Filter Questions

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by snappin, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. snappin

    snappin TPF Noob!

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    Before anybody asks Yes I searched and read several filter topics already, but none of them seemed to answer all my questions, and a couple actually created more questions so here it goes:

    First off right now my lenses consist of Canon EF-S 18-55 (kit) and EF 50mm/1.8. To save any trouble they're filter sizes are 58mm and 52mm respectively. I have the canon hood for the 18-55 and am thinking I want to just get a cheepo 52mm screw on for the 50/1.8.

    Here's where the questions start:

    1. If I use a screw on lens hood, do I need to make sure I get one with threads for a filter also?

    2. I hear a lot of talk about UV filters for protection. Does this mean once you guys put a UV filter on you do away with the lens caps? I am very much liking the idea of not fiddling with lens caps anymore espically with the hood on one. It seems to me though that in due time the filter will still end up getting scratched. Not true?

    3. Ive seen arguments for good filters being "why put a $5 piece of plastic on a $1000 lens". Well I'm in the opposite situation right now. I don't want to spend $100 dollars for a filter on a $70 lens. Does anybody have any recommendations for a more budget filter? I don't really see either of these sizes being of much use in the future either because it seems most of the lenses on my shopping list are 67mm.

    4a. Polarizing filters (this is a two parter). Which do I want, circular or linear? I think its circular but will that eliminate the problem of my rotating front element or will I continually have to be adjusting the filter when outside?.

    4b. Is it safe to leave a polarizing filter on when shooting indoors also or does that somehow lessen the ability of the lens to shoot in low light? This question is mainly geared for the 50mm/1.8 because if I'm using the 18-55 I will almost always have my speedlite 430ex on.

    5. What filters would YOU suggest for my current setup if any (again remembering that I don't really want to spend more than the lenses cost).
     
  2. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    1) Depends on the hood... I would think if it was a screw on hood it would have threads for filters.

    2) I would still use a lens cap... otherwise you could break the filter bumping into something and risk ruining your lens with shattered filter glass.

    3) Lenses are pretty tough... sometimes there is more damage from the broken filter hitting the lens than if you just bumped the lens in the first place. Check used photo equipment... people buy small filters and outgrow them so used ones are everywhere for the smaller sizes.

    4) circular, and yes you will have to adjust it based on the effect you want to acheive. If your front element rotates you will constantly have to adjust no matter which brand you choose.

    4b) you can use it indoors but I don't think you will want to. Less light inside is not normally what you're after, but I have used a polorizer indoors to get a special affect once or twice.

    5) Sounds like you need a circ polarizer... a cheap UV filter isn't nessesarily a bad thing - they're cheap glas but they shouldn't modify the image much at all.

    In the end you may want to find out what lens will be your final resting place. All of my filters are 77mm and I use step down rings to make them fit lenses that are of smaller diameter. You would be better off buying the bigger filters and getting step down rings so when you upgrade lenses you don't have to go filter shopping again. This of course is all depending on the almighty dollar... big filters aren't cheap.


    In the end what affect are you trying to get? What are you shooting or what do you want to improve with a filter?
     
  3. snappin

    snappin TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm well thats somewhat discouraging. What had got me interested in the filters to begin with was the effect that the polarizer has on the sky plus the idea of not having to use a lens cap.

    With the added hassle of taking it on and off when I'm inside and having to mess with the rotating front element I'm beginning to think that is something better left for later when I get a better handle on the other parts of photography (like using my camera haha).

    I cant say I'm real worried about protecting my 70 dollar lens with a UV filter either. I can see how that paranoia would grow when I spend 10 times that much on a lens, but that too seems a bit off in the future.
     
  4. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    do what I did. I have 3 lenses at the current moment, my kit lens 18-55mm is a 52mm filter thread, my 50 1.4 is a 49mm thread and my 80-200mm is a 49mm thread. I just bought a 58mm circular polarizer. While I dont own any lenses now that use that size, there is a 70-300 macro zoom that I want that uses 58mm filters, so I can get that lens and I wont need a new filter. Also when I purchased the filter, I ordered a 49mm->58mm step up ring, and a 52mm->58mm step up ring, so I can use the one oversized filter on all of my lenses. This means that I'll only need to buy the filter once, and I can use it on all my lenses.

    1. If you buy the rubber hoods from adorama they have threads on both sides so you can screw it onto you lens, put the filter on, and then the rubber hood folds out to be used as it should be. The problem is with a circular polarizer, you'll need to keep the hood folded back so you can focus, adjust the polarizer to the effect you want, and then fold the hood out to block the light.

    2. Yes a UV filter will get scratched eventually if your lens is subjected to harsh conditions. The idea here though is its 15-20 dollars for a UV filter (multi coated to reduce any added flare), 300+ for a lens. Its your call though.

    3. You may want to invest in the Cokin system that uses square filters and a holder, as opposed to screw on filters. Either that or just buy the big filters and use step up rings to fit them to smaller lenses like I did.

    4. For cameras with autofocus you have to use circular polarizers or you will lose autofocus abilities. As for shooting indoors with it, you could but unless you are shooting a bright sunlit object, I wouldnt. my circular polarizer is about 1.3 stops darker than natural, so in low light that makes for slooooow shutter speeds. the benefit is that it works as an ND filter if I want it.

    5. a multi-coated circular polarizer is pretty nice, I am actually going out today to test it out on some landscapes and such to see how it works. cost me 65 dollars from adorama in the 58mm size. The other filter I want to get is a neutral density filter so I can do long shutterspeeds with flowing water in daylight, to get that nice smooth look. Really you shouldnt have a filter because it is a good item to have in your kit, buy filters because they can enhance the pictures that YOU take. If you dont do running water or anything that needs a slower shutter speed in bright light, you probably dont want an ND filter.
     
  5. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

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    Another great use for an ND is to slow down your shutter, not getting a slow shutter. For example out door portraits on a bright sunny day. Let's say you want to stay down at F2.8 or around there the ND allows you to do this when otherwise with your max shutter speed you might not be able to go lower than F8
     
  6. snappin

    snappin TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the great info guys. Seeing that I dont have any 300+ lenses to protect and I have a LOT of other things I should probably get better at before I start throwing filters into the equation I think I will hold off for now. I have a feeling its gonna be once I get bit on a picture that needed one I will go out and buy it, but we will see. Thanks again!
     
  7. henryp

    henryp TPF Noob!

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    1. If I use a screw on lens hood, do I need to make sure I get one with threads for a filter also?

    You want to attach the filter to the lens and then the hood to the filter so a thread on the front of the hood is moot.

    2. I hear a lot of talk about UV filters for protection. Does this mean once you guys put a UV filter on you do away with the lens caps?

    You could, presuming you don't mind buying new filters every so often.

    Does anybody have any recommendations for a more budget filter?

    There are really very few BAD quality filters these days. Any decent multi-coated filter shold do what you want with a minimum of interference with image quality. My experience is there's more images ruined with underexposure than will ever be harmed by the presense of a filter.

    4a. Polarizing filters (this is a two parter). Which do I want, circular or linear

    For a modern auto-focus auto-exposure camera you need a circ pol filter.

    4b. Is it safe to leave a polarizing filter on when shooting indoors also or does that somehow lessen the ability of the lens to shoot in low light?

    It's not a good idea for a couple of reasons. First a pol filter (like any filter) has a purpose and if you don't need the pol effect, you should remove the filter. Second a pol filter absorbs more than a stop of light which does have an impact on your low-light shooting ability (recall what I said earlier about underexposure?)
     

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