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Thread: Filter question

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    Filter question

    Hi everyone.

    I keep clear B+W filters on all my Leica glass for protection. I add a 3 stop B+W ND filter that I stack on top of the clear filter if I want to shoot wide open during bright sunlight. and then i remove it when i head indoors or when the sun goes down.

    I was in a local camera shop recently and the nice sales person was telling me that there are better filters that I should try that provide better sharpness, uv reduction and contrast improvement.

    Any suggestions would be most helpful. I have 3 Leica lenses at the moment:
    35mm lux, 50mm lux and a noctilux in case that helps.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Re: Filter question

    Do you have the latest 35'Lux? How do you stack ND filter on that? I couldn't, so I had to remove the hood and regular uv filter in order to put in the ND filter and screw the hood back on.
    David Young
    My journey into Leica: LeicaLux.com

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    Re: Filter question

    hi there.

    i do have the latest 35lux.

    i remove the hood, stack the filters and then put them hood back on (sometimes) or just leave the hood off.

    which filter do you use when you don't have a nd filter on?

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    Re: Filter question

    Ah... I didn't know I can put the hood on with stacked filters. Next time I'll know

    On the 35'Lux, I have the leica uva filter that came with when I bought it, I have the "B+W 010 UV-haze MRC" on the 50'Lux and 28'Cron. I like the fact that they're all 46mm so they can share the same ND filter.
    David Young
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    Re: Filter question

    Sharpness - reliable information on filter resolution is hard to find and I doubt the nice sales person has it. I never heard about B+W filters having impact on resolution (apart from polarizers) and I am skeptical about veracity of this statement.

    UV reduction - there are filters that provide stronger UV reduction than the ordinary UV filters from B+W, but the need for better UV reduction on digital cameras is questionable. I would be more worried about IR transmission of the ND filter. IR contamination can cause wrong colors with digital cameras. Take a look at Tiffen IRND filters, for example. If you still think you need strong UV protection, look at B+W UV 415 filter. Yes, it is also B+W, but the UV reduction is more serious that the standard filters.

    Contrast improvement - that depends on quality of the anti-reflection coating. If you have current production B+W filters with the MRC Nano layers, you will be probably hard pressed to find anything notably better. If you have older filters with less sophisticated coating, you can always remove the filter and compare.

    That said, I don't think stacking protection filter and ND filter is a good idea. The more filters you use, the higher the chance that they will impact image quality.
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    Re: Filter question

    Thank you MirekE and David. Appreciate the help.

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    Re: Filter question

    I think the man in the camera shop was just trying to sell you something.

    But I wouldn't stack filters. I use a filter on all my lenses because I don't bother with lens caps. But often you'll hear the cry that putting a filter on your Leica lens will cause reflections and flare, which it can as a general theory, and given the right light source (sun or bright lamp) it is possible to go out and prove it in a 'test' photograph. But in thirty years I have never actually had it happen under normal conditions, even photographing into the sun. However, stacking filters puts two plains of glass parallel to each other and I think this can cause reflections in less demanding conditions than bright sun. It also adds to the risk of vignetting when the lens is wide open.

    Leica lenses are contrasty enough already, and post processing is the place to increase contrast in a fully controlled way, so I would steer clear of claims for increased contrast by using stronger filters. Use a clear protection filter (clear coated glass) or a standard UV, nothing more.

    Steve
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    Re: Filter question

    David, I built my lens kit around the same idea of using one size filter. Back in the film days I used the same UV filter as you and stacked it with a yellow filter (when needed). This was done because of an article by Pete Meyers on Lula. I was using the same film setup as he and I liked the tonality of his images so I copied what he was using at the time. It worked great!
    Today I use an yellow-orange filter (B+W 040 4x MRC) for bw or an ND when I want to shoot wide open outdoors and for long exposures. I've had some interesting reactions when using an ND filter by those who haven't a clue.
    Last edited by JohnBrew; 2nd August 2013 at 08:39. Reason: Realized I made an error describing one filter.

