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Thread: Filter Order

  1. #1

    Filter Order

    It's been so long since I used multiple filters on a lens that I forgot the proper order. With respect to the lens, which order is the best for a polarizer and color correction (e.g., 81B)

    a. Polarizer next to the lens, 81B on the outside?
    b. 81B next to the lens and polarizer on the outside.

    What about for this scenario:

    a. Infrared filter next to the lens and distorting filter on the outside?
    b. Distorting filter next to the lens and IR filter to the outside?

    Finally, what would be the proper order if a ND filter was included in each of the foregoing scenarios?

    Thomas

  2. #2

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    Re: Filter Order

    Hi,

    In your first scenario, the polariser should be on the outside (furthest form the lens). The reason is that you don't really know what your 81B is doing to the polarisation of light that strikes it -- optical elements can rotate or otherwise juggle polarisation without affecting image quality. That means that the polarisation information could be lost or messed up after passing through an extraneous filter.

    So the polariser should be the first optical element that light from the scene strikes. Once it has filtered out the unwanted planes of polarisation, then really you don't care whether any other elements bend, twist or juggle the polarisation of the remaining light.

    In the second scenario, I don't really know. Maybe someone else does. I shouldn't think it makes very much difference but could be wrong.

    Enjoy
    Hal

  3. #3
    Big Negs Rock!
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    Re: Filter Order

    The only time I've paid attention to the order of the filters is when I used an Arri Varicon -- it has to be the last filter before the lens. The rest are pretty arbitrary since they each affect the image. On a personal note, I usually put the diffusion (or grads) as close to the front (away from the front element) as possible to throw them out of focus. YMMV

    Mark
    Mark Woods

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  4. #4
    Big Negs Rock!
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    Re: Filter Order

    Re: the Polariser, with the matte boxes I've used, there was a 138mm round slot just in front of the lens, that's where the poliriser went, or the 85 Pola. Since it need to be rotated, it made sense to use it there and not in one of the rectangular slots. I'm not alone in this practice among Cinematographers.
    Mark Woods

    Large Format B&W
    Cinematography Mentor at the American Film Institute
    Past President of the Pasadena Society of Artists
    Director of Photography
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  5. #5

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    Re: Filter Order

    Lee system: polariser goes on the outside, furthest from the lens
    Cokin P system: polariser goes on the inside, next to the lens

    So if there is a difference, the manufacturers aren't in agreement on it. Personally I've done both and don't recall any difference in the end result.

  6. #6
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Filter Order

    It's generally best to put the filter with the highest density closest to the subject.

    This reduces the amount of light bouncing around between surfaces in the stack.

    Please note that this comment refers to real glass filters, not flimsies.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  7. #7
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: Filter Order

    Lee is emphatic about the order of polarisers and polyester filters.

    They put a sticker on my polyester filter boxes that says:

    Please note: Polyester Camera Filters MUST NOT be placed between Polariser filter and the subject.

    The wording is a bit confusing, and begs to be read twice or thrice. The upshot is place the polariser furthest from the lens.

    Don’t think I’d want the wordsmiths at Lee to try to explain why, but I trust they know.

  8. #8
    Big Negs Rock!
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    Re: Filter Order

    I only use glass filters. The Lee warning comes from their R&D. But, as you all know, manufacturers sometimes don't get it right.
    Mark Woods

    Large Format B&W
    Cinematography Mentor at the American Film Institute
    Past President of the Pasadena Society of Artists
    Director of Photography
    Pasadena, CA
    www.markwoods.com

  9. #9

    Re: Filter Order

    Thanks for the input everyone. Except for the IR filter which is resin, the rest are glass.

    Thomas

  10. #10

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    Re: Filter Order

    I asked a related question a few years back on photo.net. Michael Briggs provided reasoning for placing polarizing filters closest to the subject when using resin filters. Alan Davenport provided additional justification for using GND filters closest to the lens. Perhaps Leigh has the the best answer to address your filters Thomas.

    http://photo.net/large-format-photography-forum/00PWQ4

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