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Old Apr 6, 2009, 10:59 PM   #1
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I tried to do a search but couldnt find what I was looking for. I have a 50mm 1.7 which has quickly become my favorite. NowI need a filter to protect it. Will any brand do? I was looking at a zeikos,cheap prise and it came with 3 different lens. Any advice is apreciated.
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Old Apr 7, 2009, 1:04 AM   #2
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If you just want to get a filter to protect the front lens element, people usually use UV filters for this or special "protective" filters.

If you do a Google on the subject, you'll see that there is an ongoing argument amongst photographers on the merits of using any filter at all for lens protection.

If you opt to get a filter, though, get a fairly good one. Remember that anything placed in the light path between the subject and the sensor is going to affect the quality of that light. Don't put a cheap filter on a good lens. If you only use your pictures for snapshot prints (like 4x6), then it might not make a lot of difference, but anything much bigger than that and you might start noticing that you're shots don't look as good as they used to before the filter.

Just some general guidelines:

* Get a coated filter -- preferably multi-coated. This will increase light transmission and decrease ghosting and lost contrast through internal reflections.

* Get a filter made of optical-quality glass. Some cheapos are made from "white" glass -- window-quality! -- or sometimes even polycarbonate plastic.

You might not want to pop for the really premium extras like brass frames (cuts down on binding problems) or the ultra-coatings that can double the price over a solid, mid-priced filter. But, do get the best filters that you can afford.

I've never heard of Zeikos filters, but that doesn't mean that they aren't made by a reputable company. Some of the more mainstream brands include Tiffen, Nikon, Hoya, B+W, Heliopan and Singh-Ray. Most have different lines of filters that vary in quality (and price) from reasonably affordable to "second mortgage".

Almost any filter makes a lens more susceptable to flare and loss of contrast than it was "naked". So, you might find that you need a lens hood as well, to protect the filter from incidental light. That would add extra protection for the lens, too.

Get a decent filter and test it out under the kinds of conditions you like to shoot in, and then judge from the results if you might need a hood, also.

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Old Apr 7, 2009, 5:44 AM   #3
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I agree with granthagen. There are goodreasons to put a filter on a lens, but there are also good reasons not to. The 50/1.7 is a sharp lens, so if you use a cheap filter, you may find that you don't like the images the 50/1.7 give you any more.

Lens hoods also provide some measure of physical protection for a lens, and I would also like to remind you that the 50/1.7 comes with an integral lens hood. That ring beyond the manual focusing ring isthe retractible lens hood. It isn't much, but it could help.
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Old Apr 7, 2009, 3:53 PM   #4
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From the old film days, I always liked the idea of having an UV/Skylight filter mounted on my lenses. Back then, these filters did a bit more than simply protect. They helped reduce haze by filtering the light (especially at higher altitudes). When digital photography started to take over the world, there was a lot of discussion around UV/Skylight filters and their effectiveness. So, a little over 4 years ago, I decided to run some UV filter tests including a variety of brands (Hoya, B+W, Promaster, Sigma, Tiffen and Fotodiox). I did not compare UV and skylight filters because there is an obvious difference between them. The skylight being pinkish, warms up the image and I would not be able to compare the image quality between the two types of filters. All filters were multi-coated. My findings were:

1. None of the filters degraded image quality in any obvious way except for Tiffen. The Tiffen filter distorted the image slightly around the edges and it was also the worst in terms of its build quality. The glass was very loosely attached to the rim and it felt cheap. The Sigma cut out more light than the others (about 1/2 a stop), followed by the Hoya. Both Promaster and Fotodiox surprised me by producing totally unchanged images. The B+W caused some vignetting at wide angle due to its thickness. I did not buy the slim version, which should eliminate this problem. Other than that, the filter also produced neutral images.

2. Most filters did not remove haze at all. The B+W and the Sigma were the only two to produce a slightly cleaner image under hazy conditions. But, unless the images were compared side-by-side, it was practically impossible to tell any reduction in terms of haze present on the images.

In the end, based on a careful analysis of the images, I can say that having a MC UV filter is a good way to protect your investment without compromise in terms of image quality. Even the cheap Fotodiox brand (sold on eBay for about $10), did remarkably well compared to the more expensive B+W. BTW, it was hard to justify the cost of a B+W filter. Maybe the perception is that it's better than others because of its high price tag. However, I found taht it performed no different than the other brands (except for Tiffen). Since I completed this test I've been using Hoya, Sigma or even Fotodiox filters on my lenses. Fotodiox is a great option for people on a tight budget looking for filters that are larger than 67mm as prices go up steeply from this size up.
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Old Apr 7, 2009, 10:55 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies.
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