Purchased my Kit for a Trip to Asia, Need a Few Quick Answers for Filters...

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by RuffDraft, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    Hi All,

    I'd appreciate some quick answers to my questions at the bottom of this post, so if you can help and are in a rush, jump there!!!

    I initially made a post "OMD Lens Suggestions, £1000 for a trip to Asia (Taiwan, Hong Kong & Singapore)", where I received many different recommendations for different kits. It's taken me months to decide and become happy with my choices and I had to throw out the idea of a 12-35mm Panasonic as I really wanted the two primes and couldn't afford to get all three. Furthermore, I hope that Olympus will release a zoom and I'll get that one instead, in the future. So far, I've been impressed with the macro capabilities of the kit zoom, and it's made me interested in getting the 60mm eventually, but I can't afford it at this moment in time.

    Until then, I'll continue to use what I have and what I've just purchased! This is what I went with:

    • Panasonic Leica 25mm 1.4
    • Olympus 12mm f2
    • Olympus 12mm Hood (I know, expensive and has its faults)
    • Billingham Hadley Pro Bag (hoping this will fit my gear, along with a Panasonic X800 Video Camera)

    This is to be added to my current gear:
    • Olympus OM-D EM 5
    • Olympus 12-50mm Zoom Kit Lens
    • Olympus 45mm f/1.8
    • Panasonic X800 Video Camera


    I chose the Billingham Hadley Pro as it seemed the most cost-effective bag. I really wanted the small, but it was just too small - I couldn't fit my video camera in there, along with the rest of my kit. So I've gone with the Pro and I'm hoping that all of my gear will fit nicely. If it doesn't, then it'll have to be returned and I'll get the 207.


    I had to throw out the 12-35, but I'm hoping that my three favourite focal lengths from my trip to Canada (12, 25 and 45mm) will do the job nicely, as prime lenses. If I can afford it, just before I go, I'll pick up the 100-300mm by Pansonic for Tapei Zoo. If I can't, I'll just have to make do with the 45mm.


    1. What type of filter should I buy? I know B & W are recommended, but is there any particular type? I.e. UV, Polariser, etc.
    2. I'm also looking into getting an ND Filter to shoot at 1.4 on the Panny, or to create a nice ocean blur with the 12mm. But would I need a tripod to garner this effect? If not, what do you recommend?
    3. Does anyone know if the Pro will fit my gear before it arrives tomorrow?

    Massive thank you to all recommendations, everyone here gave great advice and I know that a zoom would have made life easier, but I wanted those two lenses ultimately in the end. My friends will just have to deal with the lens swapping. They'll forgive me! :)

    Thanks again! :2thumbs:
  2. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    As far as filters go, there are a couple of factors you'll want to consider: type, size and brand.

    The four most common types of filters used by modern photographers are UV, polarizing, neutral density (ND) and graduated neutral density (GND).

    On digital cameras the UV filtering aspect of UV filters is basically superfluous so the main reason to use UV filters is to protect the front element of the lens. Some photographers swear by the protection of UV filters while others eschew them due to the degradation in image quality they can cause. I won't get into that near religious debate except to say that I fall into the latter camp. Feel free to Google "Should I use UV filters?" if you want to get into the details.

    Polarizing filters are used to cut glare from non-metallic surfaces like water. They will also deepen the blue of skies. There are two types of polarizers: linear and circular. Circular polarizers are necessary to allow phase detect auto focus (PDAF) systems to work, but if you are only going to be using your lens with :43: which uses contrast detect auto focus (CDAF) you can save a few dollars by purchasing a linear polarizer. These filters are great for most travel photography and would be the first filter I would recommend most users purchase.

    Neutral density filters reduce the overall amount of light reaching the sensor. This allows you to shoot with wider apertures in mid-day light and also allow for the longer exposures that are necessary to get certain motion effects like the "creamy" look in waterfalls and waves. They come in varying degrees of light blockage. For most uses I would recommend you start with one that blocks 3 stops (referred to variously as a "0.9 ND" or an "8x ND" or an "ND8"). This would be the filter I would consider second most useful after a polarizer. When using an ND filter to capture motion effects the use of a tripod (or some other camera support) is nearly mandatory if you want sharp results.

