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Old January 23rd, 2006, 12:01 PM   #1
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lens filters for outdoor use?

Are there any filters that are necessary or recommended for long outdoor shoots?
Adrienne Kitchen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 23rd, 2006, 01:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Adrienne Kitchen
Are there any filters that are necessary or recommended for long outdoor shoots?
What do you mean "long"? Telephoto? Taken over a long period of time? A Long view - as in down a long road? Could you be more specific? Surveillance work?

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Old January 23rd, 2006, 04:00 PM   #3
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I have three or four recommendations.

First, for the basic protecting filter on your lens, the one you never remove, I'd recommend the B+W 486 IR/UV interference filter. This acts as a bandpass filter for visible light, UV (ultraviolet) and IR (infrared) are blocked. This filter is completely colorless and clear. I have never heard or read or even seen any evidence that CCDs are sensitive to UV radiation, as film is, but they definitely see and record IR. Outdoors in summer this will decrease image detail and color saturation. I used to have a Tiffen Hot Mirror which blocked IR, and it had a noticeably positive effect on image quality. Wish to blazes I'd kept it. They don't make it any more, so the B+W 486 is the only one available. Pricey, though!

Second, a polarizer is useful for deepening the blue in skies, but really has some neat effects where water is concerned. Essential if shooting interiors through windows from the exterior.

Third, graduated neutral-density filters (ND grads) are invaluable in balancing landscape and sky light levels. Too often the sky overwhelms the landscape, resulting in blown-out (featurless) skies and an underexposed landscape. These are available in various grades, just like ND filters. The 0.3 (1 f-stop) filter is the minimum I'd recommend. The very dark 1.2 (4 f-stop) filter can tame overcast and rainy skies, revealing all the cloud detail yet opening up the subject with almost sunlit color and detail.

Finally, ND filters are great for opening the camera aperture. This results in more color saturation, sharper images, and better control over depth-of-field. 0.3 and 0.6 would be good starting points.

Hope this helps!
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Doug Boze is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 23rd, 2006, 10:56 PM   #4
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Doug, Tiffen still sells the Hot Mirror filters. They are an in-stock item at B&H. I read about these filters and their benefit depends on the quality of a CCD camera's internal IR filter. If your camera is lacking, they will make a big difference. If not, you just needlessly spent $75-150. I wish there was a way to find out without spending so much. If anyone has an extra, I'd be happy to test the VX2000! :)

Can anyone quantifiably determine if UV filters benefit video? I don't want to waste over $50 if I get no benefit (other than protecting the lens).
Marcus Marchesseault is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 24th, 2006, 12:48 AM   #5
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a way to try before buying

sometimes you're lucky enough to find used filters you want to try at a local camera store for still cameras. they often have lots of used filters and you just have to look through the piles - tedious. have your camcorder with you. the store didn't mind if it tried it on and test shot right there at the store - of course i had to go near the open door to shoot outdoor light. record some.
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