A filter is....

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by snapecn88pa, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. snapecn88pa

    snapecn88pa Member

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    My first post and question but first... Greetings to one and all and...Merry Christmas.

    Okay. As a complete novice I'm a little confused at to which UV to buy. I've been told I should by a UV if for no other reason than to protect my lens. But I've just been on Amazon and well, I ran away:confused:

    Can anyone offer me a little guidance please!

    My question is.....What's the difference (apart from price) between......
    A Hoya G or Green series UV.
    A Hoya HMC -UV.
    A Hoya pro digital protector.
    A Hama (coated on both sides) UV.
    A Hama UV HTMC Filter
    A B&W-UV with multi resistant coating.
    A Sigma EX DG Digitally Optimised UV Filter.

    Cheers.
    Snaps.
     
  2. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    IMO the only real differences are in claims of performance and manufacturing technique. Maybe there is something more, but I am unaware of it. It's a pretty benign item so there will be plenty of marketing effort to say why a particular brand is the better choice. The "Hoya pro digital protector" doesn't seem to claim any UV performance, just protection and optical clarity. Quality usually follows price in regard to filters, at least to certain degree.

    Oh, welcome to APUG BTW.
     
  3. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Well, now that you mention it, the main difference is - - - price.

    Seriously, if your objective is to provide physical protection for the front element of your lens, then any of these will serve. The differences in price represents how well they function optically (ie, which introduce less distortion) and how well they function as UV filters (which means how well they address light balancing in situations where there is an abnormal amount of UV present, for example, in the mountains on a very clear day). And of course there is the matter of price - some filter manufacturers choose to market themselves at the 'premium' brand and charge a higher price just for that.

    You characterize yourself as 'a complete novice'. On that basis, I would venture to guess that you won't notice the optical effects of a UV filter. And you very well might not be able to see whatever distortion that a filter introduces.

    There is a long tradition in 35mm photography for manufacturers and retailers (especially retailers following the "sell that sucker something else" approach to marketing) to recommend either a UV or a 1A (or skylight) filter to 'protect the lens'. In theory, the presence of any filter degrades the image to some degree, and purists would argue that the only time you should use a filter is when you need filtration. And it is true that having a filter on a lens will protect the front element of the lens from fingerprints, grit, scratches, etc, and replacing that filter is less expensive than replacing the lens.

    I have a 1A filter on each of my 35mm lenses. Yeah, I know it's probably unnecessary, but I followed 'conventional wisdom'.
     
  4. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    As a complete novice your seller of cameras is trying to sell you a haze reducing filter that works slightly and is primarily created for use by those photographers who are careless enough to allow the front glass of the lens to be damaged/scratched due to carelessness. I would instead invest in a circular polarizing filter or a basic color correction kit for black and white photography. You'll learn more sooner and get more practical use from it IMHO.
     
  5. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

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    As an ex-retailer of photo. gear I have to agree that an extra sale is an advantage, but that's not to say that you have been given incorrect advice. A UV or Skylight will protect the front element of the lens and is much cheaper to replace than the lens itself. These days I shoot only colour transparency material and always use either a Skylight (Haze) or UV filter on all my lenses. The only exception is in landscape work when I use a polarizing filter. I would suggest a Skylight if you are mainly shooting colour or a UV (sort of the same thing, without colour correction) for monochrome. Buy the best you can afford, multi-coated are better than standard ones but you don't NEED filters at this stage. You will know when you do!
     
  6. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Allan's right. Don't overdo it at this stage. Keep it simple.
     
  7. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hi and welcome.

    IMO, you should use a UV filter only if you want to reduce the amount of UV light hitting your film. I might use one if I lived at high altitudes, but otherwise, to simply protect your lens, I recommend a clear protective filter that is multi coated, but not expensive.

    Example: http://www.hoyafilter.com/products/hoya/gf-03.html

    That being said, the only situations in which I use a protective filter are when there is spraying water, etc. I use a lens hood instead most of the time. The only time I have ever scratched the glass on a lens was when a filter shattered and a shard of glass scratched the lens.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2008
  8. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    I don't use filters meant for digital cameras as I all my filters are used only a film camera, not a digital. Hoya HMC UV(0) and SKYLIGHT 1B filters have a total of 6 layers of coating (3 front/3 rear) which dramatically cuts down ghosting and flare when used on digi cameras. I definitely wouldn't put a stock-standard filter on any of my L-series lenses; match the filter to the task. German manufacturer B+W's filters are superb (the Kaisemann polarisers particularly) albeit mega-expensive and well suited to top line optics, ditto Hoya's Super and Pro series filters.

