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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    i'm new to filters

    I'm looking to buy a DSLR and have no clue about filters. how do i know what size to buy? will they fit on all my lenses? what brands are good?

    here a package i was looking at link

    anyone else want to recommend a start package

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Exeter, UK
    The filter size you need will be given in the specifications on the lens manufacturer's website. It may also be printed on the front of the lens itself.

    The most useful filter is a circular polariser. It allows you to suppress reflections and enhance clouds in ways that can't easily be done otherwise. You may want a UV / "protection" filter, but opinion on their usefulness is very much divided - it may protect in some situations, make things worse in others, and will degrade image quality to a greater or lesser extent.

    The warmup filter is pointless on a DSLR - you can get the same effect by tweaking the White Balance.

    Tiffen aren't bad, but it depends mainly on the coatings, which I didn't find described on that link. Hoya DMC or Pro-DMC are good, the best are probably B+W.

    In addition to the round "screw on the front of the lens" type filters, there are also the square type, which are most often used in the form of neatral density graduated filters, used to e.g. darken the sky while leaving the ground bright.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by TeddTucker View Post
    I'm looking to buy a DSLR and have no clue about filters. how do i know what size to buy? will they fit on all my lenses? what brands are good?

    here a package i was looking at link

    anyone else want to recommend a start package
    With filters, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. So, if you buy an expensive lens and then stick a cheap filter on the front of it, you've just made a very expensive, cheap lens.

    The filters will be sized according to the front end of each lens. I have several lenses with 77mm filter threads (my 17-55mm f2.8 and my 12-24 f4), so I share a B+W 77mm circular polarizer between them. Unfortunately, I also have lenses with 72, 67, 62, and 52mm threads. I have a 58mm circular polarizer, but I no longer have a lens that it fits on. But I have polarizers for each of the other thread sizes.

    You can get a large polarizer and the get step up rings for each of your lenses, but the problem with that is you then cannot use your lens hood. Why is that a problem? Filters are flat and lenses have curved surfaces. This will already cause problems with potential internal reflections, so do you really want to compound that with off angle light causing additional problems? That's why you use a hood.

    One advantage of digital photography is that much of the things you used to do with filters is now done with white balance. Gimmicks can be added in post processing.

    So the filters that really give some benefit are the polarizers and neutral density filters. Neutral density filters can be whole or graduated. Graduated filters are used to balance a scenes dynamic range so that more of the scene fits within the limited dynamic range of the camera. Neutral density filters simply allow you to use a wider aperture or slower shutter speed in very bright situations. For instance, you can use the wider aperture to narrow the depth of field and blur a background that is distracting.

    Polarizers only allow light from a specific direction range to pass. For instance, you can set a polarizer so that the light reflecting off a pool of water is blocked, so you see into the pool instead of seeing a bright reflection spot. If you look up recent posts by coldrain, he describes the reason to use CIRCULAR (rather than linear) polarizers on a dSLR better than I can.

    There are a few other filter types that you may want to consider under certain circumstances, like heavy haze and high altitude. Some people are using specific color filters to balance the light bands getting into the camera, so that they can get increased dynamic range. This is very specialized and requires significant study and strong post processing skills. You can get similar results using a technique called HDR. There's a tutorial written by Prospero for this in the Tips and Techniques forum.
    Eric Lund
    Nikon D200
    Nikkors: 17-55mm f2.8, 18-200mm f3.5-f4.5 VR, 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR, 35mm f2, 50mm f1.8, 55mm f2.8 AI-S micro, 105mm f2.8 VR micro
    Other Lenses: Tokina 12-24 f4, Tamron 75-300mm f4-5.6 LD macro
    Stuff: Nikon SB800, Nikon MBD200, Gitzo 1327 Tripod w/RRS BH-55LR Ballhead, Sekonic L-358 meter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    So Calif
    Best thread I've seen about filters.

    Pentax K20D/K5/15/21/40/70/10-17/12-24, Sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5/150-500, Tamron 90 Macro/70-200 2.8, Canon SX20 IS/Elph 500HS
    (formerly Pentax 50 1.4/50-200/55-300/K100D, Sigma 18-50 2.8/70-300 APO, Tamron 28-75, Viv 800, Tele-Tokina 800, Canon S3 IS, Samsung L210)

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