Lens Filter Recommendation

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Barnzee, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. Barnzee macrumors regular

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    #1
    I just bought myself a brand new Canon 24-70mm F/2.8. I was hoping I could get some advice from the pros on what type of lens filters I should invest in.

    I'll be deploying to northern Japan for about six months and I plan to shoot outdoors in the cold and snow a lot. I also plan on going to the annual cherry blossom festival in the spring. I don't know if this environment would have an impact on the decision or not. I also have a future interest in experimenting with HDR.

    I was thinking of just a general UV filter for protection purposes, but I would also like something that I can get creative with as this will be my new walk around lens upgrading from the T2i Kit lens.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. HBOC macrumors 68020

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  3. sapporobaby macrumors 68000

    sapporobaby

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    #3
    Maybe some Neutral Density filters. You can be creative with blur and stop motion...
     
  4. hansolo669 macrumors regular

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    #4
    some ND filters would be a good idea, i would also get a nice polarizer. Hoya is a good brand for filters, though for the most part any "house brand" filter should give you enough quality. in addition don't get any sort of UV or "protective" filter, that's money down the drain that could go towards any sort of actually useful filter (2 stop ND, better polarizer).
     
  5. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #5
    All of the Canon L series lenses are weather sealed, so they are a good choice for shooting outdoors in bad weather. Adding a good quality UV or neutral density filter will complete the lens sealing. Don't go cheap, that's a big buck lens. Hoya and Cokin are good brands.

    Take the above advice carefully. Your lens is weather sealed but not water proof. You still need to be careful. I've seen them with a dusting of snow or light rain and no problems. Note that your camera is not weather sealed. You need to have a Canon 7D, 5D or higher for that.

    I have UV filters on all of my good lenses just for protection of the front element. I have a circular polarizer that enhances some of the landscape work that I like to do.

    As for the HDR style, that's all done in the computer so a filter won't matter.

    Dale

    Edit: Enjoy your tour of duty in Japan. My cousin is a Navy man and spent about a year there. He had fun.
     
  6. sapporobaby macrumors 68000

    sapporobaby

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    #6
    In the words of Han Solo, "I've got a bad feeling about this". You stated: " in addition don't get any sort of UV or "protective" filter, that's money down the drain that could go towards any sort of actually useful filter (2 stop ND, better polarizer)". Can you back this up as to why this is not a good idea. A UV or protective filter does just that, protects. I use them on my Nikon lenses all the time. Can you post some evidence to the contrary as to why not to use a protective filter?

    ----------

    I have to agree with Designer Dale here. Get a good filter. Spend the money. I have UV filters that resist dust. They have a strange coating on them where dust hardly sticks to them. I am not sure about the Nikon/Nikkor lenses but the pro glass should be able to stand the weather. Again, they are weather resistant, not water proof so a bit of judgment is required. Enjoy.
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #8
    Every air/glass interface loses resolution. A filter will degrade every single picture you take with it. Unless you're actively shooting in rain/mist or blowing sand, they really don't offer a lot of protection and in some lenses the front element is the cheapest to replace, as it's not always a part of the optical formula. Even in bad conditions, most lenses front elements will be just fine- I'd probably buy a protective filter if I were going to shoot in hard-blowing sand or get splattered by mud- or perhaps if I were shooting where rocks might get kicked up- but I shoot in the rain and snow without one, but with a hood extended.

    I did the math- I have own about a dozen lenses, only one of which can't take a protective filter (Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 AF-S II.) For a decent filter that reduces reflections as much as possible, I'm looking at an average cost of about $74/lens. I have yet to trash a lens, and I've owned my own SLR camera gear for 30 years, and over that time probably would have had to buy about 20 filters overall. I don't own a single lens where the repair cost for the front element would be $700. For most folks without a large lens collection, I'm pretty sure that inland marine insurance policies for all their gear would be a better form of protection.

    Finally, the front element isn't all that important, since it's not generally part of the optical formula, see for instance:

    http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2008/10/front-element-scratches

    Paul
     
  8. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #9
  9. sapporobaby macrumors 68000

    sapporobaby

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    #10
    Hey Paul,

    Thanks for the info. Like you, I have one lens (Nikon 14-24 mm) that does not accept a lens due to the large bulbous from element. However on my Nikon 24-70mm, and the 70-200mm, I am using 77mm filters to protect the front elements. Considering that each lens was well over 2k, I would consider the front element quite expensive thus the filter protection on my part. I guess it is a matter of each his own. I feel more secure with the filter and based on the quality of the lenses I am pretty sure the lose in resolution is not perceptible by the naked eye, and most cases post production makes it sort of moot. I could be wrong though.
     