    Graduated neutral density filters are similar to neutral density filters except that the light blockage only effects part of the sensor. These are used primarily when shooting landscapes where the top portion of the frame is generally much brighter than the lower portion. They allow you to adjust your exposure to get more detail out of your foreground without blowing out the upper part of the frame. If you're going to use GND filters extensively you'll probably want to look into some sort of slot-in filter system such as Cokin or LEE so that you can easily adjust the transition point of the effect.​

    One way to save some money when buying filters is to purchase a set in just one size and use step-up or step-down rings to adapt those filters to all of your lenses. In your case, I believe that all of your lenses use 46mm filters except the 12-50 which uses 52mm. This means that you could either standardize on 52mm filters and purchase a 46mm-to-52mm step-up ring for use on your other lenses, or purchase 46mm filters along with a 52mm-to-46mm step-down ring.

    This isn't completely painless as the former option will make the use of lens hoods difficult while the latter option may cause vignetting on the 12-50, particularly at the wide end, so you'll want to consider that. Perhaps the answer is to stick with using the 46mm filters on the primes.​

    Like most things you do get what you pay for to some extent with filters. You will likely notice more artifacts when using cheap filters than with expensive ones. This relationship between price and performance isn't exactly linear in my experience, though, so I'd simply steer away from the bargain basement brands (e.g. Tiffen). I once read a filter recommendation on this thread that rang true to me: "go for Hoya or better". B+W is a very decent brand in my experience.​
  3. swampduck

    swampduck Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 29, 2013
    Taneytown , MD
    Real Name:
    I would get a

    ND Filter, maybe 2 so you can stack to get even longer exposures if needed
    these will help you get that nice water blur, and yes you need a tripod for this

    B+W and Hoya are nice, but a little pricey, but that's just my opinion. I use Cokin because they are big and square and I don't have to worry about vignetting. It uses a ring system to attach to front of lens and a holder that attaches to that. Keep in mind though, Cokin filters are made from a gel, so some folks have said that the ND's aren't really Neutral, but I have never had the issue. They are relatively cheap, most less than $20, so I never worry about damaging them, but I have had my set for over 5 years and never had an issue.
  4. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    Thank you, an incredible piece of advice. :2thumbs:

    I wouldn't get that type of knowledge in a store, much appreciated.

    Are there any downsides to picking up two polarising filters and keeping them mounted constantly? Or am I better picking up really good UV filters and then adding a polariser when necessary?

    I'll have a look for a 3 stop ND as well, thanks a lot for this advice, I did know about filters for a very brief moment a long while ago, but after cramming loads of photography concepts, principles and gear into my head, I've forgotten which does what and have no experience of using them, bar the UV filters that I've always bought for protection.

    Price shouldn't be too important, I should be able to spend £100 in ensuring that my two new lenses are kept that way. It's such a tall order of investment on camera gear. I never thought I'd plunge so much into this hobby.

    If there are no downsides to shooting with a polariser constantly, I could pick up this one:

    Sigma 46mm

    Continually, I could pick up this 0.9ND filter:

    Heliopan 46mm

    2 x Sigma and 1 x Heliopan (as I can attach when needed)?

    Thanks for the help!!!

    Sounds good, I don't know if I'll be able to get a tripod in the region of £100 that won't be too heavy and not a complete waste of time either? As I'm travelling to Asia and will be going around with a friend, I'm unsure as to the amount that I'd shoot with a tripod, and as I'm on a budget now until 2014, I will need to wait until Christmas time to pick up a really great tripod!

    That said, will the 0.9 be useful just to shoot at 1.4 with the panny?

    Thanks for the recommendations!!! I will look into that as well, I was just thinking to splash the cash whilst I've got it really... but I think that might be a good shout as well! Thanks.
  5. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    The downside of using a Polarizer as a full-time filter is that it's going to block a certain amount of light (probably around 1.5-2 stops), which will impact your ability to shoot in low light and indoors. If you want to use a protective filter, you'll probably want to go with a separate UV filter for each lens.

