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  1. #1

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    Best Filter Brand for B&W Picture Taking?

    I am looking to buy some B&W filters for my EOS Elan II camera. This $30 Tiffen set of 3 is an option for me:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=258072&is=REG

    But before I take the plunge, I have a few questions:

    1. Is Tiffen high quality?

    2. If I purchased more expensive brands, could I tell a difference in the printed image?

    3. If I purchased less expensive "generic" brand, could I tell a difference in the printed image?

    4. Any other brand recommendations?

    5. I assume the 58mm "screw in" option is the best for my Canon EOS Elan II. Is there a more effective option?


    Any comments could help. Thanks.

    Huram

  2. #2
    kaiyen's Avatar
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    I feel like posting today so...

    1 - Tiffen filters are okay, but they are plain glass filters, without coating. You will increase your chance of flare with these filters. This will, of course, lead to decreased contrast and, if really bad, those little flare marks across your image. My Nikon 18-35 is already flare-prone by itself, and I have to use coated filters on it, even with a hood.

    2 - I have not noticed any kind of decrease in sharpness from Tiffen filters. so other than the flare leading to reduced contrast, I don't think you'd notice the difference. Of course, if you get flare, that's a pretty big issue.

    3 - I'm not sure you'll do any worse with a cheaper filter.

    4 - I use Hoya multicoated filters. Many recommend B+W. They're multicoated and are equal in that regard, but the B+W ones won't bind and get stuck on your lens as often. I just couldn't afford the price difference. Multicoated filters are expensive.

    5 - Your other option would be to go with a rectangular filter system like a Cokin or Lee system. I am moving towards this way for much of my filters, but it's not as convenient and it's a lot more cumbersome than screw-in filters.

    allan

  3. #3
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    One factor is that B+W and Heliopan filters have brass mounts which don't stick and unscrew easily. They also have a harder coating. More expensive filters are theoretically flatter and give better definition, you may not notice the difference in practice (as long as you don't buy very cheap filters which are not glass but cast resin).
    I personally like screw-in filters (they protect the lens from dirt and moisture). If you need filters which are not the same density all over (graduated filters), whihc you probably won't for b+w, you will need a Cokin-type filter holder where you can slide the filter up and down. Cokin filters also save a lot of money if you have several lenses taking different size filters (you only need to buy different holders and rings, you can use the same filters for all lenses).

  4. #4

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    I like the Hoyas myself. Best combination of value and performance. The Helipans feel better made. The B&W I have don't seem much/any better to me. I have Tiffens for some things. They work.

    58mm is pretty common used. Spend some time on Ebay or other used place and you should be able to get some 58mm filters for much less then new.

  5. #5
    david b's Avatar
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    Hoyas are now recommended by Hasselblad, as evident in their student purchase program.

    I prefer them or B+W filters. But get the super multi coating no matter which you get.

  6. #6
    eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huram
    But before I take the plunge, I have a few questions:
    Okay, I'll chime in (YMMV...I suck anyway so don't pay too much attention to me
    1. Is Tiffen high quality?
    Well, the movie industry uses them on their very expensive movie cameras and create multi-million dollar movies with them
    2. If I purchased more expensive brands, could I tell a difference in the printed image?
    Maybe, maybe not. I would lean towards "maybe not" since you didn't mention the size you are printing. Maybe you would for 8' tall murals.
    3. If I purchased less expensive "generic" brand, could I tell a difference in the printed image?
    Same above.
    4. Any other brand recommendations?
    For 35mm, and you are not making a ton of money by selling your images, get anything

    I used to think that if I bought B+W filters from Germany, my B&W images would be great. I've now, for some reason, amassed a bunch of filters (same types, yellow or yellow green) and I use them all the time. I have NO idea, zippo, nada, on which one I used. Did I use the $20 B+W filter or the $3 dollar one from the junk bin.

    HTH!

  7. #7
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Whatever brand you get, multicoated filters really do reduce flare and ghosting in high contrast situations. B+W and Heliopan have nicer rings, and if you use their ND filters, you may find them more neutral than other brands, and their UV filters are more effective than most others at reducing UV (there was a good article on UV filters, by Bob Atkins I think, on photo.net). Tiffen filters are usually glass-gel sandwiches, while B+W and Heliopan are dyed in the mass, but as Eric says, Tiffen filters are widely used in the movie industry (but they also have budgets to replace filters as needed, pay assistants to clean them, shade lenses properly, etc.).
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  8. #8
    rogueish's Avatar
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    I have mostly Tiffen and three Hoyas. To me they are the same quality, but I'm no expert.
    To me any name brand screw in type (Hoya Tiffen B+W Rodenstock) do what they are designed to do, filter light without distortion. It all comes down to budget and what the store has in stock at the time.
    Sorry, just could not afford the orange 77mm Rodenstock, so I bought the Hoya.

  9. #9

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    I love filter questions.

    1--Yes. Tiffen filters are generally excellent. Their standard line of filters don't have the cache of the German super glass multi-coated brands but they do as good a job for a lot less money.

    2--Not usually. Multi-coating can help prevent or reduce ghost images if you shoot pictures against the light with a filter over the lens. It's usually safer and cheaper just to take off the filter.

    3--Maybe, maybe not. Hoya and Tiffen both make filters that are sold as "house brands", I've read. Their filters are good. If "generic" means "third rate" wavey glass mounted crooked in the filter ring, oh yeah, you'll be able to tell the difference.

    4--Just about anyone who has been making filters for a long time know how to make optically clear and flat glass (or even plastic, in some cases). I have filters made by Hoya, Tiffen, B&W, Nikon, Canon, Heliopan, Singh-Ray, Vivitar and even a couple of old Spiratone filters. I can recommend all these brands because all of them are of excellent quality. In fact, the only brand of filter I've ever used that I would never recommend is Cokin's plastic "system filters". *See below.

    5--If 58mm is the size your lens takes, it's what fits. But if you intend to buy other lenses with different size filter rings, you will come out cheaper in the long run by buying filters to fit the lens with the largest size filter thread and buying step-up rings to attach them to the smaller sizes. It will prevent you from using Canon's bayonet mount lens hoods, however. If you want to use the Canon lens hoods, you'll need filters that fit every lenses threads directly.

    *Once upon a time, I bought a number of Cokin filters so I could save money and fit a lot of different brand and sized lenses. When I tried to use them on a 400mm Canon lens, I couldn't even see through the lens. Upon testing the filters with other lenses, I found that there was detectable distortion with every focal length I owned of 100mm or longer. Some Canon lenses would not even autofocus with Cokin filters attached. Using normal or wide angle lenses, the distortion could not be detected--attributable to the magnification factors of the lenses involved. But having a 100% failure rate with something like 10-12 Cokins, I came to the conclusion these filters are simply not very good.

  10. #10
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    Aren't B+W and Heliopan also made out of High index Schott [sp] glass?

    I use Hoya double coated and frankly can' see any degradation with my CZ lenses.

    I've used this place: http://www.camerafilters.com with good results. Fast and low S&H.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

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