  10. oblomow macrumors 68020

    oblomow

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    #11
  11. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #12
    It is indeed a personal choice, how much sharpness, light and contrast you lose depend so heavily on shooting conditions and the filter you're using that it can go anywhere from flare in every shot to barely noticeable. Personally, I find my images look better without a filter, but mostly that's when shooting towards a light source. It's easy to test though- so see how your lenses and filters perform both into and away from the light, and then decide for yourself.

    Since my $8000 lens can't take a protective filter (no threads and the front element is 6" across- they'd probably want $1500 for a filter if one fit,) with this in mind my mind's made up to not degrade every image I take for some little piece of mind with the smaller lenses-- a front element runs about $300 for most lenses and probably about twice that for the huge hunk of glass on the front of the 400. If I have to replace on element every 30 years, that's $10-20/year if it's not covered by insurance (which let's face it- if you're damaging the filter, you're more likely to have dropped it hard enough to mis-align the elements, or break it completely- hence the recommendation for an inland marine policy- drop it, lose it, have it stolen, it's all replaceable under a policy-- a filter won't give you that level of protection- you can cover about $25k of gear WITH liability and rental equipment coverage for ~$500/year-- so just covering the equipment is more than self-insuring a single element every 30 years, but probably on par with a set of filters every 5 years. If you're not worried about the degradation from the filter, then you're probably good to go with a little black paint into any significant scratch that shows up shooting into the sun- but again in 30 years of shooting, all my lenses shoot fine into the sun without filters on them. I don't baby my equipment either-- I do believe in lens hoods though (although only the inner hood stays on the 400- it doesn't fit in its bag with the outer hood attached.)

    Paul
     
  12. sapporobaby macrumors 68000

    sapporobaby

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    #13
    Had to give you a +1 Paul. Good points again. I am a lens hood believer-iner (not a word but I think you get my point). There have been countless times when I have cringed in horror as I banged my lens, but was relieved when I realized that it was the lens hood that actually made the noise.
     
  13. Sammy Cat macrumors member

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    #14
    B+W makes a great product. You cant go wrong with any one filter in their lineup.

    Go with a basic UV filter first, then start building your collection after that.
     
  14. Vudoo macrumors 6502a

    Vudoo

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    #15
    I have a 77mm Heliopan UV filter, but the only time I use it is when I'm in conditions where there is flying particles such as on the beach. Otherwise I prefer no filter since the lens hood can protect the front element most of the time. I also have B+W circular polarizer, which is quite useful when there is glare.
     
  15. jabbott macrumors 6502

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    Nov 23, 2009
    #16
    I just purchased two B+W Neutral Density filters (ND 0.9 - 8x and ND 3.0 - 1000x) which are useful for long exposures of waterfalls, clouds and beach scenes. Just this morning I stacked both ND filters and took photos of the sun using Live View to practice for the Venus solar transit next June. I don't consider these to be necessary for everyday shooting by any means, but they are useful in that they allow for longer exposures at wider apertures which normally aren't possible. See this article for more info and some beautiful example shots.
     
  16. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #17
    Be very, very careful shooting into the sun- the camera is going to keep the shutter open long enough with an ND that you could damage your sensor if you're shooting with a telephoto lens. Again, I'll point to the insurance recommendation- an Inland Marine policy will likely allow you to burn out the sensor and be able to purchase a new camera.

    Paul
     
  17. jabbott macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Indeed. I've taken precautions by using manual mode and forcing the exposure to be 1/1000 to 1/4000s, with the smallest aperture opening possible, and stacking both ND 0.9 and 3.0 filters (making it so that only ~1/8000th of the light gets through). I also never look into the viewfinder directly, as ND filters likely don't attenuate infrared/UV wavelengths (and even some UV filters don't attenuate certain UV wavelengths that well). For the Venus transit next June I will likely set focus to an infinite point while the camera is pointed away from the sun, then apply filters and swing over to the sun using a tripod, hold a white card against the viewfinder to determine framing, and then quickly get a photo. If the sensor becomes damaged, it will be worth it (assuming the photo turns out good!) because it will be the last solar transit of Venus in our lifetime.

    Here is an interesting story about sun-damaged 1Ds Mark III with a 600mm telephoto. I don't think they were trying to photograph the sun though. Be careful out there folks. :eek:
     

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