    Be aware that a Skylight 1B filter is slightly pink and may impact upon positive film with a magenta bias. In my experience, this filter should not be used with Provia or Velvia 100F: use a UV(0) filter instead. The pinkishness 'tones down' the blue haze in distant scenes and can 'warm up' an image shot in the shade, but not by much. Reiterating a couple of posts here, it is very important to protect your lens with a filter: it's much cheaper to smash a filter up front than the lens front element! :wink:

    One rule is match the filter to the quality of your lens, if only to protect that big element up front. If you buy a $1,700 lens, don't put a $16.00 "high quality" filter on the top — it's not the done thing, son. :mad:

    For the record, all my lenses have a HOYA Super HMC Skylight 1B interchanged with Super HMC UV(0) filter and a B+W Kaisemann circular polariser (one size with step-up/down rings for other lenses).

    Amazon.com is not the best place to go for advice. APUG is!! :tongue:
     
  9. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I once purchased a very wide angled zoom from a seller on eBay who apparently decided it would be best to protect it in shipping by screwing a UV filter onto the front of it. If the filter had had a spacer ring placed between it and the filter threads then the filter would not have marred the center of the front element when it was tightened on.
     
  10. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    ...Which leads us to another subject: filter clearance.
    Many aspheric front elements actually protrude very slightly beyond the front filter thread, posing a very real danger to the unwary, inexperienced or plain clumsy. If you own such a lens, you must be extremely cautious before fitting any filter to the front element, even then, probably one which is a low-profile type specifically designed for protruding front elements. I have seen far too many lenses offered second hand with front-element damage caused by just this. If there is any doubt, one way to check is to smear the centre rear side of a filter you wish to try with rubber stamp ink, then very carefully screw it on. If the ink contacts the front element at any time (not just when fully-on), it will be very obvious and that filter (if not all) is thus immediately eliminated from your deliberations. My Canon TS-E lens is fitted with slim (low profile) filters for this very reason: a pronounced aspheric front element.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2008
  11. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    One other difference is that the B+W will have a brass housing and threads, which are softer and are less likely to "bind" when tightened down on your lens threads. The filter won't get stuck on your camera as easily as other brands. Heliopan also uses brass. I try to find used or new old stock B+W filters at camera shows or at KEH. Camera stores get loads of used filters in good shape when they take cameras in trade, and they pay essentially nothing for them.

    Lee
     
  12. sun of sand

    sun of sand Member

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    I'd forget about a UV and go for a proper;y sized lens hood
    Hood the lens and
    you'll have to want to purposely smudge the lens
    Will protect from glare
    Protect from natures damage quite a bit
    Not have to shoot through a filter for no reason all the time

    Plus
    Lens hoods make you and your lens look cool
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Bob Atkins wrote a pretty good article a while back on photo.net comparing UV filters of various brands for UV reduction, and found that there is a real difference between filters, and unsurprisingly, you get what you pay for. Better filters like B+W and Heliopan cut UV transmission more effectively.

    I've tested various filters for flare and ghosting and discovered that multicoating really makes a significant difference, which most people claim is insignificant, because they've never made a good test. It helps to shade the filter, but this only reduces the kind of flare that happens when extraneous light falls directly on the filter, but much of the flare in an optical system comes from the subject itself, and this is what multicoating reduces. MRC coating also incorporates scratch resistance, as does the latest multicoating on Heliopan filters. Single coating is also an improvement over a cheap uncoated filter.

    Brass rings are better than aluminum, as has been mentioned.

    Some very cheap no-name filters use green glass.

    I have yet to encounter a filter that wasn't optically flat in any apparent way, but it seems this was once a problem.

    Heliopan and B+W colored filters are dyed in the mass, while most Tiffen filters are glass/gel/glass sandwiches. A filter that is dyed in the mass will last longer, but Tiffen filters will last long enough usually (like if you had a filter for 20 years, you probably wouldn't worry about replacing it if you had to).

    I don't use a UV filter as physical protection unless there is an obvious physical hazard like crowds, sand, or sea spray. I do usually use a lens shade.
     
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  15. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    David's post reminded me of one other difference, although I'd have to check to make sure it's still in force as a policy. B+W filters have (had?) a lifetime warranty in the US, through their US distributor. I had a B+W circular polarizer that I purchased in 1978 start to have some edge separation in about 1990. It was replaced at no charge.

