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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss Filters...Hi everyone, I have a quick one: whats the difference between the UV filter and ND Grad filter? and which ...
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Old 03-01-2008, 21:49   #1 (permalink)
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Filters

Hi everyone,

I have a quick one: whats the difference between the UV filter and ND Grad filter? and which one adds more saturation and gives more dept to the skies?

Thanks
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Old 03-01-2008, 22:01   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

UV filters out UV light, that's it. Their main purpose is protection.

An ND (neutral density) filter should filter all colours of light at the same level, so you can use a slow exposure and retain detail. These tend to double in strength so ND1 makes everything 1 stop dimmer, ND2 is 2 stops dimmer, ND3 is 4 stops dimmer. Nomenclature varies between manufacturers.

An ND grad is a graduated filter, such that one end will be dark, one end will be clear. There's different kinds such as hard, where its roughly 50% ND and 50% clear with a sharp divide, and soft, where it's 50:50 but the gradation is finer.

For saturation and depth to skies, you'd probably want a polariser filter.
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Old 03-01-2008, 22:15   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

A UV filter looks like plain glass. It does what it says on the tin - it reduces the amount of the UV wavelength in white light that passes through it. The main benefit is that it reduces the blueish tint that photos taken at higher altitudes tend to have because of the higher percentage of UV in the light that is not filtered by the atmosphere. At lower 'normal' altitudes they make little difference to the images and many people use them as lens protectors.

Graduated ND's are a very different beast. First they are visibly different. one side will be clear and there will be a graduated change across the filter, usually in the centre, to a dark grey or black appearance on the opposite side. The purpose of these filters is to allow the photographer to reduce the exposure of one part of the picture in relation to the rest. Usually, this is the sky which as you probably know, will be overexposed if the other parts of the picture are correctly exposed. They come in different strengths - 2x, 4x etc which tells you how dense the dark part is in relation to the clear part.

Why are they called neutral? That is because they will not interfere with the colours by introducing a caste - you can get graduated filters that will do just that, the most popular is probably the tobacco grad that will make great sunsets out of almost any scene at any time!
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:20   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

Thanks Dabhand16 & _MB_ you guys cleared the filters in my mind

The filter I was looking for was the polorizer filter as _MB_ mentioned. Thanks again!
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:03   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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Thanks Dabhand16 & _MB_ you guys cleared the filters in my mind

The filter I was looking for was the polorizer filter as _MB_ mentioned. Thanks again!
Just a small comment on polarisers: if you use a digital camera you'll almost certainly need a Circular rather than the cheaper Linear (which very often interferes with the focussing system)
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:54   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

As an additional question to this thread - I have just bought a polarising filter and can see that it can be rotated. How do I know how to align it? As it is a circular filter does it matter?
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:58   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

Light is polarised at right angles to the sun, so put the sun at left or right shoulder and then rotate the ring to see effect. Or point at reflections in water, off buildings or plants, and rotate.

There's usually a mark on the outer ring - aligning this to the sun will maximise the polarising effect
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Old 04-01-2008, 12:25   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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Just a small comment on polarisers: if you use a digital camera you'll almost certainly need a Circular rather than the cheaper Linear (which very often interferes with the focussing system)
But is there any difference in the end result?
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Old 04-01-2008, 12:32   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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But is there any difference in the end result?
In theory, no, the results should look the same.
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Old 04-01-2008, 12:40   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

I understood that linear polarisers (can) affect the AF of a camera? If that's the case then yes you could end up with out of focus pics which would be a different end result
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Old 04-01-2008, 13:01   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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As an additional question to this thread - I have just bought a polarising filter and can see that it can be rotated. How do I know how to align it? As it is a circular filter does it matter?
A pola filter is aligned visually as you look thru the viewfinder. Most users of pola filters tend to always use the maximum effect BUT this is not exploiting the full capability of the filter. Instead of locking yourself into the usual mind set of 'max is best' try to think of the pola filter as an infinitely variable 'controller of reflections'. For example, most people doing a scene full of foliage would probably max out the pola for color saturation reasons BUT this can kill the life out of the surface of the leaves by dulling them too much. Most foliage has a shiny surface and your image can actually benefit by retaining some of that shine.

As another common example, when using a pola to 'control' (note I said control not remove!) the reflections in a shop window, it might actually improve your image to retain a little of the reflection in the glass rather than removing it entirely. Of course, the best thing might be to remove the reflection entirely BUT NOT ALWAYS!

Thus when using a pola, use it creatively and with some thought as to the end result. As you rotate the filter look carefully at the effect and make a decision based on the final image desired and not simply on some dogmatic idea that 'max is best'.

As with many of the tools and techniques of photography, using them creatively involves thinking about their effect and not simply doing one thing all the time.

Have fun with that filter!

