Which brand of filters (NDs and Grads) do people use and why?

MJphotographyHKMJphotographyHK Posts: 2Member
edited April 2013 in Gear Reviews
While reviewing B + W, LEE and Tiffen filters it has become apparent that LEE are made in a garden shed by dinner ladies, B + W are actually made by Schneider and Tiffen made in USA are not reviewed.

Can anyone provide an insight?


  • jhatchjhatch Posts: 1Member
    B+W filters are a throwback to when things were made properly and made to last. Their filters are contained in brass housings and made with optical grade glass. They are simply finest quality products and there is only one grade. And priced accordingly.
    The dinner ladies at Tiffen are capable of fine quality products but shop there with care as they do make different grades of filter from consumer junk to acceptably fine.
    Lee filter systems with their square holders and endless variations of densities and variable grads is the most customizable. Study the glass/plastic formulation of their products, the many third party filter sets made for the Lee system and you can quickly send yourself to the garden shed for recuperation from graduated filter complexity. But Lee system is the only answer to bulbous wide angle lenses like the Nikon 14-24.
    After messing about with this quandary for a while, the solution is always the same. If you want pro quality, buy the best gear = B+W screw on filters. They function as expected, are easy to clean, do not bind and they perform well in the field.
  • JohnJohn Posts: 134Member
    I use B+W filters whenever possible and couldn't be happier. Their quality is truely top notch.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    +1 for B+W. I've tried many others, they are the best. Nikon is a close second, but can be more expensive. I have the LEE system for grads and other specialty filters.
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    My 10 stop ND is B+W because when researching them I read that some others will change the hue of your long exposure image whereas the B+W maintains the correct hue. I've been totally satisfied with its performance.
    My Circ. Pol. is B+W because I wanted the presumed best.
    A B+W UV-haze filter lives on my 24-70mm f/2.8....forever.
    All of them easily screw on and off, i.e. crafted to the ultimate in detail and precision.

    I have a Tiffen 3 stop ND that works extremely well for what I use it for - not long exposures but just to open aperture in bright daylight. It saved me money.
    I received a Tiffen Circ. Pol. for free from B&H with the 70-200mm VR2 and it's definitely cheaper in quality and doesn't screw on and off as fluidly as the B+W. I keep it in an alternate camera bag and don't use it much.

    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    As polarizer I wanted to have the biggest size my lenses currently have and step down rings. Also, I found a slim type would be great because I use it as well in front of the 10-24. So I searched for a while and found a B+W KSM CPL slim 77mm. A dealers mistake made it 100$ cheaper. If I don't loose or crack it, that will last my lifetime with me.

    ND filter to try out long shutter speeds, I bought a Hoya ND x8 as they are the easiest to find here. I'm not decided how I would go on: Lee (nothing wrong with a garden shed, Apple and HP started this way also :) ) or ND 3.0 from B+W. I like the effect but after while one gets (too) used to it.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    I used B+W ND10 and Hoya polarizer and UV all 77mm
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    Lensrentals did a humorous piece on "Good Times with Bad Filters" and clearly demonstrated there is a huge difference in filters. The good ones definitely degrade images, the higher priced in general far less degradation.

    I use the high end Hoya, B & W, and a couple of Tiffen. My budget is about 5-10% of the cost of the lens for the front protective filter.
    Msmoto, mod
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 5,751Member
    I have used the top of the line Hoya and one below the top on all my lens. Also use Hoya for the polarizer filter and Tiffen for the graduated.

    As several have said, the elcheapo brands are not in the same league as the other. I tried a ProMaster when in college and returned in when I got my slides back and saw the contrast reduction.

    If you spend $500, $1,000, or more than $2,000 for a great lens, why would you put a $25 filter on the lens. Our Moderator suggested spending 5-10% for the front protective filter. You will not be sorry.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Almost all of my filters are B+W (except two). I'm very satisfied with them and have no reason to switch.

    The two exceptions: I'm fond of the Nikon CPL II polarizer. I also have a Fader Variable-ND filter for the occasional video work.
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