Even more filter comparison tests - Flare!

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Garbz, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have previously done tests on Hoya filters as these were the ones I had collected over the years, available here: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...100830-more-hoya-filter-comparison-tests.html

    The previous conclusions were that the better filters typically have some value, however the best product I had was still a Hoya filter. I now have two additional filters from B+W. Being satisfied that the sharpness of my photos was no affected to any relevant way by the Hoya Pro1D series of filters I was mainly looking at comparing these B+W filters in terms of flare in an attempt to qualify the quality of the coatings used.

    But before I do a quick note on sharpness. Both the B+W F-PRO and the B+W XS-Pro filter were visually identical to the results from the Hoya Pro1D. A sharpness difference can just be detected if you very very carefully inspect the difference in the 100% crops. I will not post these here because I took some test photos without tripod or any consistency. I can't guarantee the results.

    If anyone really wants I can point these filters at a resolution target in a controlled environment for all to see, but for now to the main topic, Flare.

    Flare is entirely the result of good / bad quality coatings on filters. Unfortunately I threw out my cheap Hoya UV filter so the only comparison are the original images which I will include below once more just to convince people NOT to buy them.

    Methodology: While previously using a flash I found this to be too large a light source and substituted instead for an LED torchlight. The camera was set to manual (duh). The Nikkor AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8 IF-ED was used for the higher end tests, but I was interested in throwing in some crap filters too. Unfortunately I only had them in 52mm size so my Nikkor AI-S 50mm f/1.2 had to be used instead (this lens flares more).

    Results:

    Hoya standard UV: No-filter vs filter. (This taken with a previous test and duplicated here to show just how crap these filters are)
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Kenko Standard UV: No-filter vs filter.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Hoya HMC UV: No-filter vs filter.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Hoya SHMC UV: No-filter vs filter.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Hoya Pro1D UV: No-filter vs filter.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    B+W F-Pro UV: No-filter vs filter.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    B+W XS-Pro UV: No-filter vs filter.
    [​IMG][​IMG]


    Thoughts:
    Before talking about it all it should be noted that the differences in lenses create differences in the flare effect of the filter. The flat front element of the 50mm f/1.2 minimises the ghost appearance compared to the 28-70mm. The 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 used originally for the Hoya standard also had a lot of elements. And the 28-70mm's aspherical front element don't help when it comes to the wonky looking ghost image that is created. Therefore, although here it looks like the Hoya HMC filter is the cream of the crop, it really isn't and would probably work far less favourably on the 28-70mm.

    So to a quick analysis. Ideally flare shouldn't exist, and quite frankly if one of your pictures comes up like the above then remove the bloody filter :). But when flare does exist the best flare result is the one that draws the least attention to itself. The Hoya SHMC and the Hoya Pro1D coatings fail the worst of the high end filters in this regard. Yes they are far better than having no coating which clearly shows that not only is flare and ghosting worse, but contrast is strongly affected.

    The Hoya coatings suffer in that they not only appear as a ghost, but as a horridly coloured one. This can be easily predicted by looking at the filter heat on and noting the colour of your reflection.

    The B+W filters were truly pleasing, especially given that they cost only $5-10 more depending on which ebay vendor you purchase from. The F-Pro and the XS-Pro did a far better job of flare and ghost reduction than I thought possible and were visually as good as the Pro1D in terms of sharpness in my very dodgy test. The XS-Pro at $10 more than the F-Pro easily performed the best of the lot.

    The winner: B+W XS-Pro series. :cheer: Hurrah.

    The loser: Hoya Pro1D. Wait what? :scratch:
    Ok the real losers are the crap ones, but why the Pro1D when it looks like it beat the SHMC? Quite simply marketing. Yes marketing decisions drive the bull**** that says a digital camera needs a thinner filter for better image quality. Thin filter? But this is a protection filter. If I wanted the object that I'm trying to keep off my lens to go straight through the filter I wouldn't have bought one at all. The Hoya SHMC is made of thicker glass, and is optically very similar.

    Not that this matters since for the extra $15 I'll be buying B+W XS-Pro filters now anyway.



    Please no discussions on why you would use a protection filter in the first place. Leave that for any of the 500 other threads on that topic on this forum.
     
  2. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    thanks for your hard work
     
  3. dhilberg

    dhilberg TPF Noob!

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    No kidding, thanks for the effort. Looks like I'll have to re-evaluate my preference for Hoya filters. :)
     

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