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Best Filters

Kristin Speed , Jan 20, 2008; 11:48 a.m.

Hi, I got a bunch of new lenses for Christmas and still need to get some UV filters for them since I am paranoid about them getting scratched...which brands do you recommend? I need ot get filters for a nikon 70-200/ 2.8, sigma 10-20, and maybe the nikon 50/ 1.8, although that was cheap so I am not too worried about that one. I'll probably also get a polarizer for the sigma... any other filters one shouldn't be without? Thanks!


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Dan K , Jan 20, 2008; 12:24 p.m.

I use B+W MRC UV's for my 77mm lenses.

I have a 50 1.8 too and I have a Hoya SHMC on it. I don't think the 50mm needs a filter though as the front element is not as exposed.

You can feel the difference in quality between the B+W, Hoya, and Nikon's.

I guess Heliopan is just as good but I've never used one myself.

Keep in mind that the MRC coating on the B+W is semi water proof and a whole lot easier to clean than the Hoya SHMC coating which smears like crazy.

B+W also uses brass mounts.

I would get a 77mm polarizer. Why would you want a polarizer for the Sigma? It's too wide, you'll get weird results. I have a B+W 77mm Multi Coated Polarizer. I hear the Nikon polarizer is actually really good.

Richard Meyers , Jan 20, 2008; 12:24 p.m.

I prefer lens shades (hoods). Many hoods can stay in place with a larger sized lens cap on the front of the hood. To each his/her own. Good luck.

Lor KERFRIDIN , Jan 20, 2008; 12:32 p.m.

UV's filters saved my lenses (and cameras!) two times... They are in-dis-pen-sa-ble!

Eric Brody , Jan 20, 2008; 12:33 p.m.

While testing is probably the best way to really check, I have always believed that placing another two air-glass surfaces in front of my lenses is unnecessary. If needed, and I do use filters when in dicey places, near the ocean, blowing sand, buy the best, B+W and Heliopan have the best reputation. Probably the coating helps as well but I believe that a good lens hood is even more important.


Kent Staubus , Jan 20, 2008; 12:42 p.m.

I have never, ever had a lens "saved" because of not using a filter. The only time I use one for "protection" is when I'm around waterfalls--the fine spray contains grit. I almost always use a polarizer around waterfalls anyway. I think the UV filter thing is a gimmick myself, cooked up by camera stores as a sort of "you want fries with that Big Mac?" deal.

Think of this. The filter is just a piece of glass. You have something as fragile as glass protecting your lens? I use the plastic lens cap whenever I'm not taking a shot. It's FAR tougher than a piece of glass. I also use the lenshood. Not only does the lenshood help prevent flare, it also keeps stray crud from blowing onto the lens glass. If the lens gets dropped, the lens hood is even more protection than any filter would be.

A year & half ago I set up my Nikon 80-400mm VR lens on my tripod on a steep hillside. Big gust of wind caught it and blew it about 12 feet down the hill. The camera and lens separated, which was not good. I had a Hoya SMC polarizer on the lens but no lens hood. The polarizer shattered and the broken glass severely scratched the front element of the lens. If I had used the lens hood, that probably wouldn't have happened. If I had the plastic lens cap on, it definitely wouldn't have happened. I found out how much the front element was going to cost to replace. The repair service said the element was actually just a built in protector put there by Nikon, and it would be $70. Here's the deal. I sacrificed a $125 filter to protect a $70 repair. Real smart, huh?

--->Don't waste you money. Use the lenscaps. They are actually DESIGNED to protect the lens. A UV filter is designed to make the camera shop some extra $$ and not much more. If you feel you must buy worthless filters that just might do more harm than good, at least buy the multicoated ones rather than the cheap uncoated junk. Yes, after seeing first hand the damage a broken filter can do to an expensive lens, you can bet I have a strong bias against them.

Bottom line is I use my photo gear outdoors every day, and have never once had a lens damaged because it didn't have a filter. Not once. I have had a lens damaged because it DID have a filter.

Kent in SD

Joseph Smith , Jan 20, 2008; 12:44 p.m.

I prefer B+W or heliopan. I use B+W KR 1.5 and not the UVs even for digital. Joe Smith

Michael Axel , Jan 20, 2008; 01:25 p.m.

Filters have saved my lenses many times too. If I can get the Nikon filters I'd go with those. Otherwise I use the ultrathin Hoya Super HMC, Heliopan, and B&W.

Alex Lofquist , Jan 20, 2008; 01:28 p.m.

There is nothing wrong with Hoya/Kenko multicoated filters. If you are concerned about the quality of the coating just hold the filter in front of a black velvet cloth. Viewing your reflection in the filter can tell you how good the coating is.

James Symington , Jan 20, 2008; 01:40 p.m.

B+W or Heliopan are probably the best. I have never found filters any good as general 'protection' though and never keep them on as a matter of routine - just in certain harsh circumstances like salt spray, sandstorms etc.

Rigid lens hoods are what really affords good protection against knocks and they have saved lenses of mine from damage on a few occasions.

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