Cheap & Easy filters with an UWA

I own a Sigma 12-24mm Ultra-Wide Angle (UWA) lens and I wanted to mess around with using ND filters on it. There are systems you can buy but the holders cost between $200-$400 or so. And the filters for those systems can be $100+ each. But I didn't want to invest a lot of money into this. So I decided to try the DIY approach.

First I had to figure out what size filters could be used without vignetting. I settled on 100x145mm and bought a cheap set of ZOMEi ND filters. I don't use graduated ND's; but if you do you would need to puchase larger square filters.

The next thing I had to determine was how to attach them. And here's the solution:

 DSC2406

 

It's 3 rubber bands. The blue one is a small/thick band that you get when you buy a bunch of broccoli. The other two are just regular medium bands that I get sometimes with my mail. Total cost, FREE!

And this is how it works:

 DSC2402

 

The central rubber band goes around the base of the lens at the lens mount and the other two hold the filter against the lens hood. The filter is wide enough that the rubber bands are not in the field of view even at 12mm. This works well enough and it's better than handholding the filter during a long exposure. But it does have a couple of issues. One is that the lens hood can and will scratch the cheap plastic filters... they ARE cheap after all. The other issue is that there is a lot of light leak potential... if there is any significant light coming from behind it will reflect onto the filter and ruin the image. Just draping a cloth over/around it should fix the issue.

But instead I decided to make a hood from a piece of black "foamie" craft board. It slips over the lens hood and has short flaps that fold over the ends of the filter. It is held in place by the rubber bands. Total cost, ~ $1.

 DSC2407

 

I messed up at this point and grabbed a Nikon 14-24mm and made the hood to fit that. I'll probably remake the hood, but it still works with the 12-24mm as is shown by the next two images.

 

This image is taken at 12mm and maximum aperture:

SGK 2845

 

The vignetting is just the normal characteristics of this lens. Here is the same image with Lightroom's auto correction lens profile applied (no other edits):

SGK 2845-2

 

You have to admit, that's not bad at all... especially when you consider how cheap it is. 

 

 

 

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