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02-26-2014, 05:22 PM   #1
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Picking filters for multiple lenses and applications

Looking at my lens lineup, filter sizes range from 49, 52, 58, and 67 at this point and there's a lens on my list that has a 77mm filter size. Good filters aren't cheap and I'm trying to look at the lenses and what applications I'll use them for to pick filters.

ND filters are new to me. I chatted with B&H today and the rep suggested looking at variable ND filters. Looks intriguing, but hot d@mn they get expensive in a hurry.

I have several lenses that use 49mm and a pair of K lenses that use 52. The 31 and Vivitar Series 1 90/2.5 macro use 58. Vivitar Series 1 70-210 uses 67. The pain about the 31 is that hood. I have the Panasonic work around to put the filter further out, but I'm wondering if I use a step up ring, will I get vignetting when shooting on film?

The Tamron 17-50, 70-200, and DA15 are on my to buy list and they use 67, 77, and 49.

I'm tempted to get a 77mm ND filter as that's not a walk around filter and likely would use a tripod, but I'm trying to figure out if I'll ever use a variable ND filter on the 70-200. I'd don't know. The 70-210 I have is new to me. It would allow me to use step up rings for all of the other lenses, unless the spacer to get in front of the hood on the 31 with the step up ring would cause vignetting on the 31 on film.

After all of that rambling, how do you pick which lenses to buy the expensive filters for and which to just choose not to use with those filters because of either cost or issue that prevents you from getting a filter on it without buying it's only specific size?

I'm looking to add UV, CPL, and ND filters for use on these lenses for film and digital.

02-26-2014, 05:29 PM   #2
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You might not need all those filters for all those lenses.

I think most posters on this forum will tell you that you don't need a UV filter on digital camera (unless you want it as a protection filter, but I think there are special ones just for that)
Other than that, start with the filter you will use the most, then get more as time goes on. You can also look for second hand filters to keep the cost down, but you should only buy from a trusted source.
ND if you want bokeh portraits in daylight and blurred water. CPL if you want to add/remove reflections and make the sky punchier.
02-26-2014, 05:53 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
You might not need all those filters for all those lenses.

I think most posters on this forum will tell you that you don't need a UV filter on digital camera (unless you want it as a protection filter, but I think there are special ones just for that)
Other than that, start with the filter you will use the most, then get more as time goes on. You can also look for second hand filters to keep the cost down, but you should only buy from a trusted source.
ND if you want bokeh portraits in daylight and blurred water. CPL if you want to add/remove reflections and make the sky punchier.

Yeah, I'm tracking on the purpose and realize I don't need all of these filters for all of the lenses, but I'm shooting film and digital. I know the digital doesn't really need UV and have never used UV filters on my DSLR, but I have lenses that see both film and digital. Some of them overlap, like the 49mm on several lenses, 52 on the K lenses, and 58 on the 90 and 31. If/When I add the 70-200, I doubt the 70-210 manual lens I have will ever see the digital bodies. The DA15 won't ever go on film since it doesn't cover the frame, but its 49mm front element uses the same filters as the 50s and 77.


I'm trying to think through a way to get filter coverage across as many of the lenses as possible without buying multiple sizes of the same type. The ND filter seems like I can get away with a single large filter and step up rings.


For those using CPLs, are you leaving them on the lenses as you're walking around or is that a filter you only put on when you want it for a particular shot. I'm used to seeing people use it to deepen the blues in the sky and remove reflections and glares.
02-26-2014, 06:47 PM   #4
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It's pretty rare to use filters on a long telephoto lens. You generally won't need a CPL or an ND filter, since telephoto lenses are made to isolate specific targets.

Otherwise, the trick is to buy for your largest lens diameter and use Step Up rings:
Amazon.com: Goja 67-58MM Step-Down Adapter Ring (67MM Lens to 58MM Accessory) + Premium MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloth: Camera & Photo

You *can* also try Step Down rings, but you need to be careful with those. On long focal length lenses, you can usually get away with them, as the angle of view is small. On lenses of shorter focal lengths, you can see vignetting. For fun, I tossed a 52mm filter on a 72mm 17-70mm lens using a step-down ring. At less than 24mm or so, the camera caught part of the ring, leading to black corners. At the long end, there was no such issue.

