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12-20-2014, 07:52 PM   #1
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Filter quality

I was just shopping for ND filter kits. There are sets with a ND2, a ND4, and a ND8 for $12. This seemed like a good deal until I noticed they're all made of plastic and aluminum, or optical resin and aluminum. No mention of glass.

Does this matter?

I also saw sets costing $100 or more by names like Tiffen. I guess these are made of real glass? It matters, right?

And are three varied ND filters necessary? Would just one suffice? How dark would be best? ND8?

Thank you.


Last edited by DavidSKAF3; 12-20-2014 at 08:16 PM.
12-20-2014, 08:05 PM   #2
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Yes, like lenses the quality of the glass, coatings, and the construction do all matter. I know that the articles I am linking to are from 2008 but the basics are still the same. Cost and name are not always good indications of the quality of a filter.

CP Filters - http://www.lenstip.com/115.1-article-polarizing_filters_test.html

UV Filters - http://www.lenstip.com/113.1-article-UV_filters_test.html
12-20-2014, 11:46 PM   #3
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Absolutely, it definitely matters. You get what you pay for. If you buy cheap filters, you will get poor results. I recently purchased a lens, and it came with a set of Vivitar filters. The filtered description stated, high-quality HD multicoated optical glass. Multicoated, I doubt it, it may have one coat of a anti-reflective coating. And one of them felt like it was made of plastic not glass. It was much lighter than the other filters. You could lightly push the center of it and it would bend, and when you tapped on it, it sounded like it was made of plastic not glass. The polarizer produced a rainbow effect when looking through it at a computer monitor with a white background. Needless to say, they went in my junk drawer. Stay with Tiffin, Hoya, B+W. And only use good multicoated filters. and stay away from the new Vivitar filters.
12-21-2014, 12:11 AM   #4
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Okay I mostly use them for waterfalls

12-21-2014, 12:14 AM   #5
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You are better off buying one good thing as opposed to many poor things. This applies to everything you will purchase.

A very good nd filter isn't exactly going to break the bank. And to use one that decreases the quality of your lens should be a crime
12-21-2014, 01:05 AM   #6
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Marumi makes very good ND filters for a reasonable price. I've bought a few from them.
12-21-2014, 01:17 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
Marumi makes very good ND filters for a reasonable price. I've bought a few from them.
Their CPL filters are also excellent. The 2008 review I liked to had them at thevtop of the performance list.

12-21-2014, 05:59 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Their CPL filters are also excellent. The 2008 review I liked to had them at thevtop of the performance list.
Take that polish review with slight grain of salt. They are biased and there was disscusions time ago.

In general - I like Marumi design (they are like slim filters, but has thread on front of filter). But real nature pictures looks better with expencive Helipoan - tones of colors somehow seems much better than Marumi, Tiffen and Hoya.

Tiffen is the ugliest option to chose from. I compared couple of filters on DFA 50mm/F2.8 macro At something like F5.6 and noticed huge decrease of sharpness with tiffen polarisers. For sharpness issue the best seemed Hoya polariser (HMC coating) and almost the same all others - B&W, Heliopan, marumi.

But then I bought Tiffen HT series filters (they made new series after some reviews where they got general bash) and seems they are in line with others.

So, Tiffen HT (Metallic titanium ring) is godd option. I decided to buy it, because I like to take sea pictures, and there is sand, dirt, water. They promises super hard and scratch resistant coating - so I believed them and have even more filters than anybody can imagine.
12-21-2014, 06:14 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vaards Quote
Take that polish review with slight grain of salt. They are biased and there was disscusions time ago.

In general - I like Marumi design (they are like slim filters, but has thread on front of filter). But real nature pictures looks better with expencive Helipoan - tones of colors somehow seems much better than Marumi, Tiffen and Hoya.

Tiffen is the ugliest option to chose from. I compared couple of filters on DFA 50mm/F2.8 macro At something like F5.6 and noticed huge decrease of sharpness with tiffen polarisers. For sharpness issue the best seemed Hoya polariser (HMC coating) and almost the same all others - B&W, Heliopan, marumi.

But then I bought Tiffen HT series filters (they made new series after some reviews where they got general bash) and seems they are in line with others.

So, Tiffen HT (Metallic titanium ring) is godd option. I decided to buy it, because I like to take sea pictures, and there is sand, dirt, water. They promises super hard and scratch resistant coating - so I believed them and have even more filters than anybody can imagine.
I appreciate that you have your opinion, I certainly have mine. Heliopan filters also tend to cost ~3x what Marumi filters cost and I have a hard time telling them apart by looking at the photos. I hear you about having a lot of gear, it can really get out if control. One thing that is important IMHO to remember is that brands like Tiffen and Hoya make filters that range from Horrible to Fantastic - so it's not the company you should buy but the individual filter.
12-21-2014, 06:14 AM   #10
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David,

You need to decide for one of these:
B+W 77mm 3.0 ND MRC 110M Filter 66-1066186 B&H Photo Video
hoya nd 400 | B&H Photo Video

Where Hoya is little less dark, although in normal daylight or evening light one can`t see through filter. But autofocus is working. And live view produces some picture for composing.
B&W is complete blackness and allows to take photos for tens of seconds at daylight (with stopped down to some F10).

Hoya is better quality by means of sharpness and colors.
B&W produces brown/warm color cast to pictures, makes noticable wigneting on corners.

I have both (and couple of other big stoppers too) but prefer B&W.

In process of photography remember to take with you hat on head. After shutter is pressed I take my black hat of the head and put on camera. Just end of lens stays exposed to scenery. It`s because some ghost lights gets into camera through viewfinder and makes picture noticable less contrasty than with my black hat approach.

Worth to read: Tiffen launches 10-stop ND range to prevent red-tinted long exposures: Digital Photography Review I might jump for 10-stopper of tiffen, to test it`s colar cast or absence.
12-21-2014, 12:06 PM   #11
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I use Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND circular ND filters. They're glass, they're expensive, and they're good. BUT: Formatt also makes this product in large, rectangular sizes which are made from resin. They certainly don't charge any less for them and they claim similar specular conductivity. While I don't use resin filters except for the occasional Cokin special effect, it apparently is possible for a resin filter to be "as good as" its glass equivalent. I know I would scratch a resin filter, so I just don't use them.

If you're looking for a bargain, high performance might not be your top priority. Resin filters exist at both ends of the price/performance spectrum.
12-21-2014, 03:32 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by AquaDome Quote
I use Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND circular ND filters. They're glass, they're expensive, and they're good. BUT: Formatt also makes this product in large, rectangular sizes which are made from resin. They certainly don't charge any less for them and they claim similar specular conductivity. While I don't use resin filters except for the occasional Cokin special effect, it apparently is possible for a resin filter to be "as good as" its glass equivalent. I know I would scratch a resin filter, so I just don't use them.

If you're looking for a bargain, high performance might not be your top priority. Resin filters exist at both ends of the price/performance spectrum.

I tried Formatt resin filters, but sticked with screw on filters (I guess was lazy to adopt to different aproach, placing plates into holder, etc). But it might be good aproache, see price for these filters from excellent Pentaxian (in the middle of page): About the Photographer : Transient Light
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