UV+ Step-Up Ring + Polarizing Filter

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by syed_kamal, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. Is it OK to use Polarizing filter with Step-up ring on top off an UV filter?

    I just recently purchased my first ever polarizing filter... B+W 77mm MRC. The filter size for my lenses are 52mm, 67mm and 77mm. So I purchased 52-77 and 67-77 Step Up rings. In this setup, every time I intend to use the polarizing filter, I have to take off the UV filter and then put on the step-up ring with the polarizing filter.

    To reduce filter changing work load, I was wondering whether it is OK if I don't take the UV filter off. In this case, I will have UV filter, Step-up Ring and then the polarizing filter in front of my lenses.

    My lenses are 12-24mm f/4, 35mm f/1.8G, 85mm f/1.8G and 70-300mm VR (All Nikon Nikkor lenses). Currently I have regular Tiffen UV on all my lenses. If using UV + Step-up Ring + Polarizing filter setup can be used without too much image quality compromise, I will think about upgrading all cheap UVs to a good quality multi-coated UV filter.
    Please advise.
  2. Stacked filters can increase the risk of flare, but that can usually be minimized with a lens hood and careful alignment around light sources. Other than that, image degradation is minimal with good quality filters. Nikon Forum moderator Shun Cheung has demonstrated this with stacked Nikon filters compared against a single filter. There was no perceptible degradation.
    In my own use with stacked filters for infrared photography I've seen increased ghosting flare in some photos but no significant image degradation. The main problem is the short lens hood I used with that 3-filter stack, in some cases shooting into the setting sun. Lots of iris shaped ghosting flare artifacts in some, but adjusting the camera angle slightly relative to the sun usually reduced that risk.
  3. Skip the UV filter when using the step-up ring+polarizer. Just cap the lens if/when the UV filter is off.
  4. The UV filter will add little if anything that the CPL doesn't do. Also, the further apart the 2 filters the harder it could be to control flare and ghosting.
  5. I agree with what Shun found that it is possible to use multiple filters with minimum problems. But it's something that should be done only when there is a reason to use multiple filters. As Nick says, the UV doesn't really add anything that the CPL isn't already doing, so I would remove it.

    If you do stack filters and use a hood to minimize flare, keep in mind that you are talking about not only stacked filters but the added thickness of the step-up ring. At some point, you end up with so much thickness that the hood sticks out so far that it begins to vignette (cut into the corner of the image).
  6. The Polarizing filter blocks UV light just as effectively, if not more so, than the UV filter by itself.

    Having two flat pieces of glass parallel to each other will increase the potential for detail destroying flare, especially with cheap filters.

    It might also change your color balance in an unexpected way.

    If you are shooting with a wide angle lens you'll run the risk of vignetting (darkening) the corners of the frame.

    Do you filter your coffee twice?
  7. I got some severe vignetting with a 28mm lens using a CPL on a step up ring with a hood (no UV filter), so I would definitely watch out for this. If you are using a camera without a 100% viewfinder, it may not be visible in the viewfinder. It wasn't visible in the viewfinder in this shot (the vignetting was the same on both sides on the negative, but the scanner chopped off the left side of the image).
  8. As said, too much "in between" the lens and the subject leads to degradation and despair.
    If you have time to put on a Polarizer, you should find the time to take off the UV filter.
    If you really don't need the protection, there's little point to using a UV filter these days, anyhow. (Many films were oversensitive to UV).

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