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05-23-2011, 12:17 PM   #1
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Hoya UV filters - Quality V Cost?

Hi Folks

Three of my better lenses (Sigma 10-20, F4.5-5.6, Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 APO, and Pentax 55-300DA) are now fitted with Hoya Pro Digital MC UV filters - and they seem to make virtually no (if any) difference to the image quality.

However the s/h 100-300mm F4 Pentax came with a standard Hoya Skylight1(B) filter, and I am wondering if it is worth the not-inconsiderable cost of replacing that with the 82mm diameter Pro Digital version. The main use for the lens will be for the K-5 at airshows and the like where the lens is used fairly wide open to allow high shutter speeds.

Any comments/experience would be welcomed, as would suggestions for other filters?
(I am aware of B&W, etc., but have never used them)

Thanks in advance

John

05-23-2011, 12:57 PM   #2
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I used to buy Hoya filters, but after reading reviews and trying some out, I now buy Marumi Super DHG filters for two reasons - slightly lower cost, and easier to clean. I've had excellent results with the Marumi Super DHG series.

Keeping in mind that you only need UV filters if you are still shooting on film, if you are just shooting digital you could save some money as well by going with a 'protect' filter rather than UV ('protect' filters are coated optical glass but don't block UV). A Marumi 82mm Super DHG Protect filter would run about $40, vs. a Marumi 82mm Super DHG UV which would be about $75.

Another good choice for a filter is the Kenko Zeta series, which I'd also put above the Hoya Super line. (The Kenko Zeta tends to be more expensive than the Marumi Super DHG though.)
05-23-2011, 01:21 PM   #3
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HOYA have many series of filters from down right dirt cheap (green) to almost as expensive as B+W (HD). I have been using HOYA UV (many series) for more than 2 decades and cannot detect any drop of sharpness or contrast except for some really old uncoated filters (but they made great portrait diffusers). However, any filters of any brands, even the most expensive, will induce flare when hit by the light source. Since you have the filter already, perhaps just keep using it till you see a valid reason of replacing it. For teles, I just use screw-in metal hoods for protection w/o filter.
05-23-2011, 01:48 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
Since you have the filter already, perhaps just keep using it till you see a valid reason of replacing it.
The OP has a Hoya Skylight1(B) filter right now, and since that adds a slightly magenta color cast to pictures, I assumed the desire was to replace it with something like a UV or protect filter which wouldn't cause that color cast (skylight filters were more useful in the film days with certain brands of film when shooting outdoors). Also having something easier to clean could be a big advantage over the Hoya, especially in the field.

Not all brand-name filters are equal, just take a look at this test and the supplement.

05-23-2011, 02:03 PM   #5
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The latest series HD is designed to be easily clean. I have one myself and it works. As to the tests, I checked it out too but quite frank it was great for grabbing attention only. The reason is that filter quality of the same make & model between batches vary greatly. Their results probably do not apply to the filters you bought. I also have some Kenko & Marumi which are much inferior to any HOYA I have had. The B+W PL that I bought had loose retaining ring, uneven tight rotation and dirty glass OOB. I think every brand has crap & gem. You just have to pick them carefully.
05-23-2011, 02:50 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
The latest series HD is designed to be easily clean. I have one myself and it works.
Yes, Hoya HD is another good choice (8-layer, 99.35% light transmission, hardened glass). More expensive than the Marumi Super DHG and Kenko Zeta, and I'm not sure how much better. Also not available in as many sizes (i.e. there are no 49mm Hoya HD filters, so I tend not to recommend them as often).

QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
As to the tests, I checked it out too but quite frank it was great for grabbing attention only. The reason is that filter quality of the same make & model between batches vary greatly.
I disagree. If you are seeing significant variations in the same line of the same brand (i.e. you have two Hoya HD UV filters and one is built or performs significantly different than another) then I'd suggest that one of them is a counterfeit.

QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
Their results probably do not apply to the filters you bought.
I linked to the test to indicate how a consumer can't just trust that because a filter is a brand name they recognize that it is the best. The filters I recommended are not in either test - the Marumi Super DHG (6-layer water and oil repellant, 99.5% light transmission) and Kenko Zeta (7-layer, 99.7% light transmission). Lenstip did review the Marumi Super DHG Cirucular Polarizer, and it was found to be the best polarizer, for what that's worth (it led me to try out their other Super DHG filters).

QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
I also have some Kenko & Marumi which are much inferior to any HOYA I have had. The B+W PL that I bought had loose retaining ring, uneven tight rotation and dirty glass OOB. I think every brand has crap & gem. You just have to pick them carefully.
Every brand does have their entry-level single-coated filters (which aren't much better than photographing through a pane of window glass and can make images look much worse than no filter at all), their middle-level multicoated filters (a few layers), and their high-end multicoated filters (many layers). You can take just about any entry-level filter from one brand and put it up against the high-end filter of another and it will be worse. I wasn't recommending brands, I was recommending specific lines within specific brands, and for good reason.

I would recommend anyone considering filters stick with the high-end multicoated filters that have the most minimal flare, best construction, and are easiest to clean. Hoya HD, Marumi Super DHG, and Kenko Zeta are three in my experience that fit this. Also be careful when and where you buy from, there are counterfit filter makers out there, so I'd avoid buying from overseas.
05-23-2011, 03:20 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
I disagree. If you are seeing significant variations in the same line of the same brand (i.e. you have two Hoya HD UV filters and one is built or performs significantly different than another) then I'd suggest that one of them is a counterfeit.
I have had 4-5 HMC SUPER which were purchased from reputable local stores and B&H. There are 3 different coating colour among them. I do agree that there are many good fakes from eBay.
05-23-2011, 04:26 PM   #8
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I Have tried many over the years. The Pentax SMC ones are good. Other than that I used to like the Hoya ones but now I only buy the B+W ones. Much easier to clean, harder wearing and fantastic build quality and performance.

Kim

05-23-2011, 11:07 PM   #9
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The main problem with filters (assuming they meet minimum quality standards, which shouldn't be a problem with any Hoya) is flare. I don't think it's worth bothering with any less than a multicoated filter. If your Hoya Skylight is HMC, then, provided you're happy with the slight magenta cast, I think it should be OK.

You can check this out using your lens at night, with bright lights in and out of frame. You'll notice a degree of flare - try the effect of removing the filter. A decent filter will add only minimally to the amount of flare you get. See if the expensive modern filters are any better (it's probably best to use the same lens for this test).
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