Beginner Cheap Filters ?

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12
Name
Paul
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#1
As a complete beginner I need all the kit but can't afford it. Don't laugh but I have bought a two pack of UV and polarising filter for the princely sum of £8.

Are these as poor as the price suggests they are ?
 
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1,850
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#2
Do you really need to ask? Joking aside, it’s pretty much always the case of you get what you pay for. I personally have been through the ‘buy rubbish buy twice’ scenario more times than I care to admit.

The usual adage here is why pay hundreds for a lens which has been skill fully crafted after years of development and design only to put a £4 filter on the end of it. You will most likely ruin any quality in your images. Yes, search for used bargains, but don’t buy crap. If you can’t afford it, save up or manage without. :)
 
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Name
StephenR
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#3
I’ve not used UV filters on the lenses for many years and never damaged a lens yet (looks round quickly for some real wood!).

I did buy a cheap polariser when I started and it was pretty rubbish. I’ve since bought a good one for the biggest diameter lens, which happens to be the one I use it most on anyway, and some step down rings to it'll fit on the smaller diameter ones if needed.
 
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Name
Alistair
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#4
I've also not bothered with UV filters for ages. But polarising filters are useful.
I did once while on holiday in the USA buy a similar twin pack of UV and polariser made by SunPak. The polariser did the job but I've not used them in years.
Hoya seem to be the average standard for consumer filters. Decent enough quality and not too expensive.

I'd say, use the cheap one, if it's ok then fine. Chances are if you get seriously into photography, you'll want to upgrade your lenses, so you'll need to get bigger filters at that stage anyway.
For example a lot of beginner kit lenses take 52mm or 55mm filters, but if you upgrade your main lens, you may find you need a 67mm filter.
 
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1,084
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#5
Are these as poor as the price suggests they are ?
Quite possibly. They may have cheap glass instead of the high quality optical glass the more expensive filters use, potentially degrading the image visibly. They may not be coated (let alone multi-coated), which will make then liable to flare when shooting into the light. They may have poorly machined threads (don't force them if they don't screw on easily). Take some shots with and without the UV filter, carefully focused and ideally with the camera on a tripod, and compare image details when zoomed in to 100%. Include some photos with a light source in the frame to check for flare. Can you see the difference?
 
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Name
Alan
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#6
Maybe some testing to try and create problems will reveal if there are any.

I've bought cheap UV and plastic ND filters in the past and I've never been disappointed and have never found any issues. I guess there may be some total rubbish out there somewhere but so far I haven't found it.

Hopefully yours will be ok.
 
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1,084
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#8
There's an interesting comparative test of various filters here:

https://www.lenstip.com/113.1-article-UV_filters_test.html

It's a bit out of date (doesn't include the latest B+W Nano or Hoya HD, etc.) and the overall scores and ranking include results from UV spectrophotometry that most people really won't care about, but the example photos are very informative. Compare a good filter like a B+W MRC or a Hoya HMC with an uncoated Tiffen, and the latter is dramatically worse. But you also need to look beyond the brand - B+W and Hoya still make uncoated or single coated filters (see the B+W filters without 'MRC' in the name, and the Hoya 'standard'), which also flare badly when shooting into the light. Multicoating makes a big difference.
 
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Name
Bil Cook
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#9
As a complete beginner I need all the kit but can't afford it. Don't laugh but I have bought a two pack of UV and polarising filter for the princely sum of £8.

Are these as poor as the price suggests they are ?
Well, you know more than I do about this! Why? Well, you have the filters, I don't. Assuming you're digital & not film, then it costs nothing to take many shots with & without the filters. If you can see a difference when using the UV filters (I'd be surprised) then bin them. If the polariser either doesn't seem to work or degrades the image, then bin that as well. Otherwise keep & use them.
 
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3,304
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#10
As a complete beginner I need all the kit but can't afford it. Don't laugh but I have bought a two pack of UV and polarising filter for the princely sum of £8.

Are these as poor as the price suggests they are ?
Let's put this in perspective, you've just paid less than the cost of a fish and chip supper for each of your filters, so how good do you reasonably expect them to be (unless you've got a second-hand bargain or the deal of the year)?

As a "complete beginner" you don't need "all the kit", you need to learn how to get the best out of the kit you already have. That might sound a bit patronising but it's true. Learn the basics (depth of field, shutter speed, composition, why certain photos you've taken look good and why certain ones don't) and once you are genuinely doing full justice to the kit you already have, then think about what else you actually need for the type and style of photography you find you're doing. Hope this is useful. (y)
 
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