UV/Protective Filters and ND filters

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Jazzer, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. Jazzer

    Jazzer TalkEmount Veteran

    344
    Nov 6, 2012
    New York
    Larry
    I may be opening a can of worms here, but I was wondering if you guys/gals use a UV or protective filter on your NEX lenses. I know some people thing they are inexpensive protection and others feel they just degrade image quality, but I figured I would take a poll of what the people here are doing.

    On a related topic, I was thinking about getting an ND filter so I can slow the shutter to smooth out water in waterfall shots. Any thoughts as to how many stops would be appropriate?
     
  2. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    In my experience UV filters do degrade image quality. I would use one only in those instances (blowing dust/sand, water/salt spray) where I needed to physically protect the front element of the lens.

    How strong a ND filter you need depends on the lighting in the scene and how much blur you want on the water. Shooting in bright direct sunlight will require much more filtering than a shaded waterfall scene. A 3 stop ND is a good start. A variable is an option, but you have to be careful or you get the dreaded Dark X of Photo Death in your pics.

    My advice: use a UV when you need one and start with a 3 stop ND. YMMV though. ;)
     
  3. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    I like to carry my camera with the lens cap off, to be ready for a shot when it presents itself. As I abhor cleaning lenses by touch, I prefer to use a UV filter to protect the lens from dirt and stains. I can't really tell much difference in IQ when the filter is on or off - other factors are much more decisive. But I do know that cleaning by touch does damage the coatings, which is irreparable.

    Therefore, I find that putting a UV filter on from day one of using a new lens is a cheap and convenient way of keeping the glass pristine.

    I agree with the suggestion to get a 3 stop ND filter, although to be honest, it is my least used photo accessory.
     
  4. markoneswift

    markoneswift TalkEmount Veteran

    390
    Oct 17, 2012
    I've just picked up an ND 4X ( 2 stop ) filter to exactly that - shoot waterfalls etc. However - it is nowhere near dark enough ! The NEX is madly light sensitive and I found that even going down to F/22, ISO 200, with the ND filter I couldn't slow the watefall down enough to get it really smooth. What I use is a piece of welding glass ( easily purchased for a few bucks / pounds euros ) and this is equivalent to about 10 or 12 stops. This glass means I can do 30 second exposures in broad daylight without over exposing. Here's a couple of samples :-

    9324048143_5c594c1df6.
    Whangerai Falls, New Zealand by markoneswift, on Flickr

    9326842588_a92170b57b.
    Whangerai Falls, New Zealand by markoneswift, on Flickr

    8000055334_98ebe0fae6.
    River Aire @ Castleford - welding glass filter by markoneswift, on Flickr

    8000064550_2e97a31e04.
    The Wreck in the Aire @ Castleford - welding glass filter by markoneswift, on Flickr

    I do find it hard to fully remove the green tint caused by the glass, but it is usually possible. They also work really well if converted to monochrome.
     
  5. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    779
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    Have you tried doing a custom white balance with the ND filter on?
     
  6. Jazzer

    Jazzer TalkEmount Veteran

    344
    Nov 6, 2012
    New York
    Larry
    How do you mount the glass on the lens?
     
  7. Jazzer

    Jazzer TalkEmount Veteran

    344
    Nov 6, 2012
    New York
    Larry
    What filter brand/model do you use?
     
  8. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Hoya UV(C), you can get them at good prices on eBay. Of course you can get the more expensive ones but all they do as far as I can tell is let a little more light through. Negligible at normal shooting conditions.
     
  9. markoneswift

    markoneswift TalkEmount Veteran

    390
    Oct 17, 2012
    Yep, tried and failed, the CWB always goes out of range. It will get close, but never close enough to be neutral. I've adopted a slightly different method now and I try to shoot RAW, use a grey element in a scene and then use the picker in Photoshop to correct the white balance - seems to work reasonably well.
     
  10. markoneswift

    markoneswift TalkEmount Veteran

    390
    Oct 17, 2012
    Easy as - I simply took an old 52mm filter that I had, smashed out the glass so I just had the 52mm ring and then glued it to the glass. I then just fit the glass like any other filter. The only 'down side' is that composition is impossible with the filter on, so I have to compose and then fit it, hoping that the focus doesn't shift too much ( although at F/8.0 or less it's not really an issue ).

