Advice on filters

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by graham_f, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. graham_f

    graham_f TPF Noob!

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    First, just want to say hello. I'm Graham from Exeter in the UK, just signed up to this forum and it looks like there's a lot of good advice on here.

    I've only recently got into photography seriously and I'm looking to add to my kit with some filters. I use a Canon EOS5, for which I've got a Canon 35-80mm lens (52mm dia), a Canon 100mm macro (58mm dia) and a Sigma 75-300mm (55mm dia). So far I just have plain glass protective filters on the front each of them. I'm hoping to add to that with a wider angle lens, but haven't decided which yet

    I want to buy some more creative filters (starting with a polariser) and I'm not sure whether to go for the Cokin system of square filters and holders, or round screw-ons. From what I know of the Cokin system there are 2 different sizes of holder, A and P, but I'm not clear as to which would be best for my selection of lenses.

    Any advice and suggestions would be appreciated, either on here or links to other sites with good information.

    Thanks

    Graham
     
  2. PetersCreek

    PetersCreek TPF Noob!

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    Hello Graham...and welcome. I'm fairly new here, myself. Let me start with a caveat...I'm no professional...just an enthusiastic amateur.

    I've read differing schools of thought on the subject of filters. Some opt for a limited selection of round glass filters...if they use any at all. Others like the Cokin-style filters for their flexibility and assortment. I've experimented with Cokin filters and have left many to languish unused after the novelty wore off. Others, however, are a boon to making good photos.

    The optical quality of Cokin filters is average at best. The Cokin filter holder, on the other hand, is quite serviceable and very inexpensive. The good news is, you can use the Cokin P system holder and adapter rings and not be limited to using Cokin filters. Other companies make compatible filters. Hitech make quality filters that are moderately more expensive than Cokin's but are of better quality. Signh-Ray make yet more expensive filters but their quality is reputed to be that much higher. Galen Rowell even lends his name to a line of their graduated neutral density filters.

    If I were to start all over again, I would go with the P (84mm) system rather than the A (67mm) system. The latter will vignette at short focal lengths. That may not be a concern with your current lenses but there is the future to think about...and the P system offers you the added benefit of more choices from filter makers other than Cokin.
     
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  3. graham_f

    graham_f TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice. I've done quite a bit more reading around on the web since I first posted and that was pretty much the conclusion I'd come to myself. I don't think I'd have any problems with the A series with my current lenses but a decent wide angle is probably next on my shopping list! I hadn't realised the P series is the same size as other makes of filter - good to know.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree, I've got a few Cokin filters & a holder ('A' size), they are nice to have when I need them...but I don't use them much...especially since going digital.

    A circular polarizer is a very handy tool, I'd suggest getting one, probably best to get a 58mm (or bigger for your new wide angle) and then buy step up rings for your other lenses.
     
  5. graham_f

    graham_f TPF Noob!

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    Another quick question about Cokin filters. I had a look on an online camera shop site, and they list 2 types of holders for the P system - standard and wide angle. I guess that the wide-angle version is deisgned to reduce the chance of vignetting at short focal lengths, but it does beg the question why bother with a standard holder?

    What, if any, disadvantages are there to buying the wide angle model and using that for everything? Can anyone who's got one offer any insights?

    Graham
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I did not know that they had two types of holders for the P system. It may be that the wide angle model only had one slot for filters. The typical 'A' & 'P' holders have 3 or 4 slots so that you can stack the filters. Of course, this makes the holder stick out farther from the lens...increasing the chance of vignetting.

    It might be a good idea to test out the different holders on the lenses you have or even the one you plan to buy. If you really don't need the wide angle one...why spend the money? You may even be able to use the 'A' system with the lenses you have. Remember, if you go with the 'P' system...each & every filter will be more expensive than the 'A' series.
     
  7. PetersCreek

    PetersCreek TPF Noob!

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    Yes, the standard holder has three slots (plus a thinner slot for rotating filters). The wide angle holder accomodates only one filter and is therefore is not nearly so deep.
     

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