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View Poll Results: Which type of filter should I buy?
Polarizer 29 78.38%
Graduated Neutral Density 4 10.81%
Neither, it's not worth it 4 10.81%
Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 22nd of August 2008 (Fri)   #1
Nistelrooydude
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Default Filters, Filters, Filters...Advice Needed

I have just (and am continuing) to learn about this aspect of photography. Right now I have UV Haze protective filters for all my lenses, but I am looking into more "advanced" filters. I have decided between getting a graduted neutral density or a polarizer. I realize the latter of the two is more expensive but I'll deal. I am looking for your input into which I should get and would appreciate any suggestions as to what brand/model I should choose. I would like to keep it under $120 for either and I'm getting one for my 24-70L (77mm thread).

Thanks in advance,
Henry
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Last edited by Nistelrooydude : 22nd of August 2008 (Fri) at 10:40.
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Old 22nd of August 2008 (Fri)   #2
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Default Re: Filters, Filters, Filters...Advice Needed

www.hvstar.net

for all your filter needs..

very good pricing
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Old 22nd of August 2008 (Fri)   #3
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Default Re: Filters, Filters, Filters...Advice Needed

Purchasing filters are like making any other purchse - get what you need just before you need it (that's optimal, anyway). So the question really becomes, "What type of photography are you doing where you would need one or the other?" When you answer that question, you will be much better advice.
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Old 22nd of August 2008 (Fri)   #4
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Default Re: Filters, Filters, Filters...Advice Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nistelrooydude View Post
I have just (and am continuing) to learn about this aspect of photography. Right now I have UV Haze protective filters for all my lenses, but I am looking into more "advanced" filters. I have decided between getting a graduted neutral density or a polarizer. I realize the latter of the two is more expensive but I'll deal. I am looking for your input into which I should get and would appreciate any suggestions as to what brand/model I should choose. I would like to keep it under $120 for either and I'm getting one for my 24-70L (77mm thread).

Thanks in advance,
Henry
I think you should first learn the difference between a GND and a CP filter. They are used for different purposes so you should really state what type of photography you are wanting the filters for. What is it you want to achieve?
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Old 22nd of August 2008 (Fri)   #5
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Default Re: Filters, Filters, Filters...Advice Needed

I’ll say get the polarizer even if you’re not sure how to use it. It is the one that photoshop still can’t emulate and once slapped onto a lens takes about 30 seconds to figure out. With the GND, there are photoshop techniques that give you exactly what a GND does and are way more flexible as well. Though I have a GND all I ever use it for is my 10-22 as a polarizer just does not work as well on a wide angle.
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Old 22nd of August 2008 (Fri)   #6
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Default Re: Filters, Filters, Filters...Advice Needed

BTW, I'll second HVSTAR. I don't know why anyone would get a filter they sell somewhere else.
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Old 22nd of August 2008 (Fri)   #7
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Default Re: Filters, Filters, Filters...Advice Needed

Think long term and seek to get a CP now from HVstar, as mentioned above, and later get a Lee holder (ideally professional version) and a .3, .6, and .9 ND Soft edge Grad set and maybe a .6 hard edge. Hitech filters are cheaper than Lee and just as good IMO if you want to save money. Don't waste money on the screw in NDG's. The Hoya Super multi-coated pro 1 and B+W MRC are both good and nothing between them IMO other than price.
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Old 22nd of August 2008 (Fri)   #8
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Default Re: Filters, Filters, Filters...Advice Needed

The GND and a polarizer have very different uses, so the best way of deciding which to go assuming tight funds, is usage. I'll move this to accessories which will be a better home for it.

1. GND:

Used mostly for landscapes to correct balance between bright and dark areas, ie sky and land. Normally best as square filters so the position and angle of the graduation can be adjusted. Normally you get a set of different graduation strengths and hard or soft graduation.

Alternatives: Shoot using a tripod, take 2 or more shots at different exposures and combine in photoshop using layers (Sometimes it is enough to make two different conversions from a single RAW image): Advantages of this is more control over the effect, downside is more processing. Problems: Combining the two separate shots can be an issue if scenic elements are moving around the graduation line, ie trees in the wind, rapidly moving clouds.

