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Andrew ren
28-Jan-2009, 19:12
Anyone ever compared those Lee filters(ND, B/W filter, normally yellow/Green/Red) to glass filters, such as Heliopan or B+W? Quality wise?
I use a 105mm heliopan polarizer for my Lee system, I love it.

I am thinking about replacing all my Lee Resin Filters with (round)glass filters, hopefully can get some higher optical quality. but those 4x4 schott glass filters made by formatt/schneider are bloody expensive! and also seems very fragile to me.

Thanks

Andrew

Brian Ellis
28-Jan-2009, 19:52
I've never done a direct comparison but I've used every major brand of filter from Lee to B+W to Heliopan to Tiffen to Hoya and never noticed any difference among them. What problem are you having with your Lee filters and why do you think another brand or type of filter would fix the problem?

Andrew ren
28-Jan-2009, 20:05
Hi Brian,

I always think Glass filter(Heliopan/B+W) probably has better optical performance over to the resin one(Don't know why). Never done a test, just a thought..
Currently I have 12-13 lee filters(ND, GND, black and whites, warming...), quite a big package, and as I now 100% play with black and whites, so I am thinking of buying just round glass filters for this purpose(ND,green/yellow/red).

And I don't have any problem with the Lee system, at least I didn't notice it.
Just think of my tax return money, someone need to keep the economy going..:-)

RooX
28-Jan-2009, 20:37
Andrew,

If you ever consider selling off your lee kit, fire me a pm, i'm always looking to expand mine.

David A. Goldfarb
28-Jan-2009, 20:44
Set up your camera in a darkened room on a sunny day with the camera pointed toward a window that's mostly shaded, but with a patch or a band of strong light coming through, and then try different filters, and see what you can see.

When I've done this test, resin filters did somewhat better than cheap uncoated filters, but even a cheap multicoated filter like a Vivitar VMC did better than resin in suppressing flare and ghosting. I think we can expect that all filters from the major manufacturers are optically flat and that all but the budget lines are made with decent optical glass, and optical grade resin is a decent product, but the coatings do make a significant difference, aside from attractions like brass rings and filters that are dyed in the mass rather than glass/gel sandwiches.

Nathan Potter
28-Jan-2009, 21:17
As David says. Filters with anti reflection coatings on both sides will do better in reducing flare from strongly backlighted situations but you'll pay a lot more for each due to the complexity of the coating on typically optical glass. Not sure whether any resin filters come with antireflection coatings but I suppose that may be technically feasible since polycarbonate spectacles are SiO2 coated as anti scratch protection.
Heliopan are superb filters if you can stand the cost and you want to squeeze every bit of performance out of an equally superb performing lens.

Except for flare reduction my experience indicates that any other advantages of glass over resin are pretty negligible if there at all.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

pkphotog
28-Jan-2009, 23:59
I've tried both resin and glass filters and found they performed the same. I opted to buy B&W and Heliopans because they packed better in my rather compact camera bag. The glass filters were expensive, but they are still like new after 18 years of use.

Atul Mohidekar
29-Jan-2009, 00:25
There are following criteria to compare filters:

1. The optical quality Ė optical quality of different filters can be compared by using a test target and a powerful loupe to compare the results from different filters on the film.

2. Flare - some filters use multi-coatings to reduce the flare. If a proper lens hood is used, the advantage of multi-coating might be negligible. Multi-coated filters are more expensive.

3. Color neutrality for ND filters and polarizers - some ND filters and polarizers have color cast, especially the polarizers. Many years back Joe Englander tested different filters and concluded that the B+W Linear Warming/Warmton Polarizer had the best color neutrality among all the filters he compared including B+W, Heliopan, Hoya and Tiffen. Things may have changed since then. It just shows that all filters are not equal. I have heard that Cokin polarizers are not as color neutral as other polarizers. Now a day the effect of color cast could be easily removed if you are digitizing the image.

4. Resistance to scratches and other elements - some filters use hard coatings to reduce the possibility of scratches or make the filter resilient to water and dust. I have some Singh-Ray resin filters that are more scratch prone. Heliopan calls their latest coatings SH-PMC and B+W calls it MRC. Also, Heliopan and B+W use Kaesemann technology to edge-seal the filters to protect them from moisture, fungus, etc.

If the filter is in good shape, is clean and a lens hood is used, only the first and third criteria may have some impact on the image quality. As mentioned above, the best way to do this comparison is to remove different variables and use test targets and then compare the results under a high-powered loupe or low-powered microscope.

The Heliopan SH-PMC and B+W MRC filters that also use Kaesemann edge-sealing are the most expensive filters besides Singh-Ray filters.

Personally I buy the best filters I can afford because Iím image quality freak Ė I donít want to take a chance to reduce the image quality by even a small fraction by having an inferior filter in front of an outstanding lens. You donít need to buy these filters brand new Ė eBay has great deals if you are vigilant and patient.


// Atul

Jim Michael
29-Jan-2009, 05:30
No manufacturing process is perfect, so the physical parameters fall within some accepted quality control criteria (of those sampled in a lot at least). The question then is, who has the tightest QC standards and what happens to the material that doesn't pass? IIRC Heliopan is a supplier to some filter brands and those brands may have differing standards that must be met. The stricter the standards the higher the price of course. The physical parameters as David pointed out include flatness, presence of single or multi-coatings, and uniformity. For multi-coatings the thickness of each coating is a factor affecting the efficiency of filter.

