I have a Singh ray 2 stop Graduated ND with soft step. I find it very difficult when I uses it with my Canon 17-40 f4L lens on my Canon T2i, which is a crop sensory body.

Since it is soft step, I am not able to use the darkest part of it (which is true 2-stop) for the bright part of the scene. In the holder, I have to move the filter all the way down, which brings the soft dark part of the filter onto the part of scene which is not properly illuminated — and this results in a bad exposure.

Does anybody else face same problem, and if yes, how do you get around it?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Using the wider field of view will ensure more of the filter is in view \$\endgroup\$
    – Dreamager
    Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 22:15

2 Answers 2


Yes this is an issue with full-frame lenses on crop bodies. You have a couple of workarounds:

  1. Try using a hard-edged filter.
  2. Bracket your exposures (w/out filters) and blend them together in post.
  3. Use EF-S lenses whose image circle is designed for crop bodies.
  • \$\begingroup\$ could you elaborate more on this image circle you mentioned about EF-S lenses \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 16:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure. Simply put, EF-S lenses are sized to match the smaller cropped sensors. What you have is a lens that's designed for a larger sensor. So, instead of using a smaller center area of your current lens (and filter), an EF-S lens allows your sensor to utilize all the glass (image circle) available. Here are a couple wikipedia links: sensor size comparison, EF-S lens mount. Hope this helps. \$\endgroup\$
    – user9509
    Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 16:31

I shoot a lot of images on a crop sensor Nikon D300 and have the same problem, so I actually stack filters to get the end result I require. As I shoot mainly landscapes and nature I often have problems with the sky and ground or sea being to far apart in exposure. Also I do not use Photoshop for post-processing, preferring to do as much work as possible on location when my creative thoughts work best.

A good example of filter stacking is the image linked at the bottom which was of a very boring sunset, but by stacking a whopping 7 filters something more interesting was created and the contrast of light from shooting in to the setting sun was also controlled ...

  • 2 x ND8 screw-on filters to cut the amount of light down to enable a longer shutter speed to smooth the sea

  • 1 x circular polarizer screw-on filter to cut reflection off of the sea leaving it a more matt surface

  • 1 x ND4 graduated to clear slide-in filter to cut the excessive light in the sky

  • 1 x ND8 graduated to clear slide-in filter to cut the excessive light in the sky (stacked with the ND4 graduated filter above to bring the sky in to the same exposure settings as the sea on the cropped sensor)

  • 1 x graduated sunset to clear orange slide-in filter to add orange to the sky

  • 1 x graduated sunset to light sunset slide-in filter to add more orange to the sky and some to the sea

Using a 24-70 lens I managed to stack all of these without getting vignetting. The slide-in filters were mounted in a Cokin holder which is only meant to hold 3 but the 4th can be encouraged in to the small gap closest to the lens.


Image tech: Nikon D300 / Nikkor 24-70 F2.8 lens / 29mm @ F8 @ 30 seconds


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