Questions about filters...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Belle26, Jun 5, 2004.

  1. Belle26

    Belle26 TPF Noob!

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    I am looking at getting at getting some filters for my Minolta Maxxum 5 SLR camera. I know nothing about these. I would like to get 2 or 3 of these. What ones are most useful? And I was wondering if soft focus ones are the same as a skylight 1A or Haze? I read that a polarizing one and a Neutral density is good too. Also how do I know what ones will fit my camera? Do I go by the number on the fron of my lense, which is 49 mm? thanks for the help! :)
     
  2. Face

    Face TPF Noob!

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    In my own opinion, every single lens you own should have a UV filter (Similar, i believe, to the Skylight #1A you mention.) This way, if you scratch your lens, you end up throwing away a $15 filter instead of getting an expensive fix on your lens. It's nice protection.
    I've heard good stuff about polarizing lenses. I've been in a couple situations where i wish i had one.
    It depends what kind of film you're using as well. You need a dark red filter for UV film. Yellow filters help B&W.
    And yes, you were right about needing 49mm filters.
     
  3. drlynn

    drlynn TPF Noob!

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    Which filters you need depend on what types of photography you enjoy.

    A soft focus filter is a portrait filter that softens blemishes/lines. Some people love them, some hate them. I think they're nice in certain situations, but not right for every shot. I can post examples if needed.

    A polarizer removes glare and reflections. They are useful for increasing the contrast between blue sky and white clouds, or for taking the glare off of a lake surface, or for cutting reflections from glass, etc.

    Skylight, haze and UV filters are all very similar. They cut some of the atmospheric haze caused by UV light. The effect is usually minimal. The only difference is that the skylight filter is slightly tinted to add a small bit of warmth. Some people put one on the front of all lenses as a scratch guard, but you might lose some image quality (does a $15 piece of glass have the same image quality as a $300 one?).

    Neutral density filters are useful when you need slow shutter speeds in bright situations. They cut the amount of light entering the lens. Basically they are sunglasses for your camera. If you've seen pictures of waterfalls where the water looks like long flows instead of wild sprays, an ND filter may have been used to help in getting shutter speed slow enough to cause the effect.

    You can also buy graduated ND filters, which are tinted at teh top and clear at the bottom. These are helpful when shooting sunrises or other high contrast situations. They cut some of the bright direct sunlight above the horizon so that details of the scene below the horizon can be seen in the photo.

    Red and yellow filters are good for black&white photography. They increase contrast (red causes a more dramatic effect than yellow) between sky and clouds, or between leaves and flowers, etc.

    As far as filter sizes, if all your lenses are 49mm, then buying 49mm filters is the way to go. If you have 52 or 58mm lenses or larger, then you might want to think about buying larger filters and step-down rings so that all your filters will fit all your lenses, or you might want to try the Cokin system.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Agree, with one stipulation: When shooting take the protective filter off the lens, unless you have the (expensive) excellent quality optical glass filters. Otherwise you're going to turn your sharp lens into a mediocre one.
     
  5. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Here are some good threads:

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...ghlight=&sid=d3f4a61634e2468efd920481fe2da7ab

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...ghlight=&sid=d3f4a61634e2468efd920481fe2da7ab

    Good luck.
     
  6. Belle26

    Belle26 TPF Noob!

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    I am looking at a couple on Ebay right now. I've read that circular polarizers are good for autofocus cameras. I was looking at a Tiffen polarizer but the description on Ebay doesn't state if it's circular or linear. I asked the seller and she stated that it rotates, so that means it may be circular. Is that the only difference b/w a linear and a circular filter? I don't think the seller is sure either (?). Thanks for all the great responses!!
     
  7. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    Both circular and linear polarizers rotate. The seller doesn't know what they're talking about. I would ask them to tell you everything written on the filter.

    I recommend not skimping on the polarizer if you like to shoot landscapes. The quality difference between a cheap filter and a nice one (like hoya multicoated or b+w) is pretty big.
     

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