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Old Aug 14, 2003, 10:49 AM   #1
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Default Filters

I made this topic in Panasonic section but it's obviously too "newbie", so I'm writing it here once again.

I'm thinking about buying some filters but there are so many different kinds so I can't decide. Can anyone show me a site where all these filters would really be well explained? I mean thousands of photos "with the x filter" and "without the filter".

I've already decided that a polarizer filter is a must and everyone is talking about an UV filter which is good to have permanently on. But others are talking about sky filters for the same purpose, which one is better to have, sky or UV?

Another thing which I can't get out of my mind is a thought, whether these filters can be replaced by a good software on my PC. I guess that polarize filters can't, but I would think that ND filters could be well enough replaced by software effects (apart from the fact that ND filters let you longer shutter time, of course). For instance, those "star" filters can surely be replaced by a PC?

Some more questions, please bear in mind I'm just a newbie.
1. Can I attach more filters (of any kind!) on my camera and is that useful at all? Does this lower the picture quality
2. Can I use the same filters with TCON17 which I plan to buy and how?
3. About sizes - is there any difference if you use stepup/down rings?
4. Macro filters - well THAT's sth which really bothers me. What are these filters anyway? Why buying macro lenses if you can get a 10+ macro filter?! I'm sure this sounds really funny to most of guys here, but I really don't get it.

Just not to open a new topic - I'd like to take sport pictures, but fot that my shutter times have to be really short. Can you give me some hints how to achieve short times and how to take nice sport pictures?

Thanks for your help.
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Old Aug 14, 2003, 2:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: Filters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trdi
Can you give me some hints how to achieve short times
1. Turn up the "sensitivity" setting on the camera (ISO speed rating equivalent). It's like putting faster film in the camera. It will however make your shots appear more 'grainy' due to electrical noise.

2a. Select "S" for shutter priority mode, if you've got one, and set a fast speed - 1/500th or 1/1000th ; or perhaps better...

2b. Select "A" for aperture priority and open up the aperture to its widest (lowest f-number). This will give you the fastest speed the camera can achieve for any given exposure.

Also, for sports, it's a good idea to prefocus at the distance where you expect the action to happen. You may be able to do this by using autofocus on the right spot and then switching to 'manual focus' without again touching the focus or zoom controls. I missed all the action the first time I tried sports with a digicam because it all happened while the camera was still thinking about focus.
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Old Aug 14, 2003, 10:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: Filters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trdi
I'm thinking about buying some filters but there are so many different kinds so I can't decide. Can anyone show me a site where all these filters would really be well explained? I mean thousands of photos "with the x filter" and "without the filter".
Check Cokin's site @ http://www.cokin.fr/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trdi
I've already decided that a polarizer filter is a must and everyone is talking about an UV filter which is good to have permanently on. But others are talking about sky filters for the same purpose, which one is better to have, sky or UV?
A UV filter cuts down the UV light; however, since modern lenses use glass elements with coating, these glass elements will absorb UV light. Thus, unless you are shooting in an area with significantly higher UV (e.g., high elevation), it is not necessary to use a UV filter. Most people use UV filter for protection purpose. Another school of thought oppose this idea because they believe adding another glass in the path of the light ray will reduce optical quality. This is especially true if the UV filter is of poor quality. Thus, by carefully treat your camera and your lens, a UV filter is not necessary. As a result, whether you need a UV filter is your call. Skylight filters (e.g., 1A and 1B) are tinted with a touch of color. They serve a different purpose in addition to reduce UV. Skylight filters warm the scene just a little.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trdi
Another thing which I can't get out of my mind is a thought, whether these filters can be replaced by a good software on my PC. I guess that polarize filters can't, but I would think that ND filters could be well enough replaced by software effects (apart from the fact that ND filters let you longer shutter time, of course). For instance, those "star" filters can surely be replaced by a PC?
Most color correction and color compensation filters can be replaced by a good image editing program. However, IMO, the effect of three filters, polarizer, ND and gradual ND, cannot be easily duplicated by any good image editing system. A polarizer reduces the reflection from non-metallic subject making the color more saturated. This cannot be done with any software because reflection from a subject changes its color dramatically sometimes, which is difficult to be corrected. ND filters reduces the intensity of light entering the lens. This cannot be done effectively by an image editing system because if the light entering the lens is too strong to have a proper exposure, no image editing system will be able to get the details back from a washed-out area in the image. Gradual ND filters act as ND filters but only to some portion of the scene. Its effect cannot be effectively duplicated as mentioned above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trdi
1. Can I attach more filters (of any kind!) on my camera and is that useful at all? Does this lower the picture quality
Yes, you can. The consequence is that each filter may reduce the intensity of light, and, as a result, shutter speed will be slower or aperture must be larger. For example, you can stack two ND filters together in order to cut down the incoming light significantly. Good filters will not reduce image quality too much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trdi
2. Can I use the same filters with TCON17 which I plan to buy and how?
As long as the filter is large enough, you can use it on any lens. However, the TCON-17 has not front thread for filters. You either use large diameter filters which are usually expansive, or square filters such as the Cokin's and handhold it in front of the lens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trdi
3. About sizes - is there any difference if you use stepup/down rings?
Generally speaking, there is no difference. However, one must consider a side-effect. When using step rings, each ring add some additional space between the filter and the lens glass. If this gap is larger than necessary, vignetting may occur at the wide angle end. Another potential problem is that internal reflection between the filter and the front glass element may occur, which will reduce image quality. The rule of thumb is that us as few step rings as possible, and use the thin ones rather than the thick ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trdi

4. Macro filters - well THAT's sth which really bothers me. What are these filters anyway? Why buying macro lenses if you can get a 10+ macro filter?! I'm sure this sounds really funny to most of guys here, but I really don't get it.
The correct name should be close-up lens. I believe your question is about consumer digital cameras. Since these cameras cannot change lenses, one can only add accessories in front of the lens to to macro (if the camera does not have a macro mode). So, "macro lenses", "close-up filters", and "+10 macro filters" are all the same thing: they are close-up filters with different diopter values +1, +2, +4, +5, +10, etc. Basically, they are good quality magnifiers that can bring the camera closer to the subject so that the subject appears larger on the image. Take a look the "Close-Up" page of my Coolpix 2500 User Guide for more details.

The "Filters" section of my Coolpix 4500 User guide also provides some information about filters and their uses.

CK
http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam
Nikon Coolpix 950/990/995/2500/4500 User Guide
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Old Aug 15, 2003, 2:00 PM   #4
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Thanks so much to both of you. I forgot to mention, I have Panasonic DMC FZ1. Nothing is left unclear now. Really interesting, this thing with close-up "filters". I found this expression here:
http://www.cameragear.com/closeup.asp
As you can see the prices are really low so I thought this is sth different than close-up lenses.
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