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Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings


From:

The Practicing Photographer

with Ben Long

Video: Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings

I spend a lot a time in classrooms and in Lynda courses telling students, oh, buying new gear won't make you a better photographer. You know, you don't need to think about, buying some new thing that's going to suddenly improve your images. I can say that because I've bought every piece of gear, and I can tell you it didn't make a difference. I'm going tell you this week though, on this installment of the Practicing Photographer, how you can not spend very much money and get much better use out of your gear. Here's the situation I'm talking about. I have here a 24:105 millimeter lens on my camera.
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  1. 20m 3s
    1. Pulling stills from a timelapse NEW
      6m 8s
    2. 1m 35s
      1. Introducing The Practicing Photographer
        1m 35s
    3. 12h 10m
      1. Choosing a camera
        5m 27s
      2. Looking at light as a subject
        2m 22s
      3. Using a small reflector to add fill light
        5m 45s
      4. Editing photo metadata with PhotosInfo Pro for iPad
        6m 30s
      5. Let your lens reshape you
        7m 26s
      6. Compositing street photography images with Photoshop
        7m 44s
      7. Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings
        3m 56s
      8. Shooting without a memory card
        3m 6s
      9. Give yourself a year-long assignment
        5m 28s
      10. Working with reflections
        1m 26s
      11. Exploring mirrorless cameras
        7m 25s
      12. Batch processing photos with the Adobe Image Processor
        7m 30s
      13. Limiting yourself to a fixed-focal-length lens
        2m 13s
      14. Creating tiny worlds: Shooting technique
        4m 15s
      15. Creating tiny worlds: Post-processing techniques
        11m 41s
      16. Shooting macro shots on an iPhone
        3m 18s
      17. Using a tripod
        3m 33s
      18. Wildlife and staying present
        5m 58s
      19. Batch exposure adjustments on raw files
        6m 52s
      20. Why Shoot Polaroid
        11m 12s
      21. Seizing an opportunity
        4m 4s
      22. Four photographers do a light-as-subject exercise
        12m 24s
      23. Shooting macro bug photos with a reversed lens
        4m 54s
      24. Varnishing a photo for a painterly effect
        13m 36s
      25. Shooting wildlife
        7m 24s
      26. Discussion on how to shoot architecture
        12m 27s
      27. Using a lens hood
        4m 48s
      28. Working with themes
        2m 48s
      29. Setting up an HDR time lapse
        7m 55s
      30. Processing an HDR time lapse
        7m 55s
      31. Two perspectives on travel photography
        12m 28s
      32. Scanning Photos
        5m 37s
      33. Photo assignment: shooting an egg
        3m 13s
      34. Reviewing the egg shot images
        6m 47s
      35. Shooting in your own backyard
        4m 38s
      36. Jpeg iPad import process
        3m 17s
      37. Shooting a product shot in open shade
        9m 34s
      38. Reviewing the product shot images
        4m 5s
      39. Warming up
        3m 26s
      40. Taking a panning action shot
        10m 17s
      41. Scanning polaroid negatives and processing in Photoshop
        8m 17s
      42. Shooting a silhouette
        3m 9s
      43. Going with an ultra-light gear configuration
        5m 29s
      44. Working with masks and calculations in Photoshop
        12m 38s
      45. Working with flash for macro photography
        4m 56s
      46. Colorizing a black and white photo in Photoshop
        5m 10s
      47. Using duct tape and zip ties in the field
        4m 14s
      48. When the on camera flash is casting a shadow
        3m 4s
      49. Using Lightroom on the road
        6m 28s
      50. Listening to your camera to get good exposure
        2m 20s
      51. Shooting a successful self portrait with a phone
        7m 18s
      52. Switching to Lightroom from another application
        9m 48s
      53. Photographing animals in wildlife refuges
        6m 41s
      54. Shooting level
        2m 42s
      55. Photoshop and Automator
        8m 54s
      56. Shooting when the light is flat
        3m 23s
      57. Discussing the business of stock photography
        9m 48s
      58. Shooting tethered to a monitor
        3m 21s
      59. Making a 360 degree panorama on the iPhone
        4m 45s
      60. Understanding the three flash setup
        3m 34s
      61. Shooting a three flash portrait
        4m 6s
