Filters/holders question

tripwater

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Hello, I have been reading and researching and learning. I have come across recommendations like a polarize filter, ND filters etc. I would like to hear recommendations on the best as well as the most cost effective method for mounting these to the camera.

For example this person states ( on polarizing filters )
Controlling Costs

Polarizing filters are expensive, and circular polarizers even more so. But you really must have one to fit every lens in your arsenal. Doing so can therefore be pricey.
There are a couple of ways of dealing with this. One is to buy a single polarizer of the largest size that you need and then to buy step-down rings to fit it to your smaller lenses. This can be a finicky task in the field when you're working in a hurry, or in cold or wet conditions. It may also be difficult to find step-down rings that can take from, say, a 95mm filter down to a 52mm size. And, if the smaller lens is also a wide angle lens, then vignetting will likely occur.
For these reasons the best solution that I have found is to use a comprehensive filter system like that from Lee, my favourite. This allows you to only have to buy one set of filters of all types (especially graduated / split neutral density filters) and then with an adaptor for each filter size needed use the same filters on all your lenses.
In late 2001 Lee brought out a large circular polarizer that attaches to the front of their "Foundation Kit". If you use this then this one polarizing filter will be the only one that you ever need to buy.
I have found though that unless you reduce the number of filter slots in the Foundation Kit to one this combination will vignette with any lens wider than about 28mm. Such is life.
So would it be better to have a filter holder on your lens that you could 'drop' filters in or buy a bunch to screw on? One thing I am confused by is he makes it sound like you can get this Lee Foundation kit and it is all you need and then buy one size and it will work for most all your lens sizes but when I did a search for this kit, it comes up with 100mm, 105mm etc. So basically from what I see this is still lens size specific. Or maybe there is a universal kit and you have to buy lens specific attachments or parts?

If at all possible I would like to only have to buy 1 polarizer filter but if I must, I will start a collection like most. Is there a set or package of filters? A specific name brand to avoid or to definitely buy?

What are your thoughts? Please mention what you think works best in the field as well as comment on the above quote ( like to know what you think about the idea of buying for largest lens and using step down rings to fit each lens)

Thank you in advance for your time
 

DennyCrane

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The problem is, a circular polarizer is 2 pieces of glass. One is fixed and one rotates for varying degrees of effect. You're not dropping that into any holder. It must be screwed on to work. And when you combine filters... yeah, I'd recommend using the screw-on styles.
 
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tripwater

tripwater

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The problem is, a circular polarizer is 2 pieces of glass. One is fixed and one rotates for varying degrees of effect. You're not dropping that into any holder. It must be screwed on to work. And when you combine filters... yeah, I'd recommend using the screw-on styles.

thanks for the response. So what do you think about the suggestion of buying for your largest lens and having step down rings for your smaller lenses in order to limit the amount of filters you have to buy? I understand that it would most likely not be a good idea in the case where the smallest lens is a wide angle according to the quote, it would most likely cause vignetting.
 

Buckster

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I find that the drop in filter system works best for me. No fiddling with screwing filters on and off, I just pop the filter holder onto the filter holder ring that lives on the end of each lens and drop in the NDs and circular polarizer as needed. They can even be stacked, which comes in quite handy.

With very wide angle lenses, there can be a bit of vignetting, depending on whether the lens can 'see' the edge of the filter / holder in the frame. With a large enough filter and holder, it's not a problem. Shooting a regular lens on a crop sensor camera helps also because much, or all, of that vignetted area will be cropped off anyway.

On the circular polarizer, it's not two separate pieces of glass that turn independent of one another. The glass and polarizer elements are fused together into one piece and the whole thing turns.

With a drop in filter system, the holder is made to accommodate and facilitate the turning of a circular polarizer designed for that system, allowing one to 'tune in' the filter for the circumstances. With the screw on variety, the threaded barrel of the filter screws onto the lens, and the filter itself is attached to that in a way that allows it to be turned.

The drop in variety will work on pretty much every lens you have, so it's a single filter purchase, and an inexpensive filter holder ring for each lens. The screw on variety means a separate expensive filter for each lens size.
 

Big Mike

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I have a Cokin filter holder and several filters. I haven't used them since going digital. It's just so easy (and infinitely more flexible) to add most filter effects in post production.
I do use circular polarizes for most of my outdoor photography though.

Actually, there are still good uses for things like split or graduated filters, as well as ND filters...but you can still do much of this with Photoshop.
 

Buckster

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I have a Cokin filter holder and several filters. I haven't used them since going digital. It's just so easy (and infinitely more flexible) to add most filter effects in post production.
I do use circular polarizes for most of my outdoor photography though.

Actually, there are still good uses for things like split or graduated filters, as well as ND filters...but you can still do much of this with Photoshop.
Much agreement. I'm using the Cokin holders as well. I've got a stack of colored filters, full and graduated, as well as a few effects and masks filters, that I never use anymore since moving to digital and learning Photoshop.

What I still use are the Neutral Density filters, mostly if I want to slow water or other moving things. I'll also sometimes use the graduated NDs if I want to get a more equal balance of light between sky and ground, if the separation between them permits (nearly a straight line), though I do find myself using bracketing and HDR more these days to solve that problem in post. The other filter I still use is the circular polarizer for skies and shooting through reflections.
 
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Plato

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The problem is, a circular polarizer is 2 pieces of glass. One is fixed and one rotates for varying degrees of effect. You're not dropping that into any holder. It must be screwed on to work. And when you combine filters... yeah, I'd recommend using the screw-on styles.

That is incorrect. There are two pieces of glass but they're bonded together with the polarizer and randomizer (circularizer) films between them. You couldn't take them apart if you wanted to. They rotate as a unit with the outer ring. The inner ring is empty and serves merely as a mechanism to hold the rotating ring against the lens.
 

Plato

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The problem is, a circular polarizer is 2 pieces of glass. One is fixed and one rotates for varying degrees of effect. You're not dropping that into any holder. It must be screwed on to work. And when you combine filters... yeah, I'd recommend using the screw-on styles.

thanks for the response. So what do you think about the suggestion of buying for your largest lens and having step down rings for your smaller lenses in order to limit the amount of filters you have to buy? I understand that it would most likely not be a good idea in the case where the smallest lens is a wide angle according to the quote, it would most likely cause vignetting.

I don't do it because it prevents me from using a lens hood.
 

Big Mike

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Much agreement. I'm using the Cokin holders as well. I've got a stack of colored filters, full and graduated, as well as a few effects and masks filters, that I never use anymore since moving to digital and learning Photoshop.

What I still use are the Neutral Density filters, mostly if I want to slow water or other moving things. I'll also sometimes use the graduated NDs if I want to get a more equal balance of light between sky and ground, if the separation between them permits (nearly a straight line), though I do find myself using bracketing and HDR more these days to solve that problem in post. The other filter I still use is the circular polarizer for skies and shooting through reflections.

Yup, that sounds like what I do/use. ND for water and that's about it.

I like the idea of grad filters for landscape shots, but I don't often shoot landscapes with flat horizons...so the flat gradients don't really do it for me.

Bracketing, HDR, and also the grad filter and adjustment brush tools in LR and ACR...are things that I prefer to use now.
 

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