2. Polarizer

Can be useful in a wide range of applications but the effect can be subtle. You must get a circular polarizer. A linear polarizer will mess-up the camera autofocus.

a) Increase colour saturation of the sky: Only effective at 90 degree angles from the sun, effect is a bit of a cliché.

b) Improve colour saturation of some objects. This works by reducing reflections off the surface of some objects (all reflection introduces a degree of polarisation). This can be very subtle to the point it is not really doing much for you.

c) Increase or reduce reflections in water and glass. This can be a strong effect.

Available for a square filter systems so you can use the same filter on all lenses (with a different adaptor). Also available as a traditional screw in round filter, normally with better quality coatings. The Hoya SHMC ones are very good and HMC pro 1 Digitals are OK. B+W MRC are also very good. Both B+W and Heliopan do more expensive hermetically sealed versions as well as the basic, these might be worth it for the tropics.

Alternatives: None. Can't be emulated in processing.
Disadvantages: I find I hardly ever use mine. Also typically cause a 2 stop light loss, not a problem if working from a tripod.
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Last edited by Lester Wareham : 22nd of August 2008 (Fri) at 11:17.
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Old 22nd of August 2008 (Fri)   #9
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Default Re: Filters, Filters, Filters...Advice Needed

The "protection" filters you have on your lenses all the time are the biggest waste of money and, possibly and under some circumstances, image quality.

Circular polarizers are the most useful to me, and I think to nearly all photographers.

You can mimic the effects of a graduated ND filter in post-processing.

You can't even come close to replicating with your computer all that a C-Pol can do. It's the one filter there's really no software equivalent for.


You won't get a quality C-Pol in 77mm for $120 or less. Last time I looked the cheapest was roughly $150: a B+W MRC (multi-coated). It' probably $20-25 more for their "Kaesemann" C-Pol which is also multi-coated but upgraded in a few other ways. The next more expensive was a Heliopan SH-PMC. The most expensive by far among the top three brands was the Hoya Pro 1 Super HMC.

I don't really get that. I'd buy a Heliopan or B+W over a Hoya any day of the week.
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Old 22nd of August 2008 (Fri)   #10
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Default Re: Filters, Filters, Filters...Advice Needed

Thanks to everyone for all your advice. I am now decided upon the C-Pol. And from all your other suggestions, this is the one I'll get: http://hvstar.net/index.asp?PageActi...ROD&ProdID=731

Thanks again.
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Old 22nd of August 2008 (Fri)   #11
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Default Re: Filters, Filters, Filters...Advice Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by amfoto1 View Post
The "protection" filters you have on your lenses all the time are the biggest waste of money and, possibly and under some circumstances, image quality.


You won't get a quality C-Pol in 77mm for $120 or less. Last time I looked the cheapest was roughly $150: a B+W MRC (multi-coated). It' probably $20-25 more for their "Kaesemann" C-Pol which is also multi-coated but upgraded in a few other ways. The next more expensive was a Heliopan SH-PMC. The most expensive by far among the top three brands was the Hoya Pro 1 Super HMC.

I don't really get that. I'd buy a Heliopan or B+W over a Hoya any day of the week.
I use UV as protection in Africa on safari and they are needed IMO and so I don't consider them a waste of money, even though good ones are pricey. For day to day I wouldn't bother personally, but then I wouldn't make a blanket judgement saying they were a waste of money either. It all depends ...

I just checked and found it hard to get a 'quality' Hoya or B+W CP for more than $150, but I guess I am looking in the right places
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Old 22nd of August 2008 (Fri)   #12
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Default Re: Filters, Filters, Filters...Advice Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by amfoto1 View Post
The "protection" filters you have on your lenses all the time are the biggest waste of money...
While I agree that routine full time use of protection filters is not a good idea I disagree that they are a waste of money. Although I can't recall the last time I felt the need to use one I have a UV filter to fit each of my lenses just in case I find myself needing one.
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Old 23rd of August 2008 (Sat)   #13
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Default Re: Filters, Filters, Filters...Advice Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by amfoto1 View Post
The "protection" filters you have on your lenses all the time are the biggest waste of money and, possibly and under some circumstances, image quality.
For those coming late to this debate (which we have several times a week sometimes). Please read the protective filter FAQ linked below.

This covers a lot of the pros and cons as well as providing links to tests and filter technical data.

Any conclusion is a matter of opinion of course - so there is no one answer; just the facts.
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