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Filter/Lens Protector

zzzstephen's picture
Last seen: 5 years 9 months ago
Joined: 07/22/2008 - 2:15am

I'm thinking it is a good idea to use a lens protector for my new Sony Handycam.

A lens protector comespackaged with both the Polarizing Filter and the Neutral Density Filter offered by Sony. ... so the question is which filter should I purchase to get the lens protector?

Looks like the Polarizing filter enhances colors and reduces reflections while the Neutral Density filter may give more possibility of playing with depth of field and balances bright sunlight. Truth is, I don't really know the likelyusefulness of either filter.

Comments appreciated.


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

lens protector?

um, I think that's what lenshoods are for.....

a uv or skylight filter? sometimes useful, for cutting through haze......(or protection at the beach or in the rain).

nd's, graduated nd's, and polarizers? Definately take the time to learn about those!

What your question really translates to is like:

Should I buy a steak dinner, or lobster dinner, 'cause I want the free water....




ralck's picture
Last seen: 7 years 8 months ago
Joined: 07/26/2006 - 11:19am

Hi zzzstephen,

Idon'tknow ifI agreewith enhancingcolors, but a polarizingfilter does helpreducereflections,whichcancomein handy.

The way I understand it,an ND filter helpstoreduce the lightcominginto thecamera sothat youcan keep the aperature openwider (andthus achieve a greater DoFas yousaid).

Ican'tsaywhichfilter will be better for you, that sortof depends on what you planto film.Of course, youcould always lookfor asetoffilters thatfits yourcamera threadsthatis apackageofall 3 (or youcanbuy themseparately).Ilike Tiffen brand becausethey are affordable and decent quality.From whatIhear, B+Wis one of the best brands, but theyare also very expensive.


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

A polariser will remove reflections, and glare off non-metallic objects. It will remove light scatter in blue skys. In both those cases, it will improve color (with blue skys, it will work best at 45 deg to the sun). (say for example you have a green leaf with a bright light reflection on it, remove the reflection and what's underneath? right, more green.... hence the color appears more saturated).

You need to get a bride waving from the limo, but can't see through the glass? polariser!

Fish swimming in a pond? You guessed it ...polariser!

Anywhere there's glare or unwanted light reflections, (except metallic surfaces) a polariser can help.

now nds, I think the other poster meant : For SHALLOWER depth of feild, nds reduce the light going in the lens allowing you to open up the iris. At the park, using a longer focal length, you may get a "Compression of feild" effect (where distant objects look closer/larger relative to your subject. Say for example your doing a Wedding, but nearby in the park where you're filming, there's (always) another wedding party... you don't have much room to work, and few good angles to work with the light, and limited time,...

the biggest problem is, you zoom in and the people across the park look like they're in your wedding party!

pull out your nd's take a few steps back, zoom in, and suddenly those people across the park are completely out of focus, and not recognisable.

Your subject is now the center of attention (and focus).

graduated nds, when you need detial in your sky and land, for scenics.....get the contrast under control and withing your sensors limits.

All those filters will get used more often than a "Protector" filter (which in the event of imact will probably breack and scratch up your lens anyways.


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

one other tip:

go with Tiffin, Lee, Cokin, square/rectangle filters. Get a filter holder set and step up/down rings for use with all your cameras (slr, compact, video). go with the largest size that will cover your biggest lens. B+W and Hoya make sensational polarizers if you need a slimline screw in filter, (again buy the biggest and step down rings for other cameras).

There is a difference between Circular (Cir, or CR) polarisers and linear polarisers. Linear can have adverse effects on some cameras metering/focus systems, Circular was desighned to fix that.


ralck's picture
Last seen: 7 years 8 months ago
Joined: 07/26/2006 - 11:19am

>> A polariser will remove reflections, and glare off non-metallic objects. It will remove light scatter in blue skys. In both those cases, it will improve color (with blue skys, it will work best at 45 deg to the sun). (say for example you have a green leaf with a bright light reflection on it, remove the reflection and what's underneath? right, more green.... hence the color appears more saturated). <<

Ah, I see what it means by improves color now. I originally took it to mean "it magically makes your color better," but in reality it just removes unwanted light so that the colors you do want are more saturated.

>> now nds, I think the other poster meant : For SHALLOWER depth of feild, nds reduce the light going in the lens allowing you to open up the iris. <<

You are absolutely corrrect here. I meant to say smaller DoF, but wasn't thinking right... I started to explain it right and then said greater. Thank you for correcting me.


