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Author Topic: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type  (Read 16951 times)

texshooter

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ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« on: June 30, 2012, 12:56:03 am »

For those who have experience shooting landscapes with both the high-end screw-in ND filters (eg., Hoya) vs the cheaper square type (Lee), which do you prefer. More specifically:

Do you notice better image quality with the multi-coated screw-in filters?

The trick is to buy a filter set that can fit all your lenses. But what if you have one lense that has a 82mm filter size (Canon 24mm TS-E II) and all your other lenses take 58mm. It seems awefully expensive to buy a whole set of 82mm high-end screw-in filters just to accommodate that one lens. But then on the other side, having the best glass is important,too.

How do you solve this dilemma?
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 12:58:23 am by texshooter »
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PhotoEcosse

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2012, 02:41:51 pm »

I much prefer the slot-in filters with a range of adapters for the holder to suit most of my lenses.

However, if you want to use screw-in filters, buy them in the size of your largest screw thread and use step-down rings for lenses with smaller threads. You'll get the rings straight from China on eBay for pennies.
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texshooter

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2012, 02:55:24 pm »

Actually, after giving it some thought, I decided not to buy the 24mm TS-E II (82mm filter size), which will free me from the burden of replacing my 77mm Hoya filter set (I have 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 stop filters, so you can see I'm already heavily invested). Instead of a tilt-shift lens, I'm going to experiment with focus stacking, which may turn out to be a whole lot better anyway. If it turns out that 90% of my shots could be done with focus stacking instead of T/S, then I've proven my point.

I'm still not convinced that the pervasive love affair with T/S lenses is merited. I need proof before I buy.
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2012, 09:13:00 pm »

How do you solve this dilemma?

Hi,

By not using filters. Indeed, lens quality is paramount, and the TS-E 24mm II delivers.

What are all your filters supposed to do anyway, other than deteriorate image quality? Maybe it's better to review your shooting technique, and settle on one high quality ND filter?

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 09:15:32 pm by BartvanderWolf »
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texshooter

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2012, 09:40:12 pm »

i thought about settling with one ND filter like you said. tHat would mean a vairable ND filtet, but ive heard bad things about it, namely difficulty of use, color casts, and undesired polarization effects, and vignetting. no, i need several ND filters for motion blur purposes, and for this i cant shoot bare with the 24mm tse ii. its a $2000 lens. adding filters for it will push it to $3000.  talk about pre-purchase dissonance!
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 10:02:38 pm by texshooter »
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schrodingerscat

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2012, 04:21:35 pm »

If optical, and therefor image, quality is paramount, not sure why you'd use plastic filters. But then again, if blurry is the desired result it probably makes little difference. Like everything else, what you use is a compromise of some sort. Uncompromised quality is rarely, if ever, cheap.

Besides the gradual deterioration of the filter over time due to an accumulation of scratches, there's also no indication that these types of filters have anti-reflective coatings. Stacking would probably be a bad idea if image quality is to remain decent.

I have to wonder what Lee is referring to when they say their injected molded plastic products are "hand made".
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Colorado David

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2012, 07:03:21 pm »

The Lee Big Stopper is a glass filter.  I don't know about their other ND filters.  I've owned a variety of Tiffen 4x4 glass filters for use in my Chroziel matte box.  I have to suspect that just because a filter is square and fits a particular holder doesn't always mean it's plastic.  I know that many Lee filters are plastic, but I know the Big Stopper is not.

schrodingerscat

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2012, 02:19:44 pm »

The Lee Big Stopper is a glass filter.  I don't know about their other ND filters.  I've owned a variety of Tiffen 4x4 glass filters for use in my Chroziel matte box.  I have to suspect that just because a filter is square and fits a particular holder doesn't always mean it's plastic.  I know that many Lee filters are plastic, but I know the Big Stopper is not.

Thanks for the feedback.

Except for glass sandwiched Wratten filters and a few filters from the usual makers in the past, my experience with square drop-in filters was mainly Cokin, and the ones I've handled have been plastic. Same with the Lee's that my account carries. Checked the Lee site, and it seems they do offer glass ND filters in the 100mm, their ProGlass series, as well as in plastic. Also ran across a reference to Hoya glass drop-ins. By and large, most are some variety of plastic. Plastic is not a derogatory term, it merely describes a material or even a process, and some are stronger than steel. According to the Cokin site, all their filters are now glass.

