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Lens filters

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Offline bdann

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Lens filters
« on: January 30, 2008, 10:24:52 AM »
Just curious what you all are using in the way of lens filters for photography at Big Bend, if anything... 

I've weened myself off the cheapo filters, having finally figured out that putting a cheap piece of glass in front of an expensive piece of glass is not a good idea.  For a long time I subscribed to the notion that some sort of filter was a must to "protect" my lens, simply not true though. 

Anyway, I was thinking of buying a good CPL, just curious what others are using. 
WATER, It does a body good.

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Offline JimNewOrleans

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Re: Lens filters
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2008, 10:43:09 AM »
A good CPL is great usually I find, but should be used with care. It can make clouds pop out wonderfully, and in fall I find it gives tree leaves more saturation - also, obviously, deepen the color of even small pools of water and lessen reflections.  Sometimes, of course, you want those reflections though.   I had a great picture I took of the upper boot canyon pools, with the water a deep blue, the rocks glaring white, and the grass and sky just perfect.  BUT, I have had pictures that were so saturated that people have questioned their accuracy, so you have to learn how much to polarize in the camera so the final result looks like what you saw, not what you wanted it to look like - 

I keep a good UV on at all times - I know there’s different schools of thought there, but it helps I think on haziness, and also protects the lens.  I never stack filters, so the UV comes off before the polarizing etc.   I do not baby my equipment, figuring it has to keep up with me, so I do believe in protecting the lens... cheaper to replace a scratched filter than a whole lens.

Warming filters are great in early a.m. or late in day to give that glow that the eyes can see but that film really has a hard time capturing -

Also, if you have more than one lens, you want to think about a step up ring, which allows you to buy one large diameter filter to use on different size lenses.....

I used to occasionally shoot infrared photography, and you need a deep red or something like a Wratten #89B filter.   I spent one whole trip at BB shooting only B&W infrared with various deep filters and the results were otherworldly...

24 or 28 mm lens filters quite expensive unfortunately due to large diameter.

I have never found one though that helps when the sun is directly overhead and the colors are washed out everywhere; I think there are some neutral density ones out there that may help in that, but I have never used...

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Offline Doc Savage

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Re: Lens filters
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2008, 10:56:37 AM »
For a long time I subscribed to the notion that some sort of filter was a must to "protect" my lens, simply not true though.   

I'll have to disagree with that statement. I've personally had two different instances where the lens has smacked a rock and the filter get dinged but the lens survive. However it didn't help much on the one jeep trip when the girlfriend (now wife) came back to me with the camera and half of the lens was on the camera and the other half was in her hand. She had slipped on a rock crossing a creek and dropped the camera. With a good quality filter (I prefer a skylight 1a, but have also used UVs) there isn't a degradation in image quality. Like Jim said though, I prefer not to stack filters. Outside of the basic polarizer and protection filter, I tend to use my old Coken filters just held up to the lens (only works with a tripod though).

Robert
Enjoying the Texas life!

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Offline bdann

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Re: Lens filters
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2008, 11:23:43 AM »
For a long time I subscribed to the notion that some sort of filter was a must to "protect" my lens, simply not true though.   

I'll have to disagree with that statement.

Let me clarify my feelings on the matter a bit...
It's not a must, a good lens hood will offer a great deal of protection as well; and for someone like me, who can't generally afford expensive filters, I think it's better than putting on a cheap filter. I think you just have to be aware of the conditions, windy, dusty, etc; then some sort of filter is in order to protect the lens.  If one has the money for nicer filters, then by all means, keeping one on all the time can be appropriate, though still a matter of personal preference. 



WATER, It does a body good.

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Offline bdann

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Re: Lens filters
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2008, 11:32:58 AM »
For what it's worth, this is the one I'm considering:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/181672-REG/B_W_66025828_52_mm_Kaeseman_Circular.html

A high quality UV may be in the cards some time in the future, too much $$$ right now. 
WATER, It does a body good.

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Offline Roy

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Re: Lens filters
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2008, 11:56:30 AM »
Graduated filters are great if you've got a lot of contrast, which is common in BIBE.  Using these with Cokin or similar system can really help even things out.

http://www.cokin.com/ico3-p1-6.html

You mount these in a bracket that screws onto your lens's filter threads and can slide them and rotate them until you've got the bright area behind the darker part of the filter, evening out the overall exposure for the image.  The neutral density grey ones are best for most shots.
It's a pretty flexible system;  the brackets are slotted so you can insert different sizes of mounting rings to fit different lenses, and there's several differnt sizes of filters.  Browse their web site a bit.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2008, 12:06:28 PM by Roy »

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Lens filters
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2008, 02:56:50 PM »
I've been using a B+W circular polarizer with MRC (multi-resistent coating) for about 2 years now. Optically, it's fantastic. Much better than the cheaper Tiffen that I previously owned. The Tiffen had a funny color cast. The B+W is pretty much neutral.

