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DSLR filter question

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I just picked up my xti a few weeks ago, and now im trying to learn about filters. Anyone know any good online tutorials or guides i could use. Any recommendation on MUST HAVE filters I should pick up?

thanks
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jumpinjohn1234 View Post
I just picked up my xti a few weeks ago, and now im trying to learn about filters. Anyone know any good online tutorials or guides i could use. Any recommendation on MUST HAVE filters I should pick up?

thanks
Circular Polarizer. It's the one filter whose effect cannot be replicated in PP. Get a good one, like a B+W or Hoya. (I'm a B+W guy myself - I have B+W filters that are 25+years old and still in use.) CP is the only filter you really need.

A lot of people use UV filters as protection against dust/scratches. I personally do not, never have. I have one UV filter for bad conditions for my wide angle zooms. If you want to use one, fine, just make it a good one.

Beyond that, maybe a neutral density filter. Very useful when you want longer exposures, like waterfall pictures. Graduated ND filters are semi-useful, like on water horizons. I have one, but it seldom sees a lens. Just as easy to shoot a couple pics to get the sky right and composite them together, or do a luminosity mask.

Pretty much anything else is a gimmick that gets tiresome very quickly. And most of them can be done in Photoshop anyway. Save your money.
post #3 of 14
Multi coated UV filter for your lens. It doesnt degrade image quality like many ppl seem to suggest. But it protects the front element of your lens which is very important IMO.

CP is great, good ones are expensive. Its very useful if you shoot mid day, with water bodies like the sea or a lake.

ND filter is ok, you can manage without one. You can manage the smooth waterfall picture without the ND filter unless its really bright.

Close up filter might be useful. It does degrade image quality a bit. But it can help get really close to the subject for macro photography. You might need to switch to manual focus for it to work properly though.
post #4 of 14
UV filter for protection of your lens, circular polarizer for outdoor shots or shots with glare that you want to reduce. Those are the two essential lenses for me.
post #5 of 14
Any particular models the OP (and I, if he doesn't mind) should look out for, and that we can buy online?
post #6 of 14
I'll go with the UV filter and a good circular polarizer. The circular polarizer is one of my favorites. If you get the sun at the correct angle to your lens, rotating the polarizer will make clouds pop while turning the sky that almost-unreal shade of blue. Like this:



Took that last summer (Nikon D70s, 18-70mm, UV filter and circular polarizer). It's the jail at Bodie, California. (Bodie SHP, Bodie State Park, Bodie State Historic Park - Bodie.com)
post #7 of 14
Quantaray makes a cheap but good Multi coated UV filter. I have used several of them and have never had any issues. And the price is such that I dispose them if I get a scratch on them.

For CP, B+W if you can afford it. Hoya is a little cheaper. Tiffen makes a really cheap CP which is pretty decent. I would actually recommend that you start with a cheaper one and see how useful the filter really is for your shooting needs. Then you can invest in a more expensive B+W filter.

Ritz camera usually has the buy 3 and get 30% off or something like that. For the more expensive models, BHPhotoVideo and Adorama have good selections.
post #8 of 14
Get the discount at Ritz and go for the cheapest ones. If you like the polarizer you can upgrade later on.
post #9 of 14
I agree, pick up a CP an ND and maybe a graduated ND at ritz, dont buy the cheapest ones possible but not the most expensive ones, somewhere that fits your budget and need, try them out, if you like them, then buy more expensive ones otherwise you saved some money.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMarchingMule View Post
Any particular models the OP (and I, if he doesn't mind) should look out for, and that we can buy online?
Always been happy with Hoya... Great selection at this site... always been happy with my purchases from him....

The Filter Connection: the 1st store to specialize in Camera Filters, Hoya Pro 1, Tiffen Camera Filters, Cokin filters and B+W filters
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicallySilent View Post
I agree, pick up a CP an ND and maybe a graduated ND at ritz, dont buy the cheapest ones possible but not the most expensive ones, somewhere that fits your budget and need, try them out, if you like them, then buy more expensive ones otherwise you saved some money.
To clarify, since you obviously don't know the acronyms, else you would not be asking in the first place.

CP = Circular Polarizer, ND = Neutral Density

Previous posters are spot on...the most useful filter will be a circular polarizer, assuming that your lenses do not rotate as they focus. A neutral density filter is nice if you shoot high dynamic range images, say...weddings (white dress, black tux) outside on a sunny day. An ND filter is basically a gray filter that knocks down the amount of incoming light in a linear way. If you don't know that you need one, you probably don't....experiment first, then buy if/when you need. With digital cameras, one can often quickly bracket an exposure anyway, and eliminate the need for ND filters in many situations.

You don't really NEED any filters. Even the basic photo editing software now can do most of that in post-processing. You can't regain lost data (say, due to poor resolution, depth of field or exposure clipping) but adding a creative effect is easy.
post #12 of 14
I have a UV filter on my 'walk around' lens just for protection from scratches, coffee and other strange stuff.

Fancy filters that alter the image however I don't usually do, the money spent on them would be better spent doing those fancy things with Photoshop, Elements or whatever your editing program of choice is. After you've pressed the shutter release button 5 or 6 thousand times and gotten used to the camera, you'll know what filters you need.
post #13 of 14
My personal belief is that UV filters are a waste of money and just rob you of performance. If you want one? Go for it, but remember, it's gonna take a good bit of performance away. I find that it usually lowers the MTF (although oddly doesnt effect overall contrast too much) and makes abberations more noticable. ND, IR, UV, circular polarizers, etc are all worthwhile though
post #14 of 14
I've done some A/B tests with my UV filter on and off, and I honestly can't find any noticeable loss in resolution even at 100% magnification. Regardless, people generally don't buy UV filters expecting image quality to improve; its just a protective barrier which keeps scratches and dust off of the front element.
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