I think you could use a 67 -> 77 step up ring on a 70-200 filter without vignetting.

02-26-2014, 06:56 PM   #5
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Like you said, I may not need any on the 70-200. Not sure I would even need it on the 17-50, maybe a CPL. Anything I'd do tripod work with for use of an ND, I have primes to do that job.

Anyone use any kind of filters on a 17-50 or 16-50/2.8? If not, I can get away with a 58mm for the 31 and use step up for the 49mm and 52mm lenses. I don't own either of those zooms yet. After I deal with the tax man on the 8th and see how much I have to pay in, might pull the trigger on the 17-50 and 15 Limited.
02-26-2014, 07:04 PM   #6
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I would recommend getting filters for your largest lens and buying step-up rings. It's very versatile.

Variable ND is cool, but not always necessary. If you don't need to do long exposures in bright light, and you don't do a lot of daytime flash work, the combination of a 2 or 3-stop ND filter and fast shutter speed will let you shoot in daylight with wider apertures.
02-26-2014, 07:11 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by fuent104 Quote
I would recommend getting filters for your largest lens and buying step-up rings. It's very versatile.

Variable ND is cool, but not always necessary. If you don't need to do long exposures in bright light, and you don't do a lot of daytime flash work, the combination of a 2 or 3-stop ND filter and fast shutter speed will let you shoot in daylight with wider apertures.
The ND is for both - wide apertures and being able to slow shutter speeds for blurring water, etc.
02-26-2014, 07:16 PM   #8
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I use my filters on my 17-70, which is my most used lens. I have, for this lens (which is a large 72mm):
- Variable ND
- ND Grad (circular)
- CPL

Most commonly, I use the CPL and the ND grad on this lens. The CPL is used for removing reflections and darkening skies. The ND Grad is useful when there's a window in the back or other split bright/dark source. People say that ND grads are most useful in square shapes, but I've found the circular one to do what I want.

I haven't had the chance to use the variable ND filter with this lens very often. It's a slow 2.8-4.0, so using the filter for wide apertures in bright light is not necessary with this lens. I've tossed it on a 50 f/1.4 for that purpose, though, with a step-down ring.

I struggle to imagine any other filters that are really necessary these days. In the film era, you needed tungsten light filters, color filters, etc., but all of these things can be handled digitally or with WB now.

Oh, I use UV filters on all my lenses. Each gets its own because it's too much work to move them around. They aren't expensive, so it's fine. I see no reason *not* to use a UV filter over a plain protection filter. Digital sensors aren't terribly affected by UV light, but removing light that won't be captured is never a bad thing. It can only improve things, not make anything worse.


The FA31 can be used with larger filters. Thanks to a few forum members here, I learned of a "hood extender" for the FA 31:
Amazon.com: Janco 58MM Diameter lens adapter tube for Panasonic DMC-FZ18, DMC-FZ28, DMC-FZ35 and DMC-FZ38 to accept 58MM Filter, Lens caps, adapters & auxiliary lens: Camera & Photo

I don't own this (or the FA31), but both reviews say they bought this product for the FA31. This hood has 58mm threads on the outside, so you can attach a step-up ring to the outside and attach larger filters. You won't see vignetting because that only happens with filters smaller than the lens diameter and step down rings. The hood should be short enough that the lens won't see it either.

02-26-2014, 07:50 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
I use my filters on my 17-70, which is my most used lens. I have, for this lens (which is a large 72mm):
- Variable ND
- ND Grad (circular)
- CPL

Most commonly, I use the CPL and the ND grad on this lens. The CPL is used for removing reflections and darkening skies. The ND Grad is useful when there's a window in the back or other split bright/dark source. People say that ND grads are most useful in square shapes, but I've found the circular one to do what I want.

I haven't had the chance to use the variable ND filter with this lens very often. It's a slow 2.8-4.0, so using the filter for wide apertures in bright light is not necessary with this lens. I've tossed it on a 50 f/1.4 for that purpose, though, with a step-down ring.

