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01-28-2018, 09:37 AM   #1
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Filters do you use them & which ones and why & when???

I always read pros and cons on using filters and which filters and when do you use them in doors outdoors and some say all the time in or out. My self I have always used protection filters on every lenses I have had and I know some say they are not needed. Should a person use UV filters and when? I have used polarizing filters in the past with good results. What are your thoughts on the different filters and which ones do you like and use the most in photography. I will add ND filters. Thanks


Bill


Last edited by Gold Coast; 01-28-2018 at 10:05 AM.
01-28-2018, 09:50 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Long ago I stopped using CPL. I should start using them again. In some situations CPL is a natural way of saturating pictures. Better than doing it in PS. I always use UV filter for protecting lens from dust. Regarding the quality of filters read in Lens Rentals website.
01-28-2018, 10:01 AM   #3
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Unless doing landscapes with distant haze, I'd pick a "protect" filter over a "UV" filter.

It all boils down to what you can afford to loose. I only put protect filters on my expensive lenses. Personally, my threshold is around $800 to $1000. My lenses worth less than that have no protect filter on them (unless at the beach or desert), and my lenses worth over that will ALWAYS have a protect filter on them.
01-28-2018, 10:13 AM - 1 Like   #4
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First, filters tend to reduce contrast, increase flare, reduce sharpness, add junk to bokeh, and should NEVER be used with aurora. You'll find threads on PF where people were complaining about the performance of their lenses or cameras only to discover it was the "protective" filter they had put on the lens. If you do use filters, buy good ones and test them yourself to see what they do.

Whether you choose to use a protective filter is a personal choice. It certainly will reduce but not eliminate the chance of damage to the lens. If you are in conditions of blowing grit, salt/mineral water spray, etc., then a protective filter is great idea even if it reduces image quality. In other situations a plastic or rubber lens hood probably does a much better job of absorbing mechanical damage. The hard metal ring of a filter will simply transmit shock into the lens and camera body. A hood will flex to attenuate the shock.

Polarizing filters are useful for reducing or enhancing reflections, modulating saturation, intensifying rainbows, and intensifying contrast of the sky although they don't well for UWA lenses.

ND filters are useful for doing long-exposure shots in bright light to blur water and motion.

Specific color filters are useful for black-and-white.

There's tons of specialty filters out there that can be fun.

01-28-2018, 10:45 AM   #5
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For general digital photography I use no filter at all. Certainly would not add a UV or skylight filter for "protection" except in very extreme cases. The hood provides the protection I need from bumping the front element.

CPL filters are useful if the picture will be enhanced by saturating the sky/reducing reflections. Most other filters that were used for colour film can now be dealt with in PP instead.

ND and GND are very useful and it is worth experimenting with a system like Lee filters.

If you still shoot b+w film again you can get the effect of the filters in PP
01-28-2018, 11:37 AM   #6
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No filters here, but always use a hood.
01-28-2018, 11:44 AM   #7
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Nd filters for long exposure. Always use lens hood.
01-28-2018, 11:51 AM   #8
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Polarising, ND and Graduated filters have their uses even if effects can, to an extent, be overcome both by camera and PP.

The issue of protection is covered above - my preference is to just use the hood unless I am in a sand storm - I have heard of lenses being dropped and the front element being damaged by shards of filter glass - but my take on protective filters is that they somewhat negate the high quality of glass and coatings which Pentax put in their lenses.

UV filters are unnecessary because, unlike film, the sensor is not effected by UV light, unless of course I am shooting with film.

01-28-2018, 12:07 PM   #9
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No filters on my lenses, even my expensive FA Limited's and DFA's, i have about $1000 worth B+W and Hoya filters in my drawer. They are just to freaking hard to clean and keep clean!
01-28-2018, 12:14 PM - 1 Like   #10
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With digital, I only use a clear protection filter IF Iʻm in a situation where I may need to clean the front element frequently, like sea spray, rain, road dust, etc. On hikes, for example, I always leave the lens cap off to be ready for anything. But in the forest or jungle, youʻre constantly walking thru dust, spores, pollen, and someoneʻs wind drifted insect repellent or sunblock spray.
Any filter is also very helpful to reduce condensation/fogging when going quickly from one temperature/humidity to another. Especially non-WR lenses.
For wide angle lenses, I use thin filters.
Although it would probably still be wise for me to continue using a CPL or graduated ND filter, I donʻt;I find I prefer to have the option to deal with fixes shooting RAW and then post process recovery of highlights or vibrance.

