Opinions on Filters

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by clams, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. clams macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2009
    #1
    So I'm looking for a filter for my new Tokina 12-24 f/4 lens I just ordered yesterday. Apparently I need a slim filter for this to prevent vignetting. Any experiences with you ultra wide angle shooters? I'm specifically just looking for a basic UV filter (perhaps multicoated) to protect my lens
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
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    Northern/Central VA
    #2
    Unless you believe that a UV filter is going to block haze that the hot mirror won't, I'd just go with a plain multi-coated glass filter if you must put a filter on it.
     
  3. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2008
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    SLC
    #3
    for regular "protective" (use less) glass, i just don't see the point. The lenses (all good ones, anyways) have a coating on them from the factory. Just adding another piece of glass on top of the lens, just to protect it just isn't worth the price to me.

    Now if we are talking polarizer or ND or graduated, etc, than of course there is a place for those. This is just my opinion, ofcourse:cool:
     
  4. clams thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 2, 2009
    #4
    So if I put stored it in my bag with a hood, would you think it would be adequate protection?
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
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    Redondo Beach, California
    #5


    A famous photographer, who was really a better writer than photographer, Ansel Adams, addressed this issue many years ago in one of his books. To quote him "Protect the lens from what?" His opinion was that if you could not answer that question then you did not need a filter. His examples of good answers were "blowing sand or water." Examples of bad ansers were "impact with something hard" those filters are very, very thin and not very strong. He suggested to put the filter on when conditions warranted and removed it otherwise.

    I do use them. I get "stuff" like saltwater spray on the filter I can clean it off by soaking the filter overnight. Can't do that with a lens.

    OK if you must have one you want the "Super Multicoated" version and expect to spend $60 or more. Cheap filters are just not worth it. Why spend all that money on a good lens only to shoot every frame through cheap window glass. The filter must at least match the quality of the lens' front glass element. And it's bigger, so no surprise it's not cheap.

    You can recognize a good filter. Stand with your back to a source of light and try and use the filter as a mirror to view the light over your shoulder. The best filters will NOT work as mirrors. Cheap ones will let you see the light perfectly. There are many shades of quality between. Try this experiment with your lens too. Buy a filter that is better than the lens.

    If you do go cheap the effect on the image is just to reduce overall contrast or "snap". You might not even notice unless you compare images with and without in different lighting conditions.
     
  6. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

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    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #6
    If you get a really bad filter and shoot into the sun flare can turn out quite bad - here's my failed attempt to make a variable ND from 2 (very) old polarizers: :eek:

    [​IMG]

    For filters that don't vignette on an ultra wide you may have to look at the holder systems for large square filters, although buying such filter and holder just to protect the lens may be overkill.
    It's great if you wanted to start using ND/grad filters though.


    That said I've got a standard filter that came with the 12-24mm lens that I use protect it from salt water, haven't had any issues with it although stacking could pose problems.
     
  7. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #7
    I keep skylight filters on my lenses, partly to protect the front element of the lens, but actually more to put my own mind at ease. And, IMO, a relaxed photographer takes better pix... ;)
     
  8. dubels macrumors 6502

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    Aug 9, 2006
    #8
    Quoted from the Last Purchase thread in the picture section
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=8425221&postcount=829
     
  9. toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #9
    temporary thread hijack:
    a filter does NOTHING for fall protection. a filter is a rigid body, and as such, it does NOT dampen the force from a fall (impulse actually, but let's not get technical). all of the force is still transferred to the lens and camera. what a filter does do in that situation is risk seriously scratching the front element if it shatters.

    a hood, in contrast, is flexible, and acts like a crumple zone, slowing down the impact. the only problem is if it falls obliquely and acts like a lever arm, ripping the filter threads off. usually not the case, but it's not unheard of.

    in other words, don't drop your lenses. but if you think you might, use a hood.
     
  10. clams thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 2, 2009
    #10
    Nice picture regardless. Is your 12-24 the Tokina or the Nikon? Just curious so I know what to expect from my Tokina when it comes in later this week :D
     
  11. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

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    NSW, Australia.
    #11
    This one was actually done with the kit lens. :)
     
  12. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #12
    I don't use UV filters over my Tokina 12-24, but use a Hoya ultra-thin PCL. Spend as much as you can and buy the best ultra-thin Hoya or B+H CPL you can afford. It's a one time purchase that is worth every penny, so don't skimp in price. The only problem is that some thin CPL's won't allow for stacking (no threads on the front). But all can be used on smaller glass by the use of a step-down ring. For example, the Tokina has a 77mm thread. It means that you can buy a step-down ring (77mm to 58, for example), and still use the same CPL on a lens with 58mm threads.

    The Tokina comes with a very nice hood that will serve two purposes: to reduce flare, and to somewhat protect the lens.
     
  13. clams thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 2, 2009
    #13
    Suppose I had a slim filter on top. Could I even fit a lens cap over it? or is that simply not possible?
     
  14. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    Jun 9, 2009
    #14
    Some slim filters will allow the use of the standard cap, others won't. For example the B+W slim CPLs require you to use a push-on plastic cap (which is included with the filter) because it does not have threads on the front for the standard lens cap to grab on. The Nikon CPL though I think is also slim but allows for the use of the standard cap.