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    Re: Filter question

    I won't use clear filters unless I am in a area known to be subject to sea-spray or blowing sand.
    As for B&W contrast filters with film, I often use an orange filter shooting nudes and a yellow when shooting landscape.
    Orange just seems for me to be a tad tpp much sky enhancement.
    UV filters are just not needed with digital, and not even with many films depending on the spectral sensitivity. I might change my mind a bit if I did much telephoto film work and had more haze to deal with, but I don't.
    In any case, I try to minimize the number of air-glass surfaces, so I would limit it to just one filter with the exception perhaps of an ND.
    -bob
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    Re: Filter question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    I won't use clear filters unless I am in a area known to be subject to sea-spray or blowing sand.
    As for B&W contrast filters with film, I often use an orange filter shooting nudes and a yellow when shooting landscape.
    Orange just seems for me to be a tad tpp much sky enhancement.
    UV filters are just not needed with digital, and not even with many films depending on the spectral sensitivity. I might change my mind a bit if I did much telephoto film work and had more haze to deal with, but I don't.
    In any case, I try to minimize the number of air-glass surfaces, so I would limit it to just one filter with the exception perhaps of an ND.
    -bob
    I like your thinking about not using filters but i'm too nervous about my glass!

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    Re: Filter question

    Quote Originally Posted by 250swb View Post
    I think the man in the camera shop was just trying to sell you something.

    But I wouldn't stack filters. I use a filter on all my lenses because I don't bother with lens caps. But often you'll hear the cry that putting a filter on your Leica lens will cause reflections and flare, which it can as a general theory, and given the right light source (sun or bright lamp) it is possible to go out and prove it in a 'test' photograph. But in thirty years I have never actually had it happen under normal conditions, even photographing into the sun. However, stacking filters puts two plains of glass parallel to each other and I think this can cause reflections in less demanding conditions than bright sun. It also adds to the risk of vignetting when the lens is wide open.

    Leica lenses are contrasty enough already, and post processing is the place to increase contrast in a fully controlled way, so I would steer clear of claims for increased contrast by using stronger filters. Use a clear protection filter (clear coated glass) or a standard UV, nothing more.

    Steve
    thanks! good advice. i think i was stacking them out of partial laziness. appreciate the info!

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    Re: Filter question

    Filters add two glass-air surfaces. That quadruples flare and reflection. Not too bad if there is not much about anyway. However, stacking another filter will increase reflections and flare sixteenfold.
    There will be a visible degradation in the corners too, which may be irrelevant depending on the subject and enlargement.
    I fail to see, however, why you would stack filters in the first place.
    Basically I am very sceptical of the use of protective filters anyway. You just paid thousands for the best lenses money can buy and then you put an extra layer of glass on.... Added to which is that the only time I damaged the front of a lens over the decades it was by a filter. I had a skylight filter on the 280 APO 4.0 (stupid, I know, it has a rear filter mount....), dropped it and a shard of the filter glass cut a deep gouge in the front element. That was not cheap...
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    Re: Filter question

    I never, EVER had flare and reflections when stacking filters with film. But then I didn't shoot into the sun either.

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    Re: Filter question

    Quote Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
    Basically I am very sceptical of the use of protective filters anyway. You just paid thousands for the best lenses money can buy and then you put an extra layer of glass on....
    Coated glass in this day and age.

    The default position throughout the best part of the history of photography has been that a filter is a key feature on the front of the lens. If we simply take Leica and film photography we are talking nearly one hundred years of filter use, where not only has a filter thread been present on the front of the lens, but other than by rank amateurs filters have been used to manipulate the image and aid expression and add control.

    It is now an appalling situation where the greater the expense of the lens the greater the moral pressure to abdicate control of the image. You either buy a lens to make the photographs you want to make, with or without filters, or you buy a lens to demonstrate the lens as no more than a factotum salesman for your favoured company. Why should anybody spend so much on a lens if all their photography revolves around showing how perfect and sharp it is if they have nothing else to say? What a waste of time and money.

    And while I'm having a rant, given the material the world is made from, why is it that sand is only assumed to come from the seaside? Yes, that is a filter related question.

