Is One Filter for Every Lens Practical?

Bulb

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Hey, TPF.

I've noticed a lot of conflicting information about filters. It actually seems to get to the point of becoming a "UV Filter 24/7" vs "Just Use a Lens Hood" holy war... and you can sleep easy knowing that's not what I'm going to ask. I've already decided that.

What I have been wondering about is another common thing I've heard about filters. Apparently, there is no harm in buying the largest filter you will need and then using a step up adapter for each lens that you own. I do, however, have some concerns about this that a much more experienced photographer may be able to shed some light on:


  • Having a large step-up adapter on a small lens seems a bit precarious at best. Is it likely that a simple bump could mess up the threads on the lens?
  • If I have a huge filter on a lens then I must only be able to use a large lens hood. Would such a large hood on a normal or wide lens cause severe vignetting?
  • If I only need to buy one of each filter then I can afford a higher quality filter. If I spend about $30-60 on a filter then would it probably do any lens justice?
  • What filters are actually necessary to use? The general consensus seems to be: UV, CPL and maybe GND, VND (UV being necessary because I currently shoot on film, or is it only really necessary in extreme situations?)
  • Is 77mm a decent maximum filter size? I can't see myself using anything that large any time soon

Thanks for reading. Any insight into this problem is appreciated.
 

runnah

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Why do you think you need them?

I have a couple polarizer a and some ND filters. I use these mostly to take long exposures in bright days and to make clouds pop. Most of the time they sit in the bag.

The UV ones are a waste IMO.
 

480sparky

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.........
Having a large step-up adapter on a small lens seems a bit precarious at best. Is it likely that a simple bump could mess up the threads on the lens?

That's certainly a possibility.


If I have a huge filter on a lens then I must only be able to use a large lens hood. Would such a large hood on a normal or wide lens cause severe vignetting?


If you use a larger filter than the lens is made for, you're hood will naturally be larger, and less likely to vignette.


If I only need to buy one of each filter then I can afford a higher quality filter. If I spend about $30-60 on a filter then would it probably do any lens justice?


$30-60 is high for a UV, but squat for a quality VND or CP-L


What filters are actually necessary to use? The general consensus seems to be: UV, CPL and maybe GND, VND (UV being necessary because I currently shoot on film, or is it only really necessary in extreme situations?)


When shooting digital, you won't need a UV as there's one built into the sensor.


Is 77mm a decent maximum filter size? I can't see myself using anything that large any time soon


77mm is about as large as most folks need.
 
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Bulb

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Why do you think you need them?

UV to prevent haze in outdoor shots and CPL to remove reflections in street photography.

I probably won't need the GND, VND.
 

runnah

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UV to prevent haze in outdoor shots and CPL to remove reflections in street photography.

I probably won't need the GND, VND.

I honestly don't see any marked improvement with a uv filter on. Not enough to make up for the lower quality image.

If I had to pick one id get a decent polarizer.
 
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Bulb

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Thanks for the advice, sparky.

I think I'll get a cheap 77mm Tiffen UV filter and a higher quality 77mm CP-L from Hoya or B+W then, along with a 77mm lens hood. For some reason I was thinking about vignetting backwards, but I'm glad to hear that it won't be a problem. My only concern is still that the threads may become damaged, but I treat my camera like my first born child and I doubt that I would drop it. I also always use a strap.

I honestly don't see any marked improvement with a uv filter on. Not enough to make up for the lower quality image.

If I had to pick one id get a decent polarizer.

I don't plan on spending much on the UV filter. If it doesn't have any effect on the test shots then I just won't use it.

I'll definitely be getting a good polarizer, though. Distracting reflections are a pet peeve of mine.
 

Josh66

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If you use a larger filter than the lens is made for, you're hood will naturally be larger, and less likely to vignette.

The hood will also be less likely to actually do what it is intended to do.
 

Josh66

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I personally don't think buying all of your filters in the largest size you need is a good idea, unless almost all of them take the largest size.

The only possible benefit is that that it's cheaper. The down side is that you can pretty much only use a hood on the lenses that need that larger filter size.

Now, if you only have one or two lenses that use a size other than 77mm (or whatever your largest size is), it may be worth it. If you only have one or two that do use that larger size though, I think you'd be better off spending the extra money on the sizes you actually need.
 

