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Old 27th December, 2007, 05:02 AM
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Question Camera Filters

Hi all, I recently bought a Canon Powershot S5 IS, and a Lensmate 52mm lens adapter. I'm pretty much a beginner when it comes to photography. I was doing some reading on accessories and such, and came across filters. Two were mentioned as "must have". A UV filter and a circular polarizer. Was just wondering if anyone had some experience in this field? Any way to tell if they are compatible, or will any 52mm filter do? Are both filters used at once? Your help would be much appreciated.

S5- Canon Powershot S5 IS digital camera

Lensmate- LensmateOnline - Canon S2 / S3 /S5 IS Adapter & Accessories
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Old 27th December, 2007, 12:00 PM
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I can agree that the UV filter is a definite, absolutely-must-have. Have you ever taken a photo on a sunny day, and it's come out with a white sky? Or taken a photo on a slightly overcast day only to have it come out with (again) a white sky that seems to glow?

The UV filter will fix that in part: a basic UV filter blocks UV-B and UV-C, but only puts a small dent in UV-A and visible blue light. Unfortunately UV-A is the most abundant and responsible for bleaching your sky. Some more expensive filters also do better with stopping the UV-A. If you've got a good camera shop, you should be allowed out to point your camera at the sky and take a few test shots before you buy.

There is a nice advantage to keeping your UV filter on all the time. A UV filter costs maybe £30, a camera lens replacement costs maybe £300. Better to scratch the filter than the camera.

With the polarising filter, you can use it with or without the UV filter also in place. IIRC polarising filters do a good job of stopping UV. You can use them to emphasise the contrast and make the colours more vibrant, also to darken the sky or emphasise the blue. Mine, however, gives everything a slightly green cast, which I then have to photoshop out - spend more than I did You can probably do without the polarising filter while you get used to the more fundamental parts of photography (composition, lighting etc).
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Old 27th December, 2007, 07:07 PM
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Mostly, filters are a waste of time and money. They are a "must have" according to the manufacturers.

In many situations the image quality will be degraded by a lens filter. I have expensive filters, yet problems can still occur. I rarely have use for them.

A polarizer is most useful when taking shots of plants/flowers. It will take the white shine off the leaves, leaving more natural looking colours.

However, it will also lengthen exposure time. Meaning you may have to use a tripod, even then, leaves will rustle in the wind causing blur at a slow shutter speed.

You may find that the lens on your camera already has some coatings. Check that first.

The root cause of blown out skies is the CCD sensor. Cheap sensors can't cope with wider contrast situations. I don't know off-hand, which sensor your camera has.

In many cases white sky can be avoided, with a good sensor, just by adjusting the exposure, according to the lighting conditions. Also, a double or triple exposure can be used in harsh light, so you can take the correctly exposed sky from one shot, and edit it in to another shot. So that the whole scene looks correctly exposed.

I use a lens cap and hood to protect my lenses.

In general, good photos require a good photographer, rather than a pile of equipment.

What type of photography are you interested in?
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Old 27th December, 2007, 07:24 PM
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Here's 2 of my shots, one with polarising filter, the other without.

Without filter:

Camera Filters-img_1210.jpg

With filter:

Camera Filters-img_1211.jpg

With the filter, the shine has gone from the sign, and the colour is more saturated.

However, the bit of sky in the corner is darker, and not natural looking.
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Old 27th December, 2007, 10:58 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I'm not really interested in one type of photography. I like taking pictures of a lot of things. I do find myself taking more scenic shots than anything else though. Landscapes and such. Also like getting close ups of flowers, plants, or anything with unique textures. Something I was wanting to know, and don't believe it was answered, is how to attach the filters. That lensmate adapter I bought has threads on the inside. Do the filters just screw into that? If I wanted to use UV and CP, at the same time, how would I attach both? One more thing. You mentioned checking my lens to see if its coated already. How would I do that? Thanks again for your help.
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Old 28th December, 2007, 02:27 AM
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A 52mm screw-in filter will screw on to the end of it. Each filter normally has a thread on either end, allowing for further filters to be attached.

Although, attaching 2 filters, means that any negative side-effect of the filter is doubled, e.g. vignetting at wide angles, light reduction, etc.

I doubt you'll find any need to use a UV with a CP.
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Old 28th December, 2007, 03:14 AM
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Hey, thanks danrok. I think I'll get a polarizer first and see how I like it.
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Old 2nd January, 2008, 01:40 PM
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The requirement for a UV filter is more on the film side of photography than the digital side. Traditional film is sensitive to UV light, which tends to show up as a blue cast. However, some digital sensors ARE sensitive to UV - certainly older versions of the Canon Powershot suffered saturation problems if there was a lot of UV around. It also appears to cause problems with purple fringes for certain cameras.

Polarising filters (like polarised sunglasses) are designed to control the polarisation of light entering the lens (hence, they'll make the image a bit darker). However, they're useful for doing things like darking the blue of the sky, reducing reflections from objects and improving colours by limiting the effect of atmospheric scattering.
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