Filter systems.

james_hock

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Hello. I am new to Large format and was after some advice on filter choice. Up until now I have just stuck a uv filter on each lens I own and occasionally used a yellow or red with b+w or a polariser/ND with slide. I remember seeing a universal system about a decade ago by Lee? that used plate type filter panels and fitted on all of your different lenses so you only needed to buy the filter once ! I mainly shoot landscape rather than people. What does everyone here use? Thanks James
 

N. Riley

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Lee and similar filter systems are still around: you buy the filter holder once (like barn doors for Wratten filters), but you still have to buy the individual filters you need. I have never used these filters for camera work because I question their durability (I have it on good authority they are easily scratched), and mainly because I do not trust the long-term color stability of dyed plastic or resin filters based on my experience with Ilford's contrast control filters (they fade over time and therefore become less predictable in their performance if not unreliable). For this reason, I use threaded, optical glass filters for camera work. In my view, the advantages of using threaded glass filters include that they are absolutely stable in color, scratch-proof, stackable, and can be protected using metal caps. The main disadvantage is that you will need either separate sets for each lens in your kit, or will need to use step-up rings allowing larger filters to be used on lenses with smaller front elements. I do not by mean to imply by this response that glass filters are superior to all others. I am merely stating that I, Norman Riley, use glass filters, and I am explaining why I prefer those to others one could use. Having said so, I would encourage you to dismiss everything I have said and others may say on this subject, and use whatever filters best suit your photographic endeavors, including filters for obtaining special effects if any of those happen to match your needs. I hope this answers your question.

N. Riley
 
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David M

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The cost of some brands of rectangular filters astonishes me.
I wonder if it’s the popularity of graduated filters among the digital community that accounts for the surge in rectangular filters.
Having mentioned surges, I’m reminded of the astonishing popularity of very long exposures of moving water, that make it resemble Cream of Chicken soup. I’ve even read that this is a reliable way to produce Fine Art Pictures. They are made using widely advertised branded ND filters in a branded holder.
But we must all use whatever means we need to produce what we want. No doubts about that.

I stopped using UV filters and noticed no difference. They might offer an advantage in rain, as they’re easier and cheaper to wipe dry. I could have saved quite a lot of money on the larger sizes.
On a practical note, one circular filter for the largest lens, with a couple of adaptor rings, take up far less space in the bag and are much lighter.
 

Ian Grant

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I rarely use filters, when I do it's usually a Green one. With a wide variety of lenses with differing filter threads I opted for Cokin P filers sometime in the 1980's and have had no issues with them. Optically they are fine after all the same optical CR39 is used for specticals and also in some high end lenses for aspherical elements.

Like David I'm no fan of the sickly soup of long exposure ND filtered moving water

Ian
 

james_hock

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Registered User
I really just want to make sure I do not blow out my colour film and have a yellow in the bag for my black and white bits. I will have an inventory of what I already own and go from there. One of the things that annoys me the most is the plastic boxes they come in, they always seem to crack. I will have to see if there are any good storage systems for circular filters available.
 

Ian Grant

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Registered User
You need to remember the relative sizes of format whether sensor or film and the degree of enlargement whether optical or digital.

With LF or MF there's typically not much enlargement so any difference s between glass and resin filters is indistinguishable in terms of sharpness.

Ian
 

David M

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There are padded wallets with pockets for filters available in different sizes, typically for six filters.
 

James T

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Is there really a significant advantage of a square filter system (with a holder for each lens thread) vs. a set of circular filters to fit your biggest lens thread and step rings for the other lenses? [Obviously step-down rings have the potential for vignetting especially when used on wide lenses.]
 

Ian Grant

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Registered User
Is there really a significant advantage of a square filter system (with a holder for each lens thread) vs. a set of circular filters to fit your biggest lens thread and step rings for the other lenses? [Obviously step-down rings have the potential for vignetting especially when used on wide lenses.]
Simple answer is yes in practice a squarefilter system is far more flexible and very significantly cheaper in the long run.

Ian
 

N. Riley

New Member
Registered User
The answer is open to debate. Different people have different preferences for various reasons. In the end, that system that works best for you in terms of economics, convenience of carry and use, image quality, and other factors is the one that is most advantageous.

N. Riley
 

cariadus

New Member
Registered User
I prefer to use square/rectangular filters also for the most part. Most of mine are Formatt Hitech
Excellent quality and the added bonus for me is that they are made here in South Wales.
 
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