Best Filters

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kristin_speed, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. Hi, I got a bunch of new lenses for Christmas and still need to get some UV
    filters for them since I am paranoid about them getting scratched...which brands
    do you recommend? I need ot get filters for a nikon 70-200/ 2.8, sigma 10-20,
    and maybe the nikon 50/ 1.8, although that was cheap so I am not too worried
    about that one.
    I'll probably also get a polarizer for the sigma... any other filters one
    shouldn't be without?
  2. I use B+W MRC UV's for my 77mm lenses.

    I have a 50 1.8 too and I have a Hoya SHMC on it. I don't think the 50mm needs a filter though as the front element is not as exposed.

    You can feel the difference in quality between the B+W, Hoya, and Nikon's.

    I guess Heliopan is just as good but I've never used one myself.

    Keep in mind that the MRC coating on the B+W is semi water proof and a whole lot easier to clean than the Hoya SHMC coating which smears like crazy.

    B+W also uses brass mounts.

    I would get a 77mm polarizer. Why would you want a polarizer for the Sigma? It's too wide, you'll get weird results. I have a B+W 77mm Multi Coated Polarizer. I hear the Nikon polarizer is actually really good.
  3. I prefer lens shades (hoods). Many hoods can stay in place with a larger sized lens cap on the front of the hood. To each his/her own. Good luck.
  4. UV's filters saved my lenses (and cameras!) two times... They are in-dis-pen-sa-ble!
  5. While testing is probably the best way to really check, I have always believed that placing another two air-glass surfaces in front of my lenses is unnecessary. If needed, and I do use filters when in dicey places, near the ocean, blowing sand, buy the best, B+W and Heliopan have the best reputation. Probably the coating helps as well but I believe that a good lens hood is even more important.

  6. I have never, ever had a lens "saved" because of not using a filter. The only time I use one for "protection" is when I'm around waterfalls--the fine spray contains grit. I almost always use a polarizer around waterfalls anyway. I think the UV filter thing is a gimmick myself, cooked up by camera stores as a sort of "you want fries with that Big Mac?" deal.

    Think of this. The filter is just a piece of glass. You have something as fragile as glass protecting your lens? I use the plastic lens cap whenever I'm not taking a shot. It's FAR tougher than a piece of glass. I also use the lenshood. Not only does the lenshood help prevent flare, it also keeps stray crud from blowing onto the lens glass. If the lens gets dropped, the lens hood is even more protection than any filter would be.

    A year & half ago I set up my Nikon 80-400mm VR lens on my tripod on a steep hillside. Big gust of wind caught it and blew it about 12 feet down the hill. The camera and lens separated, which was not good. I had a Hoya SMC polarizer on the lens but no lens hood. The polarizer shattered and the broken glass severely scratched the front element of the lens. If I had used the lens hood, that probably wouldn't have happened. If I had the plastic lens cap on, it definitely wouldn't have happened. I found out how much the front element was going to cost to replace. The repair service said the element was actually just a built in protector put there by Nikon, and it would be $70. Here's the deal. I sacrificed a $125 filter to protect a $70 repair. Real smart, huh?

    --->Don't waste you money. Use the lenscaps. They are actually DESIGNED to protect the lens. A UV filter is designed to make the camera shop some extra $$ and not much more. If you feel you must buy worthless filters that just might do more harm than good, at least buy the multicoated ones rather than the cheap uncoated junk. Yes, after seeing first hand the damage a broken filter can do to an expensive lens, you can bet I have a strong bias against them.

    Bottom line is I use my photo gear outdoors every day, and have never once had a lens damaged because it didn't have a filter. Not once. I have had a lens damaged because it DID have a filter.

    Kent in SD
  7. I prefer B+W or heliopan. I use B+W KR 1.5 and not the UVs even for digital. Joe Smith
  8. Filters have saved my lenses many times too. If I can get the Nikon filters I'd go with those. Otherwise I use the ultrathin Hoya Super HMC, Heliopan, and B&W.
  9. There is nothing wrong with Hoya/Kenko multicoated filters. If you are concerned about the quality of the coating just hold the filter in front of a black velvet cloth. Viewing your reflection in the filter can tell you how good the coating is.
  10. B+W or Heliopan are probably the best. I have never found filters any good as general 'protection' though and never keep them on as a matter of routine - just in certain harsh circumstances like salt spray, sandstorms etc.

    Rigid lens hoods are what really affords good protection against knocks and they have saved lenses of mine from damage on a few occasions.
  11. I use one polarizer for all of my differenct lenses. I have a sprocket sized Singh Ray polarizer that fits the Cokin P holder. It is large. You buy rings in different diameters, one for each lens diameter you own so you can attach the P holder to the lens. Joe Smith
  12. The best filter I've tried is from Dörr, but I don't know how easy they are to get hold of wherever you live.
  13. kristin, IMO optical glass UV/protection filters are good enough for DSLRS, since they don't work the same way they do on film (UV isn't a problem on digital bodies). so there is very little practical benefit to be gained from a $70 multicoated UV filter over a $20 optical glass filter on a DSLR. you can always spend more than you have to, but why would you? other than price, the other thing to consider is the multicoatings can be harder to clean than optical glass.

    that said, heliopan and B+W are indeed the best filters you can buy. hoyas are also good, but i'm not embarrased to say i have a tiffen 67mm filter on my 18-70 (the new, slimmer version, that is). for the 10-20, you will want to make sure you get a slim filter to prevent vignetting.

    using a polarizer on a w/a lens will be of limited use. if you're shooting skies the results can be uneven, less so if you're shooting water. nikon does make an excellent 77mm circular polarizer but it may not be worth $140 to you if you're only going to use it on the 10-20, for the reason mentioned above.
  14. I agree with Eric, don't buy a polarizer for your wide-angle Sigma 10-20 zoom lens.
    Using a polarizer on a wide-angle lens will result in uneven exposure in the frame. Some
    parts of the scene will be darker than others.

