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-   -   Who makes the best lens filters? (https://forums.steves-digicams.com/misc-accessories-63/who-makes-best-lens-filters-181206/)

Trihame Dec 10, 2010 11:35 AM

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?

ac.smith Dec 13, 2010 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trihame (Post 1176585)
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.

A. C.

csd Dec 23, 2010 12:52 PM

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.

SimpleEmpires Dec 30, 2010 8:20 PM

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.

ac.smith Jan 3, 2011 9:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SimpleEmpires (Post 1183962)
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.

A. C.

TCav Jan 3, 2011 10:34 AM

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

lesmore49 Jan 5, 2011 12:49 AM

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.

ColoradoPilot Jan 6, 2011 9:16 AM

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!)

shoturtle Jan 6, 2011 9:44 AM

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.

shoturtle Jan 6, 2011 9:50 AM

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

ac.smith Jan 7, 2011 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ColoradoPilot (Post 1186598)
...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...)

A lens hood also protects from belt buckles and I don't need a lens cap. That said I think you're overstating the risk. I've walked in crowds at street festivals and in crowds watching parades for a long time and never had some one else's belt buckle, or my own for that matter, close enough to the front element of my lens to warrant concern.

On the other hand I have seen evidence (on the web) of degradations from inexpensive UV filters that didn't required pixel level magnifications to discern.

A. C.

JohnG Jan 7, 2011 12:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ColoradoPilot (Post 1186598)
. 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!)

Respectfully, I would suggest you could buy a lucky rabbit's foot and achieve the same level of success protecting the front element. As another poster mentioned a lens hood is a much better alternative - it helps prevent flare and has no degradation whatsoever (as long as it's designed for the lens in question - if you use the wrong hood you could have vignetting). I will say the chances of introducing flare because of the filter are small and image degradation even smaller. But there's just no benefit - whereas a hood provides benefit. So, for a new photographer shooting for fun, a lens hood is a much better investment. If they still want protection beyond that - a lucky rabbit's foot is probably cheaper than the filter.

JoelG Jan 21, 2011 10:47 PM

I just discovered I have 2 filters which will fit my panny G10 (52mm) but I'm not certain they are suitable. Both came from older 35mm film cameras I own.

1. Super Albinar Skylight A1 from Canon AE-1
2. Quantaray A1 from Canon Rebel

Google shows up as both are multi-coated and they have a slight pinkish tinge.

Advice please

Thanks

shoturtle Jan 22, 2011 1:46 AM

they will affect the colors of your shots as they are skylight. It is design to make the sky more pink. I would not use them all the time. It will make it hard to get the proper colors.

ac.smith Jan 22, 2011 5:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoelG (Post 1192908)
I just discovered I have 2 filters which will fit my panny G10 (52mm) but I'm not certain they are suitable. Both came from older 35mm film cameras I own.

1. Super Albinar Skylight A1 from Canon AE-1
2. Quantaray A1 from Canon Rebel

Google shows up as both are multi-coated and they have a slight pinkish tinge.

Advice please

Thanks

They are both rebranded, private label filters (probably Tiffen). Rebranded is another word for cheap. I can't really understand putting that kind of filter in front of Panny/Leica m4:3 glass.

An A1 filter is a skylight filter hence the slight pink cast. It's probably going to warm the colors very slightly. One could compensate with a custom white balance but it's not always convenient to get a custom WB.

A. C.

lesmore49 Jan 23, 2011 5:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnG (Post 1187131)
Respectfully, I would suggest you could buy a lucky rabbit's foot and achieve the same level of success protecting the front element. As another poster mentioned a lens hood is a much better alternative - it helps prevent flare and has no degradation whatsoever (as long as it's designed for the lens in question - if you use the wrong hood you could have vignetting). I will say the chances of introducing flare because of the filter are small and image degradation even smaller. But there's just no benefit - whereas a hood provides benefit. So, for a new photographer shooting for fun, a lens hood is a much better investment. If they still want protection beyond that - a lucky rabbit's foot is probably cheaper than the filter.

I had a B+W filter on my expensive (over $ 1000 CAD) lens and I felt sick as heavy camera body and lens attached fell and hit a hardwood floor....lens face first.

My filter had moved about 1/2 a revolution....but other than that (touch wood) ...no damage to filter or lens or camera body. I tightened up the filter and since then using that camera, lens and filter....I've taken many 1000's of pictures.

Say what you will about lucky rabbit's feet....I believe it was the filter that protected the lens.

But in the end...we'll never know for sure.....about the value of a top quality filter, or a Rabbit's foot...although I tend not to put much faith in a Rabbit's foot...after all...it wasn't very lucky for the original owner. :)

BTW, I've used filters...always the top quality variety.... in my 40 + years of photography.....some of those years as a photographer for a publishing company.

I suppose when it comes down to it, whether one uses a filter or not and the value of this equipment...comes down to each individual photographer's opinion.

JohnG Jan 23, 2011 6:34 PM

So, the filter was undamaged - what makes you think the front element is less sturdy? My 100-400L dropped off a bench and landed on concrete - no lens filter - tiny dent and that's it. What can we determine from our respective stories? Not much. That's perfectly OK that you use filters for protection - but it doesn't change my opinion that it's a waste of good money and in rare circumstances can add flare issues. With film cameras, a UV filter actually performed a function - I used one in my film days. But in my last 5 years of digital I've had about 200,000 photos and no experience to make me believe putting a filter back on my lenses is worthwhile - my lens hoods do plenty to protect against damage and flare. You feel differently and that's OK too.

NHL Jan 30, 2011 11:33 PM

I always buy filter with my lenses (sometime I even acquire the filters before the lens...:D).

From experience I only use high quality B+W (KR1.5 or KR 3) or Heliopan. I tend not to drop my lenses, but for some reason or others, my filters get replaced every year or so as they got scratched by my constant wiping actions... Beside their 'pinkish' tint which I need by default to warm up my images ;)

In the environments that I shoot I'm always exposed to the elements, salt spray for example from the sea: You don't have to be on a kayak for this, just a normal ocean breeze on the boardwalk will put a glaze over the glass in a jiffy (especially in the early/late hours) which you'll have to wipe off before shooting. When I was in India or Australia, a stroll in the park over there will cover everything with dry dust (which you'll need to wipe off)... Also in the US we tend to have a dry climate, but most other places I traveled, as soon as you walked out from a climate controlled room the lenses tend to fog up instantly with the humidity.

-> I do wish they make some kind of filter for the camera's viewfinder though... I can already see scratches on theses rear elements of my cameras as I tend to wipe them too when they are coated with salt spray, dust and condensation... :cool:

Trihame Feb 1, 2011 3:23 AM

Well lots of good tips guys. I think I will keep the filters (to have in case I may need them, otherwise I will just trust the hood to protect) I have now with the intent to upgrade to one with top quality glass eventually because I will be living close to the ocean later this year...

I do have other question in regards to vignetting with the "wrong lens hood".
Currently I have a rubber telephoto hood that folds in and out for my 55-200mm lens and a hard plastic pedal hood with a removable door in the top for my 28-55mm. I have been wondering if the rubber one is overkill for 200mm...


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