B+W Brand filters
Can you tell me what a B+W brand 52E FL-D filter is?
Can you also rank order the folowing filter brands in terms of quality: Nikon, B+W, Heliopan, Cokin, Tiffen, Hoya, Vivitar?
FL-D is a color-balance correction filter (FLourescent to Daylight). It is used when shooting under flourescent lighting without a flash to remove the greenish cast. I assume the "52E" refers to 52mm ring diameter.
With regard to "ranking" these brands, I find that selling price is a pretty good indicator of quality. I assume B+W are very good, but they are too expensive for me. I use Tiffen and Hoya filters and have no trouble recommending them. They are very effective and I haven't experienced any measurable image degradation.
You can read more about these filters at:
John A. Lind
Jon's reply answered what the FL-D filter is for. You asked about B+W, and how some of the filter manufacturers rank . . . so here's a little more about them.
Heliopan and B+W are among the finest made. Both use Schott glass with dye in the glass for nearly all their filters, and the coated ones are phenomenal. Schott is one of the original companies within the Zeiss Foundation. Schneider-Kreuznach, which owns B+W, is (IMO) a very close #2 behind Carl Zeiss in lens making. Their fame is in cinema and projection lenses at which they are among the world's finest. S-K also makes world class medium format camera lenses.
Others major names such as Hoya, Vivitar and Tiffen are not "bad." They are a cut below Heliopan or B+W, but the coated ones are still much better than the cheap "generic" ones. You will pay for quality filters though. Things to consider with filters:
1. Filter ring:
2. Flatness and parallelism:
4. Coated vs. Uncoated:
The main question with filters is how much degradation they introduce compared to the quality of the lens they're put on. A filter introduces yet another glass element into the optical system, and all light must pass through it to get to the film. If you have world-class multi-coated lenses, you don't want generic, uncoated filters on the front. It defeats the quality of the lens.
Most of mine are Heliopan because they're easier to get locally than B+W's, but I have a few of them, too. There are a couple of older Vivitar "VMC" and Hoya "HMC" filters still in the bag. They are very good also, although first preference is for Heliopan or B+W. After doing some comparison shots using ISO 64 and 100 slide film, then projecting it on a 50" screen, I gradually got rid of all the uncoated ones. The first ditched were the "generic's" bought when I first started 20 years ago.
If budget is a consideration, and you live near a large camera store (which has at least some pro customers) look through their used filter bin for Heliopan's and B+W's in excellent condition regularly. They usually get snapped up quickly. Found a few of mine this way . . . but also was very finicky about perfect glass and rings without dents or dings ("brassing" of the ring finish does not matter).
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