General Question

loveurmindnsoul's avatar

What are the best brands for camera filters?

Asked by loveurmindnsoul (380points) June 28th, 2009

I know of Tiffen, Hoya and B+W. I’d like to buy some filter for my lens, but don’t know where to start


PS: Where should I buy them?

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10 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The best are B+W, Zeiss, Leica…

Vintage Minolta and new Canon & Nikon are also excellent.

Tiffen and Hoya are fine for protection but your lenses are better off without the flare they can create.

Personally, I refuse to use filters. All of them degrade image quality. I only pack the necessities. One circular polarizer (Slimline B+W), one ND B+W, and a cheap set of close up adapters. All in 77mm size, using adapter rings to fit the lens lineup.

The B+W slim can work with ultra wide angle without vignetting.

You can get an off brand slim Polarizer for a lot less than B+W though.

I never use protective UV and I keep my lenses with the hard hoods on them even while in the camera case. That way the glass never touches anything. Give em a blow off once a week and vacuum the case out regularly. If you insist on lens caps then get the Tamron style center pinch variety on eBay. You can use them even when the hoods are on the lens.

A UV might (might) help cut the haze a little on early morning landscapes… might… but only if it’s a good one. Other than that, they cause too much flare in regular shooting.

Protective filters are a gimmick.

B&H will usually have better prices than eBay for new. eBay does have some great auction prices on used filters if you can wait and play the game.

DarkScribe's avatar

If you are using a digital then you have no need of filters in a photographic sense. With digital cameras most people who actually understand filter function will only use them as a lens protector. They do make filters that have very little affect on lens speed specifically for that purpose. If you are using film, then they will have value, but as to best brand, that is always a matter of personal preference. Hoya would probably sell more than most other brands.

BTW protective filters are NOT a gimmick, they are common sense. Only someone who is photographically naive would suggest that they are. Damage to a filter costing just a few dollars is infinitely preferable to damage to the front element of a lens that might cost a couple of thousand dollars or more. They should be used when there is risk from spray, sand, contact etc., but I will remove them when shooting if they are not needed for protective purposes.

martijn86's avatar

B&W Used to be best, very recently Tiffen came with a brand new series “Digital HT”, especially for Digital camera’s. It’s clearer and has more coatings then any B&W.

Don’t compansate with price, hi quality lenses do show a degrade in quality with budget filters. Also look at special slim filters if you have wide angle lenses + full frame.

There are more filters that can be used for digital then just protective as @DarkScribe mentions. Any adjustment afterwards is a loss in quality. Any adjustment made to the light BEFORE entering the sensor is best! Nice things to work with are: 812 warm filters (produce a better warm tone then white balance shifts), circular polarizers and ND Grad.

Don’t be tempted with SoftFX/Star filters, they are better to do afterwards in photoshop.

loveurmindnsoul's avatar

Wow, thanks for all of the great advice. I’m not really interested in the special effects/color filters, I read some info about filters here “link” . UV & Skylight filters seem very similar, what’s the difference? I’m not sure which one I should get. I know that scientifically filters do lower the optical purity of your lens. I think I am going to go on the safe side and buy both filters & lens hood. I have heard great things about B+W, but they are so pricey & it seems like Tiffen & Hoya have been kicking it up a notch and churning out some great quality filters. I think I would be interested in circular polarizer lens & ND later on in the future & just do the adapter ring thing like @RealEyesRealizeRealLies

As for lens hood does it matter if you buy from third party brands? Or is it better to buy from the manufaturer brand such as Canon? I found some lens hood from Adorama that is a third party. “link”

Thanks everyone

DarkScribe's avatar

You should have a lens hood regardless of whether you are using a filter or not. They serve very different purposes. Sort of like the peak on a baseball cap keeping the sun out of your eyes but not obstructing your vision.

I use protective filters, Tiffen and Hoya mostly, they are just what has been available when I need one, plus I have several ND filters and a couple of polarising filters. I do not use Skylight or UV on a digital.

loveurmindnsoul's avatar

@DarkScribe Do you buy the brand names such as Canon or Nikon or do you buy third party brands for the lens hood?

Good analogy btw.

& thanks

DarkScribe's avatar

@loveurmindnsoul Do you buy the brand names such as Canon or Nikon or do you buy third party brands for the lens hood?

I usually buy the lens complete with a lens hood, but in the case of wide zooms where the lens hood is not large enough to be effective both at fully wide and fully zoomed, I replace it with a third party multi-stage rubber lens hood. They are not original equipment as a rule. I just buy whatever my local photographic store has or get them from eBay – usually out of China. They are rubber and one is pretty much like an another – they screw into the filter accessory thread. With one of those it only takes a moment to adjust the degree of cover in or out depending where you are zoomed. You just move it when you see vignetting through the viewfinder.

loveurmindnsoul's avatar

Ok, I just bought a lens hood from some person on Ebay. “link”

I’m a little unsure as to what filter to buy. I’d definitely would like to have high quality filters & on my 17–40mm f/4L USM Wide Angle Zoom & 100mm f/2.8 macro USM and of course I’ll buy lens hood for them also. So far I hear the Tiffen HT & the B+W slimline?

martijn86's avatar

Your 17–40 comes with a lenshood doesn’t it?

With both lenses you will need a high quality filter, especially for digital cause people tend to look at digital at 100% crops. Last year I would’ve bought B+W’s, this year it is definately Tiffen Digital HT.

Pro’s for the HT:
– More protective coatings against scratches/dirt
– Clearest filter’s so far
– Slim enough for 10mm
– Still allows you to attach the lens cover (B+W slim doesn’t!)

loveurmindnsoul's avatar

Yea, my 17–40 does come w/ a lens hood. I think all Canon’s L lens come w/ lens hood.

@martijn86. Thanks for the advice. I’ll definitely be looking at Tiffen Digital HT for my 100 & 17–40.

As for lens hood, does anyone know if there is a significant different between buying the brand name or just getting one form a third party manufacturer off of Ebay?

Thanks Fluther-ers

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