Time for some new filters - Tiffen, Hoya or B+W?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by hoffy, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    I smashed my only decent Red filter this morning, so its time to get some new ones. Its probably also time to get a range of colours, as just using Red is probably a bit limiting.

    Anyhow, since i prefer glass screw on's (as opposed to Cokin/Lee type square filters), I would like to know if anyone should suggest steering away from any of the three brands - Tiffen, Hoya or B+W.

    Cheers
     
  2. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    I've always been happy with B+W and Rodenstock and I also have a few from Heliopan. They are all similar and made from the same Schott glass. I don't know as much about Tiffen filters except I think they are made differently. I do know that Tiffen filters are alot cheaper than the german companies, which is nice. Tiffen is big in the motion picture filter industry and one of the best photographic craftsmen on earth, John Sexton, uses them for his photography. So they must be pretty good.
     
  3. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

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    B&W with HRC coating. No use having a coated lens if you stick an uncoated piece of glass in front of it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2011
  4. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I use B+W MRC filters for the most part while shooting still. I've used Tiffen square filters when shooting 16mm motion and didn't have a problem with them.
     
  5. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    IMO Hoya HMC filters are the best over all balance of quality and cost. I doubt one could tell the difference in results between them and B+W filters.
     
  6. Nikanon

    Nikanon Member

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    Kodak Wratten Gelatins. Ive never enjoyed a wider range of filters at such a high quality. They store easy, and can be found around for just a dollar or two. Not as easy as screw filters, but the benefits outweigh that con.
     
  7. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    I highly recommend the B&W filters. They're the only ones I use. If you pay for quality lenses, put quality filters in front of them.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The quality of the filter rings and threads on the couple of B&W filters I have makes them stand out. As far as the glass and coatings are concerned, I've never been able to tell the difference between the three.
     
  9. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Thanks for your input guys. Unfortunately B+W filters are hideously expensive here (just like everything else. A medium red, 67mm is around $90). I now need to weigh up whether it is worth the extra expense or not.
     
  10. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I shoot lenses with small filter sizes (39mm and 46mm) so most of the filters I use are a good deal cheaper than in larger sizes. Thus the premium for a B+W isn't that bad. In fact, I just looked, and Tiffen or Hoya don't even a full line up at some of those sizes. I'm sure that influenced my decisions.

    You can also buy them used. A lot of color filters for B&W film go for cheap since the digi guys don't use them anymore.
     
  11. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    You get what you pay for. I have some of each brand and found that a high quality Hoya is similar to a high quality B+W which are both superior to a lower-price Tiffen. I have just never found the Tiffen to be the same build quality as the other, even if the results are similar.
     
  12. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    YMMV I have had great luck with the Hoya HMC filters and a Nikon CPL.
     
  13. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I go along with the B+W or Heliopan. Better glass and if my memory serves me right the mounts are (or at least were) brass.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  14. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    I've used a mix of Hoya and B&W. No major difference so far. I've had more issues with the lower end Hoyas and older B&Ws - either less coating or no coating I imagine - but the newer, higher end filters from each have been excellent.
     
  15. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I have used all 3 and had good luck with all of them!

    Jeff
     
  16. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    If you're willing to do some research on available sizes and wait, there are bargains out there on camera brand(e.g., Nikon, Canon, Minolta, etc)filters--all of them first-rate glass with brass jam-proof rings. I snagged a couple NOS Mamiya 77mm polarizers for peanuts recently after wincing at the cost of the primo brands. Look for bigger than you normally use and snag some step-down rings.
     
  17. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    I buy 82mm filters when the price is right, and use adapters.
    It's an amazing feeling to buy a B+W Polarizer for $ 4.25 !
    Or a 100mm filter for $ 2.99 !
     
  18. macrorie

    macrorie Member

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    I go for used Hoya MC, B+W MRC, and Nikon from KEH.
     
  19. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    I can only agree with the best optically being B+W MRC and Heliopan but the best deal is Hoya HMC. One thing I have noticed over the years is I have worn the coating off of a few B+W filters but the Hoyas are a little more durable. I have never ruined one. I don't know the kind of glass they use, but I would have to assume it is harder than the Schott glass. It is worth it to get coated filters though even if you just get the single coated Calumet or Tiffens. The coating will have more effect on your images than better glass without it.
     