    I would not recommend the slim B+W polarizers as the slip-on cap falls off too easily. I know two people who bought them and both had problems with this. I think the quality of the B+W filters are great and I own the standard thickness one but would not buy the slim one.

    Re: putting a filter on, I bought a UV filter for protection of my 18-200 when I first bought it. I spent money for a good quality one, and after doing image tests with the filter on/off I can't see a difference. I actually would take the UV filter off the 18-200 more often but the honest truth is that I don't have a good place to put it (the box it came in does not serve well as a "field case" like the B+W filters have). That said, however, I did not buy a protective filter for my Nikon 12-24 wide angle lens. The lens cap and hood both provide ample protection of the front element. If I were to buy another lens in the future, I would probably not purchase a protective filter for that either.

    Also, a note about stacking filters. Unless there is no choice (for example you want to shoot with a polarizer and a grad ND), never stack filters. Vignetting issues aside, more glass on the front equals more reflections and flare. If you have a protective filter for your lens and want to shoot with a polarizer, take the UV off and put the polarizer on.
     
  15. clams thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 2, 2009
    #15
    Ah thanks for the help! I'll post some pics when the 12-24 comes in.
     
  16. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    Alaska
    #16
    You got some good answers above. I forgot to mention that I only use a CPL when needed. For example, if I am taking a landscape photo where there is water in the foreground and a lot of light is being reflecting toward the camera. Another example: lets say that my wife is asleep in the car and I want to take a photo of her face through the window. More than likely the glass will reflect a lot of light toward the camera. In this case the CPL blocks some of that light. A CPL intensifies a blue sky, the the white clouds look whiter or more prominent. But CPL's also reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor from 1/2 to 2-1/2 stops or so. They do work very nicely during bright days with blue skies.

    As told by others, a high quality UV filter is OK, but a bad quality one will degrade IQ.
     
  17. dubels macrumors 6502

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    Aug 9, 2006
    #17
    Just posting a quote from a person that had personal experience... I dunno you can doubt his experience but I personally have never dropped a lens. I only posted that because there was a mini debate on the realities of a UV or clear filter for protection. The person I quoted happened to have his camera and lens drop from a relatively high distance without breaking his lens. I just have a UV filter or skylight filter on my lens because like others have said it gives me comfort to think that there is one extra piece of protection. BTW I do have a lens hood on my lens most of the time. I know that if I drop my lens there is not much that is going to save it but luck. Even with a lens hood on it may hit a protrusion of some kind and just destroy your lens.

    BTW my friend has a Hoya ultra-thin PCL on his Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 that I tried the other day and I didn't notice vignetting at 11mm. So anything from the Hoya Ultra series seems like it would work for your lens. Skylight or Neutral would be nice. I love that lens and I can't wait to get my hands on one.
     
  18. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #18
    I almost always use a circular polarizer on my Sigma EX 30mm f/1.4, because I hate most kinds of reflections with a passion. And most of the time "forgetting" the filter while my wife shoots does not make any harm for her pics.
     
  19. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    Jan 5, 2008
    #19
    You might consider a polarizer, because polarizers are very handy for landscapes, anything involving water, sky or reflections. But do beware - sometimes polarizing filters can add vignetting to ultra-wide lenses. Mine did, on my Sigma 10-20mm, but it's not too much for me to cope with in RAW conversion. Shooting on 10mm often requires cropping anyway.
     
  20. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #20
    Polarizers are the most basic filter to own, period.

    That being said, it darkens the hell out of your viewfinder and sometimes drops the light by 1-4 stops. Making exposure combinations limited in some situations.

    That said...

    Buy filters for EFFECTS not a solution to a problem.
     
  21. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    Jan 5, 2008
    #21
    Polarizers and gradient neutral density filters are the only ones I think you need to buy, since a lot of the effects of the others can be produced in software (warming). There are a few odd ones out, but people who want a starburst filter tend to know what it is and if they need it already.
     
  22. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #22
    I have the same lens, love it. You don't need such a filter at all. Vignetting is corrected for on the computer these days. Only very few lenses have dedicated filters to compensate for vignetting: the 40 mm lens on the Hasselblad XPan is such an example. But that's a film camera where you cannot compensate for vignetting.
     
  23. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    Jun 9, 2009
    #23
    I'm pretty sure he's referring to the fact that a slim filter is needed (as opposed to a standard thickness one) is needed to prevent hard vignetting of the image (capturing the filter rim) at the widest focal lengths, not the need for a center spot ND to compensate for lens vignetting.
     
  24. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
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    Northern/Central VA
    #24
    On the other hand, I'm a big enough fan of Schneider-Kreuznach glass that I'd switch to a sock-type cover if given the choice between B+W and almost anyone one else.
     
  25. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

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    Location:
    Holocene Epoch
    #25
    I use B+W's MRC UV filters exclusively. Those and the Hoya seem to be the best in terms causing the least flare, light loss, etc. My problem with the Hoya UV filters is that they are just plain hard to clean once they get smudged.

    I also gave up on the idea of one 77mm ND filter and one 77mm CP filter, because using the step up rings from 67mm to 77mm or 72mm to 77mm means you can't use the lens hoods and the filters at the same time.

    BTW, there are some lenses where the filter actually completes the weather sealing.

    Nobody asked, but I buy all my B+W direct from HK via maxsaver.net; they take PayPal and the packages take about a week +/- to arrive by way of the good ol' USPS (no rush shipping available).
     

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