Cheers
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Old 04-01-2008, 13:05   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

This is a good point well made.
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Old 04-01-2008, 13:09   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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This is a good point well made.
Cheers MB! Have a on me!
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Old 04-01-2008, 18:14   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Meehan View Post
A pola filter is aligned visually as you look thru the viewfinder. Most users of pola filters tend to always use the maximum effect BUT this is not exploiting the full capability of the filter. Instead of locking yourself into the usual mind set of 'max is best' try to think of the pola filter as an infinitely variable 'controller of reflections'. For example, most people doing a scene full of foliage would probably max out the pola for color saturation reasons BUT this can kill the life out of the surface of the leaves by dulling them too much. Most foliage has a shiny surface and your image can actually benefit by retaining some of that shine.

As another common example, when using a pola to 'control' (note I said control not remove!) the reflections in a shop window, it might actually improve your image to retain a little of the reflection in the glass rather than removing it entirely. Of course, the best thing might be to remove the reflection entirely BUT NOT ALWAYS!

Thus when using a pola, use it creatively and with some thought as to the end result. As you rotate the filter look carefully at the effect and make a decision based on the final image desired and not simply on some dogmatic idea that 'max is best'.

As with many of the tools and techniques of photography, using them creatively involves thinking about their effect and not simply doing one thing all the time.

Have fun with that filter!

Cheers
Thanks very much for that - I will get out and try it as soon as the sun is shining.
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Old 04-01-2008, 19:45   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

Let me pose another question, how important are filters? I mean does everyone have them in their bags? Or is it a preference thing?
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Old 04-01-2008, 20:26   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

I prefer hoods to filters for protection, every lens I get off ebay has a UV screwed on which I duly remove, often with difficulty as it'll have been there for years. Have a nice pile in various sizes if anybody wants one

I have loads of filters but probably the only ones that get reasonable use are polarisers and grads. So much can be done with software these days that if you're shooting digital theres nothing like the scope there is with film for using filters creatively.
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Old 04-01-2008, 21:45   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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Let me pose another question, how important are filters? I mean does everyone have them in their bags? Or is it a preference thing?
I have been using a polerizzzer on my IR convert and it seems to smooth out the tones, such as soften but still very crisp. I have changed my view about filters and try now to use what will help me take an image from output that will need very little PS. I came into digital photography from PS first, after about 2 years of PS I finally picked up a camera that would shoot digital, now all that said,,,, I guess it means I know what a crutch PS can turn into...
I like filters and pay no attention any more to the rule book
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:57   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

Interesting topic.

I invested in a UV filter (mainly for the protection aspect) and a circular polariser, I'd read somewhere that with digital there's were the "staples" if you like. What I'm wondering is...should I remove the UV filter when photographing indoors or with a flash?
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Old 05-01-2008, 09:44   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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...should I remove the UV filter when photographing indoors or with a flash?
Well, I never bother (probably welded on by now, like with MB's!) - and I usually stick the CP over the top (as it doesn't vignette)
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:40   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

UV Filter test

Whenever there is talk of UV filters I always have to ask how many people actually test whether their UV filters are actually doing the job as expected. As a test, photograph a white cloth or piece of clothing using a UV light source (remember your disco days when everything white glowed under UV light?) with and without the filter and compare to see whether your UV filter is actually reducing the amount of UV florescence or not. You may be VERY surprised by the results!

Using a UV filter as protection for a lens only makes sense if you are not sufficiently careful with your lenses. Adding more glass into the mix WILL reduce the quality of your lens (I know, I know, "You'd rather protect your lens than worry about slight loss of image quality" ).

Two good rules in photography are:

"TEST EVERYTHING" and
"DON'T TAKE ANYONES WORD (even mine! ) FOR ANYTHING, TRY IT AND SEE FOR YOURSELF"

Test your UV filters NOW!
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Old 05-01-2008, 13:12   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

That's why I used the word 'reduces' with reference to UV. A UV filter may reduce the UV passing through it, but will it make any difference?

I've never been convinced by UV filters, and wonder if they have become popular due to mis-selling/marketing over a long period. I use skylight 1b's for lens protection/general use.
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Old 05-01-2008, 13:17   #22 (permalink)
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Perhaps a daft question, but should a UV filter have any discernible effect?

Humans can't see UV light. The glowing white T-shirts in the disco may be getting hit by UV light but the material is fluorescing in visible light, so it seems to me it would be strange if you did see a difference. I've always considered UV filters to be purely for protection on this basis.

Looking forward to being corrected
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Old 05-01-2008, 13:22   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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Using a UV filter as protection for a lens only makes sense if you are not sufficiently careful with your lenses. Adding more glass into the mix WILL reduce the quality of your lens (I know, I know, "You'd rather protect your lens than worry about slight loss of image quality" ).
Now you knew I was going to reply to this, didn't you?!

