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CAMERAS Filters & an African Safari

Discussion in 'Equipment & Services Talk' started by Win, Jul 4, 2017.

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  1. Win

    Win New Member

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    I am going on a trip to Africa later this month which will include a 4-day safari (super excited!). I looked into renting a super-zoom lens and have almost decided to purchase the Tamron 150-600 G2 lens as my work will provide me with similar opportunities in the future so buying makes more sense than renting.

    Now, I'm trying to decide whether I should also be investing in either a UV filter and/or a polarizing filter. Would love advice from anyone who has taken such a trip as to whether one (or both) of the filters were really useful. Since good filters are not inexpensive, I don't want to invest in a filter than turns out isn't really useful out in the fields of Africa.

    Thanks in advance!
    Win
     
  2. JohanElzenga

    JohanElzenga Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    UV filters are not really needed in this digital age, because most digital sensors do not record much UV light. They have a multi-coated filters that filter out most uv-light. Some people use them as protection against scratches however. A polarizer takes a lot of light (up to two stops) and because you shoot wildlife in the early morning and late afternoon, I do not use those either. They can increase color saturation and make the sky darker, but that is something you can do in Lightroom as well.
     
  3. Win

    Win New Member

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    John - thank you for the comments, especially about the usefulness of the polarizer and the fact that most sensors don't record much UV light anyway.
     
  4. Wernfried

    Wernfried New Member

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    A polarizing filter is more or less the only filter which effects you cannot simulate by software. Well, of course with tools like Photoshop and Lightroom you can do everything but it's gonna be a lot of work. For spotting animals they don't make any sense, they are mainly used for landscape pictures.

    Using a UV filter as mechanical protection or not is discussed like "religious war". Like every filter it reduces available light and may decrease quality of your picture. It can protect the lens, however when it falls down then the splinter of glass may scratch the lens, i.e. it opposes your actual intention.

    Better invest your money in a lens hood - if not included already.
     
  5. johnbeardy

    johnbeardy Senior Member Staff Member Moderator Lightroom Guru

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    I'd suggest the money should go on a monopod.
     
  6. LouieSherwin

    LouieSherwin Active Member

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  7. davidedric

    davidedric Active Member

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    Johan is the man here (just check out his web site), but for what it's worth I agree with him :)

    Dave
     
  8. jccash

    jccash New Member

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    Just got back from a Safari at Kruger National Park South Africa. Used Nikon D500 and Nikon 80-400mm lens. No filters. [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Roelof Moorlag likes this.
  9. ErinScott

    ErinScott Washington DC portrait and editorial photographer

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    I found the sand and dirt kicked up by the safari vehicles to be pretty problematic for my camera in general, and I can't imagine how much dirtier (and possibly scratched) my lenses would have gotten without a filter. I have UV's on them just for the protection. But hey maybe my drivers were just more aggressive than some ;)
     
  10. JohanElzenga

    JohanElzenga Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    Maybe they were indeed. I have been in Africa about 50 times now and yes, your equipment does get dirty. But it's nothing I can't handle, even without 'protective' filters.
     
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  11. Tony Jay

    Tony Jay Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    Nearly all large super telephoto lenses suited for wildlife are too large for filters to be put in front of the lens.
    I have shot with a 500mm f4.0 for 12 years with no filters.
    Yes, you do need to be careful to keep the lens clean but the odd bit of dust on a telephoto lens will not harm image quality - unlike wide angle lenses where dust on the lens is MUCH more apparent.

    If your lens choice does allow filters then you won't really lose protecting the front element with a high-quality UV filter but it isn't mandatory.
    Polarising filters are a useless addition to wildlife photography - losing two stops of light is a no-no where fast shutter speeds are so crucial.
    Light is always king!

    Enjoy yourself!

    Tony Jay
     
  12. Ferguson

    Ferguson Linwood Ferguson Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    +1

    Even if you do decide on a protective filter, the lens hood should always be on the lens, not only for glare but for protection, unless using a camera mounted flash that it interferes with. Especially on large, heavy lenses if they drop and hit the hood, it will collapse and act as a shock absorber (so be sure to drop it hood first, not camera first :eek2: ).
     
  13. davidedric

    davidedric Active Member

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    Another big yes to lens hoods - if nothing else you're guaranteed plenty of sun :)
     
  14. JohanElzenga

    JohanElzenga Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    Have you ever checked the price of a new lens hood for the Canon 4/500mm? I did and it costs around $500... So my advice would be: just don't drop the lens! ;)

    By the way: telephoto lenses like this usually have a built-in plain glass front filter already. It's an integral part of the lens design.
     
  15. Ferguson

    Ferguson Linwood Ferguson Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    Absolutely. One reason I'm so pro-hood, is I dropped a NIkon 200/F2 sideways on concrete. The hood collapsed, and the lens was perfect still. The hood (HK31) was $599. So yes, good advice, don't drop the lens. But if you must drop the lens, have a hood on it.

    Also, never, ever trust leaning your camera/monopod against a fence that might shake, even if just for a moment.

    PS. On the other end was a Nikon D4, it got a ding in the side of it (the concrete was a curb edge) but was fine, and has worked for another 100k shots since.
     

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