BarefootMedia's picture
Last seen: 7 years 3 months ago
Joined: 01/13/2007 - 8:13pm

All this theory about filters is nice and all, but hardly of any practical value. Your question of which filter is more useful hasn't been answered with any experience.

Whoever said a lens hood instead of a UV/haze filter to protect the lens is an idiot & we can ignore all his crap. A protective filter is essential for any kind of multi-element lens. Not only will it protect the lens glass from flying debris and such, but it also serves to protect the fragile multi-coatings all modern lenses use. You won't be routinely cleaning your lens surface to remove finger smudges, rain & snow or dust & dirt, so there is virtually no chance you will scratch the surface of your front element. And it is far easier to clean a flat surface vs. the curved surface of that front element. Not to mention that in practice, lenses (and filters) are hardly ever struck hard enough to break, but it is not uncommon for them to be severely scratched. Once it has been scratched, the only option is replacement. And a filter's price is a pittance compared to replacing a lens. So bravo that you are taking the right steps to protect your investment.

Now as for neutral density filters, their value for controlling depth of field directly corresponds to the size of the lens. I'm not going to get into the actual math used to determine depth of field. But provided you control focal length and camera distance, smaller diameter lenses have a great deal more depth of field. So in every situation, the 30mm lens on my HC20 will always have greater depth of field than the 58mm lens on my VX2100. Now if I want to decrease my depth of field to create a background or foreground blur, opening the iris my only option if I'm stuck at a particular distance/focal length. I can open the iris by increasing the shutter speed or decreasing the amount of light coming into the lens. The ND filters use the latter option, provided you can keep the shutter speed the same.

The smallest depth of field occurs when the lens is zoomed in to the max and you're at the minimum focus distance. (Conversely, the maximum depth of field is when you are totally zoomed out and focus is set at about 2/3's of the focus range.) Now depth of field is not centered around the focus point. Roughly 1/3 of the focused distance occurs to the front of the focus point, and 2/3's of the depth of field occurs beyond the focus point. (On a non-zoom lens, you can see the dual effect of distance & F-stop with markings on the lens focusing barrel.) So to decrease your depth of field, you need to zoom in and open the iris. You can cause the iris to open by adding an ND filter or increasing the shutter speed. (By the way, to get your camcorder to use its fastest shutter speed in automatic modes, select the sports, or the little golfing guy, mode.) So which method is best? Neither, they both do exactly the same thing. And to reflect that, ND filters are available in densities that change the light value by F-stops. So an ND 1 filter decreases light by 1 F-stop, an ND 2 decreases light by 2 F-stops, and etc. Oddly enough, shutter speeds are also set to decrease or increase the amount of light getting to the pick-up chip by one F-stop between each shutter speed setting. So from 1/30 of a second to 1/60 of a second is a decrease of 1 F-stop, from 1/30 to 1/128 is two F-stops, and etc. So we can accurately state that increasing the shutter speed by one step (roughly 1/2 the amount of time) is an identical change as adding an ND 1 filter, increasing the shutter speed by two steps (roughly 1/4 the amount of exposure) is identical to using an ND 2 filter, and etc. (Isn't math wonderful?!) I hope you've been able to follow me on this, 'cause now we are getting into actual situations.

Now if I'm using my smaller diameter lens and I want to decrease my depth of field, I have a variety of options. Generally the easiest way is to move closer & zoom in as much as possible. I can also increase my shutter speed or add an ND filter. Which method is more useful? Increasing the shutter speed is almost always the way to go. It is seldom the case that the lighting is so bright that the camcorder is less than 2 or 3 stops from its maximum speed. Unless you're shooting in full sunlight on a beach or in snow (or a concrete parking lot.) So it isn't often that an ND filter will be necessary due to already maxed out shutter speeds. The other consideration is just how much you would need to decrease the light volume to effect a noticeable change in the depth of field. Generally, it is going to take more than 2 F-stops to make a difference. And with my 30mm lens, I already have a rather large depth of field so even 4 stops may not be sufficient. And if I'm not fully zoomed in, the depth of field of the lens in daylight is already from 5'-10" to infinity. I can decrease the depth of field more easily with my 58mm lens using an ND filter, but I still have to be fairly close for even full zoom to start blurring out the background. Lenses and exposure settings are designed with large depth's of field in mind.

