roaming paddy . PRO 1:27pm, 26 October 2011
Hi ,I would appreciate if someone could simply explain to me exactly how to use the Big Stopper. I got it recently after a long wait and havent used it yet. I did look online for advice ,youtube etc but there is not a lot there.
Am I correct in saying ;
Set up camera on tripod
In Manual set apeture ,iso and note correct exposure time
Put on Big Stopper and with the chart provided adjust exposure time
Use mirror lock up and remotely trigger for a shot ?
sachman75 PRO 6 years ago
That is about it! It's actually best to test it in the middle of the day, that way you're not waiting minutes and minutes, or you could up your ISO if you're working at either ends of the day.

I have my found with my big stopper, that it seems to be actually 10.5 stop I am compensating with a longer shutter speed.
roaming paddy . PRO 6 years ago
Thanks Sachman75, its just that I can get all confused with all the technical stuff :)
atomstitcher 6 years ago
I would add that if you have a smart phone you can get an app to calculate long exposures. This is more useful than the card IMO.

Also I agree about the stop discrepancy; I tested mine and it's more like 10.67/11 stops, so you should do your own test to determine the real density of your filter.
Alfonso Salgueiro | Photography PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Alfonso Salgueiro | Photography (member) 6 years ago
one of the main complaints about the big stopper is the famous blue cast. One of the best pieces of advice I read from someone was to set your white balance manually in your camera to 9000K before you take the actual picture.

Some people get a bit sensitive with this issue and argue that it doesn't matter how you set your white balance, and that Auto WB is just fine since if your shooting RAW you can play with colour temperature as you like in post processing.

I have tried it and it works very well for me. Before I used to get the blue cast. Now using this method I hardly have to adjust colour temperature. Now, I'm not an expert, engineer or anything of the sort, but experience is also a valid point IMHO.

Apart from that, you already found out about the main steps to follow. Other than that is just learning, and getting to know your filter as you go.

Good luck.
Surely Not 6 years ago
Not very techincal at all, but I put together a wee tutorial for another group a while back:
roaming paddy . PRO 6 years ago
A Big Thank You to Atomstitcher',Alsal and Surely Not for your generous help!
roaming paddy . PRO 6 years ago
Am I correct in assuming that that it does not matter what aperture I use ? that the 10 stops will apply no matter what aperture I am using?

Also can anyone point me to a link that will help me with the math's ?
I tried using the Big Stopper today,the correct exposure read 1/25th but that figure is not on the card supplied with the stopper. It had 1/30th (30 seconds) and 1/15th (1 minute) Am I correct that 1/25th would be 45 secs?
atomstitcher 6 years ago
Yes, the filter's effect is independent of any setting you use on the camera.

If your filter's density is exactly 10 stops then a 1/25th will be the equivalent of about 41 seconds. The shutter speed multiplication factor is given by 2^(number of stops of density), so in your case 0.04 x 2^10 = 40.96 seconds. It is very much easier using a program or a calculator than a chart for this reason IMO.
Valeria Sig 6 years ago
we need a bookmark here on flickr :) great advice here
roaming paddy . PRO 6 years ago
For those like me who are useless at math's I came across this:
Ben Bruce PRO 6 years ago
Not sure what camera your using, but with a D300 and assume many others you can set the exposure steps from a choice of 1/3, 1/2 or full stops.
If you set it to a full stop, then all you need to do it turn the shutter dial 10 clicks., no maths, no charts :) (soon the numbers get lodged in your memory anyway)
roaming paddy . PRO 6 years ago
Once again a big thank you to all for your help, Idigitize I use the cannon 5d mark 2 ,I will check out what you say ,
atomstitcher 6 years ago
I would add a caveat. idigitize: I assume you mean setting EV+1 in aperture priority, then switching to manual to dial in that shutter speed and upping the shutter 10 stops?

This will only work if the exposure you need is under 30 seconds; otherwise you will just get an unchanging "bulb" readout once you pass 30 seconds.

Using a smart phone app or a calculator is more accurate and less prone to human error IMO.
roaming paddy . PRO 6 years ago
I think I am slowly getting my head around this with my very limited math's

If you express the fraction in decimal form,ie in this example 1/25 of a sec becomes 0.04 and then multiply this by 1024 for your big stopper exposure time,which is 40.96 seconds.
atomstitcher 6 years ago
That's correct.
duncan-green PRO 6 years ago
I do the following to calculate exposure time when I shoot with ND filters: Set the camera to Aperture priority mode I set the desired F value, line up the shot etc and then set the ISO to say 6400. The camera will then provide a metered time, usually <5 seconds. I always shoot at ISO 100, which is 6 times slower than 6400, so to work out the correct exposure time simply times the metered time to the power 6 (times it by itself 6 times) this will give the correct exposure length, set back to Manual and shoot.

So an exposure time of 1 second at ISO 6400 would be 64 seconds at ISO100. Using this method avoids the need to remove filters or use the chart - avoiding discrepancies.

Hope that helps.
roaming paddy . PRO 6 years ago
Wow we are getting some great help here! Thanks Atomstitcher + Duncan-Green !
Blurred-vision 6 years ago
if any one is still having trouble try here ten stop filter guide and set up instuctions
Alex Gard 5 years ago
my brain hurts
photopath PRO 5 years ago
And at the end of all that - bracket!
celtboy 4 years ago
What is the App for the conversions ?
Patrick Semmler PRO 4 years ago
Hi, ther are are many diferent Neutral Density and long exposure apps ranging from free to a few dollars. I'll try one out and give my opinion.
LongTime Exposure Calculator By Thomas Penn "Longtime pro" at 1 dollaris the one i will try.
There is an excellent chart here

Scroll down on the blog and you will see the download link for it.

It is the one i use :)
Jon Leonard40 4 years ago
does anyone know if the Vanguard gh 100 pistol grip is sturdy enough for long exposures? I have the b and w 10 stop and am looking into the big stopper
watsonrj 4 years ago
By the way - I always forget to turn off the autofocus on my lens when trying to take long exposures! The camera won't take the shot until the autofocus is turned off.

Workflow: take a test shot in AV mode without filter.
set the focus, exposure, ISO in AV mode (Canon) - record shutter speed
(use lowest ISO possible)
Use the same exposure settings as test shot - by turning CAMERA to MANUAL MODE (BULB MODE) and set LENS to MANUAL FOCUS.
(works well on my 5D mkIII even in very poor light).
Use iphone app/shutter speed guide to get final exposure time for -10 stops.
take image using either an intervalometer or count the seconds on a remote controller/timer.
(in bulb mode the exposure time is normally displayed somewhere in either the back or top screen)
TIP: turn off Long exposure to avoid having to wait for minutes to view the results- or take the next shot.
Jeremy Sargent 4 years ago
Just read this string and my word of advice would be DO NOT USE an ISO higher than 100 for LE's at the end of the day!

+ For my Big Stopper I have to add about 10% to the calculated exposure time!
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