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07-02-2011, 09:18 PM   #1
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uv and infared filters any good?

Guy at camera store told me about a uv/infared filter for protecting the lense and more. I have never heard of infared filters before. Does anyone recommend them?

Also, a long time ago I used to love shooting B&W with a red filter to bring out the contrast in the sky with clouds. Is there anything similar these days for digital color?

Finally, is the dynamic range of digital as wide as film? Seems like I can be disappointed with the DR these days. Dont know if that is only because I wasn't as clued into it a long time ago when I shot film.

Thank you for any input!

07-02-2011, 11:03 PM   #2
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taking those questions in reverse order:

1) it really depends on the film you used, most colour transparency films have been completely superseded by digital. colour negative films are pretty decent but still lag behind digital, B&W films cooked in custom developers could encompass a tonal range that can exceed that of many DSLR cameras these days - but the biggest problem was cramming that wide tonal range into the 8 -/+ stop range of printing papers and most scanners YMMV

2) yes you can use red filters to create dramatic B&W images, but with the help of photoshop and the channel mixer,and advanced software post processing suites (silver efex) a red filter is somewhat redundant these days.

3)This has been debated to death on these forums but in a nutshell: no, I do not recommend the use of "protective" filters for general photography. having said that I will use a clear protective filter when in inclement weather.Ignore your camera salesman because if he actually knew anything about current digital cameras he would know that they all* have IR cut filters already on the sensor, and UV filters are completely redundant these days because for Borosilicate glass which is used in camera lenses these days does not transmit much (if any) light below 400nm(UV-A) anyway


*cameras designed for UV and IR imaging and forensic photography are excepted of course

Last edited by Digitalis; 07-02-2011 at 11:19 PM.
07-03-2011, 11:12 PM   #3
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Thank you!
07-08-2011, 07:17 AM   #4
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A red filter on digital is actually very useful at cramming an extra stop or so Dynamic range into a digital B&W image. Uselessfor colour though.

07-12-2011, 03:05 PM   #5
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Any thought about polarized lens for increasing contrast and DR for color? Think it could help catch clouds with landscapes?
07-12-2011, 07:01 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Genshu Quote
Any thought about polarized lens for increasing contrast and DR for color?
polarisers are very useful for landscape photography, they reduce reflections and increase the saturation of colours. However, they do nothing to increase the dynamic range of a camera. Polarisers typically reduce the exposure by two stops* which can be a real boon if you wish to use longer exposure times to capture motion blur and create a sense of movement in your images.


*depending on the type of polariser and the manufacturer.

Last edited by Digitalis; 07-13-2011 at 12:41 AM.
07-12-2011, 07:34 PM   #7
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Protection = lens hood when shooting, lens cap when not.

UV filter = saleman's commission.

"Infared" = infrared :-)
07-13-2011, 01:28 AM   #8
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I use UV/protector filters for a couple of reasons.
- I often shoot in adverse weather conditions where I want to wipe the front of the lens a lot without worrying about it.
- I occasionally shoot around sprays that I'd rather keep off the front element (salt spray, hair spray, paint spray)
- I often don't use lens hoods, to keep the size/imposing-ness down, and don't mind flare.

But I agree for just 'general' protection they're mostly unnecessary.

07-18-2011, 10:04 AM   #9
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A polarizing filter works really well for shooting clouds in color. Convert the image to B&W in Photoshop or other software, if that's what you need. I would like trying red filter for digital, too. I think that's what they did to show nighttime scenes for B&W movies and TV.
By the way, as far as dynamic range goes, digital is uber-superior. You can reduce the hot parts and increase the shadows with great detail (again, in Photoshop, with dodging and burning, etc.) that film will only make plain white and black; hopelessly and forever.
07-19-2011, 10:16 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Protection = lens hood when shooting, lens cap when not.

UV filter = saleman's commission.

"Infared" = infrared :-)
I use filters mainly because during each shoot, I usually have to wipe the front element of the lens I am using at least once. I'd much rather consistently wipe an under $50 filter than an $800 item. I also often bump my forearm into the front of the lens, which makes a messy arm print. Takes forever to wipe off the front element of a lens with that on it.

I often shoot near the ocean, which has tons of sand and sea spray. Don't want that on the front of a lens, especially a Nikon lens I have that has a rotating front glass, where sand can actually wedge under the lens lip and around the glass edge if it's not protected.

Lens hoods are garbage unless you have strong light sources in front of or to the sides of the image you are shooting. If you are outdoors and shoot away from the sun, a lens hood is rendered useless. Also, try rotating your polarizers with a lens hood attached. I hate how they take up bulk inside my camera bag. Even in reverse, they make the lens more bulbous and harder to fit in the bag's pockets. I only use them when outdoors and I am shooting in different directions.

UV filter on each lens is for convenience and protection is a must for me.
07-19-2011, 11:45 AM   #11
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Yes I went ahead and put on the UV filter basically for less stress and because when I do have to clean it less stress again. Im not yet at the level where I am going to be able to tell the difference between using a filter or not.
07-19-2011, 12:47 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Genshu Quote
...
Im not yet at the level where I am going to be able to tell the difference between using a filter or not.
I don't think most people can. Image quality is easy to pin down, but image content is hard.
07-19-2011, 01:19 PM   #13
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It may become apparent with cheap filters. If you are going to use filters, get something decent.
07-20-2011, 12:48 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWyatt Quote
It may become apparent with cheap filters. If you are going to use filters, get something decent.
My emphasis.

Lenstip have done a big UV filter test and the winner was by no means the most expensive...

UV filters test - Description of the results and summary - Lenstip.com

Best was the Hoya HMC, not their bottom-of-the-range but not the Super or the Pro1 either.

I also always use the lens hood. If nothing else they provide some protection for the lens since they protrude beyond it, and it means I don't have to think about when it might help the image quality and when it might not.
07-20-2011, 08:37 AM   #15
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It's no surprise, as in my opinion, Hoya has and still is the best filter manufacturer. Although, I think they were even better in the 90's when the HMC's were made in Japan. The HMC's are now made in the Phillipines. I've seen too many problems with quality control with them than the older Japan versions.

I've been using Hoya's for about 15 years and don't plan to stop. The most current Promaster filters are also good because they are just rebranded Hoyas. I used a Heliopan or two in the past, and they seemed decent, although their high price keeps me from buying any lately.

I never, ever used Tiffen and never will. IMO, the cheapest and worst filters ever made (and the test link above confirms this as it took last place).
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