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Thread: filter quality

  1. #1

    filter quality

    I am aware that the consensus is that B&W, Heliopan, and probably Hoya make the best quality filters. Schott glass in the German ones, brass mounting rings etc. Tiffen would seem to be, at best, an also-ran. Laminated, I think, possibly subject to de-lamination, although I have never seen this happen.

    Ctein, in his book Post Exposure, found he could not see a difference in image quality when using Ilford VC filters below the lens. While this is a somewhat different application, the filter, in this case plastic, is between the lens and the 'film'/paper.

    Has anyone run tests, or does anyone know of any information that indicates an inferior image when using Tiffen or similar filters. On the faceof it, B&H are certainly better. But is there a detectable difference? Given the difference in price and the number of filters I have/want/need I am wondering.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    950

    filter quality

    gelatin filters are best IF you can keep them in good condition.

  3. #3

    filter quality

    I had Lee polyester in cardboard frames that went thru a flood. Still using them. Gels will not take this abuse.

    Most of the Tiffens purchased new in the 1960`s have delaminated in the center suprisingly.
    They are not useable. New Tiffins are fine, but will have a limited lifespan. I have Leica colored glass from the `60`s that are as new.

    I have been buying B+w whenever possible lately.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    filter quality

    Grump; I will be interested in what others may have found through testing. The advantages of brass in the filter rings should not be overlooked. Aluminum galls when in contact with itself or other metals. Brass or carbon steel will polish itself. That's why cheap filters stick to the lens rings and sometimes you unscrew the front element.

  5. #5
    blanco_y_negro
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
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    Istanbul
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    filter quality

    Heliopan works very smoothly. No sticking so far. I prefer B+W & Heliopan. Haven't done any testing but I haven't noticed any degradation in my images as a result of using these filters. By the way, is Hoya considered a good brand? Considering that it's cheaper than the others I mentioned, is it acceptable?

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    filter quality

    Hoya is not it the same category of qualtity like B&W and Heliopan and Rodenstock. There was an MTF testing in the german Fotomagazin and Hoya was far behind the leaders!
    You almost get what you pay for!

  7. #7
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    filter quality

    At a certain point I tested all of my filters for flare and ghosting, and generally found that multicoated filters were visibly better--even cheap multicoated filters like Vivitar VMC--than single-coated or uncoated filters, and that resin filters were in the middle. I culled out most of the bad ones and since then have generally stuck to Heliopan or B+W.

  8. #8

    filter quality

    Jim, I am sure you are right that the B&H brass mount is preferable; I suppose any unlike metal will not gall, and as lens barrels seem to be aluminum, that leaves out a lot. I had thought Hoya quality was right up there with the German filters -they seem to be one of the few multicoated which, I would expect under certain conditions, would make a difference. I wonder why no plastic/polycarbonate mounts?

    Gelatine is certainly fine, if rather fragile and, nowadays, rather pricey. I used to use them when they were relatively cheap, but they are nasty to handle in any kindofwind if not somehow mounted, and as noted are very fragile.

    Currently I am using Lee 4" squares in their rubberband secured holder on a Grandagon 65. But this is a pain to handle. Perhaps the slim B&H glass filters will work - maybe some of you use them and know if they vignette. But they are expensive. My hands are getting very clumsy, and when cold small things like filters seem to take on a life of their own.

    When I posed this question I was thinking primarily of the optical qualities. S K Grimes seems to have a step up ring that may enable a 67mm filter to be located right against the lens barrel, eliminating vignetting. I very much appreiciate the comments and information, and look forward to more!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    950

    filter quality

    Lee have expansion rings for all lens sizes and if you have their lens shade with a single filter holder, then I don' t see how they are a pain to use. If you need multiple filters at the same time then I think their is a double holder lens shade. Either of these work out cheaper than buying filters of different sizes for different lenses (if you are going for good quality that is).

  10. #10

    Join Date
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    filter quality

    I've run practical tests in the sense of owning at one time or another at least one of every filter brand made (including several Tiffens). I've never noticed any difference in the prints regardless of which brand was used. I certainly couldn't even begin to look at my prints and say which brand filter was used for which print. In the final issue of the magazine "Camera and Darkroom" Joe Englander published the results of his tests demonstrating that different polarizers created slightly different color casts but with that exception I've never known of or experienced any consistent differences in prints as among the different brands. I think some use more expensive materials and some are better made than others but I don't think there's a noticeable difference in the technical quality of the photographs from one brand to another.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

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