Bob Salomon
29-Jan-2009, 12:53
Heliopan is a supplier to some filter brands and those brands may have differing standards that must be met

This is a bit confusing.

Yes Heliopan makes the German made Rodenstock filters (not the Marumi Japanese Rodenstock filters). They also made the Zeiss filters for Contarex, Contax, etc. and the Kodak Retina filters.

Drew Wiley
29-Jan-2009, 16:27
My own experience somewhat disagrees with some of the previous replies. Since most of my work is outdoors, often around the glare of snow and granite, I have noticed a distinct difference between single-coated and multicoated filters. Although I have quite a variety of filters, including plastic, for studio and darkroom use, in the field I now use exclusively muticoated glass filters. Physical durability is a yet another reason. Frankly, I find it odd that so much discussion is given to the nature of coatings on lenses, only to see the whole theme altered by something different in front of the lens itself! I certainly don't intend to throw away my other filters, but I
have learned that a multicoated filter can make all the difference between getting away with a shot in tricky backlighting and blowing it. The price difference is typically no more per filter than the cost of a developed sheet of 8x10 chrome - one less sheet lost to flare!

Maris Rusis
29-Jan-2009, 17:32
I used to worry about filter quality versus price until I tried the cheapest possible filters. A local plastics fabricator has offcuts of coloured perspex. It's the stuff with the protective paper that you peel off before use. I cut 84mm squares out of it with a hacksaw and mount the pieces in a Cokin P filter holder. A nice red, green, blue, yellow-green, etc filter costs about $1 at the prices I pay.

But how is it optically? To test this I mounted a biggish piece of new yellow perspex on the front of my 90mm astronomical refracting telescope and took a look at Saturn. With or without the perspex I could resolve the Cassini division in the rings! This division is less than 1 second of arc wide and represents fine detail way beyond anything in ordinary terrestrial photography. A filter made from commercial grade perspex passes the sharpness test.

But there is a down side. The perspex filters are a bit soft so they scratch easily. They are tougher than the Wratten gelatins I used to use last century but when they eventually scratch I throw them away. At $1 each why fuss? And perspex is uncoated so it has to be shaded to avoid flare. It takes a bit of time to adjust a compendium lens hood but since I am shooting 8x10 I'm not in a hurry anyway.

Andrew ren
2-Feb-2009, 03:27
Maris, Woderful experience!

To Bob,
I contacted a dealer(Heliopan) @ NC, his name is John; He told me his price use to just half of the price of BH, but now the differential is minimum, only $10-15. Is there any reason for that?
For example, the B/W filters I an asking for(52mm), John's price is $23.50 and BH is $29.50.

Andrew

Bob Salomon
2-Feb-2009, 04:59
Maris, Woderful experience!

To Bob,
I contacted a dealer(Heliopan) @ NC, his name is John; He told me his price use to just half of the price of BH, but now the differential is minimum, only $10-15. Is there any reason for that?
For example, the B/W filters I an asking for(52mm), John's price is $23.50 and BH is $29.50.

Andrew

I don't know what @nc is. The list price in US $ for a 52mm UV is $52.99 and with the SH-PMC coating it is $100.99. These are the latest version slim mounts with front threads. Heliopan has not made these filters with a thick mount in over 6 years.

Andrew ren
2-Feb-2009, 05:49
I don't know what @nc is. The list price in US $ for a 52mm UV is $52.99 and with the SH-PMC coating it is $100.99. These are the latest version slim mounts with front threads. Heliopan has not made these filters with a thick mount in over 6 years.

It's @North Carolina. The price I referred earlier is 52mm for B/W contrast filters(normally Mid-yellow/Green/Red).

$100.99 for a multi-coated UV is pretty pricy! 16-coating? almost triple the price of B+W's MRC..

Bob Salomon
2-Feb-2009, 08:44
It's @North Carolina. The price I referred earlier is 52mm for B/W contrast filters(normally Mid-yellow/Green/Red).

$100.99 for a multi-coated UV is pretty pricy! 16-coating? almost triple the price of B+W's MRC..

No it isn't. I quoted manufacturer's suggested list price and you quoted a retail price. No dealer sells at manufacturer's suggested list price. They all discount to their customers. So you would have to compare retail to retail prices or list to list prices but not list to retail price.

As we are not a retailer we can't tell you what a retailer will sell the item for. Only that no retailer sells at full list.

cowanw
2-Feb-2009, 08:46
At Adorama Heliopan 52mm UV slim mount $57.25
B+W 52mm slim mount multi coated $71.95
Regards
Bill

Bob Salomon
2-Feb-2009, 10:37
At Adorama Heliopan 52mm UV slim mount $57.25
B+W 52mm slim mount multi coated $71.95
Regards
Bill
Those are not the same either. The B+W is multi coated but the Heliopan is the standard coat. You need the price for the Heliopan SH-PMC to compare prices with a B+W multi coated MRC filter.

Please note, all Heliopan non-rotating filters are only available in slim mount with front threads. They stopped making the thicker non-rotating mount several years ago.

cowanw
2-Feb-2009, 12:56
Actually it was the SH-PMC 16 layer super hard multi coated for 57.25. Good deal!
Regards
Bill

Andrew ren
2-Feb-2009, 13:30
I just got my B+W mrc 52mm for $37 from 2filter.
I mean both products are all quality stuff.

Andrew