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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Holly Marie Spoonley
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
 

Filters: What to Get?


Hey, I have never used a filter and I was interested in buying a filter to experiment with. Do I need to purchase an attachment for the filter or does it just snap onto the lens? How do I know what will work best for my camera? I have a Minolta Maxxum QT SI. At the moment, I have only the standard lens that came with the camera, but I have ordered a few other lenses.

6/1/2006 3:28:20 PM

 
Mike Rubin
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/15/2004
  Holly,
The filter will screw onto the front of the lens, so you need to know the diameter to purchase (it is printed on the barrel usually near the glass). There are some filters that slide into a holder that you screw onto the lens.
But for now, I would suggest that you start with a CL polarizer. This filter will allow you to remove or at least cut down on glare and reflections. It will also boost contrast, make your sky and water more blue. Just like polarizing sunglasses, only you can adjust the effect. And you do not have to recalculate your meter readings, although you do lose about 1 stop of light. There are adapter rings (Step up, Step down) that will allow you to use a filter on lens with different diamaters ... you get a filter for the largest lens and a ring to adapt it to your smaller lens. I find it easier when shooting with a polarizer to have one already on each lens because it is one less thing to be concerned with when changing lens (although more expensive than the adapter rings.) You will wonder how you got along without this filter. I'm not an expert but just ask if you have any other questions.

6/1/2006 7:35:54 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Holly: Filters usually thread or screw onto the outer part of the lens. What size depends on the size of the lens you have. Someone here may know it's correct diameter in millimeters.
Which filters you get are a matter of personal preference and depend on what you want to use them for. There are polarizer filters (circular and linear), color correction filters, contrast enhancing filters for black and white photos, and special effects filters too.
You might consider buying a small starter set of filters from Cokin that uses a filter holder with a single attachment ring for your lens. The filters just drop into the holder. Most camera stores sell the Cokin rig. So does bhphotovideo.com.
If you get different lenses with different diameter front elements, you can get a Cokin "P" ring set-up that will let you use different size rings for different size lenses and still use the same filter holder and filters. The advantage is that you only need one set of filters no matter how many lenses you get, so long as their diameter doesn't exceed the largest Cokin ring size. Even if you change cameras, all you need to get is a new set of rings, not filters. Save big bucks. Seewhatimean?
Lee, Hitech, Calumet, Singh Ray, and others make more professional set-ups like this. But as I said, it's a matter of personal preference along with some planning for future uses.
Here's a couple of links to Web sites specializing in filters: http://www.tiffen.com/
and http://www.photofilter.com/
OR the makers of the Hitech system I mentioned is at http://www.formatt.co.uk/home/default.asp
Of course, there are a lot more but these oughtta get you started.
Take it light and have fun.
Mark

6/1/2006 7:39:38 PM

 
George R. Bard
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/9/2006
  Another rule-of-thumb is to have a UV or a sky filter on every lens. These are almost clear and serve primarily to protect the lens. A polarizer or any other filter screws right into the UV or sky. Having two filters on the lens at the same time is no problem.

6/5/2006 5:05:08 PM

 
Holly Marie Spoonley
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Thank you! I have gone filter shopping and I am loving it. I did just recently get a fisheye lens that needs somesort of adapter in order to go on my camera. Does anyone know what I need? It is a wide angle and macro lens does that just attach to my lens I have on my camera? The manual said I may need to get a ring adapter series 7. But I wanted to make sure this is correct for my camera type a minolta maxxum qt si. I am just not sure how to get this working. Any help is appreciated.

6/6/2006 1:54:29 PM

 
George R. Bard
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/9/2006
  Holly,
It sounds to me like you need a step filter. Assume your lens takes a 55mm filter. And assume the new add-on fisheye has 52mm threads (I'm assuming it has threads, they usually do). In that case you need a 55 to 52mm step down filter ring. It's like a filter with no glass. The 55mm end screws into your lens and the fisheye screws into the step down ring. Call it a reducer.
I know that a lot of assuming oon my part but I think that's what you need.
George
Check 'lens filters & accessories' on eBay

6/6/2006 2:46:20 PM

 
Holly Marie Spoonley
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  oh I get it! My standard lens takes a 49mm filter and the threads on the wide angle lens is 46mm. So I need a 49mm to 46mm step down. Gotcha! that makes sense! Thank you!

6/6/2006 2:51:06 PM

 
Kylie Richardson

member since: 2/26/2006
  Hi Holly, My favourite filter is a soft spot. It gives a haze around the outer edge and clearness in the center of the photo. I love it to take photos of brides and couples. If you go to your local photo lab they have free booklets that has a lot filters displayed in them. Also shopping on ebay is a great way to pick up filters at cheaper prices. Good luck Kylie.

6/7/2006 3:38:17 AM

 
John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/8/2001
  I have too many filters. In fact, I've learned they're a crutch.

Yes, you can get some nice effects but you might also try bracketting.

A polarizer is a must for deep blue skies and billowing white cumulous clouds. I also use it as a neutral density filter, if needed. A 25A is a must for B&W and infrared film. And, speaking of film an FLD, a 80A and 85C correction filters are also important.

With today's 1/8000 th sec. shutter speeds, neutral density filters may not even be needed. Cross stars - well, lighting better be "correct."

Split filters, in which one half is a close-upor neutral densitiy, and color graduated filters offer a lot of interesting possibilities.

But, you know. You can spend a lot of money on these things. My 72 mm wide angle, triple coated polarizer was well over $100. And, while I use it all the time [so the price was worth it,]there are many of my more than 30 filters that haven't been on a lens in years. And, I wish I had saved the cost to get faster lenses and, ultimatelym, the digital I bought.

After with Photoshop plug-ins, you might not need glass filters or a Cokin set-up at all. I don't need my sepai filter, I can color with Photoshop.

As to the myth of the Skyligh/Haze filter, if you're on the beach when there's a lot of wind, they do serve a purpose. But, generally, they simply add two more glass surfaces to contend with. Flare becomes much more of a problem. I use specially made lens hoods for my Canon 17-85 mm and Tamron 28-200/200-400 mm zooms.

Do got ahead and experiment but I think you'll find that you may not need these things too much. Be sure, however, you get name brand filters - Tiffen, Hoya and B&W come to mind a good quality at affordable prices.

6/16/2006 10:35:24 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Well, a true "fish eye" lens won't accept filters on the front of the lens but rather a specialized type of filters that attach to the rear element of the lens.

A polarizer is properly used to eliminate reflections or glare from a scene, for example reflections on water or in a store window. The problem using a polarizer to darken a sky, making it appear bluer, is that it also darkens other portions of the same image.

The best way I've found to darken a blue sky is to get a set of "sky blue" varigated/graduated filters in a holder, like the Hitech set-up I mentioned earlier, and that will let you darken the sky to nearly whatever density you want without darkening the remaining portions of the scene at ground level.
Take it light.
Mark

6/16/2006 4:02:15 PM

 
Holly Marie Spoonley
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  I have ordered a few different filters to start with. I did get the multi image filter however my lens will not focus with it. I am trying to figure out how to get that filter to operate correctly.

6/16/2006 4:23:52 PM

 

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