I do use an ND for long exposure landscapes or even for large apertures (f/1.4-f/2) on primes shooting portraits in full sun.
I no longer use color filters for my B&W images as I prefer having a full RGB spectrum when processing to a monochrome and before converting to gray scale.

With film I use UV, CPL (some of my cameras could use LPL, but that complicates my accessories), and a graduated ND frequently....unless indoors or at night. With B&W film my default is often a yellow filter. Iʻll use green for portraits and red for high contrast.

I do use a lens hood on every lens all the time.....except my 645 A 35mm wide angle. The hood is ridiculously useless (so shallow it looks from a distance to be a huge step up ring) and I feel like Iʻm shooting with a large mushroom.

Time permitting, if I see a real "keeper" opportunity, I will take off any protection filter.

Last edited by Alex645; 01-28-2018 at 12:19 PM.
01-28-2018, 12:29 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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Again, to me it's all about economics.

I do most of my shooting out of doors. I can't tell you the number of times branches and other objects have gotten past the hoods that I always have on my lenses and scraped my protect filter. Having some lenses that cost many thousands of dollars, there's no way I'm taking these "babies" into the wilderness without BOTH a hood and a protect filter on. If you don't have a protect filter on your adapted $5,000 Leica lens on your K1, good luck to you when you take it into the wilderness. Me, I want all the protection I can get.

I only buy the best protect filters. Scientific tests have shown that they have almost no detectable impact on image quality. I'm a huge pixel peeper, and have never been able to detect any degradation in IQ from using the best protect filters. Rather than debate this further, the OP might just want to do his own "Pepsi Challenge" with and without a protect filter on his favorite lenses.

Last edited by Fenwoodian; 01-28-2018 at 12:38 PM.
01-28-2018, 12:38 PM   #12
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I don't use filters. I set setting better. Filter are lazy for setting????
01-28-2018, 01:16 PM - 2 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
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Again, to me it's all about economics.

I do most of my shooting out of doors. I can't tell you the number of times branches and other objects have gotten past the hoods that I always have on my lenses and scraped my protect filter. Having some lenses that cost many thousands of dollars, there's no way I'm taking these "babies" into the wilderness without BOTH a hood and a protect filter on. If you don't have a protect filter on your adapted $5,000 Leica lens on your K1, good luck to you when you take it into the wilderness. Me, I want all the protection I can get.

I only buy the best protect filters. Scientific tests have shown that they have almost no detectable impact on image quality. I'm a huge pixel peeper, and have never been able to detect any degradation in IQ from using the best protect filters. Rather than debate this further, the OP might just want to do his own "Pepsi Challenge" with and without a protect filter on his favorite lenses.
Me too. Hood and B+W (protective) = less risk of branches and general c*** fouling lens. Flare not an issue, in all my tests. Contrast etc., no issue. It's an insurance, which I'm prepared to pay. Helps re-sale price too as front element remains in pristine condition.
01-28-2018, 03:09 PM   #14
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I don't often use filters. General points for me:
* Polariser can be useful with scenes involving water. E.g. you want to see whats in the water rather than the reflection off the water (or vice versa!). Can sometimes also help contrast and colour saturation. But I don't use a polariser as mater of course.
* ND filters can be helpful to achieve longer exposures but I have had issues with colour shift when using ND filters and so you should avoid the cheap ones (even then I often run into problems for some reason).
* Graduated ND filters are great for taming a bright sky in landscapes. Again I have issues with cheaper filters. Also I find that shooting RAW and with modern cameras like the K-1, KP etc, you can achieve a lot in PP using digital graduated filters. When you take the photo though you need to expose for the sky (which the camera will typically do).
* Personally I'm not a huge fan of UV or protective filters. I have a couple of lenses with them (my Tamron 70-200 for example) but would not use them unless I was: a: Using a really good filter with good coatings (more expensive) and b: had a good hood on the lens. In my view, always using a hood is good for your images, provides a degree of protection of the front element, and helps reduce amount of dirt that gets on the front element (reducing the amount of cleaning you do).
01-28-2018, 03:50 PM   #15
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Yes & no to using filters

