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12-05-2009, 04:31 PM   #1
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Filters: What's in your arsenal?

What filters are a must in your arsenal?

I have a bunch of old UV filters (called "protectors" here in Japan) and a few color filters back home with my Spotmatic. I think I might have a softening portrait filter, but I don't remember. I know I have a bunch of empty boxes for filters that were lost over time.

I'm planning on getting at least UV filters and polarizers for my current lenses, and possibly at least one cooling and one warming filter (not sure what though).

12-05-2009, 05:19 PM   #2
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There are alot of threads regarding whether or not to use UV filters around here - I personally dont think they add to image quality (and can even be a detriment depending on their quality). For protection I personally make sure the hoods are on and am reasonably careful with the camera. I used UV filters for awhile, but saw enough double reflections in photos to kiss them goodbye.

I am not sure of a need for cooling/warming filters with digital either. If you shoot raw you can add effects, change WB and so forth during post processing.

I have a 67mm and 77mm circular polarizer, 77mm nd4 and a cheap ebay 720nm IR 67mm filter (also a hoya r72 52mm IR filter on the way). The IR are pretty much for fun/experimentation, the CPs work well for high contrast scenes and the nd4 I use for longer shutter speeds shooting waterfalls and the like.
12-05-2009, 05:39 PM   #3
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Not much. For digital, a polarizer sometimes. (Still rarely bothering even with those. ) For the old B&W film, I would use that, yellow, red, orange, and green, in about that order of ever actually fitting them. I've actually kind of tended to lose interest in using those, unless the need's compelling.

And diffusers. Those, I always used to be a real fan of, mostly with all the old tricks, (A little vaseline, even the proverbial 'Grandma's stockings' until those finally just unravelled on me: also I had some of my own from Goth days which made nice 'black softnets' ) Those I used a lot more of when I was using a lot of flash, doing weddings, etc.)

In recent years, it's gotten a lot more 'back to basics,' though.

Not that B&W contrast filters weren't once in fact part of my 'basics,' but my style changed over some fallow times and I realized that for me they'd become just sort of habit and routine. (Admittedly, I did have to pawn a beautiful old yellow filter (couldn't get it back) with a look all its own back there, and what I later replaced it with just hasn't been the same)

So, not much.
12-05-2009, 08:36 PM   #4
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A couple of polarizers.
That's it.

12-05-2009, 09:12 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
also I had some of my own from Goth days which made nice 'black softnets' )
You had Goth days? Man, I'd like to have been there then.
12-05-2009, 10:01 PM   #6
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ive got myself the following screw on filters, which can be fun to play with

some CPLs
some UVs

the following for the DA 18-55 AL II (52mm) -
ND400 (its just a cheapie though, dont bother, get the real thing, colour cast and lack of contrast is terrible)
IR72 (lots of fun to play with )

and the following in 49mm (fits all of my primes except the 135mm)
Red filter
Blue filter
Star Six
centre spot (soft except for the centre of frame)

also have a chinese copy of the Cokin P system, 1 holder w 49 + 52mm adapters

ND8
ND8 grad
Sunset (orange/red grad)

i find them all fun effects and fully intend to upgrade to the "real" things (better quality stuff) when i decide on a lens
12-06-2009, 02:13 PM   #7
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Filters....I have a few......
-Warm toned polarizer
-gold'n'blue polarizer
-3 stop ND filter
-2 & 3 stop soft edge GND's
-2 stop Rev. GND
-2 & 3 stop tobacco grads which I hate using but they do have their uses all the same
-1 colour intensifier
....and that's all I'm willing to admit to
12-06-2009, 02:42 PM   #8
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1 polarizer for my Tammy.

c[_]

12-06-2009, 02:44 PM   #9
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About the only adjustment you can't make with software today is the actual suppression of reflections available with polarizers unless you insist on shooting digital B&W in the camera.
NIK software has some very instructive trial downloads if you want a demonstration of filter effects with digital manipulation.

Howsumeber, I still play with medium format B&W film so . . . did ya know, FBA's a sick subset of LBA?

H2
12-06-2009, 06:54 PM   #10
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I don't use filters as much anymore. They are not as useful on digital with the great post-processing options. I still use them for film, however:
  • Polarizer (non-CP)
  • Skylight 1A
  • 81A (warming)
  • UV(0)
  • K2 (yellow)
  • Center Spot
I should probably get a red filter one of these days as well...

Steve
12-06-2009, 07:07 PM   #11
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Polarizers on two sizes
ND4 for shooting primes wide open under sunlight
ND400 for looong exposures under sunlight
12-06-2009, 07:17 PM   #12
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I just looked in the filter wallets and on the sale table.
Over the years I have collected something like 30 UVA, UVB and Skylight filters tha came on lenses I've bought. Most of the lenses have been sold, but I always take the filters off. I should have a $5 filter Extravaganza some day. Over half of them are SMC Pentax and a few are B&W.

Since I still have and use film cameras, in the actual filters wallets I have the following (I have rarely purchased a filter new):
  • UVA/UVB
  • Skylight
  • 82A (reduced PF with some lenses on digital)
  • 82B
  • Y2 - Yellow
  • O2 - Orange
  • YG - Yellow-Green
  • Green
  • Red
  • 80A - Blue
  • Fantastic Color (dynamic Pentax circular filters that changes color as you rotate it)
  • Polarizing
  • Circular Polarizing
I might actually buy a ND/GND set some day.
12-06-2009, 07:49 PM   #13
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used to have a uv for protection, a polarizer (which was usually more work than i thought it would be and gave sometimes unrealistic colors) and a yellow-green for black and white film
12-07-2009, 02:45 AM   #14
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Circ Pol
8x ND
64x ND
12-07-2009, 10:21 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by chinotenshi Quote
What filters are a must in your arsenal?

I have a bunch of old UV filters (called "protectors" here in Japan) and a few color filters back home with my Spotmatic. I think I might have a softening portrait filter, but I don't remember. I know I have a bunch of empty boxes for filters that were lost over time.

I'm planning on getting at least UV filters and polarizers for my current lenses, and possibly at least one cooling and one warming filter (not sure what though).
UV filters degrade image quality so I suggest you only use them when your lens is in eminent danger, I have one too and use it near the ocean to protect against salt-water or in sand-storms.

Polarizers are very useful for some types of photographer and unlike most other filters, their effect cannot be emulated by sofware. A warming and cooling filter is built-in to all Pentax DSLRs, it is called white-balance fine-tuning and way more settings than people can afford filters!

I also have neutral density filters, one ND8 and one ND400. They are used when the light is too bright for getting the amount of motion blur/trails that I want.

It gets very expensive to buy all those filters so I cut costs by having all 77mm filters and step-up rings from 49, 52, 55, 58, 62 and 67. Imagine getting those filters 7 times each! The only downside is that when using a step-up ring, you cannot use your lens-hood any more. If you do prefer filters per lens size, you should note that some combinations make little sense. For example things that darken (polarizers and ND) make little sense a fast-prime if you have a quality zoom that covers the focal-length.

Finally, remember, photographic results are limited by the weakest link. If you do not buy the best filter, you won't get the best out of your lenses while using them.

- Itai
Neoluminance | Fine Art Photography
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