I've wondered how they manage to address light piping, as the edges are not blackened or sealed. In my meanderings, read about people having color cast problems and wonder if it might be part of the cause.
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2012, 07:12:31 pm »

I've wondered how they manage to address light piping, as the edges are not blackened or sealed. In my meanderings, read about people having color cast problems and wonder if it might be part of the cause.

Due to the density of the filters, the light that enters at the edge of the filter itself is absorbed to insignificant levels within a few millimetres of travel distance. Light entering from behind is caught by a foam gasket.

Cheers,
Bart
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Wayne Fox

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2012, 11:32:37 pm »

Graduated filters are normally made from resin. quite a few other filters are also.  Most full ND filters are made from glass, but Lee holders don't hold the glass ones well.  I think SinghRay and  Tiffen makes some 4x4 glass ND filters and with Tiffen they have a special line which was originally developed for video that adds an IR absorbing element ... with a lot of neutral density this will yield cleaner more natural colors. (I have these and they are really good).

If you are thinking of using the 4x4 filters (my preference because they'll cover about any lens with a few adaptor rings, it's easy to stack them and I still find frequent use of ND grads when shooting seascapes etc.) I recommend you look at the new Schneider landscape filter kit, which is a modified Lee holder that can hold the thicker glass filters they make  (and the Tiffen ones) as well as their own glass ND filter.  Their glass ND filter is very well made. Disadvantage of glass is weight, advantage is you can actually clean them carefully without scratching them.  The resin ones are pretty soft and really required extreme care when handling.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 03:09:13 pm by Wayne Fox »
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Alan Smallbone

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2012, 03:03:13 pm »



I have to wonder what Lee is referring to when they say their injected molded plastic products are "hand made".

Here is a video of how they make Lee filters, the filters are dipped by hand.... check it out.



Alan
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Alan Smallbone
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Wayne Fox

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2012, 06:50:46 pm »

Indeed hand made ...  had no idea.  Interesting video, thx for sharing
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Alan Smallbone

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2012, 12:47:47 am »

I was really surprised that it was so labour intensive. It was eye opening the first time I saw that, hard to believe in this day and age.

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
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rgs

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2012, 10:38:17 pm »

I recently tested a Cokin P 2 stop grad and an older Hoyarex circular polarizer. The Hoyarex series was a mostly plastic drop-in (similar to Cokin A) but a few, including this polarizer, were glass circles mounted in a plastic square to fit their drop in holder. I have since modified the mount to fit in the Cokin P holder and it covers a 72mm lens.

The plastic Cokin P grad was noticeably soft but color correct. The glass polarizer appears to not degrade the image at all (compared to an unfiltered shot) and has no color shift. I also have an older plastic Hoyarex grad which has a strong reddish brown color shift. It's so bad I only used it one time.

Digital requires far fewer filters than did film so I am moving toward 77mm glass screw-ins and step down rings.

To my mind, the square drop-in is related to the time when square Wratten gels and matte boxes were common. Many photographers wanted only one very flexible system and some kind of drop-in filled that need. With digital photography, I think glass screw-ins are a better choice except for grads.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 10:53:13 pm by rgs »
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uaiomex

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2012, 12:15:30 am »

I don't have tons of experience with filters but that's what I think too.
Eduardo

To my mind, the square drop-in is related to the time when square Wratten gels and matte boxes were common. Many photographers wanted only one very flexible system and some kind of drop-in filled that need. With digital photography, I think glass screw-ins are a better choice except for grads.
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torger

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Re: ND filters: Square type vs Screw-in type
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2012, 01:05:18 pm »

I've recently experimented a bit with smaller grads, Cokin P size formatt hitech grad filters. The lack of multi-coating seems to be a bit of a problem, getting double-images from reflections in harsh lit scenes with contrasty details even with properly shaded lens and filter does happen.

On the other hand few screw-in grads are coated either.

The large Schneider glass rectangular filters are coated though and seems to be the only really high quality system out there, but my tech camera Schneider Digitar lenses have typically 40.5mm lens thread and 67mm at max so having a huge 4x5.65 inch system to hike with does not feel that attractive... I'd love to have a smaller size coated glass-based system.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2012, 03:17:09 am by torger »
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