What is a ND filter?

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A ND filter is a type of filter used on the end of camera lenses to block 'stops' of light, They are useful for long exposure photography. The ND filter's only change the level of light, they do not change the hue or saturation of an image. ND filters allow for a longer exposure time than usual for taking a photograph. This can emphasize motion, or make an otherwise tumultuous scene appear surreal and quiescent. Alternatively, an ND filter also enables larger apertures, which can produce a shallower depth of field, or achieve a sharper photo.

These filters can come in range of strength's, the amount of light they block out. Starting at 2ND all the way up to 1000ND, 1000ND block's 10 'stops' of light entering the camera's lens.

Although ND filters are primarily used to achieve longer exposures, a less common application is to enable a shallower depth of field in very bright light. For example, most SLR cameras have a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 second, so a subject in direct sunlight might therefore require an f-stop greater than about f/4.0 (at ISO100). With a 2-stop ND filter, one could reduce this to f/2.0 — yielding a dramatic improvement in background blur and subject isolation.
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