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Thread: Filters

  1. #1

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    Filters

    The biggest criticism of my pictures is that they're "just not quite sharp enough." I usually shoot with a tripod, and I usually spend a fair bit of time trying to get the focus just right, so I wasn't quite sure what it was, but I think I've figured it out.

    I cheaped out on my UV filter!

    Filters

    These were both taken under the same conditions. For both I set the focus to infinity and autofocused to the same spot, using the exact same exposure. Some of the fine details in the picture on the mug are lost. It seems small, but shooting something farther away, I'm assuming this effect would be worse.

    Now don't get me wrong, I'm a HUGE advocate of using UV filters ALL the time. I've dropped a lens once and had it saved by the filter, and I've shot a roll of film without one (I had just picked up the camera used) and had the entire roll suffer from UV haze. However, I'm trying to refine my technique, and sharpness is a major factor.

    Now, the big question I have is: Does anyone have any experience with both Sigma multicoated filters and Hoya multicoated filters? Reason being, I can get a Sigma filter from work (London Drugs) easily, but I don't know who sells Hoya filters in my area. I've had good experiences with Hoya (I have one on my Konica, it's great!) but I've never used a Sigma one before. I know it's a definite step above and beyond the cheapo Tiffen I've got now, but if there's a good difference between Sigma and Hoya, then I'll put the effort into finding the Hoya.

    What do you guys think?
    Last edited by blakemcguire; 4th January 2012 at 08:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Filters

    Blake

    I've got a Hoya Pro1 UV on each of my lenses ... and they never come off. I think they are excellent. I've never used Sigma.

    Given the name of your employer, I assume you are in the UK. I bought all mine from Warehouse Express (now trading as WEX Photographic).

  3. #3

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    Re: Filters

    Hi, JMO her but again the old adage comes into play "YOU ONLY GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR" I had filters on my lenses for a long time but realised that puting any glass in front of a lens that could have cost 1000's of or $ is going to degrade the optics, in saying that though there is a time and place for filters of the correct kind ie, polarizing filter and/or good square filters in land/seascape. I understand what you say about protection for the lens glass but then even with a filter you are not g/teed safety if you drop the lens. I have used both Hoya and Sigma pol filters and again OMO I like the Hoya but even with them you buy cheap you get cheap!!!
    Russ

  4. #4
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by russellsnr View Post
    I had filters on my lenses for a long time but realised that puting any glass in front of a lens that could have cost 1000's of or $ is going to degrade the optics, ...
    I would have to disagree with that view Russell. No doubt that out there somewhere, in some scientific lab, someone has proved that there is image degradation as a result of having any filter loaded on the front of the lens.

    But in the real world, observing images in the way that 99.99% of the population does (i.e. not pixel peeping), I would defy anyone to see the difference in quality.

  5. #5

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    Re: Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Blake

    I've got a Hoya Pro1 UV on each of my lenses ... and they never come off. I think they are excellent. I've never used Sigma.

    Given the name of your employer, I assume you are in the UK. I bought all mine from Warehouse Express (now trading as WEX Photographic).
    London Drugs is owned and operated out of BC, Canada. I think they're opening a store in USA soon, but they're a completely Canadian company. I live in Abbotsford, BC.

  6. #6
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by blakemcguire View Post
    London Drugs is owned and operated out of BC, Canada. I think they're opening a store in USA soon, but they're a completely Canadian company. I live in Abbotsford, BC.
    Oh well, I wasn't even close!

    By the way, if you wish you can go to Edit Profile and enter your location so that it shows up alongside all your posts, just as in my details alongside this message. Then we all know where everyone is in the world.

  7. #7

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    Re: Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by russellsnr View Post
    Hi, JMO her but again the old adage comes into play "YOU ONLY GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR" I had filters on my lenses for a long time but realised that puting any glass in front of a lens that could have cost 1000's of or $ is going to degrade the optics, in saying that though there is a time and place for filters of the correct kind ie, polarizing filter and/or good square filters in land/seascape. I understand what you say about protection for the lens glass but then even with a filter you are not g/teed safety if you drop the lens. I have used both Hoya and Sigma pol filters and again OMO I like the Hoya but even with them you buy cheap you get cheap!!!
    Russ
    A seatbelt doesn't guarantee safety in a car wreck either. I did cheap out on the entire camera, $250 new. My excitement about going digital kind of overshadowed everything else. I'm well aware you get what you pay for, but at the time I wasn't exactly experienced with filters.

  8. #8

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    Re: Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Oh well, I wasn't even close!

    By the way, if you wish you can go to Edit Profile and enter your location so that it shows up alongside all your posts, just as in my details alongside this message. Then we all know where everyone is in the world.
    Done! I'm still pretty new to the forums.

  9. #9
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    Re: Filters

    I have a personal rule when it comes to filters; the small print around the filter mount must read either Rodenstock or B+W. They are quite expensive. Unfortunately my lenses are even more expensive.

    Glenn

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    Re: Filters

    One place I fine very good for getting filters is "The Filter Connection" it is in Vermont, prices good and service is great, I use them all the time here from Ontario or try their web site at the following: http://www.2filter.com/ again great service, you will not go wrong,

    Allan

  11. #11

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    Re: Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    I have a personal rule when it comes to filters; the small print around the filter mount must read either Rodenstock or B+W. They are quite expensive. Unfortunately my lenses are even more expensive.

