Filters; Which Size?
OK so I am getting tired of having a smattering of 52mm, 58mm, and 62mm filters.
I originally bought 52mm CPLs because all my Nikkor lenses are 52mm. Then I bought my Mamiya and the only lens I have for it is 58mm. I own a yellow and orange filter in 58mm, and I also own a few filters in 62mm that were cheap because a local camera store was closing.
So, what size filters should I buy to standardize? Is 72mm too big, or is that a good size to standardize on and buy step-up rings, or should I go bigger or smaller?
I plan on sticking with my Nikkor lenses (all of which are 52mm, don't see a big need for new lenses for that system as of current). I do plan on building my Mamiya system from the 80 2.8 I have as of current to a good wide-angle and telephoto lens in the future as funds allow.
I "may" eventually move up to 4x5, but that would entail purchasing a new enlarger, so that's a ways off.
What about the Cokin system? Is that a good alternative to normal screw-on filters?
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With the Cokin systems you still need to buy the T-adapters in the thread size for each lens. Over the years I have accumulated filters of both styles (threaded and Cokin A). Just depends on what you are willing to go through to use them. Unless I have a specific vision I seldom use filtration.
Sometimes I think this question is unanswerable. I keep thinking "I'll never need bigger ones than this" -- then another lens enters my life.
I have long had 52 and 58mm for my Canon FD stuff. With my original Bronica acquisition, I went out and got array of 67s thinking that would be the end. Now I have an EOS L series lens for "another camera" that takes 77s. The 1:1 macro for the Bronica takes 72s; I was going to get all 77mm and an adapter, but got an irresistable hot deal on a yel/org/grn/red set at 72mm.
But just yesterday I was eyeing a lens of possible interest on ePrey -- until I noticed it takes 95 mm! (That somewhat dampened my enthusiasm.) If you go too big with adapter rings, all that "stuff" on the front of the lens may block other parts of some cameras -- like the viewfinder or rangefinder window on a rangfinder camera, etc. (or the flash on cameras with a built in/pop-up flash.) Fortunately the filter sizes below 67 mm aren't too damaging to the wallet, but the stuff bigger than that gets a bit rough, especially good polarizers.
I have to agree with Christopher.
Originally Posted by Christopher Walrath
There is no easy way to cover all your bases. I have a drawer full of 52's 67's, 72's & 77's, every, conceivable step-up ring, threaded to bay 50-60-70 etc. The works. I bought all this crap thinking I would eventually pick up some big glass for my Nikons (never did) and would be able to share between my 35mm, MF rangefinders, Hasselblads, and LF gear.
There has to be a very compelling reason for me to use any filters, much less carry all that crap.
I now carry a couple of filters for the MF rangefinder, and use my old Sinar drop-ins with the Hasselblad and LF gear. The 35mm gear hasn't seen daylight in a couple of years.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view...) my RB67 lenses all take 77mm filters. I can't imagine I'll need anything bigger than that so that's all that I buy. I do have other cameras with lenses that use a smaller filter and for those I have the step rings.
Searching my way to perplexion
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Personally I have tried Cokin filters - the square things that slot in a universal holder?
They drove me NUTS!
A screw on filter you can fix and forget, fitting the lens cap on the front and leaving in place when the lens goes in the camer case or it's bag.
The Cokin things are always in the way, you are contantly fiddling and taking them out and dropping them on the floor whilst fumbling with the little plastic box in one hand and the camera in the other... well, I was. Not impressed! Maybe in a studio setting, but a real pain for carrying out and about. Just MHO.
I used the Cokin system for a while, but then I got into larger formats and lenses and their system (at the time) didn't accommodate one of my wide angle lenses whose front thread was 82 mm. I had seen the Lee system at a workshop and liked it. I have used it ever since.
However, you don't say what your budget is for the filters. I don't know what the cost of the Cokin system is.
Your other option is to buy step up rings and larger filter(s) (77 mm is a good general size for 35 mm -- you don't see many lenses with threads larger than that which aren't requiring $$$$ or even $$$$$!).
I've been down both of these paths (and have lots of stuff in the drawers at home) and I am using the system that meets my needs best at this time. No one but you can determine (or anticipate) your photographic accessory needs now or in the future, except for you.
I should really empty out those accessories I'm not using and perhaps sell them here to people who would use them. I have screw thread filters, step up rings and Cokin filters not being used.
Some of my lenses, Artars, Ektars etc. have large front threads and some don't have standard threads at all so I fitted them for a rear application. I ran into a a problem when I bought an RB67 which takes 77mm filters. Slowly I have been getting filters for it, they are expensive but there is no choice. Step up / down rings are really a big help. In a perfect world I would have complete sets for each camera and lens combination. My range is from 34.5 to 80 plus mm sizes. Also filters last a long time if kept clean but like anything else they don't last forever either.
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
I would stay with the filters you allready have.
You know the best which ones (colors, CPL and so on) you use most.
Getting into 4x5 means getting into a range of filter-sizes: a 150mm will take smaller ones than a 90 SA or 210.
Having one size for all is not realy an option considering the size diferences and just buy the biggest ones gets you lenses with clowns glasses.
For 4x5 I uses Cokin holder with adapter-rings and Sinar filters for color balance, but you have to watch out for glare if the light comes from directly above.
It's a mess, it stays a mess I am afraid......