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06-16-2016, 05:39 AM   #1
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If you had to choose one filter for one lens...

I'm in a quandary: I've got the 18-135 wr, DA35, DA50...

I would like a polarising filter for one of my lenses. It'll be a Hoya CPL - Revo probably, or a B and W maybe - but the question is:

I don't do a lot of landscape yet; summer may arrive; sometimes the sky is blue in England.

Which lens and why?

And what filter for black and white images is best? Do I need a filter for black and white?


Thanks all! Look forward to your thoughts!

Jeff

---------- Post added 06-16-16 at 01:54 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Jeff Quote
I'm in a quandary: I've got the 18-135 wr, DA35, DA50...

I would like a polarising filter for one of my lenses. It'll be a Hoya CPL - Revo probably, or a B and W maybe - but the question is:

I don't do a lot of landscape yet; summer may arrive; sometimes the sky is blue in England.

Which lens and why?

And what filter for black and white images is best? Do I need a filter for black and white?


Thanks all! Look forward to your thoughts!

Jeff
Camera is a K5iis...

Forgot to mention, sorry!

06-16-2016, 05:55 AM - 1 Like   #2
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If you buy the size of polarising filter to match your largest lens, you can buy step up rings to match them to lenses with slightly smaller threads. That being said, the filter thread sizes of the 18-135 and the other two you mention are quite markedly different. IIRC the 35's (both the plastic and the macro) have 49mm filter threads, the DA50 a 52mm thread. So you would get the 52mm polarising filter. plus a 49-52mm step up filter very cheaply on Amazon or E-bay if your camera store didn't sell them, and you would be set for both primes. This would apply for any filter you chose to buy (I've heard a yellow filter recommended for general use for B&W, but I don't use one myself and cannot advise from experience, only hearsay).

There are, it is true, sets of step-up or step-down rings you can buy that would enable you to use a 62mm filter (for the 18-135) on the smaller cameras, but I think you'd need more than one adapter ring, and the size differential could make things awkward.
06-16-2016, 07:17 AM - 1 Like   #3
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If I only had one filter in my bag, it would be a polarizer (and that's usually the case).

We often forget that even black and white images can benefit from the use of a polarizer. Making a sky darker grey can help a subject stand out better. Cutting through glare and minor reflections on shiny/glossy objects can make the image crisper and stronger.
06-16-2016, 07:40 AM - 1 Like   #4
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With your lenses I'd probably pick a polarizer for the 18-135. Not sure 35mm would be wide enough for me on an APS-C camera.
As for black and white filters, I haven't used them since I went digital and started shooting RAW. Anything the filter does can also be done with software and I don't have to carry and screw on filters (in fact, Topaz's plug-in has filter presets, and I think LR does as well). I guess the filters could help if you're using in-camera black and white option. Filters (yellow, orange, red) can deepen blue skies and make them more dramatic rather than the pretty neutral gray you'll get otherwise (along with some other effects), but again, the same effect can be achieved in software.

06-16-2016, 07:59 AM   #5
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Thanks for the detailed and considered answer to a tricky question. I had not heard of step up filter adaptors before, but the yellow filter for B and W photography yes.
06-16-2016, 10:05 AM   #6
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I don't like looking through deeply colored filters. I shoot BW film in a rangefinder camera with a yellow green filter.

One must look through a polarizer to adjust its effect. I shoot color film in an SLR camera with a rotating polarizer.

Chris
06-16-2016, 10:48 AM   #7
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For B&W, you will want a yellow, yellow-green, orange, and red filter. Maybe a green filter too. Each filter changes contrast in a different spectrum.

06-16-2016, 10:56 AM   #8
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The obvious answer is a polarizing filter so let me offer another perspective on the question. The only filter I would use on a lens these days is either a clear or UV filter to protect the lens. Software can change the sky color in post processing later. Also, my experience with polarizing filters has not been positive. I feel they affect the colors somehow, produce an inconsistently blue sky with my super wide angle lenses and reduce light to the sensor. In the days when photographers used film (including me), polarizing filters were great but my opinion has changed to the point my preference is no filters or for protection only.

Last edited by clem; 06-16-2016 at 10:58 AM. Reason: Change wording
06-16-2016, 11:50 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jeff Quote
Which lens and why?
A CPL for the 18-135 because that is your most versatile lens for landscapes. I tend to prefer wide angle for landscapes but sometimes a longer focal length works better; the zoom saves a lot of lens changes and eliminates the need to carry a bag of lenses. If you do more landscapes and find a favorite focal length you can then consider a new prime lens.

Personally, I was using my 16-50 at 16mm a lot, which prompted me to buy a DA15 for improved image quality at that focal length. (15mm is a little too wide for a CPL because of uneven sky darkening.)

