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03-04-2013, 05:55 AM   #1
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Asahi Pentax SMC Filters

With a lens I bought last year, I received an OLD Asahi-Pentax filter with it. The glass itself is actually curved and the coating is a bit blue.

What is the general concensus on these filters?

What era are they from?

Is it worth pursuing getting more, or just go for modern ones (as needed)?

03-04-2013, 06:36 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I haven't used any of the old SMC filters, but when it comes to older filters you should keep in mind that film acts differently than digital image sensors. For example, a good UV, skylight or Haze filter was "almost" ESSENTIAL back in the film days because film is sensitive to UV light. Digital sensors are not really sensitive to UV and so there is no optical need for UV filters even under extremely bright sunlight. In fact, even if you have a AMAZING UV or skylight filter it will -- at the very least -- impact the color balance of your digital image. UV filters have a light yellow tint and Skylight filters have a light pink tint.

Today many people use UV filters as lens covers or lens protectors but you have to keep in mind they are "filters" designed to alter the way light strikes the film (or the image sensor in the case of modern cameras).

My personal opinion is that filters should only be used when you want to alter the light coming into your lens in a very specific manner. I use warming filters, ND filters, polarizers, and color gradient filters from time to time but it's always when I want the specific image-altering effect that the filter or filters provide.

As long as you understand that a filter is changing the way the final image is rendered that's great ... just don't use a filter like a see-through lens cap and think there's no impact on the final image.
03-04-2013, 06:44 AM   #3
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Thanks for the lesson on filters.

Anyhow, how are those old filters for quality and clarity, and specifically, the glass curvature.

Last edited by Tom S.; 03-04-2013 at 12:24 PM. Reason: Inappropriate comments
03-04-2013, 06:53 AM   #4
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If the glass is curved, it's probably the "ghostless" UV filter, which was specially designed with curved glass so as to help eliminate ghosting of light sources. If so it should say ghostless on it. From what I've heard offhand, it is better than reguar filters at that, but obviously that's not taking good multi-coating into account. I cannot recall offhand if the ghostless was ever made in SMC. If yours says SMC, I'd expect it to perferm well in comparison to good modern ones; otherwise I'd still take one of the good multi-coated modern filters over it.

03-04-2013, 07:17 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by macTak Quote
If the glass is curved, it's probably the "ghostless" UV filter, which was specially designed with curved glass so as to help eliminate ghosting of light sources. If so it should say ghostless on it. From what I've heard offhand, it is better than reguar filters at that, but obviously that's not taking good multi-coating into account. I cannot recall offhand if the ghostless was ever made in SMC. If yours says SMC, I'd expect it to perferm well in comparison to good modern ones; otherwise I'd still take one of the good multi-coated modern filters over it.
Actually, I looked at the markings and you're 100% correct- "Ghostless", but no "SMC" designation. I don't know why I said that. It is certainly coated, however, with a bluish tint. I'll guess it's using whatever SMC was used during the era.

I'll try it out for a bit on my FA35 (it came on my M85). However, the only time I have a real opportunity to test it under critical conditions, I actually need the least change of flaring and reflections possible, so I run no filters during critical shoots, like concerts.
03-04-2013, 08:05 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
Thanks for the lesson.
No need for thanking, we do this all the time, its our pleasure.
The consensus is that old UV filters are worthless on digital and you should sell them off at the cost of shipping.

Last edited by Tom S.; 03-04-2013 at 12:25 PM.
03-04-2013, 08:09 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
No need for thanking, we do this all the time, its our pleasure.
The consensus is that old UV filters are worthless on digital and you should sell them off at the cost of shipping.
In my case, as mentioned in previous threads, I don't use them for UV. I need them, under many conditions I use my cameras in, to protect the front elements, particularly at the coast, where blowing sand and salt air forms a crust on the front elements. Or other dusty environments and biking riding with the cam at the ready.

Critical shoots, once again, I take them off.

Simple protection filters are not easy to find, if at all, nor are they cheap for whomever offers them, so I go right to standard UV, fully aware of the "risks".

03-04-2013, 08:18 AM - 1 Like   #8
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Here's a link to an article on Ghostless Filters by Paul M. Provencher, who has created a virtual world of 60's Pentax cameras.and accessories. Put aside some extra time if you are at all curious about historical Pentax cameras.-
03-04-2013, 09:09 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
Actually, I looked at the markings and you're 100% correct- "Ghostless", but no "SMC" designation. I don't know why I said that. It is certainly coated, however, with a bluish tint. I'll guess it's using whatever SMC was used during the era.

I'll try it out for a bit on my FA35 (it came on my M85). However, the only time I have a real opportunity to test it under critical conditions, I actually need the least change of flaring and reflections possible, so I run no filters during critical shoots, like concerts.
Pentax has made filters since the 1960’s. The earlier ones, like your “ghostless” were non SMC and only available in the “standard” coatings. (Single coated)

The first SMC filters came out with the K Series in 1975 and only the most popular filters were available with the SMC coatings. The “ghostless” filter was dropped with the K Series.

Both types of Pentax filters are excellent, especially the SMC. I have dozens in all filter sizes, including the 6x7 82mm bayonet.

Phil.
03-05-2013, 04:53 AM   #10
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Just to give you some idea of the filter quality, I compared some time ago the effectiveness of different filter brands in stopping flair and ghost or double images of bright lights on my legacy lenses. I started this by comparing a sampling of uv filters I had from SMC Pentax through canon, Nikon, Hoya and also some store brands.

The SMC Pentax were the best, Hoya were better than both canon and Nikon , store brands were worse still, the best solution was no filter at all
03-05-2013, 08:14 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Just to give you some idea of the filter quality, I compared some time ago the effectiveness of different filter brands in stopping flair and ghost or double images of bright lights on my legacy lenses. I started this by comparing a sampling of uv filters I had from SMC Pentax through canon, Nikon, Hoya and also some store brands.

The SMC Pentax were the best, Hoya were better than both canon and Nikon , store brands were worse still, the best solution was no filter at all
That's interesting and I'll keep an eye out if they ever pop up. Did you, by any chance, ever get a chance to try out the "ghostless" ones with the curved element?
03-11-2013, 03:22 PM   #12
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I have several dozen SMC filters including polarizers and more of those 82mm bayonets for the 67 crowd.

Please get rid of your SMC UV 58mm, 67mm and 77mm filters. I would be willing to purchase a couple in each size. Trades possible, I have oodles of SMC Cloudy filters in all sizes...they really work well with Fuji slide film that tends to enhance the blue shades.

I and many others used the Pentax SMC Cloudy filter as a standard protective filter during the film era. Way better warming than the 81 series amber filters as the Pentax Cloudy has a bit of a reddish tint to it. Quite similar to the 05R, 10R, 05M and 10M Color Correction filters that Marc and David Muench used religiously for their stunning large format landscape work (you have to beat that blue sky "reflector" or dull gray overcast light somehow). I have so many Cloudy filters that I have them separated by batch...some with more tint than others giving them a range similar to the 05 and 10 Red and Magenta filters that the Muenchs used so commonly.

Note that the SMC filters are part of that era of Japanese Pentax production where optical excellence was a given.
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