      62. Understanding the differences with third party lenses
        4m 43s
      63. Understanding why files look different on depending on device
        5m 25s
      64. Working with a geotagging app on the iPhone
        4m 43s
      65. Using high speed flash sync to dim ambient light
        7m 29s
      66. Using your iPad as a second monitor
        5m 46s
      67. Understanding exposure with a leaf shutter camera
        3m 28s
      68. Photography practice through mimicry
        8m 8s
      69. Canon wireless flash with built in radio control
        5m 59s
      70. Posing and shooting pairs of people
        5m 35s
      71. Shooting with a shape in mind
        3m 15s
      72. Shooting tethered to a laptop
        4m 40s
      73. Softboxes vs. umbrellas
        2m 55s
      74. Getting your project out into the world
        6m 25s
      75. Exploring how to think about shooting a new environment
        3m 56s
      76. Discussing the book "The Passionate Photographer" with Steve Simon
        6m 4s
      77. Highlighting iOS 8 updates on the iPhone5S
        10m 46s
      78. Exploring manual controls with iOS 8 and ProCamera
        5m 30s
      79. Understanding how to compose with an empty sky
        4m 54s
      80. Using an iPhone to make a print in the darkroom
        7m 16s
      81. How to use glycerin as a photography tool
        2m 16s
      82. Understanding micro focus adjustment and Lens Align
        11m 19s
      83. Working with hair in post
        3m 28s
      84. Taking a quick portrait and directing a subject
        5m 50s
      85. Getting inspired through the work of others
        11m 22s
      86. Taking a flattering portrait with flash
        4m 21s
      87. Creating an unaligned HDR image
        3m 3s
      88. Exploring how to use Bokeh
        5m 38s
      89. Shooting stills from a drone
        6m 57s
      90. Using a monitor to get a first person view of the aerial camera
        8m 0s
      91. Understanding lens profile correction
        5m 33s
      92. Working with models
        2m 40s
      93. Understanding the labels on SD cards
        10m 32s
      94. Setting up a macro time lapse of a flower
        6m 18s
      95. Taking a portrait that's tightly cropped or slightly obscured
        3m 24s
      96. Tips for shooting panoramas
        7m 16s
      97. Carrying a point-and-shoot camera
        4m 44s
      98. Adjusting the color of shadows in an image
        5m 35s
      99. Evaluating camera-strap options
        4m 42s
      100. The 100th Practicing Photographer
        3m 31s
      101. Using light-pollution maps for planning night shoots
        3m 26s
      102. Shooting a series of star shots for a stack
        8m 32s
      103. Stitching together stacks of stars
        8m 59s
      104. Understanding how to clean sensor dust
        10m 27s
      105. Dry sensor cleaning
        6m 23s
      106. Cleaning the sensor with moisture
        7m 32s
      107. Composing in the center
        2m 48s
      108. Working with an electronic shutter control
        2m 50s
      109. Understanding how to use the Wi-Fi feature in some cameras
        2m 56s
      110. Exploring the software equivalent to graduated ND (neutral density) filters
        7m 8s
      111. Don't be predictable in your framing
        10m 21s
      112. Shooting with ND filter and flash to balance subject and background exposure
        2m 42s
      113. Understanding when to go low contrast
        3m 15s
      114. Reasons for shooting images alone
        4m 5s
      115. Working with colored lens filters and converting to black and white
        14m 4s
      116. Waiting for a subject when the light is good
        5m 2s
      117. Understanding options for tripod heads
        7m 23s
      118. Shooting a slow-shutter zoom-and-spin shot for light effect
        4m 47s
      119. Shooting and processing a long exposure at night
        10m 0s
      120. Getting creative with image curation
        4m 12s
      121. Why equivalent lenses don't always meter the same
        5m 42s

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Watch the Online Video Course The Practicing Photographer
12h 32m Appropriate for all May 16, 2013 Updated Aug 27, 2015

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In The Practicing Photographer, photographer and teacher Ben Long shares a weekly serving of photographic instruction and inspiration. Each installment focuses on a photographic shooting scenario, a piece of gear, or a software technique. Each installment concludes with a call to action designed to inspire you to pick up your camera (or your mouse or smartphone) to try the technique for yourself.

