Long Exposure Photography: B+W neutral density filters

Considering B+W or LEE ND filters for Long Exposure Photography

If you’re currently deciding between filters for daytime long exposure photography, then this article is dedicated to you. I have been working with long exposure photography for some time and I‘ve tried several different filter brands, starting from the cheapest ones to the most expensive filters and filters of the highest quality that can be possibly found. I came to the conclusion that the ideal brands are B+W and LEE. In this article we will take a closer look specifically to the brand B+W from the company Schneider Kreuznach. If you are interested in brand LEE, please read my arcticle about LEE filters for Long Exposure Photography. If you are novice in this genre of photography, please check my tutorial about how to shoot long epoxusres.

Firstly, I want to point out that if you are seriously interested in doing long exposures, don’t buy cheap filters. Invest in quality filters which will serve you well. I just remind you that I always convert my photographs into B&W, therefore I will not analyze color shift here, since this criterion isn’t decisive for black and white photos.

B+W neutral density filters from Schneider Kreuznach

The brand B+W originated in the year 1947 in Berlin when Walter Biermann and Johanes Weber founded an optical plant. In 1951 they moved to Wiesbaden and in 1985 they joined the factories of Schneider Kreuznach. This company has been operating since 1913 and produces the absolute top lenses. For example they produce lenses for Phase One. This company uses top quality materials for the production, proper and mostly handmade work, paying great attention to the final quality control. Each BW filter goes through quality control before it continues to distribution, while the components go through another control during the production itself! Steaming of antireflection layers takes place in several ovens, where each layer is being steamed separately. It becomes truly a lengthy process.

The ring itself is made of brass. The advantage of brass is that when screwing the filter, unlike dural or aluminium or magnesium alloys it won’t get jammed. The brass is painted with a special type of abrasion resistant paint.



As you can see, you can’t do anything wrong if you buy B+W filters!

The most convenient neutral density filters for daytime long exposure photography from the B+W brand are:

B+W 110 Neutral Density 3.0 Filter or called B+W 1000x, which stops the exposure time for 10 f-stops

B+W 106 Neutral Density 1.8 Filter or called B+W 64X, which stops the exposure time for 6 f-stops

They can be used either separately or stack up one on the top of the other. By using them simultaneously, you can achieve 16 f-stops, which is ideal for long exposure photography during daytime.

Stacking two B+W neutral density filters together

I used these filters with the camera Nikon D90 and 16-85 Nikon lens, but you can use them with any lens, the biggest size they produce though, has a diameter of 77mm. These filters have quite a thick edging, which is why when they can be used for ultra wide angle lenses, although you have to count with some vignetting, especially if you use both simultaneously. For the Nikon 16-85 lens I had to zoom in, when using one filter to approximately 18mm and to approximately 22mm for two filters.

I’m sure you’re curious to see the results in some photos, I’m adding them below along with the description of the settings I used. Feel free to visit my gallery for more black and white photos.

Nikon D90, Nikon 16-85, ISO 200, f/16, 224 seconds

Two filters was used: B+W 110 ND, B+W 106 ND

Nikon D90, Nikon 16-85, ISO 200, f/6,7, 122 seconds

Two filters was used: B+W 110 ND, B+W 106 ND

Nikon D90, Nikon 16-85, ISO 200, f/8, 122 seconds

Two filters was used: B+W 110 ND, B+W 106 ND

Whether you want to dedicate to long exposure photography on a regular basis or you will use ND filters only for occasional enlivening, so you definitely can’t go wrong with these. Have fun!