Protect and create
Getting it right in-camera is a key skill that can save you time in post-production and make the whole process of photography much more satisfying. Filters can be a great asset in helping to achieve your vision. Here are some leading brands to consider
FILTERS ARE ESSENTIAL accessories, whether they are used for protecting your valuable lenses or as creative devices. Protection filters are clear (or almost clear) and perform the incredibly important job of shielding the front element of your lens from harm that might come in the form of dust, water or roving fingers. As you are adding an extra piece of glass to the front of your lens, it’s important that you buy the best-quality filter you can afford to ensure no impact on the resolving power of your lens or its flare-resisting qualities. Creatively, filters can help you achieve effects not possible in post-production, ie you can’t fake
long exposures or the effect of a polariser. While filters such as graduates help you control contrast within a scene, most commonly toning down a bright sky. So now you know filters are vital, the next step is picking the right gear. There are loads of photographic filters out there, spanning huge ranges in price and application. What do you need to buy and how much should you spend? Tackling spend first, the best general advice is to avoid bargain basement filters. Remember, this is glass or resin that you’re putting between your lens and the subject, so it can and will affect image quality. There’s no point in spending big on high-
quality cameras and lenses if you then throw it all down the drain with low-quality filters. But it’s not just outlay that’s important. You also need to buy the right filters for your type of photography. For instance, square slot filters are perfect for landscapers, as they allow you to change the position of a graduated filter, while screw-in filters are more suited for general photography. There’s also the option of magnetic filters and systems that can speed up handling are very convenient, too. There are plenty of options to suit all tastes, budgets and needs, so here’s a bunch of names to check out...
Marumi is a trusted name in filter design, so check out the company’s range and you’ll find first-class optical quality, as well as strong and durable build. One of Marumi’s latest additions is its range of DHG Super NDs. Like any NDs, these help control intensity of light, allowing a wider choice of shutter speeds or apertures than you’d get without one. The DHG Super NDs use quality glass, so they won’t affect image sharpness. The filters frames are thin so they won’t vignette, unless you start stacking them, and they’re made of aluminium. The range of sizes and strengths is impressive, with 67mm, 72mm, 77mm, 82mm, 86mm, 95mm and 105mm threads, and strengths of ND8, ND16, ND32, ND64, ND500, ND1000, ND4000 and a whopping ND32000, equating to 15 stops. The filters have a front thread for easy stacking if you want to combine filters and increase the light stopping strength this way.
Formatt-Hitech Formatt-Hitech has a rich history of producing high-quality filters and gear for stills photographers and filmmakers. Its latest innovations include the Firecrest ND range, which makes dramatic improvements to ND and IRND performances. There’s also a dedicated Firecrest 100mm holder available, which features a matte black two-part cover, which snaps on to remove any light leaks.
Kase is a company that’s been making great filters and filter systems for many years. It produces a huge range of high-quality gear, including the recently released range of Wolverine magnetic circular filters that snap on and off your lens quickly and easily. There’s also its range of supremely tough and durable Wolverine square glass filters and holders that serve 75mm, 100mm and 150mm sizes to cover all camera types. Also well worth considering is the K9 holder, which includes a host of smart innovations to make using filters easier in your photography, especially when using wide-angle lenses. There are three slots for 100mm filters, and this holder can be used on lenses as wide as 14mm without vignetting. The K9 also has a magnetic bay for a 90mm polarising filter. This can be turned using a cog on the side of the holder for easy alignment. Made of lightweight aviation-grade aluminium, the K9 kit comes complete with a circular polariser and adapter rings to mount it on a variety of lens sizes.
H&Y is a new name to the market, relatively speaking, but it has quickly proven to be a go-to brand for high-quality and innovative models. Case in point is the new Revoring filter (shown above), a unique filter holder design that includes a retractable and variable diaphragm to overcome the need for multiple filters and step-up rings. There are models to fit any lens with filter thread between 37-49mm, 46-62mm or 67-82mm, and an 82-95mm model to be confirmed. You can add either 52mm, 67mm or 82mm screw-in filters, respectively, on to the adapter. It therefore offers the chance to vastly streamline your kit and avoid investing in different-sized filters for all your lenses. The adapters cost £45 or £52 for the 67-82mm model. Made from building- grade aluminium, the adapter is strong while also lightweight. The Revoring is also being released with a variable neutral density
ND3-1000 + circular polarising filter combination for £230, £235 or £245 respectively.
The Revoring filters themselves all come with nano-coating technology to help repel water droplets and make cleaning easier, and they’re made of high-quality German Schott glass anti-reflective coatings. The Rovering is currently being run as a funding campaign on Kickstarter.com where you can pre-order the adapters or the adapters with the variable ND and polariser combination. In a previous innovation, H&Y brought us the Magnetic Square Filter Holder System, which revolutionised the way graduate and full ND filters are added to a lens. Simplicity itself, a frame holder is added to the end of the lens, and filters then snap to it magnetically, while still allowing you to move them up and down to fine-tune any grad effect.
Cokin Cokin produces a huge range of filter types and sizes, all of which you can expect to serve you well for many years. One of its latest additions is the Nuances Clearsky range, designed to reduce light pollution in night-time shots. Clearsky filters come in screw-on circular versions that’ll fit threads from 52mm to 95mm, as well as in 2mm thick square models, covering Cokin’s M, L and XL formats.
Issue 79 | Photography News 29
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