So to sum it all up, the most effective way to decrease depth of field is to move closer and zoom in more. Then a smaller decrease can be achieved by increasing the shutter speed and, generally speaking, the least additional decrease in depth of field can be achieved by adding ND filters. With the smaller diameter lenses, you'd need at least an ND 4 to get a noticeable change.

Now on the other hand, a polarizer does something that can't be done any other way. The greatest use is in situations with reflected light as described above. You can easily see into shiny surfaces with a properly adjusted polarizer (water, windows & such) plus the polarizer can stop enough of the reflected light to dramatically improve contrast (and color saturation) on beaches, in snow, on concrete & streets, really a lot of situations. And I don't know why our experts failed to mention that a polarizer is also about an ND 2 filter, no matter what its orientation. So the polarizer is a double duty filter, eliminating the need for an ND 2 or less filter.

So obviously a polarizer is the second most important filter. As I mentioned earlier, something to protect the front lens element is far and away the most important filter to have on any camera. And as far as actual field use goes, ND filters are far down the list. And I do know I have an ND 1 and an ND 2 filter built into my VX2100, as do the majority of prosumer & better video cameras. But they are there to decrease the light into cameras with larger lenses (which bring in more light to begin with) and help control overexposure problems. And when I need to decrease light levels even more, I just screw on my polarizer.

By the way, in order to get the deeper blue skies advertised for polarizers, You have to shoot when the sun is coming through the atmosphere at an angle. So you really won't get the "polarizing effect" between 10 am and 2pm STANDARD time. But as I mentioned, you'll always get the ND effect.

In conclusion (finally,) I highly recommend you get a polarizer along with the UV/haze, A1 skylight, or flat optical glass lens protector. Then you can clean the filter before every shoot and never worry that some errant dust or grit will be ground into your expensive camera lenses. And avoid using step down rings, mostly because they increase the force of any pressure on the filter's edges and the camera's filter threads, making it much much easier to damage both the camera and the filter itself.

Good luck and enjoy your new machine.


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

"Whoever said a lens hood instead of a UV/haze filter to protect the lens is an idiot & we can ignore all his crap. "

Last time you resorted to name calling, you were wrong then too. I learn fast. I know who I'm going to ignore from now on.

Many pros feel that adding any extra glass, (esp cheap/lower quality filters) between the subject and their really expensive Lenses, will degrade the image quality. (to the quality of the cheapest glass/plastic). there is an increased risk of flare, and loss of contrast due to reflections. That's why anybody who has ever spent any time away from insulting strangers, on thier computers, and in the field with working pros, will seldom find a pro with "Protector" filters. A lens hood is a good barrier, that can't break and scratch your front lens element, , or jam on you. But they almost always have a lenshood.

All the long winded theory in the world doesn't change the fact that on any given lens, dof appears to be greater at the wide end and less at the tele end.

the iris at wider openings has less, than an iris that's closed down.

http://www.pentaxuser.co.uk/forum/topic/Skylight--UV-Filter-lens-protection-2787/p-0#comm_17680

"This has been covered extensively on other threads... will dig out the thread when I can.


I've been using Hoya Pro 1 slim UV0 filters. No discernable difference to the image at all. But they're not cheap...

...and can actuallyharmthe lens. I've dropped two lenses with these filters on and they just splinter into a million pieces. The shattered glass actually causes more harm - actually counter productive.

If you have genuine Pentax lenses, then the coating is actually very hard and durable. So, as you may read here, many just go without a "protection" filter for their expensive lensesAs I am now doing."

If you need optics, or filters, physics, or any other technical theory explained, you may get better answers from some pro photographers over there, then you will find here.

Read Mattmattics post in the above thread.

The cameras may be different, but light is light. optics is optics. physics is physics. And you won't see any name calling in a thread where grownups trade ideas even if they dissagree.


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

And I'm not going to treat the op like he's an "Idiot". If he had the filter sets in his hand, he could readily see the polariser has an nd effect.

I'm not operating on the assumption that EVERYBODY is an idiot...


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

Creating aperceived(not necessarilyreal)need, to raise the perceived value...("You need a protector filter for your camera") of a useful filter (nd or polariser) of such undeniably low quality, that any reputable pro shop would be embarrassed to have it on display, is nothing short of a cheap marketing ploy. Geared to take advantage of consumers, that don't have the foresight to ask around.

