View Full Version : Filters

03-10-2008, 10:32 AM
I bought a HOYA UV filter for my L lense saturday. I just got it for insurance on the lense glass but the guy was trying to sell me a polarizing filter too. I didn't get that one but it brings up the question- How many of you use filters? What kind? Do you change them out for different situations or, say, as in my UV filter, leave it on indoors or out? Just wondering, I saw where best buy was offering 3 different lense filters for $15 each, one was a "distortion", another sounded like it was shaded. I just wondered who uses what and why? Thanks-Bran

03-10-2008, 01:14 PM

Filters definitely have their place. The filters I use are: Polarizer, Graduated Neutral Density, and sometimes an 81B warming filter. Now with Photoshop and digital cameras I'm less likely to use the 81B.

The polarizing filter is a must if you are going to be shooting around water. Just like your sunglasses it is going to reduce glare allowing for more saturated colors. Don't cheap out on filters though especially if you have spent good money to get good lenses.

The graduated neutral density filter will allow you to darken bright areas in the frame to bring the exposure latitude back into the realm that the camera can render. Again...get a good one because the less expensive ones will tend to have a color cast to them.

Many of the funky distortion effects can be done in Photoshop. If you shoot with a filter on the camera the only shot you will have is the distorted one....if you change it later...then you have the original and the distorted image.


03-11-2008, 08:22 AM
So besides the UV I have on now, I should next get a polarizer for shooting around water? What brand would you recommend?

03-11-2008, 11:11 AM
Polarizer is a must have...there are some that have a duo set up with the warming added , but just a matter of preference and expense I guess - I use 'em seperate... but I find I use the polarizer mostly and since going digital I set the camera warmer if needed or you can make the adjustment later on in Literoom or photoshop etc...
If you still shoot old school b+w it's good to have different contrast filters (again ,can be simulated in digital)but with film its handy to have a system like Cokin where you put a mount on your lens and can change out squares of different contrast filters...they also have other types of effect filters as well but are not glass based as Hoya or Tiffen...

04-27-2008, 07:30 PM

I don't recommend using a UV filter on any lens, unless you are shooting from a boat, or maybe in rain where splashing water might get on the front lens element. Unfortunately camera stores love to sell people filters, because they can mark them up around %300, whereas they make extremely little on the lenses and bodies. Lenses, especially the L's are a lot tougher than you may think. It pays to be cautious, but remember that it is just a tool, even though it may not be inexpensive.

Some people recommend using a UV filter to protect against scratches, but truthfully, that is a bit silly to me. Lenses shouldn't scratch all that easily if handled properly, and if they do it would take a major scratch to affect your image quality. That is why it often pays to buy used lenses at reduced rates if they have a minor scratch or two on the front element.

It never made sense to me to buy an "L" lens, which is the highest optical quality that Canon offers, and to put another piece of glass in front of it in the form of a filter. When you add another piece of glass to your lens, you are actually degrading image quality and can run in to greater trouble with lens flare, which can give you that classic starburst effect, and, or, reduce the contrast of the overall image. In the days when we shot chrome film, we would often use a warming filter to boost the color temperature of the transparency a bit, especially in the bluish light of the early morning. But as Daniel mentioned earlier, we take care of color temperature adjustments in post processing now, or in camera while shooting.

A polarizing filter on the other hand is the photographers best friend. The classic books will tell you all kinds of rules for using a polarizing filter, but here is my advice. Instead of taking the time to mount the "PF" to your lens, try holding it up to the scene and turn it with your hands to see if it is delivering the desired effect, or doing anything at all. If you like what you see, then put it on the lens and compose your shot. This will save you a lot of time over mounting the filter then deciding that it doesn't do anything. Also it pays to remember that a polarizer helps to reduce glare on glass/windows, some metals, and some paints on metals. Your best bet is to always just look through the filter and see what it is doing for you. Be careful when choosing a PF, and check it on all of your lenses, sometimes PF's will vignette, due to their length (or thickness). Remember too that a PF on full polarization will reduce the light hitting your film, meter, or digital sensor by ~1 1/2 stops. This can be useful when you need to attain a slower shutter speed to get the classic silky flowing water affect.

Which "L" lens did you get and which body are you running it on?

Best wishes,


05-07-2008, 02:20 AM
I almost always shoot with a polarizing filter on my slr, but i just bought an olympus to shoot with on the stream. Does anyone make a film that i could put on the lens to cut out the glare on the olympus?


05-07-2008, 08:26 AM
Thanks Dan,
I'm still learning but that's part of the fun. I am, as of right now, still using that UV but after what you've said I may take it off. I asked the camera shop guy the same thing, why put another piece of cheap glass in front of a fluorite lense element? It's bound to degrade the picture somewhat but his reply was something to do with the cost of repairing the front element.

I've got the 70-200 f/4L Image Stabilizer, 28-135 IS, and the 50mm f/1.4.

The body is a 40D, I got it in November last year, I had a 30D before but this was definately worth the upgrade plus I was able to recoup some of my expense by selling the 30D.
Thanks for your advice--Bran