Filter thread size question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by slat, May 15, 2018 at 8:44 PM.

  1. slat

    slat TPF Noob!

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    Does the size of the filter thread size make a difference on the same type of lens?
    Example would a 50mm lens with 52mm thread size be different than one with 58mm?


     
  2. photo1x1.com

    photo1x1.com TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Hey there,
    Thread sizes are what defines your filter size. The focal length of the lens is rather irrelevant. Not entirely though, because on an ultra wide angle you may need a so-called slim filter in order to prevent vignetting in your final image.
    There are adapters available. You can save money buying the filter for the lens in your lineup that has the biggest thread and get adapters (there are sets available) to fit it to your other lenses. Don´t go the other way round, or you will see heavy vignetting again (apart from very few exceptions).
    Example:
    you have a 50mm lens with 52mm thread and an 85mm lens with 72mm thread - you buy the 72mm filter and get a step up filter adapter 52-72mm.

    The downside of using adapters is that you can´t use your lens cap or lens hood.
     
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  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Probably.
    A 50 mm prime lens needing a 58 mm filter would likely be a faster 50 mm lens than one having 52 mm threads.
    Faster lenses usually have a larger front lens elements that need wider filters and threads.

    f/1.2 is faster than f/1.8, is faster than f/2, is faster than f/3.5.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018 at 9:33 AM
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  4. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    And the faster a lens is, the larger, heavier and more costly it will be.
     
  5. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No, yes, and it depends.

    In the film days, Nikon used 52mm as their standard filter size for most lenses from 24-200. The standard filter size was one of their marketing points.
    The lens sets that I remember which used the same filter size are: 50mm (f/1.2, 1.4, 1.8 and 2), and 135mm (f/2.8 and 3.5). I am pretty sure that there are other sets of lenses which used the same filter size, I think the 28mm and 35mm of f/2.8 and 3.5 had the same filter size of 52mm.
    The 43-86 of 2 difference designs also used 52mm. The 43-86 used a trick, the 1st version had the ring with text inside the filter ring, the 2nd version put the text outside the filter ring, so the front element could be made larger, and still use a 52mm filter. Several Nikon lenses were made that way, to get a larger front element.

    However, when the lens was FAST, the optical formula required a larger front element than could fit into a 52mm filter ring, like the 180mm f/2.8 which use a 72mm filter, compared to the slower 200mm f/4 lens which used a 52mm filter.
    Example the current Canon f/1.2 L USM uses a 72mm filter, the 1.4 uses a 58mm filter, the 1.8 uses a 52mm filter. So in this case the faster lenses needed larger front elements, and thus larger filters.

    Different brands use different standards. I think Pentax used 49mm.
    Some had two standard sizes (example 52 and 58mm), so that the lens designers were not as restricted as the companies with a single standard size.
    Some did not have a standard and used several/many different filter sizes. These were the worst for us.
    For us, the more filter sizes used, made buying filters more expensive cuz you needed a set for each size. And the polarizing filter was painfully the most expensive filter. Or we only bought a skylight/uv, because we could not afford a set of filters for that lens.

    As I recall 50mm f/1.4 lenses used filters of 49, 52, 55 and 58mm. (Pentax, Nikon, Mamiya, Minolta, Canon)
    And for all practical purposes, they were equivalent lenses.
    It just depended on the lens designers.

    So to answer your question; no, yes, and it depends.
     
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  6. petrochemist

    petrochemist No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes most Pentax lenses had 49mm filters at least in the K & M series days.

    Enlarger lenses must be about the worst for filter sizes. I think Schneider had at least 10 sizes, and nearly all were non standard diameters &/or pitches. Most other manufacturers also seemed to use non standard sizes.
    IIRC the only one of my collection of enlarger lenses that takes a normal thread is a lens that also sells for large format cameras.
     
  7. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes, those would be different. 52mm or 58mm is the size of the diameter of the front of the lens. It's usually marked on the lens (or could be measured across the front of the lens to see which size it is). That's the size filter that would fit a lens, one that's either 52 or 58mm. I have some of both and I don't know offhand what the largest aperture is on them or if there's any relation to how sharp the lens is.
     
  8. slat

    slat TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the responses. I guess I need to clarify my question. Would the front element, glass, be larger on a lens with a 58 mm filter thread than one with a 52 mm filter thread? I'm guessing it wouldn't have to be, but why make a larger filter thread size if you weren't going to increase the front element.
     
  9. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not necessarily.
    The trick that Nikon used, and I'm sure others do as well, is to put the lens data OUTSIDE the filter ring, so that the front element is almost as large as the filter ring.
    Compared to a lens with the lens data ring INSIDE the filter ring, where it reduces the space available to the front element.

    So you could indeed have a lens with a 52mm filter with a front element LARGER than a lens with a 58mm filter.

    As for the why, inside the filter ring is the traditional place for the lens data ring, because it was also a retaining ring for the front element.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018 at 2:40 PM
  10. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Field of view. My sigma 17-70mm has a larger filter than the front element, but if the filter threads were smaller then it could vingette at the wide end. My nifty fifty also has the same, a very small front element but a wide filter ring. I assume the small front element helps keep manufacturing costs down.
     
  11. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Then there is the Nikon 55mm Macro, 52mm filter size yet the front element is about have that.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    A good question, and an answer can be found in the Nikon 50 mm lenses of recent manufacture. The 50 mm AF and AF-Dseries lenses are F1.8 and f1.4 and have 52 mm filters, but the new AFS G series models of f/1.8 ans f/1.4 have 58 mm filters and yet have about the same size of front elements.
     

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