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    Re: Filter question

    Quote Originally Posted by bijansabet View Post
    thanks! good advice. i think i was stacking them out of partial laziness. appreciate the info!
    Nothing wrong with laziness. Clear protection filters - outside of shooting in bad conditions - are all about laziness. With a protection filter you can clean the kids' fingerprints off the front after blowing off the debris with your mouth and then wiping it with the shirt you've been wearing all day. Without the filter, you have to carefully use a brush for any debris and then use a proper lens pen or wipe to get off the fingerprint. I'd rather blow off and use my shirt.

    As for which protection filter is best, your camera has a good UV filter on the sensor, so there should be no significant difference between a good clear filter or a good UV filter.

    Re: stacking, it would be better for results to take the clear filter off and put on the ND filter, but again, it comes down to efforts vs results. If you get the results you want by stacking and it's lower effort to do that, seems like the way to go. Probably won't see any impact on the images vast majority of the time when using great quality filters. If you do get weird flare or reflections doing that, then it comes down to whether you like weird flare or relections .

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    Re: Filter question

    Quote Originally Posted by 250swb View Post
    Coated glass in this day and age.

    The default position throughout the best part of the history of photography has been that a filter is a key feature on the front of the lens. If we simply take Leica and film photography we are talking nearly one hundred years of filter use, where not only has a filter thread been present on the front of the lens, but other than by rank amateurs filters have been used to manipulate the image and aid expression and add control.

    It is now an appalling situation where the greater the expense of the lens the greater the moral pressure to abdicate control of the image. You either buy a lens to make the photographs you want to make, with or without filters, or you buy a lens to demonstrate the lens as no more than a factotum salesman for your favoured company. Why should anybody spend so much on a lens if all their photography revolves around showing how perfect and sharp it is if they have nothing else to say? What a waste of time and money.

    And while I'm having a rant, given the material the world is made from, why is it that sand is only assumed to come from the seaside? Yes, that is a filter related question.

    Steve
    Come on, Steve, you know I have cases full of filters to use when they make sense... But the key phrase is "when it makes sense". To screw a filter on your lens when new and never to remove it does not. Use a filter when there is a reason. Otherwise not.
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    Re: Filter question

    Quote Originally Posted by Amin View Post
    I'd rather blow off and use my shirt.

    As for which protection filter is best, your camera has a good UV filter on the sensor, so there should be no significant difference between a good clear filter or a good UV filter.
    1 That is exactly what I do with my naked lens. Never a scratch. Those coatings are tough...
    2. The sensor has no UV filter, your camera is suitable for UV photography. The lenses, however, are mostly UV filtered.
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    Re: Filter question

    Quote Originally Posted by bijansabet View Post
    I was in a local camera shop recently and the nice sales person was telling me that there are better filters that I should try that provide better sharpness, uv reduction and contrast improvement.
    Well, the sales person may in this case have just been attempting a sale, but there's no question that some filters are better than others...

    A classic from Roger at lensrentals

    Jeff

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    Re: Filter question

    Quote Originally Posted by bijansabet View Post
    I like your thinking about not using filters but i'm too nervous about my glass!
    I work like Bob does, and fit a lens cap when I'm not shooting to protect the lens.

    G

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    Re: Filter question

    Quote Originally Posted by bijansabet View Post
    I like your thinking about not using filters but i'm too nervous about my glass!

    1. If I use filters, they usually get dirty pretty quickly and I usually notice it when it is too late. On the other hand, my unprotected lenses do not get dirty like that, possibly because the glass is more recessed or because I am instinctively more careful about naked lens vs. filter.

    2. The objects that could possibly hit front of a lens are usually not hard enough to damage the front element, but are often stiff enough to break a filter. Shards could then scratch the front element. I don't know how likely is this scenario, but it is possible.

    3. In some of my lenses, for example the 90AA, the manufacturer made a great effort to minimize the number of lens elements. They used expensive, hard to process types of glass. I paid extra money to get a lens with minimized number of elements and then I pay extra on top of it to add another glass to reduce the benefits I paid for in the first place...

