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Filter questions...

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by MrKal_El, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. MrKal_El

    MrKal_El Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 24, 2011
    Currently I shoot 99% of the time w/ a Panny 20mm which has a Hoya HMC Haze UV(C) Filter:

    Amazon.com: Hoya HMC Haze UV(C) - Filter - UV - 46 mm: Camera & Photo

    I plan to p/u the Olympus 45mm 1.8 ASAP and use that as well...

    My questions are these-

    1. What filters are recommended to own that stay permanently attached on the lens?
    2. What filters should I use (need) for bright outdoor shots?
    3. For the ND filters, does it make sense to purchase them for the 46mm Diameter of the Panny & use a step down ring for the times I'll need it for the Kit lens / Oly 45mm (37mm Diameter)?
    4. Is the Hoya currently on the Panny a good filter to keep on all the time?

    I am not looking to spend anything crazy, but am open to all suggestions and knowledge... Thanks again in advance!
  2. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    1) You shouldn't have a filter on the lens all the time. Lenses are designed to perform optimally in normal conditions just as they are. Putting unnecessary glass there, particularly anything with no/cheap coatings, will reduce quality by introducing glare and reducing contrast.
    2) You may want a circular polarizer. They are very useful for darkening skies (making clouds pop) reducing reflections (making it possible to take photos through glass, for example) and increasing saturation. An ND filter may be useful if you want to use longer shutter speeds, or shoot with a wider aperture most of the time. Both types of filters would increase your creative options. The effects of any other filter can be replicated in post.
    3) Are you ever going to buy a lens with a bigger filter thread? Think about that before you commit to 46mm. I would certainly say it makes more sense to just buy one set of filters and use step down rings, you can use the money you save buying better filters.
    4) I would say no. These things are often sold as 'protecting' the lens, but imo a lens it more likely to be damaged with a filter on. The front element of a lens is usually recessed and quite hard to knock or scratch. A filter on the other hand is completely exposed. If it breaks, then it will probably scratch the front element on the lens itself.

    Hope that helps.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You want step-up rings to use a larger filter, not step-down. :)  I don't mean to be picky, but this is important if he goes to the store and asks for one... If you use the wrong name you'll get the wrong type of ring.

    Step-up goes from a smaller thread on the lens and steps up to a larger thread for the filter. This is what you want as you want your filter to be over-sized for the lens in order to avoid vignetting problems. What I do is to use a 49mm filter for any sizes up to 49mm, a 67mm for sizes up to 67mm, and a 77mm filter for any sizes over 67mm. That pretty much encompasses all necessary filter sizes. If you wanted you could use a 77mm filter and step up every lens to that, but that 77mm filter would be rather ridiculous on a 46mm lens, lol.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    Try and not get caught on the controversial topic of whether to keep a filter on all the time or not. Basically, its a personal preference thing and there are agruments for an against.

    May protect your lens in the event of the ancidental drop etc.
    Protects against sand and other dust from scratching your lens.

    May.. may.. result in a bit of loss in IQ and could lead to lens flare etc. Depends on quality of filters used.

    If its an expensive lens to replace.. then less of a controversy.
    For less expensive lens, it's a toss up. Quality filters can go upto 100+

    As for m43s: Filter size issue is problematic. If you go with a screw on and have a couple of different sizes, gets complicated.

    Easist solution is to get a UV filter or Polarizer of very high quality and kept it on all the time and then for ND filters, get square ones and hold it infront of the lens or use a cokin system. Easy enough to unscrew a polarizer if you don't need it on a given exposure.

    For the hoya, take some exposure on a tripod with and without the filter, you'll see if there is any degradation in quality of the exposures. I'd guess probably not.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. MrKal_El

    MrKal_El Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 24, 2011
    Right, so I am assuming purchasing Filters that are 46mm & using a step-UP ( ;)  ) ring on the 37mm lens to fit them, is one way to do it?

