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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old July 29th, 2007, 05:21 PM   #1
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Which filters for FX7?

Title says it all. Which filters would you all suggest for the FX7. I will be doing a lot of outdoor scenery stuff, both here around the Great Lakes, and out west on the High Plains and Rocky Mtn. front. Want to capture the vastness and colors of the west and its interesting skies, as well as all the colors of the Great Lakes waters, shorelines, and skies....mornings, mid day, and evenings.

Thanks.
Mike
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Old July 29th, 2007, 08:11 PM   #2
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Filters

Hi Mike

Suggest at the minimum a skylight and a circular polarizer.

I'm going to be doing a shoot involving a lot of landscapes as well, and so for the job I just bought:

a) Raynox 0.7x wide (well, it's ordered but still on backorder)

b) Cokin Pro series everything kit, with four grad NDs, a grad Tobacco, a grad Blue, and an ND9. The grads are pretty useful for knocking down an open sky exposure if there's high clouds about or some detail in the sky worth capturing. Why four grad NDs? Well there's hard edged and soft edged transitions, and two strengths of ND each. I can get from an almost unnoticeable effect to a really dramatic one, depending on how many of these filters I stack. I have a double pro filter holder for it, so can stack up to 6 filters at a time.

Also have the Cokin circular polarizer in addition to the screw-in regular one. Gotta love this filter - works wonders with the clouds.

I'm also carrying an older set of Tiffen double fogs in 1/8 to 5 strengths, but only expect to be thinking about them in the event that I'm faced with something of very high contrast levels to get in the same shot, and even then I don't really expect to go more than 1/4 or 1/2 double fog.

So the grads help control the sky, the polarizer increases saturation and contrast, and the double fogs decrease saturation and contrast. Overall exposure is helped with the added ND filter. The UV filter helps with haze.

And with all that extra filtration comes a good matte box and/or sunshade, because all those additional reflecting surfaces means flare and internal reflections - I once spent a few days chasing a phantom internal reflection on a lens project of mine, only to find out that it was caused by a stock UV filter on a prime lens.

So yes, my filter backpack, with the matte box, will be bigger than my camera case. Such is life.
And, of course, the nature of what we do being as it is, I'll probably end up needing none of them. (Except, of course, if I leave the filter backpack in the car or forget to pack even one of the extra NDs...)

The FX7 is, in my book, very very nice at capturing breathtaking landscapes pretty much out of the box.

Just spend a little time on this forum finding out about individual scene settings, cine like gamma, sharpness settings, etc., and get your camera's scene settings set up how you like it. That will do a lot for your images, right there.

I have found DSE's information particularly helpful in this respect.

HTH
Cheers
Chris
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Old July 30th, 2007, 10:25 AM   #3
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Thanks Chris. I kinda figured on the UV filter. Doesn't the FX7 have some built in filters? And....any suggestions about UV filters, what to look for and what to avoid.

Mike
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Old July 30th, 2007, 10:40 AM   #4
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I can recommend the Hoya Super HMC Pro1 62mm UV filter; very nicely coated and fits under the lens hood.
Oh, and the FX7/V1 do not have any UV built-in filters - just the ND ones.
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Old July 30th, 2007, 10:42 AM   #5
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Filters

Hi Mike

What Piotr said.

The FX7 has two built in ND filters that you turn on with a switch on the left of the camera (the display side, not the tape / handle side). If you're in auto exposure mode and it's too bright, the display will blink either ND1 or ND2 to tell you to turn the switch to either position, and then if you go back indoors, it will blink again to tell you to switch the filter out.

As to relative UV qualities, I'd say avoid the really cheap ones, and go for name brands such as Tiffen, B&W, Schneider, and next the stills camera brands such as Nikon, Hoya, etc. Most of my filters are Nikons or Tiffens, which I've mostly either had left over from my stills days or have bought inexpensively on eBay.

My PolCirc is, I believe, a Tiffen.
If you're only going to go for the screw-in kind, I'd stay away from filters that are extra thick, and look into the 62mm wide angle filters. This will allow you to screw in the filter and then replace the factory lens shade/cap without some of the problems I've been reading about on this site (about the thicker filter rings not allowing the lens shade to sit over it properly).

HTH
Cheers
Chris
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Old July 30th, 2007, 03:20 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. Valuable information. I know nothing about any of this lens stuff. As I mentioned in a prior thread, I will be posting many questions in the near future concerning the FX7. I hope you all will have lots of patience with me....I am a slow learner.

Other than ebay, where else would you recommend purchasing good filters (for a reasonable price)?

Mike
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Old July 30th, 2007, 05:30 PM   #7
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I wouldn't buy from anyplace but B&H.
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Old July 30th, 2007, 08:27 PM   #8
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One quick question on the topic of Circular Polarizers,

The Hoya one in my country cost roughly half the price of a B+W...

I know that B+W is the Rolls Royce of Lenses, but is it really worth the premium?

Thanks
Kin
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Old August 1st, 2007, 01:38 PM   #9
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In short, no.
What we're talking about, beyond extremely high quality glass, is quality control.

Tiffen, B&H, Schneider et al have very high QC standards, mainly because their glass fetches top dollar, and so if it's not perfect, it goes back to the dealer.

Hoya mass produces its glass more, mainly for stills camera use, and doesn't charge as much for its glass. However, I've used Hoyas for years on my Nikons, Leicaflexes, Hasselblads and the like, and essentially have had no problems, with this caveat.

When I was buying, I'd go to a big store and choose my filter from a batch of them, and buy the best of the batch.

QC has gotten much better over the years, so nowadays I just order them, and return them if they're not good.

I've not had to return any of the higher dollar filters at all. Out of the 50 or so filters I still have, around 15 of them are Hoyas, and I've had to return maybe a couple of them I wasn't happy with when I received them.

So that would be the only caveat - either buy from a place that understands that you will return items you're not happy with, or choose from a batch at a physical store.

Otherwise, optically speaking, if the MC is good, then it's good.

For me, anyway.

HTH
Cheers
Chris
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