QuoteOriginally posted by Jeff Quote
And what filter for black and white images is best? Do I need a filter for black and white?
You can use a CPL to dim bright blue skies when the foreground is dimly lit. I prefer to collect color data in the camera then convert to B&W using software later. You can simulate different color filters during the B&W conversion process.
06-16-2016, 02:15 PM   #10
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Just remember that if you're using a stepup filter, you're probably not getting a hood on the lens.
06-17-2016, 07:21 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by AquaDome Quote
For B&W, you will want a yellow, yellow-green, orange, and red filter. Maybe a green filter too. Each filter changes contrast in a different spectrum.
A black and white purist would certainly want these filters in the bag - as I did (and do) when shooting B&W film.

However, since the poster has a K5ii, and is generating digital files, the technically best way to do black and white is to shoot the raw file (with camera set to black and white if you want, but it doesn't matter) and then post process with something like Photoshop.

The beauty of using Photoshop when processing files for black and white is being able to apply the colour filter effects after the fact: ie: concentrate on subject matter while shooting, and worry about the tonal relationships later. Also, using the filters in Photoshop doesn't cost you light when exposing. A red filter costs you three stops of light through the lens.

But, you'll notice I said using Photoshop was "technically" the best way to go black and white. I personally find my shooting experience different when shooting raw files, and trying to decide which is best in colour or black and white after the fact. I'm never as conscious of the black and white potential of an image as when I'm shooting black and white film.

One could make the argument to set the K5ii to black and white and JPEG. Then you can either set the monochrome filter in the camera menu, or screw one on the end of the lens. Either way, you'll be mentally in true black and white mode.
06-19-2016, 12:17 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ontarian50 Quote
A black and white purist would certainly want these filters in the bag - as I did (and do) when shooting B&W film.

However, since the poster has a K5ii, and is generating digital files, the technically best way to do black and white is to shoot the raw file (with camera set to black and white if you want, but it doesn't matter) and then post process with something like Photoshop.

The beauty of using Photoshop when processing files for black and white is being able to apply the colour filter effects after the fact: ie: concentrate on subject matter while shooting, and worry about the tonal relationships later. Also, using the filters in Photoshop doesn't cost you light when exposing. A red filter costs you three stops of light through the lens.

But, you'll notice I said using Photoshop was "technically" the best way to go black and white. I personally find my shooting experience different when shooting raw files, and trying to decide which is best in colour or black and white after the fact. I'm never as conscious of the black and white potential of an image as when I'm shooting black and white film.

One could make the argument to set the K5ii to black and white and JPEG. Then you can either set the monochrome filter in the camera menu, or screw one on the end of the lens. Either way, you'll be mentally in true black and white mode.
Many thanks for the detailed comments. Much appreciated. One of the things to get used to is the different quality of light in the northern hemisphere. Cloudy days really affect the quantity of light compared to the southern part of the globe - Africa in particular. My father needs a polarising filter more than I would here if the days were sunnier. I don't have Photoshop yet. I appreciate that composing the image is perhaps what I should be concentrating on. Thanks again.
06-19-2016, 01:23 PM   #13
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Nobody recommended a star screen?


06-19-2016, 01:59 PM   #14
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I'll offer a different perspective, based on my experience.

Filters, if sized right, are basically forever (barring damage). With step rings, they work across lenses, cameras and brands. So, get the largest one you could need for landscape work in the future, and they just get step-up rings to fill your current line-up. If a new lens in unveiled and it uses a larger filter thread than your current set, see how the reviews are on a step-down ring. I was reading some for 82mm-77mm step-down ring (for when I eventually pick up the DFA glass), and the vignetting sounds like it's non-existent with that 5mm difference, so I likely won't be going up on size on the filters I own now, nor on the ones I pick up in the future. As noted above, the disadvantage is that you can no longer use the hood that came with your camera without a spacer ring.

On to filter types, here's what I use:

- 10-Stop ND Filter: This is nice for long-exposures anywhere. Capturing moving people, cars, waterfalls, streams, anything where a long-exposure would normally over expose the image. Cheap ones can cause colour casts.

- Variable ND Filter (1-5 Stops): This hasn't been terribly useful for landscape work, but I keep it around for stacking with my 10-stop ND filter and for including computer screens in my photos. Variable filters with too many stops tend to have issues with colour casts.

- IR Filter: Lots of fun for B&W work.

- Circular Polariser: Good for getting the best out of sunny skies and reflections.

I also use magnetic filter adapters for my IR Filter, and ND Filter, since it make recomposing so much easier. I would also look into Didymium filters for playing with streetlight.
06-19-2016, 02:23 PM   #15
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No-one suggested a modular filter system like Cokin or Lee? That way you can use the same (square) filter on all your lenses with adapters.
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