    Also, opinions on the other questions I posed?
  6. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    I kept a 46mm hoya uv on my 20mm for awhile to protect it, and leave the lens cap off. I started noticing lots of flare in night shots so now its off. It only goes on in adverse weather.

    Just a hood is sufficient to protect the front element if you know youll be shooting all day. I plan to step all my oly 37mm lens thread to 46mm to use one set of filters and hood.

    Ned- since a 46mm ring is the same diameter as my 48f1.8 (w/37mm) do you think there will be any issues with vignetting?
    • Like Like x 2
  7. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    I have ND 8x and ND 16x for a couple of my 50mm so I can shoot them in daylight wide-open :smile:
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Correct. :)  If you choose 46mm for your step-up though, make sure it's a size that you expect a fair amount of lenses to come in (for whatever format you're using). 46mm was a size used for Leica and other rangefinder lenses, as was 40.5mm. Not always the easiest sizes to find accessories for SLR gear, but it may be the best size if you have a lot of rangefinder accessories you like available to you.

    I use 49mm because that was a very standard size for old Zuiko lenses. :) 

    I personally don't believe in keeping a protective filter on the lens. :)  It can protect your element from loose debris like blowing sand, but from general bumps and falls a hood is much better protection. If you should drop your lens, the "protective filter" will cause more damage as it will shatter easily and scratch your front element, whereas your front element will take an extreme blow before it'll shatter. A plastic bayonet hood is best for absorbing impact in the case of a fall.

    Obviously, the best image quality is also achieved without a protective filter... but that's probably not going to make any real difference if you're using a high quality filter. For me, Hoya is the minimum standard that I go by. They are decent glass but I would not get anything less than Hoya. B+W, Heliopan, Singh Ray, etc. are of an even better class if you want to step up the quality a bit. Where I am I can also buy a brand called Kenko Pro-1, which uses the exact same glass as the Hoya Pro-1 series but normally sells for cheaper (though not always). That's a good way to go if you're on a budget.

    However, for me personally I invest only in filters for a purpose, such as Polarizing or Neutral Density. I don't use clear filters as a personal choice. Though I could sell you some if you want... I always end up with a few from lens purchases. ;) 

    Nope, there will be no problem. :)  The diameter of the lens may be smaller, but the optics were made not to go past that 37mm filter thread, so anything larger than 37mm won't be a problem. There's generally a lot of leeway actually, which is why we can mount hoods on our lenses. You could even go smaller a bit, but eventually you'll go too small - whereas going bigger is always a safe bet.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. MrKal_El

    MrKal_El Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 24, 2011
    Thank you for the great info!!
  10. capodave

    capodave Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 4, 2010
    Southern Cal
    I just realized the quality of my pictures went down dramatically with the fairly inexpensive filter I had on my Panny 20.
    It' off now.
  11. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Report from the real world: A few weeks ago my G1 with 14-140 lens was sitting on a table, the strap got hooked, and it hit a concrete floor with just some thin commercial carpet for padding.

    The UV filter did its job; the ring was bent and the glass cracked and broken. The (expensive!) lens remained pristine.
    Agreed. In my case, though, the shade was reversed and there was a plastic lens cap in place.

    I always buy good quality multi-coated filters, however, to minimize any image deterioration. In theory I would remove them for critical work, but truthfully I don't recall having done that. They just don't seem to have noticeable effect on the images. YMMV, however.
  12. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    If you take a quality clear filter and a cheap one and hold them in front of your eye, you will see a dramatic difference. The image you see through the filter should be clear as day and you shouldn't even be able to tell you're looking through glass. In fact, you should be able to put it on your lens and you should only be able to tell there's glass in front at certain angles. If it's obvious glass at any angle you turn it to, then it's going to affect your images.
  13. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    You say the filter 'did its job', yet there is absolutely no evidence here that it made any difference. It is hokum invented by sales assistants, with no basis in physical reality. At any rate, if the camera was just sitting there on the table not being used, the lens cap should've been on.
  14. In this instance, I'd "Vote 1" that the filter did indeed perform a very useful function.
  15. rex87

