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Photography Question 
Jyan L. Crayton
perfectshotsbyjyan.biz
 

Polarizers and Other Filters: What to Get?


What's a good polarizing filter brand to buy? I noticed that there are different coatings and brands. Some are very expensive. And what are some other good filters to have in your bag? Thanks!


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3/30/2006 9:30:09 PM

 
Bob Fately   In terms of brand, Jyan, B+W and Heliopan are the best quality (and highest in price). Hoya is quite popular and more reasonably priced. If your camera is less than 10 years old, then be sure to get a circular polarizing filter - this uses a slightly different approach to polarizing that does not interfere with the auto-focus or metering systems of modern cameras.
As for other filters - well, that depends. If you shoot digital, then perhaps the only filters that are really needed would be ND (neutral density) filters (to cut down light when you want to increase exposure time and there's "too much light") and gradient NDs (to darken the top half of the scene for horizon-type shots).
If you shoot black and white film, then a yellow or orange filter can increase the contrast of clouds to sky, to make them pop out more. Other filters, like UV or haze, are arguably good or bad - everyone has their opinion. Some like to use these as "clear lenscaps" to protect the front element of the actual lens; others point out that adding another layer of glass only serves to introduce more flare or optical error potential. And then there are the novelty filters - star, soft focus, etc. - that can be fun if you like that sort of thing.
Finally, there are close-up lenses that look like clear filters - where the glass is ground into a lens (rather than flat) so you can screw one onto your lens and focus much closer to a subject (for macro work).


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3/31/2006 7:49:54 AM

 
Jyan L. Crayton
perfectshotsbyjyan.biz
  Thank you for all the info. I'm going to print this out for future references.
Good feed back . I want to take some nice outside contrast photos and this helps alot.

Thank you.


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3/31/2006 7:57:00 AM

 
Karen Weiler   Hi Jyan:

The only thing I have to add is that you have to remember that a filter is a piece of glass or plastic in front of your lens (ie. between your subject and the recording device, be it film or digital). Therefore, the quality of the filter will affect the quality of your photos. That is why you will see some professionals say that to simply put a filter on to protect your lens is foolish. And why a filter like B+W is so expensive. I'm new to photography so I can't argue with the professionals. If you do buy a filter, simply make sure you have a period of time to try it out and that you have the option to return it if it doesn't work for you. At the end of the day, if you like the affect, then it probably is a good filter for you. That's my two cents!


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4/4/2006 4:25:52 AM

 
 
 
 
My suggestion is to go with Tiffen or Hoya. Cokin makes a good plastic filter system, but you must be careful with the filters since they are plastic and scratch easily. STAY AWAY FROM CHEAP FILTERS!!!!! Cheap off brand filters will usually have flaws in the plastic or glass (I've had one with a bubble in it) that will degrade your photographs.

The best black and white enhancing filters are red, orange, green and yellow.

The only filters I usually use for color shots are a polarizer, a few star effect filters, and a diffusion filter if needed for portraits. I also occasionally use a warming filter if the lighting isn't right.

Have fun and keep shooting,
Mark H.


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4/4/2006 6:21:34 PM

 
Jyan L. Crayton
perfectshotsbyjyan.biz
  Thanks for all the feedback. I did go ahead and purchase a hoya polarizer filter for my lens. I did get the 52mm since I have a stepup ring to use it on my 58mm Also I purchased a asian brand 10+ close up filter just to play with & a uv filter for my lens. I'll start stooting with filter & without to see the difference and get back with you.

Ihave a 50mm 1:8/ 28-105mm 4.0-5.6 with plastic ring and 75-300mm 4.0-5.6 with metal ring. I always shoot with a filter, now I'll start playing without it. And see the difference.

Again, Thanks.


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4/4/2006 8:15:49 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Bad news Jyan: You can't step a 52mm filter UP to a 58mm threaded ring withoout vignetting the larger size lens. You should step down from the larger size lens using an adapter ring that will fit the smaller size. Seewhatimeanhuh?

Oh, and as for resin filters, high quality resin filters, like the ones made by Hitech, Sailwind, Lee, B+W, among others, don't easily scratch when properly cleaned (with resin, not glass cleaner) and stored, just like glass filters really. Some of the Hitech I have and use constantly have worked fine, without chips, cracks, rust, flakes, peeling or scratches, for over 12 years.

Mark


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4/4/2006 10:28:28 PM

 
JENNIFER BARNES ELIOT   Regarding using an orange or yellow filter for shooting in b/w, anyone know if this will increase contrast when shooting digitally and "converting" to black and white? My long frustration with my digital camera (which I LOVE) is that my b/w images just don't have the same contrast as those shot with a film camera. I know there are those that say don't bother - use the film camera for b/w, but thought I'd ask if a filter might help.


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4/17/2006 4:01:57 AM

 
John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
  In my opinion, you should always shoot in color and scan in color as well. That way the file has all the data. You can remove the color and, then, adjust contrast of the monochrome file.


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4/18/2006 1:11:35 PM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  I shoot film only and I have a few filters. I have the coloed ND's for B&W, red,orange,yellow,blue. I have a circ polarizer that changeseffect as it is rotated, increasing or decreasing. A polarizer has its strongest effect at 90 degrees to the sun. I have some ND gray filters for lengthening shutter times so that I can record motion without washing out a scene to do it. I have Cokin A style ND grad filters for contrast help. I get my filters from eBay so they don't cost much and I have yet to be let down. It wouldn't hurt to stick to brand names but I don't see it as necessary.


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5/9/2006 8:41:23 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
Contact Sharon
Sharon 's Gallery
  I really like Singh Ray warming polarizing filter. I like the one for the Cokin P holder. Fits all my lenses.


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5/9/2006 8:49:09 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Sharon, if you like the warming polarizer, try a B+W Redhancer filter. I tell ya, you'll LUFF IT !!! Get it before autumn and try it out a bit because for fall foliage shots it'll knock your socks off, especially with slower ISO color stock, transparency or negative FILM !! Lol !!!
Mark


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5/10/2006 4:23:35 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
Contact Sharon
Sharon 's Gallery
  Thanks, Mark! I just looked at the B+W and they are a lot less expensive than the Singh Ray filters too.


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5/10/2006 5:46:26 PM

 
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