Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Jimmys, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. Jimmys macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2009
    Well I have tried some different kinds of filters and I want to know what kinds do you guys use. What are some filters that I have to have and others that are fun?
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Most people can use a polarizing filter.

    With digital you don't need much else. I use to filters to adjust the color but now that is handled in post processing. I also used to use red, yellow and green filters with black and white film but now again this is best done in post processing.

    Just get a good polarizing filter.
  3. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Yeah I think the only filter really necessary nowadays is a polarizer. Get a good quality one not a cheap one, as it can make your picture blurry or give it a color cast.

    People used to use color filters to balance light or add tones, but this is better done in PP I think. Same for B+W conversion you can filter the colors digitally.

    Landscapers can still find use in neutral density and graduated neutral density filters so if you shoot a lot of landscape, maybe those would be good to have (I shoot a lot of landscape and am thinking about picking up a set). Grad NDs can be replaced by HDR but it takes a lot of PP work to do and also sometimes the result can look unnatural if you're not good at it. Using a Grad ND makes the capture quicker and also avoids ghosting issues due to multiple exposures, etc.

    The other filters (star effect, fog, diffusion, etc) are mainly pretty cheesy and cliche so unless you really are going after a particular look, don't bother.

    Lastly if you want to mod your camera to do IR work, you'll need IR filters, but they're useful only if you modify your camera to shoot IR, and then the camera can't really be used without IR filters anyhow.

  4. Jimmys thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2009
    Ok I went and got a polarized filter. Are there any tricks or things that I should know when using it?
  5. Padaung macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2007
    Nobody has mentioned this yet to my surprise. Put UV filters on the front of all your lenses, and do it now! Once put on they stay on the lens. They are cheap to buy, don't affect the image in anyway (effectively they are a clear piece of glass) and serve to protect the front of the lens. Spray, dust, finger prints etc then never get near the front element of the lens. If (God forbid) you do accidently knock the front of the lens on something, the filter will take the hit and break, but leaving the front lens element intact. It is much, much cheaper to replace a UV filter than a lens.

    Spin the polarising filter around when it is on the front of the lens, point the camera up towards a nice clear blue sky at about a 90 degree angle from the sun and you will see the depth of the blue change as you rotate the filter. You choose how strong you want the polarising effect to be. Same when you point the camera towards water or a car window - this time the reflections and glare will be reduced. You will in effect be able to see through the surface of the water and into the sea.

    A polariser knocks out a lot of light, normally around 2 stops - it means you can also use it as a ND filter as well.
  6. NathanCH macrumors 65816


    Oct 5, 2007
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I have a few things in my camera bag but I have no idea what they do. When I look through them it makes everything a tiny bit darker. It says C-FC on it. Is it just to make the image a bit darker, if so, couldn't that be accomplished in PP?
  7. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    the only thing that will make your pictures worse than a clear piece of glass is the lens cap. a good filter is multicoated in order to minimize light loss and flare.

    this is the only reason to use a UV/Skylight/clear filter (other than completing weathersealing), but how many people shoot in areas with fluids or debris flying around regularly? fingerprints aren't a big deal - cleaning the front element and cleaning a filter of some oil is simple. either way, it won't affect image quality, unless there are fingerprints smeared all over.

    no. a filter is rigid and does not crumple or "give" in any way. a lens landing filter-first will have all the force transferred from the filter to the barrel, causing the same amount of internal damage as with no filter, and glass from the filter shattering is liable to damage the front element.

    in comparison, a hood is made of a flexible plastic, which drags out the deceleration, and hence lessens the impact. not that a hood is the best protection either, but it's a lot better than a filter.
  8. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA

    A) Yes, UV filters do affect the image, they reduce the resolution (~15lp/mm as I recall.) Actually, that's true not just of UV filters, but any filters, even the hyper-expensive ones. They also block UV, which will reduce the haze scattering light in an image.

    B) Filter manufacturers actually make clear, coated glass filters which don't have UV coatings. Since the Hot Mirror will block UV, if I were to do filters, I'd do the B+W clear filters if I did anything, as it has less potential effect on the image than any other filter.

    C) All that junk gets on the filter, so you don't really net any benefit in not having to keep an optical surface clean- you only gain if you're not careful enough to keep things that'll damage the coatings away from your cleaning.

    If the lens is insured, then it's not a big deal to replace it, and you don't take a hit in IQ with every picture.
  9. PeteB macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2008
    The vast majority of my photography is done without any filter at all. When I was a newb, I was sold a U/V filter, but I was never really happy with the results until I took it off (it was a real cheap filter).

    Front elements of lenses are tougher than filters, so there's no need to use them for "protection" unless you're going somewhere really messy (like shooting surf or foam parties).

    Another use for a ND filter is to slow down the shutter speed in certain circumstances - so you can get that dreamy effect for waterfalls, sea scapes.
  10. peskaa macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2008
    London, UK
    I personally stick a UV filter on every lens I own (well, those with 82mm or lower ring size). Why? Because in my job, lenses take an absolute battering - smashed filters are a regular occurrence. This isn't usually due to a drop, but other objects hitting the front.

    Now, this means the filter breaks, not the front element (or scratched). Now whilst all my lenses are insured, even with Canon's pro service it takes around 3 working days to get a lens back, longer if parts are short. This can then mean I don't have a lens for a shoot, which then means lost money.

    I'd rather take a very very slight hit in IQ to ensure I can keep shooting. I use Hoya Pro1.
  11. Padaung macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2007

    This is the point I was trying to get across too, but you have explained it better than me. All my kit is insured but I'd have to pay the first £50 of any claim anyway - I'd rather pay £30(ish) for a new UV filter and keep using my lens the same day. I'm a member of the Nikon pro service, and like the Canon service there is a delay getting kit back/replaced.

    A UV won't save a lens from a drop, but I've knocked the front on corners of chairs/tables by accident when the camera has been slung over my shoulder. I also had a child put his sticky fingers (from eating sweets) all over a filter as the camera was slung behind my back at a wedding. When at the beach I've had spray from the sea cover the front of lenses on any number of occasions. Sea water rots cars quickly enough, I don't want it eating away at the coating on my lens. Also walking through the local woods, branches from plants can easily scratch the front of a lens when crawling through undergrowth. All of these are pretty normal situations for anyone with a camera, not just pros.

    Sure, they may be a tiny image quality hit, but I figure that is minimal compared to the benefits of having the filter on the front - they have saved me so many times already.

    Hoya +1
  12. rouxeny macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2008
    I entirely disagree about the ability for a UV filter to protect against drops.

    I just had my 70-200 fall out of my bag, fall 3 feet and land on concrete. The Tiffen UV filter took the brunt of the impact, as did the lens cap.

    The lens is at Canon right now getting checked out, but I think that it will be fine.

    Up until that day, I was not a proponent of using a UV filter, specifically because I think that it probably degrades the image somewhat, and that any protection could be achieved with just a lens hood.

    However, after that day, I am not as sure. Obviously, the lens hood was reversed in this situation.

    Replacing a UV filter is a lot cheaper than fixing a lens.

    Sorry about the repost on the picture for those of you who have seen it before.

    Attached Files:

  13. 88888888 macrumors 6502a

    May 28, 2008
  14. TarangPrasad macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2009
  15. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    In 27 years of owning my own SLRs, medium and large format gear, I've never had an instance where a filter saved a lens- I figure I've saved enough in filters over the years to pay for at least one pro-quality ~$2000 lens. Then again, my most-used lens these days is a 400/2.8, so I'm quite used to not having a filter out front, even going through the undergrowth (lens reversed over my shoulder if there's something that'd get past the hood in the way.)

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