Virtually all my lenses have UV filters on them. These are more a legacy from a decade ago when I started to add them to reduce the amount of cleaning I needed to do on the front lens elements. And whilst they're on my lenses they are removed before I take any photos as they are for me just a source to protect the lens. I prefer to use no filters whenever possible and only ever use the UV filters if I was at a location like a desert or beach where the blasting of sand/salt is present. Other than that they don't get used. I don't have them on all my lenses these days as I've chosen not to buy them for my D-FA* 70-200 & D-FA 150-450. I will get one for the super-tele sometime as this is the lens I would be using to capture surfers and therefore expect to be met with salt spray eventually.

I have several CPL to fit lenses ranging from wide angle to telephoto. I don't always use them though, especially considering the uneven skies they can create on a wide angle lens. However they can be particularly useful too so I'd recommend having them available for landscapes/cityscapes/seascapes. If you live near a lake or river, or even a coast with still water at times, the ability to remove reflections can take a good photo to a whole new level. Oh, and the extra stop of light they remove can at times be useful too. Having spoken in positive terms about CPL filters, I have a Hoya Pro CPL for my Zeiss 21mm and I've never really been satisfied with it on that lens. I also picked up a blue/gold CPL though to be honest I don't really use it. It's an interesting tool though for me it's not worth the money as I don't expect to use it much if ever again at all.

I have a range of ND filters including three different stop levels of ND grads, I have a reverse ND grad and two versions of extra dark ND filters at 9 stops and 10 stops.

The ND grads I have are soft ND grads and can be useful to balance out the sky and foreground more effectively at the time of capture. They aren't always the best for the job but it can mean getting the capture first time in camera without needing to bracket frames and combining in PP. As some scenes exceed the DR of the sensor they can be useful but they will also darken anything that extends up into the graduated dark section of the filter that might detract from the capture by making the filter use obvious (eg the top half of a building is darker than the bottom). In those circumstances you would fix the image in post in which case bracketing and combining in post may be a simpler approach to capturing the scene. My ND Grads are Cokin square P Mount plastic filters, they're cheap, easy to scratch and have a horrible colour caste to fix in post.

The reverse ND grad is a filter that is clear at the bottom that feathers to a dark section from the middle to top third then feathers back to clear at the top. The filter is useful for sunrise/sunset images where the scene is lightest at the horizon. It's very effective for those times but of little use in any other circumstance. Mine came from Singh Ray, is a 3 stop reverse ND grad and was not cheap. I regularly used this filter when I lived near the coast a couple of years ago.

I have two 9 stop Hoya ND400 filters (58mm and 77mm) & one 10 stop B&W ND10 filter (49mm). I like using these filters when water and/or cloud will be present in a scene. They can also be fun with street scenes to blur the movement of people & vehicles during the daytime. Again these are one trick ponies, but I do like what they allow you to create, though they also have their own colour castes to deal with (an easy fix in post). I find that Live view is particularly handy when using this type of filter as the viewfinder is usually too dark to properly compose a scene. I also recommend you ensure the viewfinder blank that came with your camera is used to avoid any light leaking in through the viewfinder. There are 15 stop filters around these days that I'd like to play with as well as some ND 3 and 4 stop but these still all remain on my wish list for now.

I plan on adding a filter system to my D-FA 15-30 though all the options are quite expensive so I'm not rushing into that. I'm also of the opinion that if I can find a single filter solution that will allow the use of CPL, ND grad, reverse ND grad and 10 stop filters then I could simplify my set up. Even this approach would require multiple lens adaptors so it may remain an idea only. Overall I use filters less than I used to, but I always have them with me so I can use them if I think they will add to what I'm trying to capture/create. And yes I intend to get more if/when possible.

Whichever way you go I'd recommend you consider how to reduce the total number of filters by using step down rings and finding a good pouch that allows safe storage to avoid scratches and excessive cleaning like these: Filter Cases - camera lens filter pocket pouch wallet | MindShift Gear

Beyond that lets hope we get some example images of how some people have captured a scene with wide DR without filters. I'm always keen to learn more when people are prepared to share more than an opinion. For example, here's what the Northrup's have to say about replacing filters with PP:


Tas
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