Mike Chaney's Tech Corner

Technical Discussions => Camera Accessories => Topic started by: fencer on May 28, 2009, 12:19:57 PM



Title: Filters
Post by: fencer on May 28, 2009, 12:19:57 PM
Congrats on the new Forum Mike.
Having no gripes or problems with Qimage at the moment let me offer a way to save a pound or two.
I recently lost an expensive Canon 77mm polariser. Searched every nook and cranny, no luck. Knowing the sure way to find a lost item is to buy a replacement I did so, from the cheapest supplier I could find, Virtual Village.co.uk. Total price 11.90!!! Had to be rubbish but it arrived; I shot some stuff, blew it up to A3 and can't see any difference between it and the Canon.  Are we being ripped off with expensive filter prices? All that guff about glass quality. I think so.
And yes. Five minutes after the postie delivered it I heard the original rattling about between the car front seats. Never fails.

P.S. No connection with VV. Had never heard of them before this purchase.


Title: Re: Filters
Post by: jimcummings on May 28, 2009, 09:54:25 PM
As a former pro who has seen a lot of camera equipment in 40 years, I believe there is a difference in filters. That said, it is often not enough of a difference to justify the cost. My former partner, who had everything labeled Nikon, conducted a series of challenges with me and my cheap (but name independent brand) filters. The conclusion - not much difference. True, his did last longer and were less likely to get broken, scratched or become loose in their mounting - all of which has happened to me. However, his cost from five to ten times what mine cost and we could never see anything different in the real results - on the prints.

Therefore I have a number of name brand cheap filters, and a few unique (Moose Peterson) ones which cost a bunch. Of course, YMMV but I think "Rolls Royce" filters are much like Monster cables for your stereo system. They look better but they don't make any significant difference in the final outcome, despite their cost. My 2 cents.

Jim Cummings


Title: Re: Filters
Post by: fencer on May 29, 2009, 09:08:47 AM
you're probably right Jim; I used to do pro work myself in my Rollieflex days and I always insisted on the best or rather most expensive until taking some landscapes, (black and white), with a cracked orange filter  and couldn't find any visible fault in the final print. Made me think.

Since the bulk of shots taken using a polariser are landscapes where there are truly innumerable variables and the final result can only approximate the original vision I doubt if the "higher quality" glass makes much difference.

I wouldn't doubt there is a mechanical difference but then I've had the glass fall out of a Canon filter too. What shook me with this particular purchase was the enornous price difference. Not just a few quid off but a fifth of some prices.


Title: Re: Filters
Post by: johngie on May 29, 2009, 03:02:02 PM
Years ago, I bought a cheap(ish) replacement UV filter to use with my Olympus OM2n, whose Zuiko lenses were beyond reproach. I was puzzled as to why many of my shots were soft and, worse, varied across the frame although at an inconsistent angle (if you see what I mean!). Fearing the worst (shifted elements) I then realised that it was happening with all the lenses of that filter size I used. That cheapo filter actually varied in thickness across its surface! Great relief all round, but a lesson to buy known branded filters in future.

John


Title: Re: Filters
Post by: johngie on May 29, 2009, 06:49:33 PM
I wouldn't doubt there is a mechanical difference but then I've had the glass fall out of a Canon filter too. What shook me with this particular purchase was the enornous price difference. Not just a few quid off but a fifth of some prices.

I had a B&W polariser fall apart - and you can't get much better than B&W!



Title: Re: Filters
Post by: hedwards on June 11, 2009, 02:18:13 AM
Therefore I have a number of name brand cheap filters, and a few unique (Moose Peterson) ones which cost a bunch. Of course, YMMV but I think "Rolls Royce" filters are much like Monster cables for your stereo system. They look better but they don't make any significant difference in the final outcome, despite their cost. My 2 cents.
I think that you're probably overstating it quite a bit. When it comes to monster cables there is no difference at all, the things they're charging for tend to make as much difference as arrows to show the electrons where to go.

When it comes to filters, there's more that can be done, there's the quality of the ring, regularity of the glass, is the glass laminated or colored through and through. Will the filter over time start to come unlaminated or discolored.

That's not necessarily to say that going high end is the best in all cases, just that there's far more that can be done with a filter than with cables. The trick ultimately is to figure out which bits of luxury are actually necessary and which ones are a waste of cash. Ultimately, any image you take through the filter is going to have an additional element in front and it's worth considering whether a particular brand or filter is going to unnecessarily degrade the image.

Admittedly, I tend to take good care of my gear and usually opt to spend a bit more where possible to get more reliability because I'm outside and need gear that's going to work in the element without benefit of climate or a lot of lighting equipment.


Title: Re: Filters
Post by: Seth on July 08, 2009, 01:37:48 PM
Yes, thee is a difference.  Sometimes you can see it; sometimes you don't.  Certain situations tend to show it more than others--especially in polarizers.  Back lighting or an extreme side lighting angle.  To flare or not to flare, that is the question.  (Personally, I LOVE flare and try to use it to advantage.)

Multi-coated or not; on which sides (polarizers have four, not two).  The type of multi-coating. 

The glass--a critical factor.  Schott glass or "window glass?"  How plano is the glass in its grinding AND in the mount? 

I hate the thin mount (personal taste) as they tend to be very difficult to remove.

I think you get what you pay for BUT you should shop around.


Title: Re: Filters
Post by: Owen Glendower on November 03, 2009, 10:15:32 PM
I also wonder if the top-end filters are worth the money, and I certainly agree that if you can't see the difference in the print, you should be content with the cheap filter.

But when it comes to cheap close-up filters vs. better ones, the difference in the print can be obvious.

Of course, calling these items "filters" is stretching the definition a bit, in any case.  But I've found the cheap ones essentially unusable.