Filter advice

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by oxcart, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. oxcart

    oxcart TPF Noob!

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    Hi folks,

    In an effort to get past the PS thread and to try to embrace more of the tools available, I'm planning to buy a few filters. I expect the first thing that will be recommended is a polariser. Beyond that (I know this is vague), what are the staple filters you use? If it helps any; in the past I've mostly been shooting sports, but I'll probably be taking a lot more architecture/building photos in the future.

    Thanks in advance,
    M
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Definitely a polarizing filter should be the first filter your buy. After that it depends a lot on your requirements, but you won't go wrong with a couple of neutral density and graduated neutral density filters (ND, G-ND).

    Remember that quality in filters is paramount. A cheap, poor quality filter is often worse than no filter at all and quality costs. A high-end CPOL in a "professional" size (77mm) can be as much as $400. You don't necessarily need to go that high, but always buy the best you can. For CPOLs, and NDs look to B+W, Singh-Ray and Heliopan. Tiffen and Hoya are decent, but ONLY if you buy the multi-coated ones.

    For G-NDs rectangular gel filters are better than traditional screw-in filters as they will let you place the transition at any point in the image. For these, try Singh-Ray, Lee or Cokin.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    +1 to what that guy just said!
    I think he covered many of the filters which are not possible to recreat in editing - such as the warming or cooling kinds of filter - barring infra red filters (I'm sure I have seen those) and I am pretty sure they work only on the film media since digiatal cameras have a filter which blocks IR light in the camera design
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Yes, most certainly a polarizer is a good choice.
    I also use an ND filter on rare occasions. Split/grad filters do have a use, but I don't use mine anymore.

    They way I see it, most other filers are too limiting. They basically give you two options...filter on or filter off.
    But when you take your images into the digital darkroom, you can replicate the effects of most filters...but you can also fine tune the effects with an almost unlimited degree of freedom. Not only with the amount of effect that is applied, but with where it is and isn't on the image.
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, no, and maybe, not necessarily in that order. IR filters are all but useless on off-the-shelf digital cameras, however there are several companies that will modify your digital camera by removing the internal IR filter to allow you to make IR photos. The downside is that the modified camera is now only good for IR work.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    wooops I forgot to metion gutting and modding ones camera for IR work - odd since it is something that I plan to do oneday to my little 400D cause beasties don't see IR light so instant night vision camera (when using a nice big IR flashlight)
     
  7. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'll debate that 'til the end of time Mike. Yes, you can replicate similar effects to that produced by filters, but in my experience (and I've used both the Tiffen and Nik filter suites) the results are mediocre at best and downright crap at worst when compared to using real filters.
     

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