    4. Let's assume an average photographer damages one front element during their life. If I compare the cost of the high quality protective filters one collects in a lifetime, vs. cost of front element replacement, I am not sure how big saving it is.

    These are just my reasons based on my experience and my usage. If you enjoy your photography more with he extra protection, there is nothing wrong with it.
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    Re: Filter question

    I still think it is sad that getting 'what you paid for' is higher up the list than creativity and expression when filters are mentioned.

    The use of a protection filter may help with fast lens changes without the need to fumble with a lens cap, so this aids creativity and 'capturing the moment'. The use of a yellow filter on a film camera, or Monochrom, may help create the tonal contrast you want. Creative choices, not driven by how much is paid for a lens, but by the photographer who owns the lens, not the lens owning him. Maximising the way of working, being comfortable, getting what you want in other words.

    Presumably it is on a sliding scale then, the less you pay the more creative you can be, because there is less pressure to exhibit the pure unadulterated justification for the price of the lens? I'd say this was true because there are many more interesting photographs from technically inferior lenses on show on the internet than from fantastically priced examples of perfection (present company excepted). I'm thinking Holga and Noctilux maybe, where the ratio would be 30,000 to 1, and even at that ratio it compensates for the people who simply can't afford the Nocti.

    I think even mentioning the price of a lens means we are usually listening to a photographer with one arm tied behind their back (present company excepted). It is like a creative full stop, with the rules on how it can be used being made by the amount Leica charge. People apologise for using a modern Summarit as much as people tell them they need a modern Summicron. They are both better than the lenses Robert Frank, or Bresson, used, so where are the results? And that is why filters should be acceptable on either a cheap lens or a mega expensive lens, creativity should be paramount, results being priceless.

    And no, I'm not being facetious in saying 'present company excepted', because internet forums do tend to attract some of the better photographers. I really am referring to all the people who just read the forum's and actually believe the rules we make in our pontification's are based on guaranteed results rather than 'its just the way I work'. But expense is not a rule, it is an attitude, a justification, the solution for which would be to burn all EXIF files and go back to when we simply trusted the photographer to do as well as he could in the most creative way possible with whatever imaging box and lens was available.

    Steve
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    Re: Filter question

    Quote Originally Posted by Amin View Post
    Nothing wrong with laziness. Clear protection filters - outside of shooting in bad conditions - are all about laziness. With a protection filter you can clean the kids' fingerprints off the front after blowing off the debris with your mouth and then wiping it with the shirt you've been wearing all day.
    Sounds good to me!


    I don't use clear filters - period. I paid for Leica coating, and I don't want to stick someone else's coating in front - simple as that.

    I've not scratched the front element of any of my Leica lenses yet, and when I do, I'll pay for a new front element - I've saved far more than that by not buying filters.

    The only time I have scratched the front element of a lens is when I WAS using a clear filter - I dropped it - the skylight filter shattered and some of the glass scratched the front element.

    Go Naked I say!

    all the best

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    Re: Filter question

    Not to get too far from the subject, but back in my short-lived R days I had a 28 Elmarit with a gigantic scratch across the middle of the lens. It never showed up on negatives or prints.

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    Re: Filter question

    I don't believe much in rules and pontificating, Steve. I stopped using haze, UV and other "protection" filters except when necessary because I saw how much nicer my negatives looked without them. I use filters to adjust spectral balance when appropriate too. Stacking filters will always degrade image quality by ome amount, but I've done that too when needed or lazy.

    Quick lens change? Keep the rigid lens hood on all lenses, they won't get hurt when you drop them hood down into their pocket in your bag unless you do something dumb. Do protect the back of the lens more as that will degrade performance more than a scratch or dust on the front element.

    Moreover, do whatever makes ou happy with your gear and use it. Yes, there are some cameras I always have a filter on, and others I never do.

    G

    Quote Originally Posted by 250swb View Post
    I still think it is sad that getting 'what you paid for' is higher up the list than creativity and expression when filters are mentioned.

