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Old Dec 10, 2010, 10:35 AM   #1
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Default Who makes the best lens filters?

I want some nice filters. Who makes the best, just out of curiosity? And what brand is best for me? I don't want to spend $68.99 a pop. I just shoot pictures for fun. Do they have box sets that have more (I would prefer all) than the normal UV, FLD, and CPL?
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 11:12 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trihame View Post
I want some nice filters. Who makes the best, just out of curiosity? And what brand is best for me? I don't want to spend $68.99 a pop. I just shoot pictures for fun. Do they have box sets that have more (I would prefer all) than the normal UV, FLD, and CPL?
Nice and spending less than $68.99 are incompatible concepts and do not exist together in any real universe. There is one site that has done formal comparisons of UV filters and CPLs, links to the test below:

http://lenstip.com/113.1-article-UV_filters_test.html
http://lenstip.com/120.1-article-UV_...upplement.html
http://lenstip.com/115.1-article-Pol...ters_test.html
http://lenstip.com/119.1-article-Pol...upplement.html

You can pick your compromises there.

Further comments:

1) The only point in a UV filter is for protecting the front element when shooting in conditions of blowing sand or salt spray. Otherwise pretty worthless.

2) FLD? That's a fluorescent to daylight conversion filter. Why in the world would you want that. You have one or more fluorescent WB settings in your camera and if they don't match your particular fluorescents you can do a custom WB that will match better than any off the shelf filter. Did you perhaps mean neutral density (ND) or graduated neutral density (GND)?

3) Filters are to solve specific problems. Quality filters are expensive so buying a "boxed set" of filters that solve problems you don't have sounds like a waste of money.

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Old Dec 23, 2010, 11:52 AM   #3
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I'd use CAUTION buying low-price filters. You could degrade your image quality. Buy one qualify filter - instead of 12 cheap ones.
I also agree with ac.smith above especially since you already own CS5. Why buy FLD when you can:
a) Set up white balance on your digital camera to get the same effect
b) or if you miss it on your camera, shoot raw and fix it in CS5 afterwards.
Same argument for most other filters that were useful back in the film days.
In my opinion for digital photography you only need 2 or 3 types of filters. The rest are a waste of money (in my opinion). I would focus on buying ONE or TWO GOOD filters versus paying the same money for a set of stuff you will find you never need to use. Filters that make sense for digital photography (In my opinion) are:
- UV if you want to protect your lens front element - but don't go cheap or you will degrade your image quality. Skip it if you are careful with your equipment.
- Circular Polarizer - darken skies and remove reflections. Good for landscape work.
- ND - slow down your lens to get silky water. Good for beaches, streams, etc - but only if you shoot with a tripod - otherwise - don't spend the money.
- and if you don't want to mess with HDR - a graduated ND filter (but with CS5 - you can HDR it instead and get a better result). Good to balance a bright sky with a darker foreground.
I have Tiffen and B&W filters but there are a handful of other quality names out there.
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Old Dec 30, 2010, 7:20 PM   #4
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If you're just shooting for fun, I suggest getting Sunpak filters. I've got a couple and they work well for my camera. It's obviously not of high quality like you find in the expensive filters, but they get the job done. Plus, UV filters just protect your camera lens anyways.

I also have these nifty little macro diopter filters by Digital Concepts. They are fun, and work great.

If you are compromising price, you just need to find the best for what you can afford.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 8:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by SimpleEmpires View Post
If you're just shooting for fun, I suggest getting Sunpak filters. ... Plus, UV filters just protect your camera lens anyways.

I also have these nifty little macro diopter filters by Digital Concepts. They are fun, and work great.

....
I have a bit of a problem with this advice, especially with respect to UV filters for protective purposes. While I absolutely don't buy into using "protective" filters except in very specialized circumstances (blowing sand or salt water spray) simply because they don't protect enough to warrant the expense if one does need/want to have one on at all times it will affect the image at all times and therefore should be of a quality commensurate with the rest of the optical system.

Filters for occasional "goofing around" such as star filters or blurring/soft focus filters cheap may serve the purpose. Likewise simple meniscus lenses for occasional closups that one's other lenses won't handle then cheap may be cost effective.

The OP seemed to be trying to beat the normal cost/quality ratio and that's really not going to happen.

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Old Jan 3, 2011, 9:34 AM   #6
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The more optical elements in the light path, the lower the image quality will be. If you must use filters, use good ones:
  • B+W
  • Heliopan
  • the OEMs (Canon, Leica, Nikon, Sony, Zeiss, ...)
  • Hoya HD & Tiffen HT
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Old Jan 4, 2011, 11:49 PM   #7
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I always use B+W.

I use filters to protect my lenses....but I also subscribe to the theory that if I'm going to put an additional layer of glass in front of my expensive lens, I will always use top quality filter glass.

No sense in using the El Cheapo variety of filter.
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Old Jan 6, 2011, 8:16 AM   #8
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While I completely understand those who don't like using filters, especially inexpensive ones, I must disagree with them.

The OP made it clear that they were shooting for fun, and honestly, unless you zoom in to a pixel level, you will see no noticeable difference between a $30 polarizer or a $150 one (the same is true for a GND filter). Why waste all that extra money?

As far as UV filters, they are useful in situations other than sand and salt. I keep my camera over my shoulder with the lens cap off if I am walking down a street taking pictures, as I don't want to remove a lens cap every few steps. All it takes is one person bumping into my camera with a metal buckle or something to scratch the heck out of my glass. That is why I use a UV filter, and again, you will not notice any image degradation unless you have bionic eyes (even then you will be lucky!)
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Old Jan 6, 2011, 8:44 AM   #9
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HOYA does make a pack of useful filters. That are their blue single coated. And should work for the shooting for fun purpose. And it is not to expensive. It is better then the regular tiffen pack that are not coated.

I personally use BW MRC's and Tiffen HT. But have used the Hoya single coated, they are not as good but will do the job for the. Just paid attention when shooting toward a very strong light source to low the chances of flares and ghosting.
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Old Jan 6, 2011, 8:50 AM   #10
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There is a advantage about the tiffen regular pack vs the hoya pack. The are uncoated glass are a easy to maintain. Coated glass can be a pain to clean if you get seaspray or grease on them.

On filters I rearly use, I use the Tiffen regular glass ones. Like the ND filters. But the cpl I use the HT as it is the only multicoated filter that is easy to clean because of what they used in the coating. Titanium
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