    Glenn
    I just don't think spending $100 on a filter to go on a $250 lens + camera is really justified.

  12. #12
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    Re: Filters

    Blake...

    I agree that there is a point of diminishing returns when you are purchasing a filter to protect a relatively inexpensive lens. I don't know which camera/lens you are using but, from the price you mention, I would expect that it is one of the kit lenses. The original Nikon or Canon kit lenses are the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 which will run between $50 and $75 USD on eBay and the IS Canon kit lens will run used from $75-$100 USD,

    IMO, it is certainly not worth spending money for a top line protective filter for any of these lenses. And, IMO, it is also not worth using a cheap protective filter, which will degrade the IQ of the lens, for the unlikely saving of that very inexpensive lens from damage.

    I would suggest that instead of a protective filter, you use a lens hood and that, if you don't already have a lens hood, you purchase a Chinese knock-off from eBay. These hoods for the Canon kit lens will run under five dollars with free postage. I haven't priced this type of hood for a Nikon lens but it should be equally inexpensive. In fact, Nikon might provide hoods for their lenses. I think that Canon is the only lens manufacturer not to provide hoods with every lens.

    Lens hoods will protect the lens from flare and will also protect from much physical amage.

  13. #13

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    Re: Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by blakemcguire View Post
    The biggest criticism of my pictures is that they're "just not quite sharp enough."
    Hi Blake,

    I must admit to being a bit surprised that nobody has mentioned a solid image sharpening workflow - it's going to have a far bigger effect on image sharpness than "filter A" -v- "filter B".

    I wrote a bit more about it here ...

    Sharpening and Noise Reduction Sequence

  14. #14
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    Re: Filters

    JMO but I pay big money for insurance so that if I drop a lens or two, so be it. With modern lenses a tiny bump, which won't even mark your UV filter, could still cost a lot in repairs due to the internal electronics and the very fine tolerances that they are built to today. My 18-200mm took a slight tumble (didn't even dislodge the lenshood) but still cost over 300 to replace one of the zoom rings. So, for me I don't waste my money on 'protective' filters.

  15. #15

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    Re: Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by krispix View Post
    JMO but I pay big money for insurance so that if I drop a lens or two, so be it. With modern lenses a tiny bump, which won't even mark your UV filter, could still cost a lot in repairs due to the internal electronics and the very fine tolerances that they are built to today. My 18-200mm took a slight tumble (didn't even dislodge the lenshood) but still cost over 300 to replace one of the zoom rings. So, for me I don't waste my money on 'protective' filters.
    Hi Chris,

    To be honest (JMO too), I really don't follow your logic with that. In my mind, it's a bit like saying "I have medical insurance, so no need to wear a seatbelt" or "I have house insurance, so no need to lock my front door when I go out". I pay a lot of $$$ in insurance too, but (a) there's still the excess, (b) there's the fact that if I made too many claims for things that could have been prevented with a little pre-thought I'm liable to end up with a premium loading, and (c) I like to think of insurance as a last-ditch "save my butt" (like when I had a very expensive watch stolen a few months ago -- because I had a clean record up until then - and I did all the right things - they coughed up over $12K without even blinking (for which I was very grateful for).

    Considering filters are so cheap (even a quality one like Heliopan is still well under $200), and they make the front element so much easier to keep clean - and complete the weather sealing - for me it just seems so easy.

  16. #16
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by blakemcguire View Post
    I just don't think spending $100 on a filter to go on a $250 lens + camera is really justified.
    I agree, but for a Canon TSE 24 Mark II, it's a bit different. The front element is very close to the front edge, and the hood (it comes with one) provides very little if any protection. A filter is almost mandatory.

    http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/..._c10/page2.asp

    Glenn

  17. #17

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    Re: Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Blake...

    I agree that there is a point of diminishing returns when you are purchasing a filter to protect a relatively inexpensive lens. I don't know which camera/lens you are using but, from the price you mention, I would expect that it is one of the kit lenses...
    It's an Olympus E-520. It was marked down because it's a discontinued model, and I got an extra bit of money taken off because I work at the store I bought it from.

  18. #18

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    Re: Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by krispix View Post
    JMO but I pay big money for insurance so that if I drop a lens or two, so be it. With modern lenses a tiny bump, which won't even mark your UV filter, could still cost a lot in repairs due to the internal electronics and the very fine tolerances that they are built to today. My 18-200mm took a slight tumble (didn't even dislodge the lenshood) but still cost over 300 to replace one of the zoom rings. So, for me I don't waste my money on 'protective' filters.
    Having seen both the effect of UV and a lens being saved by a filter (from a drop), I'd really rather the extra protection. It does make a difference and I've seen it time and time again.

  19. #19

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    Re: Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Blake,

    I must admit to being a bit surprised that nobody has mentioned a solid image sharpening workflow - it's going to have a far bigger effect on image sharpness than "filter A" -v- "filter B".

    I wrote a bit more about it here ...

    Sharpening and Noise Reduction Sequence
    I'm familiar with sharpening. The test image was actually shot in JPEG, meaning it was sharpened in-camera. I'll certainly try out Focus Magic, though.

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