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View Poll Results: What Filters/Brands Are You Using?
Circular Polarizer 5 20.83%
Linear Polarizer 1 4.17%
UV(0) 3 12.50%
Skylight 1B 2 8.33%
Special Effects 2 8.33%
Multi-Coated 4 16.67%
Hoya 5 20.83%
B&W 1 4.17%
Heliopan 0 0%
Tiffen 1 4.17%
Voters: 24. You may not vote on this poll

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Old Dec 6, 2007, 3:13 PM   #1
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I've got loads of Hoya and Nikon branded filters from my F-series cameras, and I've been trying to read/learn more about filters as they apply to digital cameras since I just picked up my D300 and a 50mm f/1.8D. Doing searches usually prompts threads that were a couple of years old, so I'm just tabling the topic which I know is always a controversial one. One school of thought is to use lens hoods and no filters and be careful. The others side is that moisture, dust, and other problems can wreak havoc on a len's front element especially if you shoot in less than perfect weather and conditions. I'm sticking a poll in here too, so we'll see where this goes.

So I'm even wondering if the filter companies are just re-packaging the same filters and calling them "digital" filters or are they really doing something for flare and other concerns? Didn't know if I should be buying a "digital-spec" UV filter. I've always been one to keep a UV or Skylight filter on any lens, and used circular rotating polarizers when I wanted/needed that quality. Are any of you folks using anything other than a protective filter on your digicams?

And just as an aside... have any of you bought filters via HK vendors on eBay? There seems to be a plethera of these sources, and Amazon isn't too bad either. I think this thread will be helpful to many people because this question has been asked for eons in the film end and now in the digital world.
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Old Dec 6, 2007, 4:07 PM   #2
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Here we go again . This debate has been around since the dawn of time is the biggest source of debate aside from the canon vs Nikon debate.

This is the deal (in my opinion). Most filters nowadays are useless in terms of image quality and manipulation. Aside from polarizers and ND filters, nearly every other effect can be duplicated in post processing with more control. Filters for "protection" are not really necessary (for me at least) unless you live in constant fear of damage to your lens. I used to throw a UV filter on every lens. After several years of fighting flare and vignetting (mostly on wide angle lenses, and yes it happens) I realized I'd never damaged a filter. I took them off and haven't looked back. I only find I have to clean my lenses every now and then and have never even scratched a lens. I shoot alot of sports and outdoors, so I'm not exactly in harsh conditions, but I'm not locked in a studio either. The lens hood will protect the lens in most situations and drops from a distance great enough to damage the lens element, will likely do other damage requiring repair anyway. If the filter gets broken, it will likely gouge your element despite your best intentions. Those who say lens coatings are delicate and must be protected, I think are overstating the delicacy of these coatings and scaring folks unnecessarily, and mostly in the business of selling filters. In 20 years of shooting i've never witnessed a damaged lens coating either on a lens or on a filter, and don't know anyone who has seen one. Most pro's I know and have seen, don't use filters and their gear is alot nicer than mine, so take that for what it's worth as well.

Now, if I lived in especially harsh conditions (ie the beach, desert, etc) or shot in rugged areas, I would likely use filters, and have some sitting around in case the situation arises. Or if your a person who worries alot, go ahead and use filters. Image quality probably isn't affected all that much, and if it buys you peace of mind then go for it. If you do decide filters are for you, buy the best you can afford...B&W, Hoya, Nikon, all make good filters..no sense putting cheap glass in front of your nice lens. Expect to spend close to $100 for a quality filter. I wouldn't touch one of those Ebay Hong Kong import cheapies if you paid me to use it.

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Old Dec 11, 2007, 3:19 PM   #3
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I agree with 99.9% of what you said, but having just sold 5 vintage Nikon film lenses that _always_ had a protective filter on them, I think many of the buyers paid a fairly high premium for those lenses because of the condition of them. I made a point in my eBay auctions to show multiple angles without any filetrs in place noting that these lenses had always had a rear cap as well as a filter on them and that there was not even minor scratching of the front/rear elements, and of course, no mold, fungus, or oil inside on the iris. It paid off nicely considering some folks (local & online) told me "good luck" when I said I was selling with higher reserves. And yeah... I used to be into big game fishing and sometimes we'd be in the cockpit or on the bridge/tower shooting in a salty mist. All my equipment traveled in a couple of zero cases, and I was careful to wipe down everything I used every day it was near a boat/water.

Since we can easily drop a slide into a slide scanner and create a digital image from it, you can certainly manipulate that end product just as well as one that started off as a digital image. But I'd agree that the effects of a circular polarizer are difficult to achieve in photoshop, and so to ease my mind... I'm slapping on a protective filter on my "digital" lenses, and keeping a polarizer handy for when it's needed. What I was trying to find out was whether it _really_ makes a difference if you use a Nikon Circular Polarizer (like I have for my film cameras) or a "Digital" designed-specific Hoya or a HMC Hoya. And while I wouldn't consider buying a no-name filter at all, one has to wonder just how microscopic the differences are between a $X0.00 Hoya HMC UV filter and a $X0.00 Hoya SMC UV Filter? I guess you could ask if a company like Hoya makes any undesirable quality filters.

And with regard to the eBay sellers, there are _some_ with thousands of transactions and extremely high feedback who are selling Hoya filters. Do you think there are HK versions of Hoya SHMC filters that are lesser in quality than those sold by stateside vendors? Not that I'm nuts about buying from HK, but I was curious to see if anyone cruising this board had.
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