    In regards to quality filters than you plan to keep on your lens most of the time, be sure
    that they are super-multicoated like the SMC filters from Hoya or the SH-PMC filters from
    Heliopan. The B+W multicoated filters (while very well-made, are more susceptible to flare
    and ghosting than the super-multicoated Hoyas and Heliopans).

    Also make sure any filters that you buy for your Sigma wide-angle zoom are thin enough
    so they won't cause vignetting.
  15. I'm another that uses UV filters only when in high-risk environments (blowing gritty sand or lots of salt spray), and generally only with my f2.8 zooms that are the ones I tend to use most in those environments. For daily use, I just keep the dedicated hoods and lenscaps on to protect my lenses.

    I did have a thin-mount 77mm Heliopan UV filter that received a large, nasty chip almost in the center from a blowing piece of debris of some sort that hit it, during a windy day on the shore of Lake Superior last summer. This would most likely have damaged the front element of the lens (17-55 f/2.8), so I was glad to have the filter on at that point.

    My couple of UV filters are also Heliopan and B+W. I do have polarizers in sizes to fit all my lenses (some B+W, some Nikon brand). But I don't even have UV filters for lenses like my micros and 50mm that have deep hoods and/or that tend to be used indoors or in mild conditions.
  16. Kenko and Hoya filters are good quality for the money. I use a Kenko UV filter for my 28/3.5 PC Nikkor because it's often used outdoors and in Texas the wind can blow a pebble large enough, fast enough to chip a lens. Indoors I don't often use protective filters, tho' I have had to clean smudgy kidlet finger and nose prints from my less expensive lenses.

    The main advantage to a filter with a brass ring is it's unlikely to jam in the filter threads. If you don't plan to remove the filter routinely a good quality filter with aluminum ring is fine. Even when they get jammed it's usually easy to remove 'em by placing the lens nose down on a soft surface like a mousepad or rubbery shelf liner and twisting. Pinching the filter between the fingers tends to lock it tighter.
  17. The only filter that I use anymore is a Nikon 77mm polarizer. But, I do have cheap UV filters on my lenses whenever shooting out of doors. While the lens cap offers some protection, I find that the inside of a lens cap often picks up dust/dirt in my pocket (or when dropped to the ground) and that can be transferred to the lens. By using a cheap filter under the lens cap, any lens cap induced dust/dirt ends up on the cheap filter which I always take off before I shoot. This method helps to prevent rub marks that you find on many used lenses.
  18. Dave--

    The rub marks come from sticking lenses in your pocket with no lens cap on, or back in a bag with no lens cap. Not one of my lenses has ever had a rub mark and I've never kept filters on any of them.

    One thing I'll mention about the non-coated filters is they certainly do degrade image quality. In some situations this is guaranteed. I like to photo trains, and the bright headlights hitting the filter will always, without fail, cause major problems with ghosting and flare. I actually threw my uncoated filters away. This also happens when the sun or just about any other bright light starts hitting an uncoated filter. The difference isn't all that subtle either. Even my quality multicoated filters have an occasional problem with headlights.

    I still don't advise using filters for "protection" though, except in rare instances. They can do more harm than the tiny potential for good. The lens cap is still the best protection. Not at all sure why someone would buy expensive glass and then stick a cheap filter in front of it.

    Kent in SD
  19. joining the party late, but with my 2 cents...

    In certain situations, I will sacrifice the image quality for a filter... Very dusty or places with enough moisture and salt will make me think about wrapping the camera and slapping a filter on it. For all other occasions, hoods will do you more good than filters...

    So if you really must I'd say newer Hoya filters are ok from my (somewhat purposely limited) experience. Genuine Nikon filters are bit too $$$ for my budget...
  20. It must be the NAS, I have Nikon L37C UV filters on all my glass. I recently added 81A in 52, 62 and 72 to my collection. I also have Circular Polarizers for each size as well. I haven't had any adverse affects from the UV on the end of the lens, whether on my 4004s or my D1. I have found the filter easier to clean and keep clean than the front element of the lens. Since my front element is rarely exposed to things that may smudge or scratch it, they are all still pristine. I also use my lens cap when not taking shots.

    Since the Nikon L37C is no longer produced and even harder to find, unless you eBay really well, the best filters I would purchase would be Hoya. Go with the Super HMC, little higher, but better quality. A friend of mine has all Hoya on his Nikon and Canon glass as well as his Tokina and Sigma. Sure, its a redundancy, but it is my personal preference to have the filter out there.
  21. I used lens caps on all my lenses but I found the exposure times were excessive!
  22. So, my Quantaryas really suck THAT bad? lol
    Am I the only one using those?
    I got a Quantaray "PROFESSIONAL" UV filter for my new Sigma 10-20 wide angle.
    Is the filter thin enough?
    The camera store owner didnt mention filter thickness to me on a Sigma wide angle.
    I mainly wanted a filter to protect the lens surface because thats not a cheap lens.
    Quantaray=sub par? lol
    Thanks for any info.

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