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Thread: Actual experience of optical degradation from cheap filters?

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Actual experience of optical degradation from cheap filters?

    Has anyone experienced actual loss of resolution from using a cheap optical glass filter?
    This is a serious question.

    While coating certainly differentiates filters, I have yet to try a glass filter that actually is optically inferior WRT refraction properties.
    Perhaps I have not put my mind to it... I have compared Heliopan, B+W, Hoya, Kenko, Tiffen, and recently Zomei and Luzid, using tele and wide lenses.
    In all cases, adding a filter resulted in zero loss of resolving power on my Nikon D810 36 MP FF sensor.
    I have also slapped all kinds of filters on my 8x10 - so far all filters seem great optically.
    Just curious... what are we actually paying for in a B+W or Heliopan filter (I have many).
    Granted, I have avoided sub-$10 filters.

    So here's a challenge: How cheap can you go before encountering a truly optically bad filter?

    Ignore coating for this discussion. Anecdotes welcome (but if you just want to brag about your B+W filters then you sorta miss the point here - this is about cheap, bad filters).
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Re: Actual experience of optical degradation from cheap filters?

    Recently, I went through a few new filters before settling back to a free BW filter (that came with a 2nd hand lens) for my RX1R II's lens. I am not sure if it is the coating or what (can not separate the factor) that makes a mismatch with a lens but it does happen with dramatic results.

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Actual experience of optical degradation from cheap filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Recently, I went through a few new filters before settling back to a free BW filter (that came with a 2nd hand lens) for my RX1R II's lens. I am not sure if it is the coating or what (can not separate the factor) that makes a mismatch with a lens but it does happen with dramatic results.
    Vivek, I'm very interested in this topic. Would you mind telling us what you saw with the filters that did not play nice with your RX1R II? I have a Breakthrough Tech UV IV on mine (which I used on my RX1R before) and have not seen anything, but I've always had the same filter on it and have not tried others.

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    Re: Actual experience of optical degradation from cheap filters?

    Sorry to dig up an old thread.

    As far as cheap filters go there are so many different brands names from China nowadays it is not easy to keep track of who is which. Hoya used to be a go-to name among Japanese filters many years ago but now they are (some at least) made in China.

    I remember reading an article where the author tried different cheap Chinese filters on his zoom lens. According to his findings, everything seems okay at wide angle setting but things became quite deteriorated at the zoomed-out end. Unfortunately I cannot find that article again.

    I wonder if anyone has similar experience as well?
    Phil

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    Re: Actual experience of optical degradation from cheap filters?

    Found the link if anyone is interested:
    http://www.pentaxforums.com/accessor...polarizer.html
    He is talking about polarizing filters but I think that may also
    please apply to other filters as well.
    Phil

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