B+W and Hoya Filter Initial Review

Merry Christmas everyone!

For my Christmas Day post, I’ll share a quick review of my Christmas presents to myself: the B+W UV Haze 010 (MRC) and the Hoya HOCP77 Circular Polarizer lens filters. These were purchased at B&H Photo Video alongside a Canon EW-83J Lens Hood (I will try to do a review on this as soon as I spend enough time with it). These compliment the Canon EF 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens which is my 50D’s one and only lens at this time.

Christmas presents to myself

B+W UV Haze MRC

A UV filter’s main role is to protect the front element of a lens from impact, smudges, scratches and the elements i.e dust and salt water spray. I decided on the B+W mainly because of the excellent reviews I have seen on the web, and Bryan Carnathan’s convincing review was the tipping point. The B+W MRC is a multi-coated filter. Coatings are said to minimize reflections. You’d want this because you’d want all the light to go into the lens and onto the sensor, not reflected off. Furthermore, uncoated filters are said to degrade your pictures by introducing glare. The B+W MRC is a bit pricey as compared to uncoated filters. But if you have invested on $1000 or more on quality glass, an $85 filter is in my opinion, is justified.

The B+W feels substantial and solid on my hand. I’m not sure if it’s the brass rim or the glass that’s contributing to the weight, but one can really feel the quality of the filter merely by holding it. Screwing the filter on and off the lens are easy tasks, and so far I haven’t experienced having the filter stuck on the lens. I could also easily attach the lens cap and the lens hood, even with the filter on.

I already took a lot of photos with the filter on, and I did not see any improvement in my photos. More importantly, I did not see any degradation (i.e. vignetting, glare and loss of contrast) either.

B+W UV MRC Filter mounted on the lens

Hoya Circular Polarizer

A circular polarizer is a great companion to outdoor photography because it cuts out glare from bodies of water, foilage, glass, or other non-metallic surfaces. It also improves contrast and makes blue skies bluer.  Circular polarizers can be rotated to adjust the polarizing effect.

My choice get the Hoya single coated circular polarizer is simply due to cost considerations. High-end multicoated polarizers such as the one of B+W go for  as much as $160. I am simply unwilling to spend that much for a filter that I will only need when I’m shooting outdoors (which is only 30% of the time). Of course, I also didn’t settle for flimsy filters either, which is why I went for the $83 Hoya  as a mid-range product.

I took a few snaps with the polarizer, probably not enough for a fair review. Its effect is very obvious on some shots and not at all obvious on others. For certain, the filter lowers your exposure for about 2 stops, which could be to your benefit (i.e. on bright sunny days) or disadvantage (i.e. in low light situations). Below are a couple of sample shots wherein the bluer skies and increased contrast are clearly noticeable. They were not edited except for resizing.

Bluer skies

Improved contrast

Overall, I would recommend both the B+W and Hoya filters as essential parts of your kit. The former is for unobtrusive protection and the latter for improved outdoor images.

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