    One other thing to be aware of if you are stacking multiple filters (e.g. a UV and polarizer) is that you may introduce some vignetting, particularly at wide angles (i.e. the 12mm and 12-50). To combat that you can look for "slim" filters which will help a bit.

    Those filters you've chosen look to be okay, though I don't have personal experience with either Sigma or Heliopan branded filters.

    Here's a UV filter that would be a good match for your silver lenses:
    B + W Digital Pro 010 UV-Haze filter E 46 mm

    Yeah, the "little" things can add up pretty quickly.

    As for the ND, I don't think I'd bother until I had some sort of tripod. For shooting larger apertures in bright light, I'd either rely on the polarizer or get a 1- or 2-stop ND. A 3-stop ND might be too dark for that purpose.

    A £100 budget for a decent full-size tripod is tough. One cheaper option would be a tabletop tripod or something like a Gorillapod. A couple of good "full-size" options to look at for not too much more than £100 are the Benro MeFoto or Benro Travel Angel
  6. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    Another option to consider would be to wait until you get to Asia and pick up the accessories you want there. The prices might be a little bit better than in the UK. This is just based on what I've read and heard, I haven't personally shopped for gear in Asia.

    If you wanted to investigate going this route, I'm sure there is someone on this forum who could give you an idea of prices and point you in the right direction.
  7. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    Thanks, I'll purchase that and a black one for my 25mm f/1.4. I understand what you're saying, so hopefully I can just pick up one polariser and leave it there...

    The Sigma has rave reviews, surprisingly. I think I've heard Heliopan as being a decent make, but I'll do more research before purchasing.

    Okay, I've had many a look over the Benro's. I eventually decided to wait... I don't think I'd have it out enough on holiday and I figured I could always get the Gitzo Traveller when I came back... which seems an amazing tripod, where as the Benro's seem good 'for the money'. I could technically afford one, but it'd be a final purchase in my budget to coincide with the holiday.

    My only issue is that people say to spend more on your tripod than anything else... and at the minute, I'm shooting a lot of toys around the house... eventually, I'm receiving two Danbo's and have a few different ideas for stories that I'll be telling with those... but apart from that, it'd be the odd time on holiday and I don't know if I want to carry one around whilst travelling... but then I do wish for one, as I think eventually I'll be into night photography and cityscapes A LOT! As my work schedule would barely ever release with me a camera in the day, but nights are definitely a possibility after work. Weekends are the only other time, which I suppose is the same for most people... just seems night photography and messing around painting light seems like something I could do!

    Thanks again!

    Thanks DeeJay, I've thought about doing this with a tripod... but again, see the above post... I am definitely happier spending my money with someone I know as well... Amazon are really good on returns and so I feel like I can trust them with something that I generally lack knowledge on... I'll definitely consider it though! :)
  8. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    Get the polariser first. And get a really good one. It's worth it. A good polariser also can be used as a 2 stop ND filter at a pinch. You wont be leaving a polariser on all the time as it has a major effect on exposure.

    UV filters are really only for protection on modern digital cameras although they still have use at extreme altitudes. Unless your worried about sand/water spray I wouldn't bother with a UV. Use a hood on every lens for protection instead.

    The hadley pro is a fantastic bag. A lifetime bag. A quick tip. Take two rear lens caps (order a half dozen cheapies off ebay for this) and glue them back to back and then tape the outside. Now you can attach two lenses to them and they'll stack perfectly in your camera bag. That way you won't have a bunch of lenses in pouches (where you can never get to them) or bashing each other in your bag. It's an old trick rangefinder shooters use that works great with m4/3.

    For a tripod, a gorilla pod is a great travelling solution. It'll go in the Hadley too.

  9. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    Here's a demonstration of stacking in the Billingham Hadley Pro. Nothing bangs together and its reasonably accessible. Further down the thread is an alternative way of outfitting the inside to suit different gear and conditions.