    The use of a protection filter may help with fast lens changes without the need to fumble with a lens cap, so this aids creativity and 'capturing the moment'. The use of a yellow filter on a film camera, or Monochrom, may help create the tonal contrast you want. Creative choices, not driven by how much is paid for a lens, but by the photographer who owns the lens, not the lens owning him. Maximising the way of working, being comfortable, getting what you want in other words.

    Presumably it is on a sliding scale then, the less you pay the more creative you can be, because there is less pressure to exhibit the pure unadulterated justification for the price of the lens? I'd say this was true because there are many more interesting photographs from technically inferior lenses on show on the internet than from fantastically priced examples of perfection (present company excepted). I'm thinking Holga and Noctilux maybe, where the ratio would be 30,000 to 1, and even at that ratio it compensates for the people who simply can't afford the Nocti.

    I think even mentioning the price of a lens means we are usually listening to a photographer with one arm tied behind their back (present company excepted). It is like a creative full stop, with the rules on how it can be used being made by the amount Leica charge. People apologise for using a modern Summarit as much as people tell them they need a modern Summicron. They are both better than the lenses Robert Frank, or Bresson, used, so where are the results? And that is why filters should be acceptable on either a cheap lens or a mega expensive lens, creativity should be paramount, results being priceless.

    And no, I'm not being facetious in saying 'present company excepted', because internet forums do tend to attract some of the better photographers. I really am referring to all the people who just read the forum's and actually believe the rules we make in our pontification's are based on guaranteed results rather than 'its just the way I work'. But expense is not a rule, it is an attitude, a justification, the solution for which would be to burn all EXIF files and go back to when we simply trusted the photographer to do as well as he could in the most creative way possible with whatever imaging box and lens was available.

    Steve
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    Re: Filter question

    I have thrown filters out because they become to dirty to clean. I have never shattered a filter, even when I a threw the camera into a ground. I have cracked filter, but none have ever shattered. BTW, putting a filter in front of your lens does not actually mean that the lens coatings stop working. The best coatings today are Nikon's Nano Crystal Coat--I do not think Leica is using the technology. And the technology is being used in filters now.

    Do UV filters make an impact, sure. There has been a test done on UV filters (but none with nano tech):

    UV filters test - Introduction - Lenstip.com

    I have never seen proof from photographers that claim that a clear filter impact image quality. It is one of those arguments that simply go round and round. Most people throw rather dubious claims like why would you put a $50 piece of glass in front of a $5000 lens like the cost of making an optical blank with two parallel surfaces are as difficult to make an aspheric element whose surfaces are not the same. What they are really saying is that you should subscribe to their point of view. Same with the pro-filter folks with claims of dust storms in Central Park.

    Personally, I doubt in any practical sense, unless you buy a really cheap filter, there will be any impact on your images. The chances are if you don't use a filter, you will still never damage your lens--lenses are actually quite tough. For me, I have found that every few years I need to replace my filters because of wear and tear--they are just too dirty from the environments I work in. But this is a single data point--I don't have a comparable situation except my Widelux, but the lens is pretty much protected anyway. So I really have counterpoint to say the lens can always be cleaned. And if you clean your glass as much as I can, well, you can scratch a lens just as easily, or with as much difficulty, if you don't realize you have a grit of sand in your lens cleaning cloth. All in all, I can confirm that there are still no guarantees in life--whatever you do, things can still get screwed up.

    The only answer is do what make you feel happy or relieves anxiety. It is your camera and your work, do whatever blows your hair back--no one will be able to see it in your photographs anyway. Using filters makes me happy.

    BTW, if resale value is important, some buyers reject lenses for "cleaning" marks. Just saying...
    Will

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    Re: Filter question

    I have never seen proof from photographers that claim that a clear filter impact image quality. It is one of those arguments that simply go round and round.
    There is evidence in the article linked in your previous post. I did not look at all samples there, but all I looked at had some flare.

    My filters are usually not as perfectly clean as new ones, which further increases the chance of getting some flare. I usually get the veiling type, not the colorful localized one.

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