At CES 2013 earlier this year, Hoya showed off a new series of lens filters called the HD2. The main feature of the filter set is its strength: each filter uses hardened glass that can take a serious beating without getting damaged or shattering.
French optical filter company Cokin has launched a new line of lens filters under the brand name Pure Harmonie. The new filters are unique in that they’re the thinnest and lightest in the world — the UV filter in the set measures only 3.3mm (~0.13in) thick!
UV lens filters are a popular way to protect the front element of lenses from damage, but you should make sure you invest in a high-quality one unless you want to make a huge sacrifice in image quality. Reddit user EvilDoesIt shot the photos above comparing a cheap filter with a pricier one:
The top one is a $20 Quantaray UV filter. Bottom is a ~$70 B+W MRC UV filter. This is a more extreme example, but it shows the difference between a nice filter and a crappy cheap one. Both these shots are unedited JPEGs from my Nikon D7k with a Nikkor 17-55 ƒ/2.8 @ 1.3s ISO100.
I do realize that the top pic can be easily fixed by adjusting levels, but in my opinion, it’s always better to get the best picture you can get out of your camera before editing. [#]
His last sentence is a gem: to achieve the best images, you want to make sure you’re squeezing out the best image quality you can from each step along the way.
Image credit: Photographs by EvilDoesIt and used with permission
Here’s a quick tip for if you ever have a hard time removing a lens filter from a lens (e.g. when it’s damaged): use a shoe. Simply take any shoe with a grippy flat bottom, press it firmly against the filter, and then turn it. It’s a super simple technique that should work every time unless the threads on the lens itself are badly damaged.
Thanks for the tip, Luke!
Using a filter is a great way to protect your lens from damage, but if you accidentally drop your camera and smash the filter, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to remove the filter from your lens’ threads. Here’s a quick video that shows how you can remove a stuck filter — all you need is a strong pair of pliers.
(via ISO 1200)