I only use one protective filter (a B+W UV MRC) on a lens that doesn't have a sealed-up end. It's a Canon 17-40mm, and to complete it's "weather sealing", the manual advises to use a filter.

I would highly recommend the MRC-type coatings. Most dust and moisture will slide right off.

I've read in numerous places that Heliopan makes high quality filters too. They're a bit more expensive than the B+W's.

Edit:  Hey, moderators: how 'bout a camera gear section on the forums here? :grin:
« Last Edit: January 30, 2008, 03:00:11 PM by tjavery »

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Offline bdann

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Re: Lens filters
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2008, 03:03:56 PM »
Edit:  Hey, moderators: how 'bout a camera gear section on the forums here? :grin:

I was thinking the same thing earlier! 

Thanks for the advice, B+W w/MRC is what I was going to go with for both the CPL and the UV.
WATER, It does a body good.

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Offline JimNewOrleans

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Re: Lens filters
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2008, 03:33:55 PM »
Couple other things I have thought of, through experience... guess that happens in late afternoon after a cup of epresso.....

- if you, or someone else in here, does keep a UV or clear filter on 24/7 except when using a different filter, I have found it really helps to put a THIN coating of high grade machine oil or bicycle grease to the lens threads first... what happens is that although it protects the lens, it is exposed to moisture, grunge, dirt, drastic temperature changes, spilled bourbon, etc. - after many many months without being taken off, you can find yourself with a UV filter that is almost welded onto your lens - it will take pliers to remove it

- if the UV/Clear filter DOES ever crack, even hairline, it's important to remove and replace it quickly; otherwise, it will let moisture build up between it and the main lens

- also, but this may go without saying, keep a leatherman-like tool at hand stuffed in your pack - no matter what type of filter you use, if you accidentally swing it or something and it strikes a hard surface (boulder?!),... althogh not as bad as Roberts lens mishap!.... it can bend the filter ring, and it will be misshapen enough to require force to get it off

- as for polarizing, they are very much 90 degree animals - they work best at a 90 degree angle from the sun, almost zero at 180 or 360 - what I mean is that facing the sun/light source, or with it's back to you, you will see little or no polarization.  For close ups or near distance that's no big deal, for you can walk around and get a better sun angle.  For large vistas, however, that is not possible - so you wait, or shoot as is. (or, if your options are limited - like, say you are shooting the traditional grapevine hanging boulder - there's only one way to shoot it, so if sun does not cooperate, you wait.  and wait) Also, with large vistas or panoramics (like off the South Rim), you may find the filter doing a great job on 1/2 of the  sky, but with a degradation on the other half, showing a very marked lightening across the frame  - that may be ok for some shots, but for others, distracting.

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Offline badknees

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Re: Lens filters
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2008, 06:38:49 PM »
I'm a clear glass filter guy and a CPL user. I do agree that CPL can be abused very easily and JimNewOrleans has described the problems a misused CPL can cause.
I use Photoshop for any other filter effects I would like to emulate.

Not all those who wander are lost.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Lens filters
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2008, 09:03:53 PM »
Some good advice here! I found, recently, special wrenches to remove filters. They are currently sold out at B&H.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/251749-REG/General_Brand__Filter_Wrench_Set_of.html

I carry some rubber bands with me. If my filters get stuck, I wrap the filter and also the other side of the threads with the rubber bands and then unscrew using hand-power. It's difficult, but it'll work with enough trying and a little sweat.

Here's the effect that Jim was speaking of when using a wide angle lens and a polarizer:



The middle of the sky in that shot is darker than the edges because of the polarizing effect. As I rotated the polarizer back and forth, this "tongue" of dark sky moved a little side to side BUT it would not cover the entire sky. The effective focal length on that shot was about 27mm.

Polarizers are also great for reducing reflections on leaves and rocks. You'll end up with more saturated colors usually because the glare of the surfaces is reduced.

I know this example isn't a good example because I don't have a "before-n-after" comparison, but I used a polarizer to help kill some of the glare off the rocks and really enhance the reddish colors:


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Offline tjavery

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Re: Lens filters
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2008, 09:06:51 PM »
...Hey, moderators: how 'bout a camera gear section on the forums here? :grin:

SWEET!!!

 :eusa_dance:

Thanks for the new category! This rocks!

 


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