    Also, consider getting a larger filter and using a step-up ring to it. This ultimately saves space and money because 1.) you'll afford to get the best filters you can get and 2.) you're avoiding the cost of buying additional filters of like and kind to fit others lenses with different filter size requirements; in addition to the space requirements for them.

    Your 100-300 becomes a wildcard of sorts because it's among the largest filter size in native M4/3 lenses and it could be better to get filters to fit it precisely.

    I had gone with the Olympus 75-300 in part due to it's 58mm filter size, a size that I standardized on. 58mm natively fits the P12-35; the O75-300; O40-150; O75; and with step up rings that go to 58mm for the O9-18; the P25 and the O45mm lenses. Available is one rubber hood for all three mentioned lenses stepped up if you like using a hood.

    Edited to add:

    I read your concern in that thread about having an empty bay to facilitate swapping and might consider a B207. There is a weight versus space tradeoff to consider. The 207 ; 307 weigh more than the Hadley Pro. Consider whether you are really going to bring all the gear with you each day and how much you'll be on your feet.

    But for the fact that you bought the Hadley Pro, another way to facilitate is to bring a small pouch, either on belt or shoulder carried, that is empty just for such assistance. Then, A.) prep a lens in the Hadley for mounting. B.) De-mount a lens from the body and drop it into the empty pouch; C.) pull your chosen lens from the Hadley Pro.

    Another means I've been toying with is bring a large, flat pad that you stow within the Hadley Pro. It could even be a cheap place mat that is cut to fit the Hadley Pro. If it's rubberized or wet resistant, all the better. That mat gives you a nice surface that you can lay down somewhere and do your swap as though it were on your desk at home. It could prove to be good, whether you've laid it down on grass or on concrete.
  10. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Hi, I'm in taiwan right now... just arrive a couple of days ago :)

    I couldn't be bothered bringing a big tripod on my holiday. I brought an ultrapod II. I brought a 58mm hoya polariser and UV filter. UV filters more for when I'm in dusty environments. Another thing to watch out with using the the polariser, is the possibility of uneven blue skies with wider angles. I was tossing up about getting a ND filter for silky smooth water and dramatic skies, but wouldn't be worth it without a decent tripod.
  11. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    Can you explain to me which one is a really good one please Gordon, at 46mm? I found this one: Sigma, which seems to have really good reviews... but I'm none the wiser!

    Can you also recommend a Gorilla Pod that will fit in the Hadley? There seems to be a lot of different solutions... especially one that would definitely fit in the Hadley? As well as a tripod head? If you have the time that is, I spent so long researching tripods and to be honest, I seemed to come out more confused than I'd been beforehand! I have seen the gorilla pods and they look to be reasonably robust, but they make me nervous when you see one hanging from a cliff! Do they keep a :43: camera stiff for longer exposures?

    Thanks Gordon!!!

    Hi Savas!

    I was the massive fan who nagged you to get those threads up as fast as you could lol!

    Thanks very much for those two threads, they were endlessly helpful and, if I'm honest, I think the 207 would have fit my needs perfectly, but I decided to go with the smaller bag, as part of coming to :43: was to decrease the bag size that I carried on trails across Canada. I may return the Pro if it can't fit everything that I need. The X800 is my biggest worry to carry with me, it's going to take up another slot in the bag!

    Can you explain to me where I can buy the first insert that you showed in your thread? You showed the original (2nd) and your 'new one' (1st). I'd like to know which one is the new one!

    Thanks for your filter recommendations too :thumbup:

    I am yet to own the 100-300, but I'll keep that in consideration if I can afford it in July before I fly. That's the only lens I've not picked up, that's next on the list to travel to Taipei Zoo with!

    Thanks Savas, I'll keep that in mind as well! It seems complicated all the step up ring stuff, but I'm sure that it's simple once you get down to it! For now, I'll probably just buy one and share, as fortunately the 12 and 25mm are the same filter sizes. Next time, I'll consider a step up ring when I buy my next pair of lenses!

    Your solution to my empty bay wishes sounds impressive! If you ever make one, be sure to share! I'd definitely have a whirl! I'm fortunate for this trip in particular, that my friend will be with me almost always. I'm also visiting (I believe) some very safe places, so I won't feel as nervous juggling lenses if it's necessary to do so out in the open. Otherwise, I'll definitely try the a), b), c) tip!

