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06-04-2018, 08:50 AM   #1
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What filters to used?

Hi,

For general outdoor use, what filters should I buy. Will be shooting landscapes day and night.

Thanks,

Larry

06-04-2018, 09:05 AM   #2
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When I first returned to photography after a lengthy absence I convinced myself I needed a whole range of filters. Turns out I barely used the ones I bought. Luckily I went for cheaper alternatives from the likes of Kood so I didn't waste a whole lot of money. My advice would be to go out and shoot some landscapes and see where you think your kit falls short or what needs/could be improved using filters.


I guess the most common would be ND Grads (hard and soft), circular polarizer, neutral density (including 'big stopper'), UV and possibly something like a NiSi Natural Light (light pollution) for night time.
06-04-2018, 09:21 AM   #3
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Clear nano coated, some ND filters and a CPL. Clear for protection if desired, ND and CPL for everything else. UV is not needed on digital and when I have one on all I notice is a slightly different cast or quality of the light.

If you are going to do astro photography, and are near cities, you may want a red enhancing filter like this one Hoya 49mm Red Intensifier Filter S-49INTENS
06-04-2018, 09:42 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
Clear nano coated, some ND filters and a CPL. Clear for protection if desired, ND and CPL for everything else. UV is not needed on digital and when I have one on all I notice is a slightly different cast or quality of the light.

If you are going to do astro photography, and are near cities, you may want a red enhancing filter like this one Hoya 49mm Red Intensifier Filter S-49INTENS
Thanks for the quick replies, is there a kit or set with what I can start with?

06-04-2018, 09:59 AM   #5
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What lenses do you have currently? You don't really need any of these filters initially since many of the effects can be done in post processing. (lots to learn there.) Unless you are buying clear filters for protection. I bought most of my filters from Adorama, (use the link in the for sale area here in the forums to support the forums,) and I have also bought some cheapo Neewer ND filters that come in nylon cases on flea bay. For your clear filters (if desired,) I would go to Adorama and get the B+W nano coated 007 since they are cheaper than replacing a lens and are easy to clean, and do not hurt your IQ. The cheapo ND filters do have a definite bluish cast to the images, especially when stacked.

just go shoot first, the CPL and clear would be priorities if you want to play with filters. I often forget to take them with and never really notice.

Don't spend a bunch until you see if they fit your style of shooting. The red intensifier just helps reduce the effect of sodium vapor lights (the yellow hued ones,) that are most common in streetlights and security lights.
06-04-2018, 10:36 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Circular polarizer (CPL) comes first. CPL enriches colors and decreases reflections. Blue sky and green leaves look more vibrant, and you can control light reflecting off of water. Note that CPL gives uneven effects at wide angles starting around 24mm on full frame, 16mm on APS-C.

Neutral density (ND) comes next. It allows slower shutter speeds in bright light. You can get blurred water and streaked clouds while buildings, rocks, etc. remain sharp. In the absence of an ND filter you can take many photos and average them with processing software.

Graduated ND (GND) is an ND with different shading at the top and bottom of frame. It's a common filter for landscapes, to get a good exposure of dark terrain and bright sky. With modern sensors GND gets less usage, because you can pick a medium exposure and adjust the sky and ground later, or use HDR software.

I suggest starting with CPL. See how that works for you. Take more time to learn about ND, because with ND you also need to consider how dark a filter you want.
06-04-2018, 11:43 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by LarryGE Quote
Hi,
For general outdoor use, what filters should I buy. Will be shooting landscapes day and night.

Thanks,
Larry
When it comes to ND and Graduated ND filters decide the format of the filter screw-in or square. Screw-in filters are user friendly and do not come with the excuse to not to use them. square filters take more time to setup so they come with excuse factor. I prefer screw-in filters.

Second point is hood and filter combo. Both filter and hood are supposed to enhance saturation & contrast etc. So I would like to use both hood and filter at the same time. But square filters do not play well with hood, so again I prefer screw-in filters.

Third point is screw-in filter and step-up ring combo. Step up ring may also come in the way of hood. This depends on particular hood, you have to test.

Fouth point is Graduated ND or HDR software. I prefer HDR software solution over ND square filter. If the horizon is not a staight line then graduated ND falls short.

So my suggestion is first do some broad analysis taking in to account usability, hood and then buy.

B+W filters are expensive so I have purchased pre-owned filters. Cumulative cost can become high.

06-04-2018, 12:57 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Wow,so many answers. Now my head hurt. Thanks for all of the advice. It looks like more reading and shooting before buying .
06-04-2018, 02:09 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by LarryGE Quote
Wow,so many answers. Now my head hurt. Thanks for all of the advice. It looks like more reading and shooting before buying .
An option to make it easier: what lenses you have or plan to buy soon? We can suggest a filter format and size.

IMO start with just a round CPL that fits your "best" landscape lens. See how you like using filters. Build from there.
06-04-2018, 05:19 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by LarryGE Quote
Wow,so many answers. Now my head hurt. Thanks for all of the advice. It looks like more reading and shooting before buying .
Do your head a favor and do as suggested above; go out and take some photos.

If you have a need for filters, the reason will present itself. I will admit to almost never having mounted a filter in the eleven years I have been shooting Pentax digital. Common use cases are:
  • Clear for protection and/or to enhance water resistance*
  • Graduated ND to darken skies when doing landscape work
  • Polarizers to enhance contrast and as a side-effect, perception of color saturation. Circular polarizers are preferred because they are compatible with the camera's auto-focus system.
  • Neutral density (ND) filters to allow longer exposure times and/or wider apertures under daylight conditions
Things to consider when you do know your need:
  • One can seriously spend too much money on filters
  • Quality of glass and coatings. Avoid cheap filters like the plague, but maintain serious skepticism when considering $129.99 USD for a 72mm Heliopan protection filter (fits Pentax-DA 16-85/3.5-5.6) or $225 USD for one from Leica.
  • Avoid the temptation to buy everything for all lenses all at once
  • If most of your lenses take close to the same size, consider buying to the largest diameter and use step-up adapters (adapters are cheap)
  • Look into Lee and similar filter-holder systems, particularly if grads and ND are in the mix
  • Don't buy color/tint filters (e.g. warming) for digital unless you are absolute sure you know why and whether such will do what you expect**


Steve

(...has a whole box of filters that seldom see use except when shooting film...)

* I use a lens hood for protection against bumps and only rarely mount a skylight where bad dust or salt spray are a hazard.

** The auto white balance feature on your camera will defeat a warming filter and while that setting may be overridden, one might consider the wisdom of doing so to accommodate a filter when similar effect might be done using software.
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