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mtngal Dec 26, 2007 6:35 PM

I'm about to buy a filter to fit my largest lens (77mm) and want to get some step up rings so I can use the same filter with other lenses (67mm and 52mm). I'll be getting one of the more expensive filters (having used a cheap filter in the past, I know better than to scrimp here) and was wondering if I could save money by buying cheaper step-up rings. What would a $19.95 B+W step up ring offer that a $6.95 General Brand wouldn't have? I assume that the metal would be lighter with the cheaper ring, but I think I could live with that (I have a way of carrying it that I wouldn't worry too much about bending it). I'd get the more expensive ones if the metal is softer and I'd have trouble with the threads.

I'd appreciate any suggestions since I have no experience with this and will be buying blind (B&H gift certificate Christmas gift).

VTphotog Dec 27, 2007 7:55 AM

The thickness of the ring is one issue, as thicker rings can cause vignetting at the shortest focal lengths of your lenses. Material is another, particularly if the ring is to be left on the lens. Brass or bronze is generally best as it doesn't tend to freeze to the lens barrel, as can happen with aluminum. I would avoid plastic, though - the threads are too easily damaged.

Hope this helps.


mtngal Dec 27, 2007 8:23 AM

Thanks for the information - it's quite helpful. The only problem is that none of the on-line stores tell you what it's made out of (sigh). It does give me an idea of why some of them are so significantly more expensive though, and why you would want to pay the extra cost.

I ended up ordering the cheapest one and will see what it's like when I get it. If it works, great. If it breaks right away, then I won't feel horrible replacing it. It's not going to stay on any lens for any length of time - in one case I have more than one lens with that diameter and could easily use the polarizer with any of them. In the other case, I only have one lens with the thread, but I use it all the time and would not want to be snagging the ring when I'm putting the camera in and out of the camera case. If I find that I'm always using it then I'd probably just buy filter to fit it.

Thanks for the information about aluminum freezing to the lens - I didn't know it would do that.

rjseeney Dec 27, 2007 8:35 AM

Once again this is an issue of you get what you pay for, and you have to consider what you've got invested in your setup. You've bought an expensive filter to put on an expensive lens on an expensive camera. You've already got thousands (possibly) invested, why try to save $13 on a step up ring. You say you've bought the cheap one to see if it works, and if it breaks then you'll get the better one. Well, if that happens (and it probably will) you've now spent over $25, 20% more than you would have if you had just gotten the good one to begin with. As was mentioned cheap rings can cause issues, and I've had a cheap ring stuck to a lens, and it's not fun to remove.

mtngal Dec 27, 2007 9:12 AM

Oh, I do agree with that! However, I've also found that buying top-of-the-line does not always get you the best bang for the buck, and often buying middle-grade will work quite well. I ended up ordering the stuff before I had read Brian's post, mostly because by buying the cheaper rings I could also afford to buy a 12-24mm lens. I didn't have enough for all of it, and figured I could replace the rings later. Yes, I'll end up paying an extra $14.00 in the long run (if I do replace them), but on the other hand, I'll have a great time playing with the wide angle lens for a while.

TCav Dec 27, 2007 10:50 AM

A couple of things come immediately to mind.

1. Experimenting with different step-up rings might end up costing you more in time, effort, and money, than getting the appropriate size filters in the first place.

2. The more filter switching you do, the more likely you will damage the threads on your expensive filter. (Especially a 77mm filter! Larger filters are more likely tocross-thread.) You may, in fact, be better off with cheap, disposable, plasticstep-uprings so as to not damage your expensive filter or your lenses!

Good luck with your decision.

(You got a Gift Certificate from B&H for Christmas! I am so jealous!)

mtngal Dec 28, 2007 10:38 AM

A good point about the expense of better step-up rings vs. the cost of proper sized filters. I hadn't actually priced out the smaller sized polarizers, but they are cheaper than the 77mm one - something to think about later on. They are still more than the more expensive rings, but still something to consider later on. Another thought I had is size/weight of the proper sized filters vs. rings. I already carry lots of stuff and both space and weight are at a premium. Amazing how such a simple thing can bring up all kinds of issues. Thanks for giving me lots to think about.

TCav Jan 1, 2008 8:20 PM

mtngal wrote:

... Thanks for giving me lots to think about.
Then my work here is done.[suB]:-)[/suB]

tjsnaps Jan 1, 2008 9:36 PM

I've used a few of the cheaper step up rings without a problem.

Cheap isn't always bad. Now days you can pick up plastic or medal lens hoods for a few bucks on ebay. But their was a time when these were quite expensive, about $30. So for years the hood on my 70-210mm was a plastic cup that I cut the bottom off of, superglued a step-up ring to it and spray painted it black. It worked like a charm and other photographers were always amazes when I showed them what it really was.

It may seem silly to some to skimp on the little things. But sometimes that the only way to afford the bigger things. You seldom buy camera equipment of any kind that you don't buy accessories for. When you're on a budget you have to look at the cost of the whole package. I would rather use a generic step up ring or a home made lens hood. Than settle for a lesser quality lens.

Calicajun Jan 2, 2008 4:27 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Used to use adapter rings with my old 35mm SLR's, haven't has a need to as to of yet with digital but give me time. :lol:The only two problems I remember is vignetting caused by the thickness and by the amount of step down (step up 52 to 62mm not a problem), step down to much and the lens will see the ring. Another problem is the space between the filter and lens is increased using adapter rings. This space allows for more light to bounce between the filter and the lens causing some light distortion problems.

Attached is a picture of my adapter rings, all of which were purchased over (can't believe it has been that long ago) 25 years ago. They are made of metal, steel I think due to the sound they make when tapped together.

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