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Old Jan 20, 2007, 10:04 PM   #1
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I hope someone does not mind a few newbie questions. I have been carefully reading all that I can find on this site and other and see the mention of filters. I understand what they are but do not quite get "how" they are supposed to be used. One site listed a "beginners" kit that consisted of a UV filter, a circular polarizing filter, and a warming filter. Are all three of these supposed to be used in conjunction with eachother, at the same time, and if so, do you need any extra adaptor or something in order to do that? I also see mention of a circular polarizing filter that is already described as "warm". Is that better than one that is not that would need an additional warming filter?

There is also a HUGE difference in prices in these filter and I can see that what they are made of seems to make the difference. I don't want to waste my money on something of poor quality that will make my pictures worse but some of these are obviously not geared to a newbie amateur.

I want to get two sets. One for a Canon Rebel 300d (58mm) and one set for a Panasonic FZ50 (55mm).

Thanks anyone that can help.
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Old Jan 21, 2007, 12:35 AM   #2
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The filters you mention can be used at the same time, but it's not advisable. Every piece of glass that you put in front of your lens introduces another variable between the subject and the image sensor. A good quality coated (or multi-coated) filter will likely not lower your image quality to a noticeable extent, but when you start stacking them up, there you will start running into trouble. If you are going for a more "artsy" or impresionistic look where image sharpness is not a crucial factor, then stack away!
Most filters have a front thread so that you can stack them if you want, so you shouldn't need any kind of adapter unless you are trying to stack filters with different thread sizes. Then you would need a step-up or step-down ring.

rzarbo asks: I also see mention of a circular polarizing filter that is already described as "warm". Is that better than one that is not that would need an additional warming filter?

It's better than stacking two different filters from a sharpness/contrast perspective. If you want the "look" that the warming filter gives in a significant % of your shots as well as the "look" the polarizer produces, then it might make sense to get the two effects in one filter. However, then you can't separate the two effects for those shots where you don't want them both. So, only you can answer the question as to whether a both-in-one is better for you.

rzarbo continues: There is also a HUGE difference in prices in these filter and I can see that what they are made of seems to make the difference. I don't want to waste my money on something of poor quality that will make my pictures worse but some of these are obviously not geared to a newbie amateur.

With filters, you get what you pay for. More desirable features like optical-quality glass, brass threads, low-profile design and multicoating all cost more. Here again, only you can decide if a $130.00 polarizer is really worth the difference over a good $50.00 one. Unless you like to print really big and are going for pro-level sharpness, contrast and saturation, you probably don't need the $130.00 filter. But you should at least buy coated filters. They reduce ghosting and internal reflections so that you get better color, shapness and contrast.

rzarbo concludes: I want to get two sets. One for a Canon Rebel 300d (58mm) and one set for a Panasonic FZ50 (55mm).

You probably don't have to get two sets. Get one set of 58mm filters and then buy a 55mm-58mm step-up ring or two so that you can use the bigger filters on the smaller lens. The rings are only something like $10.00. That's a lot cheaper than a second set of filters.

Don't be a stranger!

Grant
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Old Jan 21, 2007, 10:03 AM   #3
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Thank you so much for your very helpful reply. I have seen those stepup/down rings and didn't have any idea what they were used for! I don't really know what I need yet as far as filters. I had been using a Kodak 6490 for several years and decided to branch out a little further and bought myself a FZ50. Just after that my brother passed along to me the Rebel, inherited from our father, that he didn't want. I now find myself owning two really nice cameras that I still need the instruction manual in hand to use. I have read in several places that a UV filter is a very important thing to have so when I started looking into those I kept finding these "beginner" sets of filters that include a UV filter.

I mainly take photos of my kids and my daughter at horse shows, hence the need for the super zoom of the FZ50.

The Rebel came to me with a very scary looking lens. It is a Canon EF75-300mm F4-5.6 Image Stabilizer in addition, to what I assume to be, the lens that came on the camera. I know that this setup will, someday, be very good for me but right now it is all a little intimidating. In my effort to learn more I have read and read and read and that can sometimes lead to more confusion. I really want to thank all of you for being so helpful to someone who, I know, is asking pretty dumb questions by your standards.
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Old Jan 21, 2007, 6:03 PM   #4
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rzarbo writes: ...I have read in several places that a UV filter is a very important thing to have...

There is a lively debate on the pros and cons of UV filters on digital cameras. Since the image sensors on digital cameras are not as sensitive to UV light as film is, you won't see much if any benefit from a UV filter as a UV filter. Most digital users that carry a UV filter use it primarily as protection for the front element of their lens.

One camp in this debate like to keep a filter on their lens at all times for added phyical protection against poor weather, wind-blown sand and other forms of mechanical damage. The other camp says that if you are reasonably careful with your camera, you don't need the filter for protection, and that the filter just adds one more piece of glass to degrade the image. They say that a lens hood and a lens cap is all the extra protection you need.

You can read much more on this debate on the web and even on archived pages of these forums.

Don't worry about "dumb" questions. They're not dumb, just uninformed. We've all been there before and likely will be there again. :-)

Grant
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