Using Optional Lenses and Filters

DavidPJ wrote on 11/3/2003, 8:34 AM
I would lilke to get your opinion on the use of optional lenses and filters for non-professional use. I'm thinking of buying a UV filter and removing my lens cap, thus making it a sacraficial filter. In addition, I'm looking at a step up ring and wide angle lens.

Do people really bother with optional lenses or are they more trouble than they're worth? If you like filters, what would be the most popular or useful lenses for indoor and outddor use? What is the benefit of using an UV filter?



Jsnkc wrote on 11/3/2003, 9:44 AM
I always use a UV filter and a lens cap, you can never have too much protection for your lens, especially if you are using an expensive camera. A UV filter is used a lot to protect lenses but it will also cut down on harsh bright lights. I use them a lot when I am filming live bands. Usually the spotlights will wash out the faces, especially if they are sweaty, using a UV filter will cut down on this a lot. If you are shooting in low light situations you will want to remove it though as it can cut down on the amount of light getting into the camera.

Basically look at a UV filter as sunglasses for your camera :)
jeremyk wrote on 11/3/2003, 3:29 PM
I've found a wide angle adapter to be indispensible. Particularly useful indoors, and/or for handheld shots to minimize camera jiggle and get the on-camera mic as close as possible to the speaker. Some w/a adapters get fuzzy if you try to zoom through them, some are fine for the whole zoom range. Try before you buy, or get advice on specific lenses for your specific camera.
busterkeaton wrote on 11/3/2003, 5:25 PM
As Jsnkc says, there no reason you can't use a UV filter with your lens cap. It's not an either or situation. Yes, they're cheap, but why go through the hassle of needing to replace them.

On my camera the lens cap snaps right on the UV filter just like it does on the lens.
PDB wrote on 11/4/2003, 3:30 AM
Here's a useful tut on UV filters: it's a photography site but hey, video is like taking 25/30 photos a second so same principles apply...

Another popular/useful filter for outdoor shooting in bright conditions is a Polariser - cuts out reflected light off water for example- aswell a neutral density filters to cut out incoming light and avoid burnt out highlights...

craftech wrote on 11/4/2003, 5:10 AM
As Jsnkc says, there no reason you can't use a UV filter with your lens cap. It's not an either or situation
On my Sony VX2000 the cap is attached to a removeable hood which must be removed to attach lenses and filters. I never bothered going out looking for one to fit the lens attachments or filters. You cannot use the one that comes with the camera though.
farss wrote on 11/4/2003, 7:30 AM
If you've got the money I mean serious money a good matte box is a worthwhile investment, particulalry if you're using a WA adaptor outdoors. It's almost impossible to avoid flare. Make certain you get one with a french flag and that its wide enough for your widest lens.

If nothing else it adds serious 'pro' value to the camera. To really beef up your camera look into focus follow units, again pretty expensive but add those two things to your rig and you can really start to do some serious shooting.

For those not so well endowed financialy and that includes me, look at the Raynox lenses. They are not too expensive and a lot of their WA lenses come with adaptors to fit most of the consumer cameras.

Another neat gadget I picked up recently is a hood for the LCD screen, I splurged and also bought the fresnel lens thingy so the LCD looks a lot bigger. Lookup Hoodman for quite a range of these kind of gismos to fit most cameras.

One tip. Keep your filters CLEAN. I had a job recently to xfer lots of video from someones holiday and the guy had fallen in love with some soft focus filter except the thing was so dirty the camera was focused on the dirt on the filter. Sure achieved a very soft focus!
DavidPJ wrote on 11/5/2003, 6:52 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm purchasing the UV filter now.

The only reason I've ever heard for not using a lens cap with the UV filter, or any filter/lens for that matter, has to do with the way lens caps are attached to the camera. Many cameras, including mine, has the lens cap attached with a small cord to the body of the camera. Some say to remove this cap from the cord because some people just let the lens cap dangle from the cord (not me), which with movement, can create audio noise that the camera picks up, or with wind, may blow the cap in front of the lens. The only reason this was suggested with a UV filter is because UV filters are fairly inexpensive.

My lens cap has a small hook which fastens itself to the camera strap. Most of the time I just wrap the cap around inside my hand to secure it while taping. I llke the idea of a lens cap and plan to use one with the new UV filter.
farss wrote on 11/5/2003, 6:59 PM
It's amazing how many people don't see that handy litttle hook.

Stills guys always have a UV or daylight filter on their cameras, if nothing else it's a sacrifial front element. Also rubber lens hoods are very populr for adding a bit of 'bounce' just in case the camera gets dropped.
riredale wrote on 11/5/2003, 11:42 PM
Okay, call me a Contrarian. I don't bother with UV filters or lens caps for that matter. I have concluded that they aren't needed. I check my lens every time I go out for a shoot, and find the need to clean it only about once a month.

Putting on a UV filter makes sense in some instances (for example, distant scenes tend to be a bit blue from light scattering, and the subtle tint of the filter cancels it), but keep in mind you're introducing TWO new glass surfaces into the light path. No thanks.

Yes, it adds protection to the lens, but if, heaven forbid, I should drop my camera on the lens hard enough to damage it, I don't think a UV filter is going to make much of a difference. A G-load that significant means a trip to the Sony bench anyway.

As for caps, it's more of a hassle factor. On, off, on, off, on, off... If it made a big difference in my cleaning schedule it might be worth it, but as I said earlier, my lens doesn't seem to get that dirty.

Of course, the one place where lens caps are essential is if, say, a wide-angle adapter is tossed into a camera bag. A scratch is forever.
PeterWright wrote on 11/6/2003, 12:41 AM
I have a .5 wide angle and a 2x telephoto Raynox.

The first comes in very handy in small rooms, but I have to watch vignetting - can't use the widest setting without the dreaded rounded corners.

The telephoto is not used often, but two occasions bring it into play. Sometimes I have to be at the back of a largish hall to video a speaker, and the telephoto allows me to get a reasonable close-up without using digital zoom. (I would never use this one except on a tripod) The other use is the occasional nature shot, where I can't get close enough without scaring off the bird / kangaroo / wombat / crocodile etc. (one of those ain't true).

These lenses come with their own cap which replaces the usual one while they're attached.

craftech wrote on 11/6/2003, 7:43 AM
I use a Canon Wide angle on my VX2000. It seems to work very well and cost around $170. How do the Raynox lenses compare in terms of price? Also,
Is there any noticeable distortion throughout the zoom range on either the wide angle or the teleconverter?