A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Community > Forums > Accessories - Filters, Bags, Tripods > Filters > Are multicoated filters too...

Are multicoated filters too hard to clean?

jason chen , Aug 04, 2004; 11:15 a.m.


I went to my local camera store and asked for Hoya HMC or Super HMC UV and Circular Polarizer filters for my Canon 17-40L lens. The store owner told me that so many of his customers had trouble cleaning their multicoated Hoya filters that he doesn't carry them any more. He said the regular Hoya (single coated) filters are good enough. I wonder, does cleaning multicoated filters present such a problem that people would not use them? If you have Hoya (Super) HMC filters, do you have trouble cleaning them? if not, how do you clean? if you do, would B+W MRC filters be easier to clean?




    1   |   2   |   3     Next    Last

Jean-Baptiste Queru , Aug 04, 2004; 11:20 a.m.

Somebody please enlighten me why MC filters would be harder to clean... I can't see any reason. All I can guess is that's it's an issue of perception, where the same dust, lint or cleaning marks may be more visible on MC filters than on others.

H. P. , Aug 04, 2004; 01:05 p.m.

It sounds pretty strange to me. Most lenses made since the 'seventies have been multicoated and there's no issue with cleaning those.

The words 'leg' and 'pull' come to mind.....

E Brennan , Aug 04, 2004; 01:19 p.m.

Sounds like he/she simply didn't have them but still wanted to make a sale. I think I've given up on 'local' camera shops. Being quoted $60 for a sunpak polarizer ($26 adorama), was the last time straw for me.

I would be in favor of supporting a local store, but it's just too frustrating most of the time. My thinking is to do all your research on places like photonet and then you can order exactly what you want online. -e

Chris Crevasse , Aug 04, 2004; 01:42 p.m.

It's not TOTAL nonsense. I have Hoya Super HMC UV and polarizing filters, and I do find them very hard to clean, more so than my Contax and B&W multicoated UV and polarizing filters.

Max Zomborszki , Aug 04, 2004; 01:58 p.m.

I don't believe it should be harder to clean multi-coated filters than single or uncoated filters. Perhaps it is easier to spot grease marks on multicoated filters since even a very thin fat stain is clearly visible on a multicoated filter (or my old pair of glasses) whereas it would only be noticable if you tilt the filters to get reflection glare on cheaper filters.

But the same grease is still there, as hard to get off and will create the same problems (increasing chance of flare etc).

I guess that the store clerk either wanted to fool you into buying a filter he couldn't get rid of or he is uninformed and believes that "easer to spot grease" equals "harder to remove grease". Either way get the best coated filters you can afford. It is silly to put bad glass in front of your precious lenses.

Actually, good multi-coating often have a outer hardened layer to make it EASIER to clean without scratching the coating.

Brooke Read , Aug 04, 2004; 02:32 p.m.

Jason, I have to echo the responses from Chris and Max. I've got two of the Hoya Super HMC filters and was frustrated by the same problem in keeping them darned things streak-free. The only way I ever got 'em really clean was washing in a mild detergent and drying with a microfiber cloth. Max's observation may be right on -- perhaps it's easier to see the smears on the HMC's. I have no experience with the B+W MRC's but my understanding is that these have a very hard surface coating to aid in cleaning without scratching. BTW, my Hoyas are sitting in my spares boxes. I've been quite happy using B+W's and Heliopans (single-coated) without any problems or complaints.

Michael Peters , Aug 04, 2004; 04:01 p.m.

I have both single and multi-coated B+W filters. They are not harder to clean.

Me thinks he is trying to pull a fast one on you to buy what he has in stock.

M├Ątt Donuts , Aug 04, 2004; 04:08 p.m.

There is some validity. Singh-Ray is a very elite and top of the line filter maker. Their filters are usually about $180-$200 a pop and they go out of their way to help you and can custom make filters if you wish.

I bought a warming circular polarizer from them, and the day I got it went to their website and saw they had their circular polarizer was "multi-coated" in the page talking about it. I was like what the heck I just bought this $200 filter and they come up with a coated one the day after! I called and told them I want to ship mine back and get the coated one. Bob Singh himself took the matter very seriously and said it was a mistake of the webmaster, their response in October 2002 about coatings was

"May I ask where you saw that we now have them coated? We've experimented with coatings in the past (years ago) but found that the coatings are too easily scratched, thus negating any benefit they might give. We do not use coatings." Those of you, like me who ever wondered why Singh-Ray filters, very expensive and high quality aren't coated now ya know.

I own the Hoya Super HMC circ polarizer, and the first thing I noticed was it is a pain to clean. They seem to smudge, as I try to clean it it was like I was moving a light coating of maple syrup. Maybe that's the coating and it's ruined :P Kidding, tests show it's still got coating. Let me tell you right now the Super HMC works. You can take a non-coated filter and see reflections in it very obviously, you can take a Super HMC and barely see any. I planned on making a photography movie on filters and showed the differences between the two and I apologize I don't have a movie of the difference. Get the Super HMC polarizer... and take my word of advice don't get the UV filter. Those two were my first filters (years and years ago) and after a month my UV filter was just used to put on my lenses I stored. I never use it in application. However, a coated Hoya 81A warming filter instead is critical... almost the same thing but works wonders for shade, and people, and compliments your polarizer perfectly when you combine them, you've got yourself a warming polarizer! It does wonders for landscapes, sunsets, it's just incredibly versatile and useful... once you take pictures in the shade and notice your images are flat and blue... you'll figure out you need a warming filter to counter shade and liven up some if not all of your photo's. Then you'll most likely realize, you love it and keep it on at all times... retiring the UV filter. Some even put an 81A & Polarizer in a single filter combo, Hoya calls theirs the "Moose Peterson" but never bothered to coat it those jerks, it stinks when the sun glares.

I'd definetely get the Super HMC polarizer, of all filters that need coating the polarizer is it (with glares and sun). If you go the UV route or better the 81A warming filter instead, it's a filter that's okay not to be coated because likely you'll use it indoors or shade and glare & sun isn't as much a problem but if you have the money get it at least coated, it compliments your polarizer well, a UV is useless in combo with a polarizer.

By the way, on your 17-40L lens the filters will vignette at 17-24mm and probably like 17-30mm with both filters on unless you get the thin ring ones or your camera is digital and doesn't take full frame. If I had a choice of only two filters for the rest of my life, I'd pick the Blue/Gold polarizer and a warming filter. Been two years now and I've only used my plane circular polarizer twice for landscapes and over 3,000+ photo's with the Blue/Gold polarizer. It rocks, I'm also exclusively a landscape photographer and there's plenty of water where I live... the blue/gold really shines when there's water, but tends to add a magenta to people's skin and clouds.


jason chen , Aug 04, 2004; 05:16 p.m.

when would the 17-40L vignette?

Matt, would this lens vignette with just 1 regular mount filter at the wide end, or only when more than 1 filters are stacked?

    1   |   2   |   3     Next    Last

Back to top

Notify me of Responses