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The Schneider Optics 4x5.650 Neutral Density Attenuator Horizontal Filter 1.2 is a special type of Neutral Density Filter used for Cinematography.
Neutral Density Attenuators diminish distracting backgrounds by enabling the use of wider lens apertures, thereby reducing depth of field. Conversely, these ND Attenuators can be used to properly expose varying light levles within a given frame. They allow the amount light reaching the film to be controlled without relying solely on camera aperture.
Neutral Density Attenuators are made using the finest crystal-clear water-white optical glass and are precision engineered with unparalleled smoothness, uniformity and consistency. They can be used alone or in combination with other filters with no degradation of image quality.
Unlike traditional graduated ND filters that are 50% clear and 50% ND with a certain density factor, Attenuators are graduated over the entire surface of the filter. For example, the 0.3 (1 stop) attenuator will be clear glass at the bottom of the filter and 1 stop ND at the top with a gradual progression throughout the remainder - with probably a 1/2 stop ND somewhere in the middle - but the major difference between the two types of filters is that the transition in Attenuators is seamless.
With traditional ND filters, the transitional line in the center of the filter can either be soft edge (smooth transition) or hard edge (much more pronounced) but maximum ND is quickly achieved shortly after that horizon line and remains constant for the rest of the filter. Neutral Density grads are perfect for scenes that have a definite horizon where you can place the ND edge on; Attenuators are much more subtle and are better suited for situations that don't allow you to hide that edge - perhaps a street scene that needs to be balanced where one half is lit by sunlight and the other half is in shadow.
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