The polariser is the steak, and the uv, or skylight is the free water.

I did skip the bargian stuff and buy b+w, hoya, lee, and cokin filters.

I make a living at this.

your needs or mileage may vary or differ from mine.

have fun!


ralck's picture
Last seen: 7 years 8 months ago
Joined: 07/26/2006 - 11:19am

Here's my views on this subject.

Firstofall, most ofus on this forum aren't professionalsandthus notmakinga professionalsallaryin video.Therefore, wedon'thave theincometo riskour lensesto be scratched, etc.Thus, when wearen't using an NDor Polarizeror otherfilter, we place a UVfilter onourlenses.Ifindthis works well forme because it givesme extra pieceof mind about my lensand I've never noticedany image problems (As Isaidearlier, I'm not a professional).

I've gota question aboutthelens hood.Youmentioned that most professionalsusealens hoodtoprotect theirlens. All ofthe lens hoods that I've experiencedare opaqueandthus blockoutsome light- great for a sunnyday, but whathappensif youareshootinga sportsgame at night underartificial light?Wouldn't you want as much lightgoinginto thelensaspossibletokeep your shutter speed high forthefast-pacedaction?Whatdoprofessionalsdotoprotecttheirlensesinthis scenario?

The otherthingthat I notice you talked aboutisthat theusertalked about droppingthe lenseswhichis whatcaused the UVfilterto hurtthelens.Cananyonereally expectto dropalens andhaveit workperfectlyafterwards?Iknowthe UVfilter did hurtthelens, butthere was no guaranteethelens would still workhad there been nofilter onitinthe first place.

Iknownamecallingshouldn'thappen, butI feellikefor themajorityofus, a UVfilterisagood "insurance"policy.If we want to guarantee less optic problems, wecan justbuy a high-end filterlike a B+W,can't we?Iknow weall wantto be professionals, butthe truthis wearen't.Ithinkthis is why protectingour equipment that wecan'teasilyreplace is a verygoodideato do.


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

true...if you feel it will help use it.

my advice is, don't stick your fingers on your lens, and you won't have to clean them off. Any impact hard enough to break the filter will no doubt send fragments of the filter into your lens front element. no gain there.

Ever try to get a seized/overtightened filter off a lens without breaking the lens?

and a lens hood will only provide a physical barrier between your lens and whatever may hit it (like your cars crumplezone).

It doesn't alter/affect the amount/quality of light hitting the sensor.

What it does is prevent light from extreme angles from hitting the lens, and bouncing around between the lens elements, and causing flare, and loss of contrast. (little of that stray light would actually hit the sensor). think along the lines of pool balls bouncing around the table without actually going in the hole. nothing to raise your score, but possibly interfering with your shot.

so a lenshood will prevent fingers from hitting the lens.

a lenshood may save the lens in an impact, without sending glass fragments into your lens.

a lenshood will NEVER induce lensflare or ghosting internal reflections (like an unnescessary filter).

A lenshood will prevent flare and ghosting.

In a cost vs risk, analysis, the hood wins.

I've already been subjected to enough insult on this matter.

do what you want.


ralck's picture
Last seen: 7 years 8 months ago
Joined: 07/26/2006 - 11:19am

Don, I'm sorry-Inevermeantto upset you.I wasmerely tryingto sympathyzewith you aboutthe namecalling andto get moreinformation about your "outofthebox" suggestion (I honestly had never heard that a lens hood helps protect the lens).

Isee yourpoints more clearly now and youdomakeseveralgoodpoints.Ithinkin my scenarioI stillfeel a UVfilteris agood optionforme (I don'treallyhave lens flair trouble,etc and couldprobablymake it workin context if it everhappened :-P) although I often use my VX's lens hood when shooting so I guess I sort of have double protection. :)

As for zzzstephen, hopefully you have enoughinformationto make your choice about which filter(s) you want to buy!I hope wedidn't confuse you with so muchinformationhere. :-P


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

I don't feel you intended to insult me either. I said that more in anticipation of the next volley from somebody else.

you have to always take advice over the net with a grain of salt and figure out things for youself.

I do use the filters for protection myself..like when I mount my camera on my motorcycle... there, I feel if there's a chance the filter will be lost, and an even more remote chance that the camera will survive...