  20. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    I needed some filters quick and the only yellow and red I could find locally were Tiffens for $25/each. The images from them are really sharp, I mean printed to 11x14 not just eyeballed/scanned, so honestly I think you can buy some Tiffens and use them for $25 rather than spending $60-90 on more expensive brands.

    I thought I'd find tons in bargain bins at stores but no, not a single one!

    There is one red Hoya 77mm filter on eBay right now, one! For BIN $40... My Mamiya RB67 takes 77mm for all, perhaps the 67mm for the 645 lenses will be easier to find, I don't know. Tiffen is there for you at under $30/filter new...

    Edit: lots of expensive Tiffens on eBay too, it isn't the cheapest place for everything I guess!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2011
  21. TSSPro

    TSSPro Member

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    I've still got stacks of wratten gel filters with their $12usd price tag still on the paper sleeve, never been opened. When those were the standard it wasnt unheard of to have a $1000usd of wratten filters in your location gear for whatever may pop up while out on a shoot for color compensation and balance....phew glad they arent that much anymore!
     
  22. ulysses

    ulysses Subscriber

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    I've just been going through, cleaning and organizing the 100 or so filters I've collected over the years. A lot of Tiffen and Hoya, a fair number of Nikons, a few Vivitar/Promaster/Fotomate/Samigon, a Canon and Minolta or two, a couple of B+W and several Kenkos. Some of them are scratched, for which I can't blame the maker. Some of them are cloudy, for which maybe I can. Almost to exclusion, the cloudy ones are Tiffen, but then I have more Tiffen than others -- mostly I bought them (and Hoya) because the price was right. Many came in used, either on lenses I bought or from the usual sources.

    There are two ways (maybe more) to make a filter: color the glass or sandwich a non-glass colored filter between two layers of glass. Tiffen uses the latter, and I suspect that's the source of the cloudiness. It's not on the surface of the glass and no amount of cleaning will remove it.

    Of the filters currently available new, I have the following observations:


    1. Nikon no longer makes a full range of filters, having abandoned most B&W and color correction filters as "not necessary for digital." Their older chrome/brass filters are very nice, but their black ones tend to bind more than others.
    2. Hoya still makes some colors (red, yellow, etc.) certainly more than Nikon. HMC are nearly as much as B+W non-coated. I haven't seen any pattern of problems with Hoyas, and the mounts are nice.
    3. Tiffen makes a good range of filters, but I suspect their quality at this time.
    4. B+W makes a complete range of filters, no questions on quality, but coated filters are ungodly expensive.
    5. Heliopan and Formatt, similar to B+W, possibly less extensive lineup.
    6. Other common names an unknown quantity (Marumi?)
    7. Lots of cheap filters available on eBay, quality suspect.
    8. Many cheap filters use plastic retaining rings that don't hold up. Loose glass is a problem in a number of them.
    9. Nikon uses spring-retainers in at least some of their filters, and when the glass comes loose (it will) there's no way to tighten them back down.
    10. Lots of used filters available from eBay and KEH, but I've gotten some bad ones (scratches or cloudy) so I'm reluctant to buy more.
    11. I've never used Cokin-style filters, the idea of putting plastic in front of the lens doesn't appeal. I have a few that came with other equipment and I'm not impressed.
    The long and short of it is, I don't use filters unless I need them, and coating isn't always a concern (I know how to minimize flare) so I'll probably buy Hoya (non-HMC) if I can get the size/type I need, and B+W uncoated when I can't. New, too, unless I really trust the seller.

    I probably could have saved some money in the long run had I figured this out 40 years ago, but hey, live and learn.

    Ulysses.
     
  23. nickrapak

    nickrapak Member

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    The only B+W filter I have was bought when the Ritz Camera in my area was going out of business. The only reason I bought it is because it was dirt cheap. Having used it for a while, I can say that if I had the money to buy them, B+W would be all that I'd buy. Not only because of the quality of the glass, but the fact that they screw on and off with ease, and they are resistant to damage. Being that price is somewhat of an object to me, I usually go with Hoya. They're a good match between quality and price.
     
  24. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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