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Bower UV filters

Jordan Ray , Jul 11, 2009; 09:28 p.m.

This may be the wrong place to post this, not too sure. Anyway, I just got a Tokina 12-24mm f/4 (I am loving it by the way, if you have the money and are looking for a good digital super-wide, don't hesitate buying it; it's a wonderful lens), and I want a UV flter as I do alot of skating photography and I can already see the wheel or nose smashing through my precious lens; if it were unprotected of course. I currently work at a camera shop here in San Diego and we sell Bower 77mm "Japanese Made" UV filters for $24.99(not to mention I get 30% off ^_^), so it seems like a good deal. I tried it on my lens and after very closeinspecton, it seems legit, as there is no extra visible vignetting and the sharpness remains the same. Is this a wise choice to buy a bower, or should I save my pennies for something else?

Responses

Sheldon Hambrick , Jul 11, 2009; 09:49 p.m.

Go w/a super multi-coated filter.

Kent Staubus , Jul 11, 2009; 10:48 p.m.

The nose of a skateboard will also crash through a flimsy glass filter. Keep the lens hood on the lens to help better protect it, and the lens cap when not taking a shot. Beware of flare from cheap uncoated filters. I generally don't buy into the protection filter thing, even though I have very expensive lenses.
Kent in SD

Lex Jenkins , Jul 11, 2009; 11:06 p.m.

Kent and I don't quite agree on the value of protective filters, but he has a point... for his style of photography. His specialty is nighttime photos of trains, so it makes sense to minimize all sources of flare.

But, having done some sports photography myself (boxing at ringside, skateboarders, etc.) as well as photojournalism in crowds with pushing and shoving, I'd definitely recommend a protective filter. It's much easier to clean the blood off a filter than the lens. And any additional surface to cushion a blow - hood, filter, whatever - can help. In this case, you're limited by the lens design - you can't use a longer hood without risking vignetting. So a protective filter makes sense.

Never heard of a Bower. But I can recommend Kenko coated filters. Very good values. They're from the THK group - Tokina, Hoya, Kenko - very reputable stuff. Kenko filters are not just a lower priced version of the Hoyas, tho'. Hoya filters are generally higher quality. But the Kenkos are very good. I've used a 72mm Kenko for many years to protect my 28/3.5 PC Nikkor, which I've occasionally used in areas with fierce blowing grit. Several years ago I was photographing an extraordinary petrified wood building when a Texas dust devil blew up in the field I was standing in and whipped pea sized gravel at me like BB's shot from a Daisy Red Ryder. The F3HP prism got a new ding and the Kenko UV filter was smuged but not broken. Glad I had it on the very expensive PC-Nikkor that day.

You can always remove a protective filter when it's not absolutely needed. It's harder to replace a front element.

Robert Hooper , Jul 11, 2009; 11:18 p.m.

Brooks Gelfand , Jul 12, 2009; 02:41 p.m.

You have tried the Bower filter; it works to your satisfaction. There is " no extra visible vignetting and the sharpness remains the same."

So what is the problem? Use it.

Robert Lai , Jul 13, 2009; 01:02 a.m.

I would agree with Sheldon Hambrick and Lex. You always think you don't need a protective filter until you drop a lens (35mm f/2.8), or something unexpected like a tungsten photoflood imploded on you and scattered hot glass everywhere (50mm f/1.2). I also have lens hoods on all of my lenses for extra protection.

In the case of the 35 f/2.8, the UV filter cracked, but the lens itself was intact. It never imaged very well in the first place, so no big loss.

The hot glass of the photoflood bulb disintegrating melted some of the rubber lens hood on my 50 f/1.2 and the lens cap (sitting adjacent the lens), but the filter took the hit. No scratched front element on my 50 f/1.2! The photoflood bulbs were in my copy stand. The 50 1.2 wasn't being used. I had just taken it off the camera to mount my 60mm Micro Nikkor lens when the lamp filament burnt out, and the falling hot tungsten wire ruptured the glass. The 50mm f/1.2 was just sitting next to the copy stand, front element up, right under the photoflood lamp housing. I should say it's a good thing that I wear glasses too (kind of like a protective filter for my eyeballs). Otherwise, corneal burns or blindness doesn't sound too appealing.

A while ago, I did night time trials using the same lens and a few different filters. Uncoated or single coated filters produced visible ghosts from street lamps. They were virtually eliminated by the Hoya SHMC and B&W Super Multi-coated filters. If anything, the B&W had a slight (very slight) superiority of flare resistance making it better than the Hoya. Nikon brand filters (no longer made?) were close to the Hoya SHMC, but a little more prone to ghosting. The Nikon filters were far better than Hoya single coated filter though.

Eric Arnold , Jul 13, 2009; 03:09 p.m.

the Tiffen uncoated filters are only about $10-$15 for 77mm. it's doubtful Bower filters are any better. multicoatings do reduce flare but are harder to clean and are more expensive. if you're shooting outside in bright sunlight it might make sense to get a multicoated filter.

btw, i've saved my glass a few times from permanent damage with UV filters. dings do happen.

Glen Journeay , Jul 13, 2009; 05:19 p.m.

Filter reviews here:
http://www.lenstip.com/113.1-article-UV_filters_test.html
http://www.lenstip.com/115.1-article-Polarizing_filters_test.html

I tend to use Hoya HMCs, but have pretty much stopped using filters, especially on primes.

Peter N , Jul 14, 2009; 01:16 p.m.

You have a quality lens, get a quality multi-coated filter for it. A B+W multi-coated MRC filter can't be beat. You can get them on the big auction site from Hong Kong comparatively cheaply in 77mm. They are a B+W "special" made for the Asian market and they have aluminum rings, not the usual (and very expensive) brass rings. I have bought several of these aluminum UV filters and can attest to the fact that they are authentic B+W filters with the same Schott glass in them as the "regular" brass ones sold in the US. Excellent value for money.

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