Variable Neutral Density Filter - image courtesy of wikimedia commons

Save Money

Nikki and I made a visit to our local clearance outlet yesterday. It’s a consignment ‘bargain bins’ store that restocks every week. They charge a decreasing flat rate amount for everything each day until the next restock. On day one, everything is $25. Day two, $15. Day three, $10, and so on. We only live a block away, so drop in occasionally. Everyone likes to save money. It’s a good business model, the store is rarely empty.

As I said, everyone likes to save money. So day one is crowded with people elbowing for best position and to grab a bargain. And there are many to grab. You never know what will be in those bins each week. Or even each day. By the day before restock the bins are almost empty, but can still offer gems worth having.

On our last visit I was pleased to see, tucked away quietly on a shelf, a 77mm brand name 2-32 stop ND filter. These doohickeys are like sunglasses for your camera. They allow long exposures in summer sun, for example. Also fantastic for waterfalls and anything watery. You don’t actually need them. If you bracket and stack your exposures you can get exactly the same effect (think, blinking really fast while looking at a bright light). This is a method I’ve used to take silky 2-second waterfall shots in Summer sun and they looked great. But, ND filters can add an extra tool to the photographer’s kit and require less post-processing work than a 100-image stack. As the good filters are not cheap I’ve not considered them to be worth the expense. Until now.

Bargain Binz

No good to anyone but a photographer, this filter had sat there all week, waiting for someone to pass by. Genuine, still unopened and in the original packaging. Not a knock-off. So I bought it. For $3.

Combined with the step-down ring set I already bought for just such a need, I can use this large filter on all my smaller lenses. Meaning I only need this single filter, rather than as I type, four, the number of lens thread sizes I have. Meaning I got a $75 retail value item and it saved me four times that much. It would have cost me $300 to get sunglasses for all my lenses. I spent $3.

I save money. Lots. I iz happy. I like to save money. Lots. Consignment stores are a bit of a gamble, we all know that. But this one? This one really paid off.

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