I struggle to imagine any other filters that are really necessary these days. In the film era, you needed tungsten light filters, color filters, etc., but all of these things can be handled digitally or with WB now.

Oh, I use UV filters on all my lenses. Each gets its own because it's too much work to move them around. They aren't expensive, so it's fine. I see no reason *not* to use a UV filter over a plain protection filter. Digital sensors aren't terribly affected by UV light, but removing light that won't be captured is never a bad thing. It can only improve things, not make anything worse.


The FA31 can be used with larger filters. Thanks to a few forum members here, I learned of a "hood extender" for the FA 31:
Amazon.com: Janco 58MM Diameter lens adapter tube for Panasonic DMC-FZ18, DMC-FZ28, DMC-FZ35 and DMC-FZ38 to accept 58MM Filter, Lens caps, adapters & auxiliary lens: Camera & Photo

I don't own this (or the FA31), but both reviews say they bought this product for the FA31. This hood has 58mm threads on the outside, so you can attach a step-up ring to the outside and attach larger filters. You won't see vignetting because that only happens with filters smaller than the lens diameter and step down rings. The hood should be short enough that the lens won't see it either.
I have some 52 and 49mm colored filters for B&W film, but nothing other than those sizes. I'll probably look into some 58s for the 31. I have a pair of the "hood extenders." I bought one for the 31 and the Bokina 90/2.5 macro came with one. I was concerned about vignetting with the angle of view of the lens with the addition of the hood and step up ring and filter piled on in front of the lens when used on a film camera. I'll look into the Google and see if I can find any information.

What UV filters are you using? The two B&H reps I chatted with today, got disconnected from the first, recommended a Hoya product and a B+W filter. The B+W filters are a little above and below $30 each depending on size. That adds up in a hurry when I look at the shelf my modest collection of 9 lenses I actually use. I've never used UV filters on any of my lenses when shooting digital. I figured I'd only look at putting UV filters on the lenses I intend to use on film bodies, but even those are all of them but one of the 50s and the 18-55.
02-26-2014, 11:12 PM   #10
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I wouldn't bother with ND filters on the telephoto as generally you are chasing for the higher shutter speed.
A CPL might be useful though for outdoors and landscape and its a 1-1/2stop ND effectively.

In theory you could use a 67mm on all your lenses with the appropriate step ring(s) since you already have the FZ18 piece for your 31.
The DA15 might need a glassless filter to space out slightly since the retracted sliding hood does stick out a few mm from the filter threads.

Buying the various filter sizes is just convenience over cost.

Living in Sydney I tends to be sunny A LOT (terrible I know)
If I'm outdoor in the sun and using primes I will have a CPL on maybe 3 lenses I'm using. eg DA70 with 49mm, FA31 with 58mm on and DA18-135 with 62mm on. Swapping lenses (as I tend to do lots) is quite easy.
Now if i want to use my 55-300 then its a bit more of an inconvenience to unscrew the 58mm from the FA31 first and then onto the 55-300 , fit the hood and set the CPL.

If i only had one big filter with step down rings for other lenses, then swapping lenses and then filters every time takes much longer takes much longer. I'd find this to be a bit of a pain, moreso than spending the extra cash.

The other problem with using an over size filter is it prevents from using the hoods properly.



I reckon you could get away with a 49mm for DA15 and it would be OK for your 52m K-lenses, (maybe the 31? on crop).
A 67mm would be needed for a Tam 17-50 and still use the hood OK.
A sigma 70-200 might be OK using the 67mm with step down on a crop sensor.


The variable ND are aimed at DSLR video and i guess would be invaluable to for that.


I've got a couple of ND8 (3 stop) for opening up the aperture in portraits 49mm & 58mm. Maybe a 49mm one of these might be useful for your prime lenses, maybe a 58mm if using the FA31 on film.


A 10-stop B+W , Hoya (round filter) is great for the looooonnnggggg exposures and the DA15 lends itself to this really well you easily make a feature out of the streaky clouds in the sky with an ultra wide. This is pretty cheaper not much more than an ND8.

Either that or you can go a Lee big stopper (4" square) will fit any lens size but it's pretty pricy.
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