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Thread: Filters

  1. #1
    jim kirk jr.'s Avatar
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    Filters

    A few years back when I started and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing(I'm still not sure I have any idea)I didn't use filters at all.Then when I
    mistakenly thought I had an idea(bear in mind I have had no photography
    training-anything i may have learned was thru reading and trial&error)I started
    to use cheapo store brand filters.Basically I probably could have used colored
    plastic wrap and done about as well.These days though I've stuck with B+W
    filters and am pleased with my results.I use the base models,not the super
    or extra super coated ones that are out there.What filters do other APUGer's
    use?Does anyone use the super coated ones-are they really any better than
    the base models?I realise that not all are the same between manufacturers,
    so which maker do you prefer,why?
    "An object never performs the same function as its name or its image"-Rene Magritte

    "An image of a dog does not bite"-William James applied to photography

  2. #2
    roteague's Avatar
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    I generally try to stick with the B+W brand myself, although I do have a couple of Tiffen filters (enhancing and warm polarizer). I also use Cokin filters (ND Grads + 81B). I've am planning on replacing these with the equivalent Lee brand.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  3. #3
    Baxter Bradford's Avatar
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    Jim, your first decision is if you want screw in filters and whether the type of photography you are most interested in is likely to necessitate the use of ND grad filters. I use them for both B+W and Colour.
    If so, you need to use a filter system, such as Lee or Cokin. I moved to Lee from Cokin P series because they offer a wider range of ND grads which are more Neutral. Not being flush with cash, I prioritised my spend using Joe Cornish's First light photo details to see which he used most.
    So I shopped for 0.3, 0.45, 0.6 and 0.9 Hard transition ND grads, an 81B an 81D and the shrimp (85C) warm-ups. I have added 0.45 and a 0.9 soft transition ND grads, which I find that I use most often. Also an 81B soft grad which I use inverted to warm up the foreground and keep skies cooler. This is more versatile and cheaper than buying ND and warm-up combination grads, so long as you accept that theoretical degradation that will occur with the extra filter in place.
    If you intend to use a polariser, it is probably best to get the Lee screw in adaptor and use something like a B+W Kasemann or Heliopan, if you are still feeling flush with cash!
    Don't panic about expense, once you have made the decision about which system to go for, you can add as you, or your wallet see fit. I haven't felt the need to add to this set-up for the last 2 years.
    Whilst on a workshop with Joe Cornish, I ended up shooting through the edge of the 85C because I didn't have the grad version. Once precessed, amazingly, it worked! We couldn't see the transition on the 5x4 tranny. I haven't dared to repeat this exercise, but would be tempted to do so, if in a similar tight spot!
    Hope that this is helpful. I am not sponsored by Lee. I only wish I was good enough for it to be so!
    Bax

  4. #4

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    Most of my filters have been bought used or new off Ebay. That means I've got what I can find. They range from B&W,Contax,Hoya to Tiffen. The tiffens are mostly in sizes or types that I don't have much interest in. I wouldn't have bought them at B&W prices.

  5. #5
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baxter Bradford
    Not being flush with cash, I prioritised my spend using Joe Cornish's First light photo details to see which he used most.
    I have to admit to being a big fan of Joe's work - I've got his book, although it is called "Light and the Art of the Landscape" in the US. His book is one of two that I carry with me when I travel - the other being "Large Format Nature Photography" by Jack W. Dykinga.
    Last edited by roteague; 11-22-2004 at 12:11 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  6. #6
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena
    Most of my filters have been bought used or new off Ebay. That means I've got what I can find. They range from B&W,Contax,Hoya to Tiffen. The tiffens are mostly in sizes or types that I don't have much interest in. I wouldn't have bought them at B&W prices.
    I've got about the same amount of variety - Everything from the "Hasselblad - (Zeiss?)" to unnamed Japanese, with a Heliopan or two thrown in. In all honesty, I can't see a damn bit of difference between any of them.

    One possible exception - the Hasselblad Softars ... (appear to have bubbles in the surface) seem to soften differently than others - frosted and the like. The difference is subtle ... and I'm not sure worth the price.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  7. #7

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    Like Ed I'm not too worried about the make as I just just the standard yellow; orange; red; grad ND and circular polarizer. Looking at modern ones I see no difference when side by side.

    When I worked at a camera store though we occasionally had some old B&W and Nikon filters come in on the lenses we had offered us with people upgrading or going over the wall to digital. Now those old filters were beautifully deep and rich colours. Sadly none ever came in big enough to fit my lenses

    Jim sweety wrappers are just as good for most things but less convenient than real ones, there again you can't eat the contents of a manufactored filter

  8. #8

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    I sat in the parking lot of a camera store and compared the most expensive polarizors with the other brands. I saw absolutely no difference between the tiffen, heliopan, hoya or B+W, except price. The store owner was with me and he could not see any difference either. Now I have no problem saving money. I am hoping to save up for the lee ND grads.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  9. #9
    rbarker's Avatar
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    I think filter choice depends on a couple of factors:

    1. what and how you shoot (screw-ins vs. the "systems" approach, etc.), and

    2. what you put them in front of.

    Issue #1 can get rather complex, as it involves both physical practicality and convenience factors, along with optical quality issues. Add a good dose of philosophical sprinkles (e.g. to what extent should you "enhance" nature vs. simply overcoming limitations of the media's response) and you have your filter cake ready for display. Better brands of filters (B+W, etc.) are likely to be optically superior to the cheapies. Whether one is likely to see the difference is a separate question, which leads to issue #2.

    While I haven't done any scientific testing, my guess is that putting a high-precision, optically perfect filter in front of a cheap lens is probably a waste of money. Thus, folks shooting with "consumer-grade" lenses can probably get by with Tiffen or other so-called second-tier brands, and never see any difference. Conversely, those using top-quality lenses will probably noticeably degrade image quality with less-precise glass filters. Similarly, with top-quality lenses, you're more likely to see the benefit of multi-coated filters.

    Most of my glass filters are B+W, but I've also found Heliopan to be pretty good - especially for larger sizes (I have a couple of lenses that use 105mm filters - cough, choke). But, I also use resin, gel, and polyester filters for special effects (ND grads, IR, etc.). I really like the effect created by Zeiss Softars, so I think they are worth the expense, but I also use white and black netting for diffusion in certain situations.

    Bottom line? I don't think there's a one-brand-fits-all magic filter bullet. It depends too much on personal preferences and style. Oh, and budget may play a role, too.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  10. #10
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarker
    While I haven't done any scientific testing, my guess is that putting a high-precision, optically perfect filter in front of a cheap lens is probably a waste of money. Thus, folks shooting with "consumer-grade" lenses can probably get by with Tiffen or other so-called second-tier brands, and never see any difference. Conversely, those using top-quality lenses will probably noticeably degrade image quality with less-precise glass filters. Similarly, with top-quality lenses, you're more likely to see the benefit of multi-coated filters.
    Well ... I was referring to my experience with the Hasselblad. Those lenses are considered to be "pretty good".
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

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