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Question about Digital

Ian White 15 183 United Kingdom
29 Oct 2011 2:53PM
Hello all

Quick question,on my film cameras i have skylight filters on all my lenes,do you still need this sort of filter on a digital camera and if you do what is the advange of doing so.


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AlexandraSD 6 759 United Kingdom
29 Oct 2011 3:15PM
If nothing else it protects the lens, but also cuts down on glare, though if the filters are old the coating could deteriorate over time.
cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
29 Oct 2011 5:19PM
After a lot of tests & trials I'd say you could probably forget add on filters for digital cameras......!

One reason relates to the image quality of many of the filter types/brands, From what I have seen they are just not up to job for high resolution digital sensors, Problems such as banding and nasty magenta casts can be the order of the day with brands like Cokin and even some Lee items.

As for the " Big Stoppers etc.....Sheesh! You might as well use Welding goggles.....Sad

Jury is out on Neutral Density Grads, But even here they can cause magenta casts if the light is in certain positions relevant to the camera/lens.

For some of the effects peeps like to achieve maybe you need the help of a filter, If your happy with the results or can live with the potential for issues as mentioned, Fair enough.....!!!

These days you can buy " NC " filters for protection of front elements, Obviously you need good quality ones ie: Nikon for Nikon or Canon for Canon and so on, They will at least prevent scratches to the front lens element.

That said they may like all filters can/do, Increase the potential for lens flare.

Bottom line, If using filters of any kind does the job for you, Why the heck not, Its optional and my comments are purely my personal findings and chosen path......Grin

Others will no doubt have different experiences.....Wink
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
29 Oct 2011 5:32PM
There are really two parts to your question, Ian.

Firstly, there is no need for any filter for "correction" purposes on a digital camera. Any correction can be done much more accurately, if at all, when you are processing your Raw files.

Secondly, the jury is very much out on the question of using a clear filter as lens protection. I tend to use one on each lens but, having said that, I have never broken, chipped or otherwise damaged a filter, so presumably I would have been even less likely to have damaged an unprotected lens. There is a letter asking that question in today's AP and the "expert" answer is not to use one.

Creative filters, such as ND, ND Grad, circular polarising, etc, are another matter entirely. You will use them as and when you desire a particular creative effect.
I like a filter to protect the lens. I figure we always clean the filter of dust, etc. Seems it's better to clean a filter than to be cleaning the lens all the time.

I use Cokin filters for creative effect. Software can do wonders for an image but creative filters are fun to use and open up more options to you in conjunction with using software.
User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
29 Oct 2011 8:18PM

Quote:I like a filter to protect the lens.

Jolly good.

Now - How much money do you have invested in your body of choice and your 'most-used' lens? ($1600.00? - or more?)

Why REDUCE the effectiveness of the research done by your lens vendor to REDUCE flare, aberrations, CA et al to absolute minimums by whacking a FLAT piece of glass in front of the primary optic??

Answers - in full - on the back of a stamp please... to ePHOTOzine.
thewilliam 9 6.1k
29 Oct 2011 8:42PM
The only filter effect that can't be done in post-production is that of the polariser.
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
29 Oct 2011 10:49PM
The fact that there is discussion (some quite heated) about using 'protective' filters show that any detrimental effects of a quality (and I stress 'quality') are largely theoretical.
Yes, there are situations where a filter can induce flare (such as night time photography with a street lamp or other light source off to the side) but in general daytime photography I don't think anyone had objectively demonstrated that a quality filter is detrimental to image quality. So use one if you want and learn the few situations where you need to be careful.

Note that UV filters were recommended for film cameras because the film emulsion is particularly sensitive to the UV light in the haze seen in scenic shots. Digital sensors do not exhibit this sensitivity. This is why you will see 'digital protective' filters as well as UV filters.
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
29 Oct 2011 11:41PM
I use filters mainly through habit, a throw back from the film days.

What do I gain, not a lot, and what do I loose, very little provided care is taken.
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
30 Oct 2011 9:12AM
If you are an amateur not living in a high crime area you should be able to get far more protection than any you might get from a filter for a lot less money - by insuring your camera equipment on an "all risks including away from home" insurance extension to your home contents policy.
Automatic white balance on digital usually removes warm up filter effects Sad
You can easily fine tune colour balance in digital camera menus or post processing.
For these reasons using a warm up filter on digital is not a smart move.
keith selmes 14 7.3k 1 United Kingdom
30 Oct 2011 12:24PM
The main reason for using a skylight or plain filter is to protect the lens.
It certainly needs a high quality filter, and in some cases it would cost more than the lens.

Personally, I hardly ever use them now. I have three filters I occasionally use, those are two nd grads and a polariser.
I would not rule out using other filters, and would use one for protection in some environments, for example I'd rather have a filter scratched by sand or fouled with salt sea water spray, than have same thing happen to the lens.

That applies to film as well as digital. Most of the lenses I use for film are difficult to fit with filters anyway.
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
30 Oct 2011 12:58PM

Quote:The only filter effect that can't be done in post-production is that of the polariser.

....and, even then, most of the effects of a polarising filter can be done with a click or two in any image editing software such as Lightroom, Elements or whatever.

The only thing a polariser can do that is trickier to do in software is removing reflections from non-metallic surfaces.
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
30 Oct 2011 11:50PM
The thing a polariser can do that is impossible in photoshop is to cut out the glare on water/glass and reveal what is underneath or behind it.

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