If by not taking sufficient care you mean don't go out in the dust, sand, rain and snow, you're right! But I much prefer to get the interesting shots by getting out and about than sitting at home wondering whether I dare expose my lenses to potential harm.

And, whilst I do have a Rain Hood (oh no, another layer of optical glass!), I don't always know when I'll need it (and it needs using with care due to potential condensation buildup - an electronics killer, never mind optics distorter!)
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Old 05-01-2008, 13:26   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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Perhaps a daft question, but should a UV filter have any discernible effect?
IIRC, UV will cause the object to fluoresce in the visible spectrum. Think if you shone UV source through filter and then direct there should be a difference
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Old 05-01-2008, 13:36   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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Now you knew I was going to reply to this, didn't you?!

If by not taking sufficient care you mean don't go out in the dust, sand, rain and snow, you're right! But I much prefer to get the interesting shots by getting out and about than sitting at home wondering whether I dare expose my lenses to potential harm.

And, whilst I do have a Rain Hood (oh no, another layer of optical glass!), I don't always know when I'll need it (and it needs using with care due to potential condensation buildup - an electronics killer, never mind optics distorter!)
Yep!

And of course I agree with what you say, it would be silly not to protect a lens in bad weather/situations but I suspect the majority of hobbyists don't need to worry about all that stuff (i.e. fair weather users).

Most of my 'advice' is for the majority and can easily be questionable for specific circumstances as can any general advice. OK, I know I come over as "this is how it should be" but many times I write this stuff like that with a wry smile on my face. I oft do it to simply get folks thinking about the issues under discussion. As I have said, don't take my word for anything, try it and see for yourself.

Cheers
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Old 05-01-2008, 13:41   #26 (permalink)
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Yep!
I guessed you guessed! And I suppose I felt compelled to respond in order to defend my comment about leaving a filter on!
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Old 05-01-2008, 13:44   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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IIRC, UV will cause the object to fluoresce in the visible spectrum. Think if you shone UV source through filter and then direct there should be a difference
I'm sure I've mentioned this before...

Back in the '70s when I was studying full-time pro photog at Blackpool College our then technical tutor, a great guy called Ted Gray, had a simple test for new students on the first week. He had us bring to the class our UV filters, all of them! He would place the filters on a UV emitting light box and stand back with a smile. Let me tell you that most of the filters increased the amount of UV, i.e. became lighter (reducing would have made the filter darker than the light box). The ONLY ONE which worked was a Hoya 1B.

Since that day I have only owned Hoya 1B UV filters and only use them when necessary (in conditions that may harm the lens as Markulous mentions or in high UV situations, such as with studio flash that doesn't have a UV filtered tube or lots of 'blue' in the air i.e. haze).

There should be a difference with a UV on the lens but often there is either nothing going on or worse the filter is increasing the UV!

However, in these digital days does it matter? Now that's another question!

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Old 05-01-2008, 13:46   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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I guessed you guessed! And I suppose I felt compelled to respond in order to defend my comment about leaving a filter on!
on me!
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Old 05-01-2008, 13:58   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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IIRC, UV will cause the object to fluoresce in the visible spectrum. Think if you shone UV source through filter and then direct there should be a difference
Yeah I said that in my post. But that light as you point out is visible light, the majority of which UV filters are supposed to let through. The filter should be called a "UV-excited visible light" filter if this is what it does.

The lightbox story Les tells is interesting but it seems to me that the UV filter letting through or blocking light that the students could see, reflects its properties with regard to the visible spectrum.

Not yet convinced they make any difference to the human eye.
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Old 05-01-2008, 16:26   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Filters

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Not yet convinced they make any difference to the human eye.
They don't but film and to a lesser extent digital sensors are sensitive to UV. That's when in a small number of cases it can throw colours and exposure off. Just as there are IR photographers there are also UV photographers who exploit this.

I was definitely a don't use UV or protective filter unless it was needed for a specfic reason. It would only be an inconvenience since for the cost of a UV filter on every lens you can easily get Camera Insurance for quite a few years. However I began to question it at an NPS roadshow then had it confirmed at Fixation. They can easily tell which lenses have had a filter fitted. Cleaning the front element over a pretty short time wears down the very expensive coating to the point that the lens doesn't perform as well. Much cheaper to replace a filter than a front element which wouldn't be covered under warranty. It's why most long primes have one built in as standard since they don't have a front filter screw. I now use them on my commonly used lenses.

As for putting them on a UV box if it was pure UV by definition you couldn't see it. The reason they looked brighter is because they were doing their job and filtering out the invisible UV and letting more of the visible light through. This is how they used to sell them to show they are working not visa versa. Another good demonstration is to put your filters side by side on black velvet, it's a powerful advert for the most expensive coatings over the cheaper ones.
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