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Using Multiple Filters

Posted by: Andrew Glisson on 11/08/2013 - 12:23 PM

Does anyone combine filters for different effects? I know from experience that multiple filters can create a black ring around the picture which is annoying. But what would a Polarizer and a ND filter do when combined?


Oldest Reply

Posted by: Rich Franco on 11/08/2013 - 1:04 PM


I haven't attached most filters to my cameras since I went totally digital. But I do use the ND for great effect. If the quality of the filter is the highest, then stacking filters MAY not effect your image capture quality. Just go out back and do a test, shoot anything, make sure the camera is on a tripod, cable release and Mirror lock-up for your test, with and without the filters and see for your self. Keep the ISO the same and the aperture too, shutter speed will be the difference,



Posted by: Joseph C Hinson Photography on 11/08/2013 - 2:01 PM

Like Rich, I stopped using filters not long after going digital. It didn't make as much sense to me anymore as most of what I needed a filter to do could be done in post. The exceptions mist be an ND filter so I could use a slower "film speed" during pan or pacing shots. Also, I would not be opposed to a star filter for night time work.


Posted by: Chuck De La Rosa on 11/08/2013 - 2:21 PM

Everything Rich and Joesph said! The only filters I use are ND filters and a circular polarizer. I've had to combine an ND2, ND4, and polarizer a time or two to slow the shutter down in situations where there was just too much light. The results far exceeded my expectations. As Rich said, just try it.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 11/08/2013 - 3:00 PM

unless your shooting for a water movement effect, there is no reason to use a ND at all. a polarizer is a good thing to use, but most other filters are kind of useless these days. you get vignetting if you stack too much.

stack the two and you get a darker image. that's about it.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Ryan Moore on 11/08/2013 - 3:05 PM

I plan on stacking a polarizer and graduated ND filter this evening. But i purposely purchased a brand that uses larger filters and has wide angle adapters to hopefully avoid vignetting so thats not my concern. I'll let you know how goes


Posted by: Charline Xia on 11/08/2013 - 3:11 PM

I often use multiple filters. The vignette problem may sometimes be avoided if you don't use the extreme ends of the zoom range.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 11/08/2013 - 3:22 PM

i usually had a uv on there to protect the lens. got a Xume adapter for my pol, and found the stack vignetted it way too much. i now only have the pol on there. the uv has been retired for now.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Chuck De La Rosa on 11/08/2013 - 5:25 PM

Mike, you will find that you won't miss the UV filter.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 11/08/2013 - 5:30 PM

it pains me to remove it because i spent a bunch on it, but i used it for many years. the only reason i had it there was because i scratched my favorite lens. a stray grain of sand in a breeze scored the surface. since then i've always had it on. though right now the polarizer filled in it's place. right now i'm looking for a small pouch for said pol, but that's a different topic.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: HW Kateley on 11/08/2013 - 5:34 PM

I have some cokin filters that I like. The way they mount no vignetting issues for up to 3 filters. It's true that much can be done in post that makes many filters unneeded. However, I find that I still like to use them and also like to minimize post work when unneeded. Like all of this, depends on what you want to do, and how you want to do it. No way is wrong if it fits your style and desired outcome.

Some folks like vignetting and add it in post, or you can crop, so even that isn't necessarily a big problem.


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 11/08/2013 - 5:43 PM

You lose light and some degree of quality with every extra filter you add. They should be used only when really needed, not as an easy alternative to processing, in my view.


Posted by: HW Kateley on 11/09/2013 - 6:32 AM

You might have to define what is meant by quality. I'd agree that you loose light and depending on the grade of filter, some degree of sharpness. Depending on your desired outcome, these things may or may not be issues.

On the other side of that, one of the rules that I'd learned was *always always always* use a UV filter to protect your lens. Most books say this and say that it has no effect on the image. Then one day a whole set of outdoor shots were ruined by excessive lens flare from the UV filters I was using on my lenses.

Bottom line is, everything has an effect. Whether the effect is desirable or not, depends on what you are trying to do. (Maybe someday, I'll want a great load of lens flare....) ;)


Posted by: Jack Torcello on 11/09/2013 - 6:42 AM

Polarizer and ND - depending on the orientation of the polarizer,
turn it into a Grad ND. Why not try it yourself and see.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 11/09/2013 - 7:28 AM

as far as i know i never had flare problems with my camera. i used a BW UV filter MRC i got a the best they had at the time. it never seemed to effect me (that i was aware of). i noticed flare and contract reduction when i had that old polarizer on it though, it had no coating and it was very noticeable. reading over threads in other forums, they are very passionate about this topic. screaming obscenities and such because the other guy wanted to use a UV filter. you could almost hear them frothing at the mouth screaming - the UV filter does nothing, most Dslr's have a UV block anyway. which is true, but the guy didn't have to berate the other one so much.

i think in the old days i used a pol and a nd, mostly as another number. like a polarizer acted like an ND2, then i stacked a ND4. or you can get fancy, hoya has this adjustable ND, but it's really expensive. it's two pol's stacked - which i can do myself and probably will if i knew i needed it.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Rich Franco on 11/09/2013 - 10:13 AM


You're right and I've done that, many times, until I got a ND filter. That's the only filter I'm using and only if I know that there will be water or clouds, or something I want to get slow movement out of, but those shots are very limited and not done everyday,month,year!

UV filters haven't been on my camera's lenses for about 30+ years and I've NEVER scratched or damamged the front element of any lens. When shooting into the Sun or nearly into the Sun, I just look into the viewfinder and move my hand in front of and above the lens to see if I can see the Sun hitting the front element, if so, I use my hat or my hand to block it.

The only times I ever remember using the UV, was for Aerial Photography, either from a helicopter or a small plane and was above 1,000 ft or so and wanted to cut the "bluish haze", but this was film days and not needed today.

I don't know any Professionals that use UV filters. I probably have a few thousand dollars of filters, mostly the Cokin Pro series, in a closet sitting on a shelf,collecting dust,



This discussion is closed.