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Old December 10th, 2014, 12:21 PM   #1
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Which B+W filter should I buy?

Trying to figure out a clear UV filter for my Sony EX1 (77MM).

What model of the B+W should I get? There are so many choices.

I am also open to other brands, just want to protect the lens.

On another note, I am using the hood, so do I need the filter at all?

And can you ever get a lens/filter perfectly clean? Will tiny little specs show in the video?

Newbie here (I inherited the camera), so go easy on me :)
Sam Striano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 10th, 2014, 12:49 PM   #2
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Re: Which B+W filter should I buy?

Many argue that you don't need a UV filter.

here are some links regarding the UV filter thing-

The UV filter: Digital Photography Review

I tend to agree that you don't need a UV filter for protection. Your lens hood is all the protection you need. I shoot with $25,000 zoom lenses and I don't use a UV filter. And we are pretty rough on our gear. We rarely even bother with lens caps.

Additionally, don't clean the front of your lens obsessively. Just use canned air, a bulb blower, or a lens brush. If there is a fingerprint or something of that nature on the lens clean it lightly with a microfiber cloth and lens cleaner solution. Put the cleaning solution on the cloth, never directly on the lens itself. ( also a good practice when cleaning home windows or car windows. Spray the cloth. Don't spray the glass. )

Now, there are some very rare circumstances when you need a protective filter for the front of your lens. Instances such as shooting a sparking subject and the sparks are hitting the front of the lens because of your close proximity. Or shooting in a sandstorm. Or shooting a mardi gras parade and the lens could be hit by beads thrown from the floats. Or when you are operating your camera remotely and the camera is shooting a Hollywood stunt where there will be fire and shrapnel. But those are pretty rare circumstances for most shooters. And when they do use protection on the lens the Hollywood crews don't use a UV filter. They usually shoot through lexan.

Now, I suppose my last paragraph made a case for having SOME sort of clear protective filter, just in case you need it. If you do decide to purchase a UV filter go with B & W and go with one of their filters designated "Pro Clear" as opposed to "Pro UV":


BH (Links)


Remember that the filter needs to fit so that you can still use your lens hood. The linked filter does. Filters that tout "Oversized Filter Ring Reduces Vignetting" may restrict mounting your lens hood. You are unlikely to have any vignetting with the Ex1 kit lens since it isn't an ultra wide lens.

Consider that using a UV filter means that you are using a relatively cheap piece of glass in front of all your precisely designed optics. My experience is that UV filters typically acquire cleaning marks far faster than the front element of any lens. Maybe that is because people clean the UV filter more vigorously knowing that it's only a UV filter and not the front element of the lens.

I see lenses that are damaged from cleaning far more often than I see lenses that are damaged from a lack of a UV filter. The front element on an Ex1 is highly protected by the Ex1 lens hood due to the hood's design. The front element is far inside that hood on the Ex1 and it is highly unlikely that anything is going to scratch a lens that far recessed within the hood.

If you do not have a pola filter for your Ex1 already I would spend the money on a pola before I would spend the money on a UV. The pola can not only give you nice blue skies and eliminate reflections, it can also serve as ND and get you to a wider stop when out in bright conditions. Without a ND filter or a pola I often found myself shooting an at f/11 on the Ex3 because it lacked sufficient built-in ND. The kit lenses for the Ex1 and Ex3 perform poorly at small apertures. You want to stay in the middle with those lenses, around f/5.6. Although I have used them wide open many times in order to throw the background out of focus. Or due to low light conditions.

Good luck and happy shooting!
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Old December 10th, 2014, 03:02 PM   #3
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Re: Which B+W filter should I buy?

Thanks for the detailed reply.

It currently has a Tiffen 77M clear filter on it, and it was a little dirty (hazy film). I just used a clean micro-fiber cloth and a my breath very lightly. Seemed to clean it up pretty well.

I haven't taken the original filter off, but looking at the lens/filter in the light it seems pretty clean. Couple minor super small spots of dust from the air I would assume, but I will just blow those off and it should be good?

Can you ever get a lens/filter perfectly clean? It seems to me next to impossible to have ZERO specs of anything.

And would the camera even focus on a small spec of dust or a hair?

Thanks again,
Sam
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Old December 18th, 2014, 12:58 PM   #4
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Re: Which B+W filter should I buy?

The camera will only "see" dust, fingerprints, and such on the front element of your lens when you are at a very small aperture or when pointing at lights.

One rule is to clean you lens less than you might want to. Your lens won't see the dust and such on the front element or front filter and by constantly cleaning you increase the chances of cleaning marks. Even lens tissue can result in cleaning marks. Now, one might ask why cleaning marks would matter optically if dust particles do not matter all that much. Good question and the reason is that cleaning marks tend to be circular and in more of a pattern while dust particles are more random. And cleaning marks are permanent while dust on the lens is not. Cleaning marks are something that often reduce resale value of a lens. I'd rather have a small nick in the front glass than have cleaning marks on the front glass.

The purists say to never use your breath to clean a lens since your breath is acidic. This is what I was taught in the Assistant Camera class at the Maine Workshops- never use your breath to clean a lens. However, I think we all end up doing it at one time or another.

You are correct- one can never get a lens entirely clean. There will always be particles of some sort there unless you are cleaning the lens in some special dust-controlled room. Don't sweat it. Again, I only clean the lens when there is a finger print or some major dust on the lens. I've shot thousands of jobs and never once has there been any negative feedback along the lines of "there was dust on the lens and it showed in the image". On the other hand, I have been screwed when the front protective filter on the lens was foggy due to humidity and I had to remove it quickly just before going live on national tv.

As a result of the refractive nature of lenses that I do not fully understand, your lens can see "around" specks of dust and even larger objects. To demonstrate this for yourself, place your pinky finger in front of a zoom lens at around 70mm and a f/2.8. Your finger becomes a thin line to the lens. I've done long-lens shots through a chain-link fence and with the lens wide open and close to the fence but you couldn't even tell the fence was there at all in the image produced by the camera. Even though some of the links in the fence were directly in front of the front element of the lens.
J. David Pope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 18th, 2014, 02:05 PM   #5
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Re: Which B+W filter should I buy?

I never understand why people insist on putting inferior glass in front of their beautiful, coated lenses. I agree with J. Save the protective filter for special situations, like a sandstorm, as he says. In regular situations it's just going to degrade your image, in some cases dramatically.
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