    It's not germane to your request for info on the UV filters, but my son had his Tiffen circular polarizer roll down a bluff into the S.D. Badlands, so he started borrowing my B+W. I warned him about the difference in degree of effectiveness, but he still tended to overdo the B+W setting, being used to using the Tiffen at near maximum. The B+W has a noticeably stronger polarizing effect.

    Lee
     
  16. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Hang on...For the benefit of those of us in the deep south of the world (k.e. Australia), what, prey tell, is a "Badlands"?? A degraded area? Overrun with Mexican drug cartels or a place culturally/environmentally taboo to native N.A. indians? I think I've heard the term/name before used by mountain bikers, though I'm now even more curious what it is. :confused:

    In regard to warranty of B+W filters, the Kaisemann POL I have is "unconditionally warranted" against any defects or failing, so I assume that covers such a bizarre event as "edge separation" (I've never heard of that actually, even with HOYA filters from the early 1980s).
     
  17. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Polarizers are all glass/polarizing foil/glass sandwiches, so, like cemented lens cells, they're subject to separation at some point, though it isn't usually a problem with modern UV-cured optical cements. Kaesemann polarizers have sealed edges to reduce the possibility of separation.
     
  18. fujicanica

    fujicanica Member

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    Filters are intended to do many things to/for an image, but I'm sure none are designed to protect a lens.

    For the purpose of simply protecting the lens, I always have plastic clip-on lens caps with me.
     
  19. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badlands

    As for protective filters, design goals and usage are often different. It's difficult to make good images through a lens cap. I always use a UV or skylight filter around blowing sand, and water mist or spray.

    Lee
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2008
  20. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Welcome to APUG Snaps,

    My feelings on filters are:

    A. The UV filter is useless unless you are shooting at high altitudes. It never was intended by a manufacturer as a protective device.

    B. Never use a filter that is not as good or better than the lens you are filtering. Cheap filters will ruin the image of an otherwise good lens.

    C. Lens caps are just that. Use one to protect the lens when transporting your gear.

    D. Rather than a UV filter I would suggest a lens hood. It will cut flare.
     
  21. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    I generally don't use UV filters. My 35mm macro lens is an exception, however. Insect photography can have its hazards, like bugs seeing themselves in the lens and attacking it... Not that it's going to cause much, if any damage, but it's nice to know that if a bug is going to attack my lens all its going to hit is my filter.
     
  22. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Like everyone else I gotta put my two cents in.
    UV & SL filters are just cheap insurance for me. Whatever dust & smudges I end up cleaning off at the end of the day is removed from the filter, not the lens. Each lens has it's own resident filter & that's the way it is uh-huh!
    If you've been in the retail end of the camera biz for a while you will have met customers who come in with broken or bent filters to be removed & replaced. If not for the filter it would have been the filter ring or possibly front element of the lens. Filter rings can be straightened glass can't.
     
  23. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

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    OK, have you got all that snapecn88ca. As you will find everyone has their own opinion, and rightly so, but as you said you are a novice and may very well have been put off by all this tech. talk. To simplify, you cannot go far wrong by using a UV, no colour correction, no exposure difference. It won't do any harm and it will protect that front element of the lens. Buy a B+W Multicoated, not a slimline, 'cause you need the front thread for the lenshood. Lenshood? Never take a picture without one, ever!
     
  24. snapecn88pa

    snapecn88pa Member

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    Wow! Thanks everyone....Food for thought? Yeah well, I just put on 2 stone reading this! Great start though as I now understand 2 things.

    One: Filters, UV, Sky, are up to the individual and not a set in stone requirement.
    Two. Use a filter (including the above) if you think/know/decide the picture needs it to achieve your desired goal. That I'll learn along the way as you all did I guess?
    Though as Allen points out, having something, as in a UV, to protect that front piece of glass can't be such a bad idea and, I can always take it off if i feel the need.

    Oh! And: Three. Why a dog hangs its head out the car window.....roll on summer, the Harley will see sunshine again! Well; with luck and a little global warming!

    Thanks guys. Now I'm off to buy the most expensive, hand made form solid gold UV filter I can find! Only kidding!
    Sanps.
     
  25. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I like a good polarizing filter. It's the one I use most. Otherwise, I don't use a UV filter unless i'm taking pictures at the beach or if I don't have a lens cap for a lens.

    Yellow, Orange and Red are nice, very helpful with contrast. I try not to pay too much for filters, the only ones I would pay a good amount for are the old Kodak wratten glass ones.
     
  26. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    Oh, i'm sorry. I agree with the other posters about sales pitches and ploys. A UV filter is generally a UV filter, a cheap spiratone is probably just as usable as an expensive hoya hmc one.