What have you got to lose, at that point?

but a polariser is waaayyy more useful than any other filter....


cdanddvdpublisher's picture
Last seen: 6 years 2 months ago
Joined: 02/01/2008 - 4:17pm

it often seems as though the idea of lens protection is viewed very differently by different people. if you feel better about having one, use one, if you don't, don't.


BarefootMedia's picture
Last seen: 7 years 3 months ago
Joined: 01/13/2007 - 8:13pm

Im so sorry Don, but claiming youre right because you loudly whine and "get the last word does not make you right. It makes you more pathetic, pathetic and wrong. Only idiots claim they are right by being louder & more annoying.

Now if you wanted to support your claim that lens hoods are there to provide protection, all you would have needed to do is link us to the several manufacturers that make the same claim. Well wait patiently for you to locate them, hopefully before the turn of the 22nd century.

Instead, you claim to be some sort of expert who hangs out with a multitude of pros who dont use filters but do use lens hoods. You make the insane claim pros dont use filters because they degrade the image quality. Then quickly follow up with the claim that your filters dont because they are so expensive. Apparently youre the ONLY person with access to this particular filter manufacturer. Pros or us poor prosumers cant use those same filters.

You argue that lens hoods are excellent protection for lenses since they act as a crumple zone when the camcorder is dropped on the lens. Oddly enough, 37 years of experience has proven to me that I dont need a crumple zone since Ive never dropped my cameras. On the other hand, you report multiple instances of dropping your camera. So if your butterfingers cant hang on to the camera, a much, much better solution is to use a neck or shoulder strap so the next time you drop your camera, it doesnt fall to the ground on its lens. Problem solved!!!

You also claim that anyone would know that a polarizer acts as an ND 2 filter just by using their cameras built-in meter. But when the question was asked, it was obvious the user didnt have either an ND or a polarizer to attach to his camera. This is far from the first time you have utterly failed to understand the question and then pathetically whined that you were right about totally irrelevant information. Who cares?! I dont need advice on changing tires when my car wont start. No matter how accurate the tire advise might be.
And finally, you claim to be an expert because you make your living from video production. This is surprising to me since a mere eight months ago you were a self-professed beginner. (Now run real quick to your Videomaker profile and change it so no one else will know.) From a beginner to a butterfingered pro in only eight months. Great work! Why dont you share with us your impressive client list so we can see your video and judge for ourselves just how professional you are? Without that, Im forced to assume youre lying to us about something.

And quoting Forrest Gump, "Thats all I have to say about that. Now you rush off and change that profile so you can come back here to pathetically whine some more. And as always, you can have the last word. But it still wont make your comments any more appropriate or correct.


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

http://www.epinions.com/review/Nikon_HR_2_Rubber_Hood/content_304794406532

http://www.shopwiki.com/search/Adorama+-+Lens+hood+-+rubber

http://photo.net/filters-bags-tripods-accessories-forum/00994O

http://www.pricespider.com/products/299741/Canon-ET-83C-Lens-Hood-for-EF-100-400mm-f4-5-5-6L-IS-Lens-2707A002.html

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/canon-lenses/Lens-Hoods.aspx

I apologise if my typing was some how too loud or whiney for you. (???)

"Oddly enough, 37 years of experience has" (Must piss you off that some "Photographer" can pick up a video cameraand make money in less than 8 months.).

"Apparently youre the ONLY person with access to this particular filter manufacturer. " (i listed several manufacturers).

"On the other hand, you report multiple instances of dropping your camera." (if you were as quick to read as you are to hurl insults, you'd notice that I was quoting somebody else, who dropped his lenses not necessarily his cameras).

"Who cares?! I dont need advice on changing tires when my car wont start" (the op asked for advice on filters and was advised that the ones he was looking at were cheap, and he'd be better off getting a lenshood and QUALITY polariser, instead of the ones he was looking at.....I'm sure the other poster DIDN"T ask for any RANTS or NAME CALLING).

I apologise to readers on this forum.

I've been letting this person annoy me.

Clearly this person views this forum as his own turf, and feels threatened by me.

Instead of feeling insulted by him, I realize I should be feeling sorry for him. (much like a homeless person that lays claim to a park bench....sure you could argue it's public space, or first come first serve, etc, but at the end of the day, You get yo go home to your Good Life, and all the other guy's got is his park bench, in a place you'd rather not be walking around at night.).

Barefoot, you have my pity, and I'll pray for you, that your business picks up to the point, that you have less time for this senseless harassment.

I'll let you have your bench back...

Good-bye.