Devinhullphoto

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I keep a uv filter on all my lenses at all times just from habit. Most of my lenses have hoods and I use them but I've managed to smack the front element with a hood on so I like the security of a filter as a backup. Does it change the image? Probably not.
 

tirediron

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If you're going to keep the UV on all the time, then buy the absolute BEST one you can afford; Lee, Singh-Ray, B+W, or Heliopan. Putting a cheap filter on a good (or any lens) will significantly degrade that lenses performance. Search the forum a bit, there have been at least two cases in the last year where members have been cursing their camera, lens, skills etc due to soft, bland images, only to realize it was a cheap UV filter messing up the works. As mentioned, you won't see any difference in the haze etc, with a screw-on UV as the camera already has one built-in.
 

Tinderbox (UK)

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I put a uv filter on every lens a hoya hmc only costs $20 each, i just buy them from ebay, you have to be careful you dont get a fake, though i am quite good at spotting them now

I dont use a uv filter to reduce uv as the camera sensor has it`s own, it`s only to protect the lens, it only takes 1 grain of sand stuck to your lens or cleaning cloth to ruin your day, better a to replace a $20 filter than an in some cases a $200 lens or even $2000 one, i wish :drool:

John.

A good uv filter test

http://www.lenstip.com/113.1-article-UV_filters_test.html
 
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Bulb

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I personally don't think buying all of your filters in the largest size you need is a good idea, unless almost all of them take the largest size.

The only possible benefit is that that it's cheaper. The down side is that you can pretty much only use a hood on the lenses that need that larger filter size.

Now, if you only have one or two lenses that use a size other than 77mm (or whatever your largest size is), it may be worth it. If you only have one or two that do use that larger size though, I think you'd be better off spending the extra money on the sizes you actually need.

It being cheaper is definitely a significant factor. I'm just starting to get into photography and I don't have much money to work with at the moment.

Getting all of my filters in the same size would mean the difference between having a full set of $15 filters and having two higher quality filters and a step-up set.

Since I am a newbie, my style hasn't really settled yet. I will probably still buy and sell lenses until I find exactly what I need, and then the filters I do have may become useless on the new lenses.

I keep a uv filter on all my lenses at all times just from habit. Most of my lenses have hoods and I use them but I've managed to smack the front element with a hood on so I like the security of a filter as a backup. Does it change the image? Probably not.

I guess it really depends on the quality of the filter and what it is used for. At the extreme poor-quality example, I have a cheap made in China UV filter which seems to ever so slightly darknen the shot and make the colors appear a bit undersaturated.

If you're going to keep the UV on all the time, then buy the absolute BEST one you can afford; Lee, Singh-Ray, B+W, or Heliopan. Putting a cheap filter on a good (or any lens) will significantly degrade that lenses performance. Search the forum a bit, there have been at least two cases in the last year where members have been cursing their camera, lens, skills etc due to soft, bland images, only to realize it was a cheap UV filter messing up the works. As mentioned, you won't see any difference in the haze etc, with a screw-on UV as the camera already has one built-in.

I don't plan on keeping the UV filter on all the time. I'm using an EOS 650 (film) camera. Does it still have the built in UV filter? I really only wanted the UV filter for removing UV light only.

I put a uv filter on every lens a hoya hmc only costs $20 each, i just buy them from ebay, you have to be careful you dont get a fake, though i am quite good at spotting them now

I dont use a uv filter to reduce uv as the camera sensor has it`s own, it`s only to protect the lens, it only takes 1 grain of sand stuck to your lens or cleaning cloth to ruin your day, better a to replace a $20 filter than an in some cases a $200 lens or even $2000 one, i wish
drool2.gif


John.

A good uv filter test

http://www.lenstip.com/113.1-article-UV_filters_test.html

Thanks for the link! I'll definitely look into doing this. It seems like a viable alternative.
 

Tailgunner

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I worry about damaging lenses/elements, so I keep the correct size UV filters on my good non kit glass and use hoods.
 

480sparky

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I worry about damaging lenses/elements, so I keep the correct size UV filters on my good non kit glass and use hoods.

I used to do that back in my film days. When I went digital, I did the same thing.

Then one day I had an epiphany: In 12 years of shooting never ONCE did I replace a UV filter because it was damaged or scratched.
 

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