    Thanks very much for all your help, really do appreciate it, and ultimately, it was the space/weight trade off that made me go with the Pro. It was actually the video that someone posted here of the small that swung it for me, the small can fit so much, that I figured the 207 with its added space and weight, might be overkill, even if it is the most convenient! We'll see when it arrives though!


    Haha that's a funny coincidence! My friend says there's a top party in the South this weekend, a 3 day festival if you're interested and available! It's in Kenting if you want to look it up :thumbup:

    Thanks hazwing! That's really helpful that you've recommended the ultrapod II, I'll look at how this compares to the gorilla pods as well.

    Thanks for the tips and have an amazing trip! Look forward to seeing your shots!
  12. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    Initial impressions:

    All of the kit has arrived! No noise in the focusing of the 25mm indoors and 12mm looks sharp, going to go and take a few images really quickly and see if I can see any problems with either lens. Very pleased though, apart from the 25mm build quality in comparison to the 12mm is a bit pathetic... amazing manual focus ring, but the 12mm is built so nicely, it actually feels like it should be worth what it cost, where as I'm unsure if that's the case with the 25mm. Either way, forget build quality, the images that I've seen with the 25mm look astounding and I can't wait to use these lenses.

    In other good news, the bag fits all my gear. My only worry is that a 100-300 would not fit in the main compartment of my bag, along with the OM-D and X800, plus other lenses. That would present me with a dilemma, but in fairness, I think I can work around this problem by buying an additional bag to cup to the outside.

    Either way, thank you all! I'll post some pictures eventually, but I'm going to meet up with a friend now! Couldn't be happier! Thanks again!
  13. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013

    hazwing, the ND is also good for opening up your fast lenses in bright daylight, getting you the creamy bokeh look that would otherwise have been impossible; or severely blown.
  14. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    That's good news. Glad it is working out.

    I don't think the 100-300 will fit in an add-on pouch to the HPro. An Avea 5 comes near to it; is an additional expenses; won't do the job; and will adversely alter the sleek lines of the bag.

    If you want to have it all with you, there are pouches that can hold the 100-300 on your belt. I had an old Lowepro neoprene camera pouch laying around and I put the O75-300 in there comfortably and the pouch conformed to it. It could have been put onto my belt if I wanted or placed in an overhead bag if traveling.

    In case of no camera pouches lying around to test, an ancillary bag for it could be a belt-carried Think Tank with it's waterproof shroud. Like this: Lens Changer 25 V2.0 or this: Skin 50 V2.0 Both should prove to be able to contain the lens hood as well. I think that both of these bags could also take a shoulder strap if in the event of wearing a jacket or coat.
  15. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    Real Name:
    Go for the polarizer and perhaps an ND. Glad your gear is delighting you.

    On buying gear in Singapore you'll probably find the prices about the same as the UK ex VAT, but will be able to find a much greater variety of stock. Alan Photo and John 3:16 in Funan mall are reputable. Cathay Photo in Peninsula Plaza (and Marina Square) have a good range and do used stuff. Black Market Camera in Peninsular Shopping Centre is also worth a visit. All those are within a block of City Hall MRT.
  16. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    cheers... I was looking more at a 6 or 9 stop ND filter. I'm not really planning on taking many creamy bokeh shots on this trip... But could be a different story for the OP
  17. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    You might want to check out this test done by LensTip. It's the most definitive test of CPL filters I have seen.

    In their tests the Sigma is better than average, but not at the top. The best results were from B+W and the best values were from Fujiyama and Marumi.
  18. TDP

    TDP Guest

    I live in Taiwan. If you have time hit Po Ai street W/SW of Main station in Taipei - lots of camera stores there.

    X-E1 City Walk by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr
  19. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    TDP, that is one of the neatest city streets I have seen. Very orderly.
  20. TDP

    TDP Guest

    I called ahead, told them to get their street together I was stopping by to take a snap or two :)