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Hello,

Suggestions on long exposure photography using the Leica Q 49mm. Heliopan 49mm Variable Gray ND Filter and  or, B+W 49mm XS-Pro Digital ND Vario MRC-Nano Filter.

Does anyone have experience with either one of these filters, or any other recommendations? Thank you. 

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I think either one of those brands will suffice.  I have previously used Heliopan and B+W glass with excellent results.  No experience with ND filters, however.   The B+W offers 1-5 stops while the Heliopan offers 1-6.  The B+W has a slightly wider profile to aid in reducing or eliminating vignetting with w/a lenses.    

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On 10/1/2020 at 8:24 PM, lisa kachajian said:

Suggestions on long exposure photography using the Leica Q

How long are we talking about here? 15s, 1m, 2m (which is the maximum)? I have a set of Nisi filters that I use seldomly on the Q with a step-up ring, so on top of the ND filter, I can access a polarizer and grad ND, but I always found the 6 stop ND filter to be perfect for all the situations when using the Q. In general, variable ND filters are inferior to the fixed ones in terms of eveness of the ND applied accross the image, but they are more practical and a singular variable ND filter is cheaper than a set of fixed ND filters. I recommend Nisi filters for quality and they make variable ND filters for 49mm too.

Keep in mind that the Q(2) and the SL(2) have LENR (Long Exposure Noise Reduction) hard-enabled, which cannot be turned off, basically meaning that for exposure of 1s and longer, the camera takes twice as long as the shutter speed set by you. So, if you set your shutter speed at X seconds, it will take 2*X seconds to complete the shot e.g. 1s becomes 2s, 30s becomes 60s, 120s (maximum) becomes 240s. This is a huge pain in the butt, because it is frustratingly incapacitating for long exposures. Forced to set the ISO at 100 to achieve the already limited 2 minutes of exposure that becomes 4 minutes, all because of Leica's sloppy (*!@#$%^*) policy on satisfactory image quality control.

I can totally see how a fixed 6 stop ND filter (or variable, depending on use) could be convenient for the occasional long exposure, but you have got to take those huge compromises into account.

 

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Lisa, check out this video.  Talks about long exposure pictures with the Q2.  He is using a different filter system than what you asked about but the art and science behind it is the same no matter what brand of filter you use.  It’s a little over and hour, so grab a brew or coffee and relax.

 

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