In conditions of extreme light intensity, such as sunshine on snowy mountains or on the beach, or when using a DSLR or camcorder, ND (Neutral Density) filters are recommended as essential. Neutral Density filters are often ignored by photographers, but they have several uses and offer the possibility to achieve otherwise unachievable results. ND filters appear grey and reduce the amount of light reaching the CCD, they have no affect on color balance. You can see the water effect with or without ND filter on the demo picture above.
They have four main uses:
To enable slow shutter speeds to be used, especially with high ISO setting, to record movement in subjects such as waterfalls, clouds, cars, seas etc.
To decrease depth of field by allowing wider apertures to be used, which helps separate subjects from their background.
To decrease the effective of high ISO (ie: above ISO400) and allow it to be used outdoors in blight situations.
To allow DSLR and video cameras (which have fixed shutter speeds) to film subjects such as snow, sand or other bright scenes which would normally cause over-exposure.
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