    The cool thing about the NEX is that you don't have to block off the viewfinder or anything like you might on say a Canon EOS :)
     
  11. gio

    gio TalkEmount Veteran

    382
    Sep 12, 2012
    Manchester, uk
    my thoughts exactly, with a good quality uv filter I have never noticed any degradation in the IQ, and like yourself my camera is always ready, the lens cap only goes on for storage or when in my bag, when the camera is out, the cap is off, everytime bar none, the protection the filter gives is invaluable and your right about cleaning wearing the coatings off, it is friction and that is what friction does
     
  12. ChangshaNotes

    ChangshaNotes Super Moderator

    Aug 15, 2012
    China
    Colin
    As Jaf does, I carry my camera without the lens cap so use a filter. Except for the 16 mm because its a pain to add the uw adapter otherwise.
     
  13. Jazzer

    Jazzer TalkEmount Veteran

    344
    Nov 6, 2012
    New York
    Larry
    So far I haven't been using filters, but I expect to be doing some light hiking with the camera and it may make sense to use a filter so I don't feel I have to keep the lens cap on. Jaf told me what he uses. Is there any consensus as to how "high quality" the filter should be? Usually, you get what you pay for, but I think there is probably a point of diminishing returns. For example, I'm not sure a $100 UV filter makes sense for a $300 lens.
     
  14. ajm80031

    ajm80031 TalkEmount Regular

    35
    Jul 16, 2013
    The main issue I've noticed with UV filters is susceptibility to flare. The cheap ones are especially bad at it if there's a bright light source in or just off the edge of the frame. Better quality ones are much less prone to this. I'm not sure where the cut-off point is between "cheap" and "good enough", but a $50 filter from a major brand is probably much better than a $5 or $10 el cheapo.
     
  15. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    These Hoya filters are only $15 and it's a well trusted brand.

    I use them on my legacy glass, after something Jaf said - that the multi coating on older lenses may not be as tough and one risks ruining a legacy lens with too much cleaning.

    On my modern glass, I don't use them. Sigmas don't have large glass area, and 50 has a very good hood.


    Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk 2
     
  16. Yadex

    Yadex TalkEmount Regular

    186
    Jul 4, 2013
    New Jersey
    I will be looking forward to get the Hoya uv filter because I purchase a cheap brand rocketfish uv filter and I was having problem with the AF and when it was a lot of sun the IQ wasn't good!!!!!
     
  17. Jazzer

    Jazzer TalkEmount Veteran

    344
    Nov 6, 2012
    New York
    Larry
    Would I be crazy to get one of these?

    Vivitar 49mm Variable NDX FilterVIV-VNDX-49 B&H Photo Video

    I have never used an ND filter before, but would like to have something to take slow shutter shots of waterfalls and to try some other long exposure shots at home and when I go on vacation later this month. Since I am just experimenting, I would prefer not to spend a lot of money, but I realize that you typically get what you pay for with filters and a good filter would cost several times this amount. I don't expect miracles and there isn't too much to risk, but I don't want to throw money out either.
     
  18. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    I have a 67mm variable ND filter for my SEL1018, and it's only useful in a small part of its range, maybe the first 30%. If I push it too far I get vignetting and a strange X across the frame. So I hardly ever take it with me. I'm not saying that you shouldn't buy it, but I am saying that you may want to keep your expectations low.
     
  19. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    I also have a Vari-ND in 77mm from Singh-Ray that I paid $… nevermind what I paid for it. It also will display vignette and a dark X, but I actually get about 70-80% of its range before it goes gonzo.

    If I were to do it again I'd get a 3 stop and a 9 or 10 stop and call it good. I got the Vari_ND because I didn't want a bunch of ND filters in different sizes/strengths, but over time have realized the a 3/9 or 10 combo covers everything I need to do.
     
  20. Jazzer

    Jazzer TalkEmount Veteran

    344
    Nov 6, 2012
    New York
    Larry
    Thanks, David and Jim. I'll need to think about this a little more. It's inexpensive enough as these things go, but I don't want to get frustrated trying to do what it was intended for either.