    rex87 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 21, 2011
    winnipeg, mb
    I only have ND filter on my 20mm I use it to shoot daylight wide open. when im done i take off the filter.
  16. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    By breaking? I don't understand why that's useful. Just a waste of money really.
  17. kilowa

    kilowa New to Mu-43

    Sep 25, 2011
    Toronto, Canada
    Get two step up rings to 52mm

    RE (3). I would get 52mm step up rings for the 46mm and 45mm lenses and buy 52mm ND filters. This covers the most m43 lenses for the least money.
  18. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    ROFL, quite a blast! Let's deal with it.

    Not sure why you would say that. My undergraduate degree is in physics and I recall that Mr. Newton tells us that Force=Mass x Acceleration. The name of the game is to absorb energy, which the filter and the filter rim did very well. That spreads the acceleration out over time and hence reduces the peak force that the camera and lens was subjected do. That is, absolutely, "making a difference."

    Now, what would have happened if the filter was not there? Absolutely the rim of the lens would have bent. Would the front element have broken? I doubt it. Would some delicate mechanism like the vibration reduction been damaged? I have no idea, but I am happy to have not conducted the experiment. If you would care to send me a camera and a 14-140 to test, though, I can easily duplicate the situation and will send back the result.

    Look at the design of any highway barrier or those big blocks of bumper foam on the back of highway maintenance trucks. The purpose of those designs is to spread the deceleration out over time and, hence, reduce the peak deceleration. The same principle applied in miniature in my situation.

    Or another example; NASCAR crashes. As long as the driver isn't punctured, the spectacular rolling, bouncing, spinning crashes are the ones you want. Peak forces are low and the driver usually walks away with only strap bruises. It is the sudden stops that kill.

    Any salesman likes to upsell accessories, but that doesn't mean that all accessories are bad investments. In addition to protection in the extreme like I observed, the filters also protect the lens from things like scratches. Have you ever been in a situation where there was sand and gravel blowing around? I have.

    It was. Also a reversed lens hood.

    Yes. A side effect of absorbing energy that would otherwise have been dissipated in the camera and lens. It takes energy to bend and break things.
  19. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    If you have a degree in physics, you should know that a brittle material won't absorb any shock. It'll just pass the shock onto other areas or break, and even then that will hardly have absorbed any energy. A glass filter ground to be as thin as can be is about the most brittle thing I can imagine! If you believe it protected the rim of the lens, then an empty filter would've done the job just as well, without the possibility of broken glass scratching the front element (which actually wouldn't be the end of the world optically, but that's a discussion for another day).

    I am not trying to attack your choice, as I said it's yours to make. I just don't want others to take this myth as fact. It's irresponsible for you to recommend using filters to protect a lens, off the back of a single anecdote. That is not what they are made for.
  20. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    If you have data proving that glass can be broken without absorbing any energy, there are several refereed journals that would be interested in publishing your paper. It would be a breakthrough akin to the CERN guys' paper on neutrinos apparently exceeding the speed of light.
    And where did I do that? I just provided a data point where a filter protected a lens. Had the camera dropped with the lens exactly perpendicular to the floor, the filter would not have done anything.

    I'm not sure why you are so angry about this, but I agree too that you are entitled to your opinion. You're not, however, entitled to your own facts.

    Re broken filter glass scratching the lens as you and Ned have mentioned, that is an interesting thought but it seems unlikely to me. Not only would the filter glass have to reach the lens surface it would have to have enough momentum to cause damage. In my case there was some loose glass but no lens damage. If a filter was hit square on by, say a BB gun shot, I expect that the lens could be scratched but a direct hit without the filter in place would be far worse. I'd be interested in any reports from the real world on this scenario.
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