need help w/ filters

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by James P., Sep 3, 2006.

  1. James P.

    James P. TPF Noob!

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    I've been shopping for filters and am a bit overwhelmed ... there are so many brands and price ranges. Which are the better quality brands? Are there any bargains out there? Any brands to avoid?

    I've noticed that some retailers (ex: Ritz.com, Adorama.com, etc.) sell filters under their own names ... are these any good?
     
  2. Tiberius

    Tiberius TPF Noob!

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    Hoya, B+W, and Camera Brand (Nikon or Canon - I assume Canon makes filters; I know Nikon does) are the best out there.

    It depends on the filter. I get away with Quantaray UV filters to protect my lenses and in my test shots I haven't been able to tell any reduction in sharpness, but for an actual useful filter like a Polarizer or ND filter, I'd go name brand.
     
  3. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    For effect filters (like starburst), I'd just buy the cheapest. For UV / Haze / Skylight I use Hoya (value for money, but not crappy as it's on my expensive lens all the time). Circular polarising filters are probably the ones to really save for as they've got moving parts and have a common, yet subtle beneficial use. I've got a Nikon 77mm circ pol and it cost a lot of money, but it works really well.

    As ever, it depends on budget and the end effect you're going for.

    Rob
     
  4. James P.

    James P. TPF Noob!

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    Budget: Fairly limited ... but since I'll be buying the filters one at a time this shouldn't be a critical issue.

    Effects: Mainly correction, accurate capture ... not interested in special effects at this time.

    Brands: I'd expect filters from major camera/lens makers (Canon, Nikon, etc.) to be high quality but I'm not seeing any retailers (online or local shops) offering filters from them. Photography is a casual hobby for me ... my camera/lens probably doesn't deserve/need that kind of quality.

    During my research and shopping I've seen filters from Tiffen, Hoya, Sunpak, etc. (have heard of these companies but no firsthand experience) and I've noticed that these brands are similarly priced ... can I assume they're of similar quality? Reviews of cameras and lens are easy to find but reviews of accessories aren't plentiful, so that's why I'm searching out comments from actual users.
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    In most cases yes. I like Tiffen and Hoya; decent quality and still affordable. B+W and Heliopan are top of the line, but the difference might not even be noticable for most users. Personally I'd assume that Nikon and Canon brand filters were made by someone else, and then marked up in price because of the Canon/Nikon brand name.

    These days the filter manufacturers seem to have several price points for their filters based on how fancy the multi-coatings are. I'm sticking with the cheaper, regular MC filters, but I'd be very curious to see real life examples between regular filters, and those "optimized for digital", etc...
     
  6. Illah

    Illah TPF Noob!

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    What do you guys think of the Quantary MC UV Haze filter (Ritz/Wolf house brand)? It's a multicoated filter and the people at the store tell me they're just re-branded Tiffen filters. I'm only using it for lens protection so I don't want to spend a ton on the filter, and from a test shot I could hardly tell any difference...might have actually looked better with the filter.

    Also I found some pure protection filters, anyone try these? Seems like they'd be better suited for my needs as some test shots I've seen with UV filters actually washed out some images!

    For example:

    Hoya Protective Filter: http://www.adorama.com/HY67CP1.html
    Nikon Brand: http://www.adorama.com/NK67C.html

    Thanks,

    --Illah
     
  7. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    They are all made from optical glass. The good ones are very flat (unlike lenses) to close tolerances and have soft metal mounting rings like brass. Personally, I would worry more about the mounting ring than the glass itself. I think most of them can grind or get clear flat optical glass. Some of the more expensive brands mentioned above feature brass rings.

    Also, some are coated (like camera lenses) to reduce potential contrast robbing flare and that is a plus as well in some circumstances.

    Personally, I don't know anything about the business of manufacturing photographic filters but I would guess that there are fewer manufacturers than people think - certainly fewer manufacturers than there are brands.
     
  8. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    Maybe you want to be a little more specific, James? What 'correction'? Define 'accurate capture', please. Basically, what do you want the optical filter(s) to do to your image?
    Because you're on a computer and afaik just about every optical filter's effect can be applied to digital images in a good photo editing application. Quicker, better, and a lot cheaper.
    With the exception perhaps of UV filtering and polarizing.

    FYI: I have a full set of about 20 optical Cokin effect filters that I used a lot. In the 35mm film era!
    Since going digital I've never used them again. Only UV and polarizer since then.
    Saves me schlepping them around. Saves me a loooot of setup time. And saves me money too!
     
  9. Illah

    Illah TPF Noob!

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    I suspect you're right about this one. The Ritz/Wolf people told me that all Quantaray gear is a rebraded something or other, with filters coming from Tiffen. A little more research last night after I posted and I found that at some point Hoya was supplying all the Quantaray filters. In any case, whatever they are, Quantaray is not a 'generic' brand so they should be pretty decent, especially considering the buying power of the Ritz/Wolf chain.

    Edit: Just checked Calumet's site and they claim their filters are made by Hoya.

    --Illah
     

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