. Neutrals and skin tones look correct, while the distracting background elements are blurred to near abstraction. The slight exposure difference is due to passing clouds. If your workflow already includes the recommended step of setting custom white balance in camera, you'll find that incorporating the 10-Stop Mor-Slo into your process will be almost effortless.
At 10-stops of density, the Mor-Slo passes less than 1% of the light to your sensor. However, if you need even more density, you can combine it with our 5-Stop Mor-Slo, or any of our variable density filters for up to 18-stops of density! This is enough for time exposures of several hours which can magically make pedestrians and traffic disappear from street scenes, and handle other extreme situations.
While our Vari-ND, Vari-N-Duo, and Vari-N-Trio offer the outstanding benefit of variable density and other features, the more simplified construction of the 10-Stop Mor-Slo has several advantages as well.
- The filter's thinner profile and single-element construction can offer performance benefits with extreme wide angle lenses, such as less chance of vignetting/corner obstruction.
- Fixed 10-stop density makes it easy to get the scene composed and metered perfectly, then place the filter on your lens and just dial in 10-stops of wider aperture and/or longer exposure time. For example, a lens may have a range of f/1.4 to f/16, which is 7 stops -- to get to 10 stops, you can slow the shutter speed by 3 stops, or reduce the ISO by 3 stops. Or whatever combination suits your creative situation.
- There are several smartphone apps that will easily let you calculate how to change your setting when adding the 10-Stop Mor-Slo.
- This filter can also be used with strobes and other light sources in the field or in the studio.
The Singh-Ray 10-Stop Mor-Slo Filter is available in 77mm or 82mm, with either a standard filter ring which has mounting threads on both front and back, or a thin-mount ring with no front threads. Larger sizes for the Lee or Cokin Z-Pro system will be available later this year.