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Do I need multi-coated filters vs mono-coated?

jason chen , Jul 09, 1999; 11:32 p.m.

Hello,

I am thinking to get a set of Hoya filters for my Canon 28-105 USM and 75-300 USM IS zoom lens - a UV, a circular polarizer, and a ND 3 stop. Now I wonder if I need to spend the extra money to buy the multi-coated version rather than the mono-coated ones. The HMC circular polarizer cost almost twice as much at B&H. I wonder if an in-experienced ametur like myself with this type of lens (a good lens, but certainly not top quality L lens or prime lens) can really tell the difference in print pictures between the two. If there is definite benifit using HMC, I would certainly like to invest one time and not to regret soon. Your advice and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

-Jason

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Brian W. , Jul 10, 1999; 12:24 a.m.

hi jason, i'm sure you could find alot of information in the archives here, they're quite a bit of help really. but i suppose multi-coated filters are multi-coated to reduce flair, and i guess thats the only difference you'd see in image quailty. i'm not really sure how much difference there is between multi coated and regular though. i think i read a big message that Bob atkins wrote about this same thing.. (i think) anyways.. good luck, sorry i couldnt help much. or at all.

Neal Vaughan , Jul 10, 1999; 12:37 a.m.

No...you wont be able to tell the difference in 99% of the situations you describe using print film, even with good equipment. Dont worry about it. If you want to know more, then search static and Q&A archives.

Steve Bingham , Jul 10, 1999; 12:41 a.m.

Well, when shooting towards the sun they DO reduce the amount of lens flare. . . particularly helpful with zoom lens of less than sterling quality.

Neal Vaughan , Jul 10, 1999; 12:50 a.m.

But we arent talking "L" lenses here, where flare is pretty much under control to start with. You think theres THAT much of a diffence between mono-and multi to justify twice the price? I dont believe so.

Paul Harris , Jul 10, 1999; 01:04 a.m.

I didn't see that you mentioned lens hoods. If you use the appropriate lens hood, the amount of stray light making it as far as the lens (or filter) will be much less, and the coating issue will be less important. You can get a big gain in quality at times with a small expenditure.

Dave Wilson , Jul 10, 1999; 01:31 a.m.

Hi Jason, any multi-coated filter is going to give you the least problems with reflections and flare, thats why your lenses are multi-coated. If you can afford them, they are a wise investment, but the single coated are certainly of very good quality. I have a number of uncoated filters like the regular Tiffens and Cokins and they are really only a problem when shooting into bright light. I basically only use the 81 warming series so I can't speak for your selections. Good Luck

kurt heintzelman , Jul 10, 1999; 06:16 p.m.

I would suggest B&W Schneider multicoated filters if you can swing the extra cost, which isn't much if you order from B&H. If you get more serious about gear, the extra money spent now on filters will mean you won't be wishing you had multicoated filters in a year or two, and realise that trade in value on filters is often lousy.

Gary Voth , Jul 12, 1999; 02:53 a.m.

Interesting. It seems there are different schools of thought here.

I myself am an absolute believer in multicoated filters, particularly B+W (although I'm sure there are other good brands).

Multicoating was pioneered by Zeiss and Leitz and was one of the major optical breakthroughs in this century. It allowed manufacturers to achieve good contrast in lenses with more than 3 or 4 elements. More elements meant more corrected optical designs, which resulted in sharper and faster lenses.

Given this, it seems a waste to compromise a modern lens with a filter that will reduce overall contrast.

Want to become a believer? If you can, go into a camera shop and do this experiment: Lay three filters side-by-side on a brightly lit display case: 1) a B+W multicoated KR-1.5 skylight filter (make sure the filter says "multicoated" on it or it ain't), 2) the regular B+W KR-1.5 filter, and 3) the equivalent Tiffen skylight filter. Now, try to see what's underneath each filter through all the reflections and glare from the overhead lights. Amazing, huh?

(Okay, I'll spill the beans for those who are too impatient to try it: the Tiffen will be hard to see through for all the glare, and will perceptibly reduce the contrast of what is underneath. (You will be heartbroken thinking of all the pictures you shot with that thing on the front of your camera lens). The standard B+W will be much better with glare more controlled, though still present. But the B+W multicoated filter will be nearly free of glare or reflections, and will trasmit an image of what's beneath it almost like there is no glass!)

I don't know about you, but for me seeing is believing. Incidentally, I have done this experiment with Hoya MC filters too, but they are more reflective than the B+W versions (i.e., not as good).

Lester LaForce , Jul 13, 1999; 12:16 p.m.

Regarding Hoya MC vs B+W, the folks at The Filter Connection say: "The(Hoya)SMC's have the best coating we have ever seen, 99.7% transmission of light" and "the NEW B+W MCR coating is as good as it can be 99.5% transmission".


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