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11-16-2009, 06:50 PM   #1
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Basic filters...

I'm just an amateur so not looking to spend a ton here, but I guess I need some filters... a circular polarizer and a ND filter?

Can someone suggest something specific? A link directly to the product would be great...

I just have the kit lens for the K20D...



11-16-2009, 07:07 PM   #2
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you do not need filters if you don't have a specific use for them. filters can be very useful, but they are not necessary depending on what you want to photograph.

As to brands, Hoya, B+W, and many others are great. tiffen are average, no-names are usually worthless, etc.
11-17-2009, 08:54 AM   #3
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I appreciate the response but there is such a large variety of filters I can't make heads or tails of it...

For example.. Just looking at Circular polarizers, just from Hoya, just for 52mm lenses... There are a dozen options!! and there is little info to distinguish them at least that I can understand...

ND filters are possibly worse in this regard!

Can someone just point me to a SPECIFIC option for a decent or good filter set for general use?


11-17-2009, 09:34 AM   #4
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I think the ideal thing to do is to get familiar with your camera to determine whether you really need any filters or not. In the digital world you can often get away with minimal use of filters. I've been at photography for many years and my filter use is limited to a polarizer and nothing more. I do sometimes wish I had a ND filter or filter set, but that is so rarely, and I am often able to compensate through other methods.

In reality, the polarizer is the one type of filter that can't be mimicked through digital editing. A polarizing filter "polarizes" light, which essentially means that it takes the scattered light your lens might see and aligns it (and with a circular polarizer, "unaligns" it again). The result is that you can often eliminate glare, reflections, etc from an image when the sun is not directly in front or behind you. I find it works well for gutting the haze in the air (by removing the scattered light off of it), and it is great for giving the sky a deep blue color. Circular polarizers do cut down on the exposure, and are generally only useful for landscape shots.

A circular polarizer is specifically needed because of the way digital cameras work internally. I've had a linear polarizer work, but I'm not sure if I've been lucky or what (it was for my old film SLR but works with my K10d).

ND filters are really there just to cut down on light to lengthen your shutter speed. They are just a gray filter and are like shooting through tinted glass. They are usually identified by the number of stops they cut down for you. A big use I've seen is for shooting cascades, waterfalls, rivers, etc so that the water becomes silky smooth without having to blow out a photo. Only twice have I ever been in a situation where I would have liked one. Most of the time, I find that stopping the lens down can lengthen the shutter speed I want sufficiently, so I've never bothered getting one.

In terms of brands, etc. Generally, you'll get what you pay for. I don't know specifically why there are so many options like you see with Hoya, but presumably it is because they offer multicoated filters, there are thin profile filters to reduce vignetting, various threading options. Sometimes if it is real expensive it is for a specialized purpose or perhaps for more professional use. Only you can determine exactly how good of a filter you may need.

11-17-2009, 10:58 AM   #5
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For "general" use, you really don't need a filter. There are several threads in the forum discussing the pros and cons of Skylight and UV filters and the general consensus is that you really don't need one on a digital camera unless you are in a harsh environment and need to protect the front lens element. As for polarizers and ND filters they are useful in certain conditions but not for general use. It would be almost impossible to explain the uses of various filters in a thread reply as you have noticed there are dozens of filters available for different effects and lighting conditions. If you browse through a bookstore or library, you will find whole books on the subject and most general photography books have chapters on use of filters. Petersons "Understanding Exposure " is excellent and he covers the use of polarizers and ND filters well with good examples of the conditions that call for their use and examples of photos with and without. It's available in most bookstores for $24 bucks.
11-17-2009, 02:18 PM   #6
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I would suggest forgetting the filters until you identify a specific need. I got one set for a superzoom that i have, but find myself not using them at all. On an Ultra wide angle zoom i have, i use a uv filter to avoid damage to the lens, and on a DA 300 i use a UV filter for protection, but on the rest, none.

On an ultra wide angle lenses, a CP filter can give changes in the saturation across the sky due to the varying angle at which the sunlight is striking the surface. Also, on the typical zoom, the 2 stop loss of light can make a sig difference in the morning and evening. I'd rather have more shutter speed or more DOF than the polarizer.

As for water flows, you can need those ND filters during daylight hours to get those creamy affects, unless you use blended images such as the Multi epxosure feature on the K10 and K20 or in PP software.

Circular ND graduated filters, yes i bought one, that fit the lens threads are more trouble than they are worth in my experience. better the square ND graduated filters that have a bracket to hold them. with those you can vary where the horizon is.

In general, i think one is better off initially putting money into pp software, than into filters, at least i the ones i bought spend most of their time sitting unused. One of my friends asked me why when he visits the areas i photograph, they don't look nearly as good in real life :-) Well, it isn't because of filters, i can tell you that
11-17-2009, 07:08 PM   #7
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Agreed for general use, you don't need a filter at all. Probably 99.99% of pictures taken are (or could/should be) without filters, and a good number of digital DSLR users probably don't own one (except perhaps the useless UV filter the saleperson pressured them into buying). When you have a specific need for a filter, you'll know it, and then you can start asking more specific questions.
11-17-2009, 07:45 PM   #8
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Thank you everyone... I'm continuing to learn quite a bit about filters and uses

I guess to be more specific... I enjoy doing landscape photography and I find that I can benefit from a circular polarizer in many instances both for skies and water shots.

In addition I could use a ND filter... for example I have been taking stream shots of cascades with the silky water effects. At slow shutter speeds there are getting over exposed at times. this would be to compensate.

Also a graduated ND filter for sky exposure issues....

So the three 'types' of filters I'm interested in are a circular polarize, a full ND filter, and a graduated ND filter.

Even knowing this I'm having difficulty picking specific ones to purchase. as mentioned there are a large variety of each type available even from a single manufacturer for a single lens size.

So, please, can someone suggest specific filters given my proposed uses.... Really, I just don't want to by crap... and I'm not looking for pro quality... something in the middle... I would hope to be able to get the 3 types of filters above for under $150 total... hopefully way under...



11-17-2009, 07:50 PM   #9
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i would recommend the cokin filters as a cheap alternative normally but since you only have the one lenses then there is no advantage infact might be more expensive

but if you are planning on getting more lenses with different filter diameters then look into the cokin system then you can reuse your filters on all your lenses
11-19-2009, 03:20 PM   #10
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An ND filter is useful when trying to use a wide aperture to narrow your depth of field in bright sunlight. With ISO200 film, and a 1/1000 max shutter speed, this is quite an issue.

With a (slow) kit lens, on a modern 1/4000 camera at ISO100, not such a big deal.

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