Subject:
Photography
Author:
Ben Long

Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings

I spend a lot a time in classrooms and in Lynda courses telling students, oh, buying new gear won't make you a better photographer. You know, you don't need to think about, buying some new thing that's going to suddenly improve your images. I can say that because I've bought every piece of gear, and I can tell you it didn't make a difference. I'm going tell you this week though, on this installment of the Practicing Photographer, how you can not spend very much money and get much better use out of your gear. Here's the situation I'm talking about. I have here a 24:105 millimeter lens on my camera.

I really like it, it's my walk around lens. It has a 77 millimeter thread size. I also happen to have this 50 millimeter, f1.2 lens that I really like. It's great in low light. It's great when I just want to work with a normal lens. It's got a 72 millimeter filter size. Really, Canon couldn't, 5 millimeters? They couldn't manage to get a 77 millimeter thread size on here? So here's why this is such an issue for me. Lets say that I want to put a nice expensive filter on this lens, like a neutral density filter.

I happen to have, I have and own along with everything else a 77 millimeter neutral density filter that I keep right here in my neutral density filter holder. I never travel anywhere without this. This is a nice Hoya 77 millimeter neutral density filter. The problem with these big filters is they're pricy, if you want to get a good one. This one is somewhere between 75 to a 100 bucks. Now, you can buy cheaper ones. But this is a nice piece of glass on this camera right now. I don't want to corrupt it with a bad filter. So I went ahead and spent the money on the nicer filter.

But it's 77 millimeters, I can't use it on my 1.2 50, or can I? There actually is a way I can do it, I can buy a step-up ring, which I happen to have right here. This is a 72 to 77mm step up ring. It's just a little piece of metal. It's got 72 millimeters threads on this side, and 77 millimeter threads on this side. So I can take this and screw it on to the end of a 50. It fits just like any filter does. It really is just like a filter there's just nothing inside it.

Screw that down, then I can attach my filter to it. So what this means is rather than having to buy a $100 filter for one lens and then go out and buy the same $100 filter for another lens, I can buy one $100 filter and then a couple of $4 step-up rings. So, if you have a filter set that you like, maybe you have a neutral density and a circular polarizer, maybe an infrared, those are all expensive filters, especially when you're buying the larger sizes. You have a filter set that you like. But you've got a bunch of lenses you'd like to use it on. And they don't all have the same filter size.

Some simple step up rings can be a very inexpensive way to get them there. Now, there are some caveats. If I'm working with a wide angle lens, then a step up ring might actually be visible in the corners of the frame. I might get a little bit of vignetting. Typically, just zoom in a little bit, it goes away. So you might lose a little bit of your wide end, you may not. It depends on your particular lens. I can also step down. I can go from 72 millimeters, sorry excuse me; 77 millimeters down to 72 millimeters. I can go all the way down to 58 millimeters. If I do that, I'm definitely going to have vignetting.

Still, this is such a better alternative than buying a bunch of expensive filters. I can buy I spotted the other day, a kit that went from 58 to 77, not one step up ring, but a series. And it was 15 bucks. So you can mix and match different filters to get get things adapted to the size as you want. The more you stack, the more you're going to risk that vignetting effect. Now, like any filter, I can get this thing stuck on my lens. So you want to be careful about screwing these things down too far. Also, if I have it on here, especially if I have a big stack, I may not be able to use a lens hood, or some other lens attachment.

If you want to know about working with filters and how to get them unstuck from each other, check out my specialty lenses course. I've got some tips in there. In the meantime, this is a great way to feel like you bought some new gear, without having to spend a bunch of money.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about The Practicing Photographer .


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A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.
 
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