Depending on what quality you are looking to achieve....
If you will print photos for family albums onlly you can stick with inexpensife as Sunpack or Quantaray, Cokin..
If you are looking to sell photos as high quality large prints or high key stock agencies, then Tiffen, multy layered Hoya, Singh-Ray, Tech, Heliopan.
I don't see reason to buy very expensive filters if lens quality is so-so..
If you are a professional, a pixel peeper or one of those people who revels in having the best possible equipment regardless of whether their skill level justifies it then buy the most expensive filters you can find..
Otherwise I would recommend Hoya SMC range (the SMC have better coatings on the filter that will cut down on flare) or Cokin if you prefer a 'square' system..
Confused of Malvern.
'The greatest fool can ask more than the wisest man can answer'..
Sorry, SMC coating is Pentax, it is a very good coating however. I think you mean Hoya S-HMC coated filters..
To the op: The better filters have better anti-reflection coatings, better glass, and better build quality. You also may not need nor want a filter depending on your needs. Search this site for plenty of opinions and advice..
Scope photofilter.com for ideas and some good information all in one place. My personal advice is get a multicoated filter, S-HMC Hoya, B+W MRC, Heliopan if you use one at all. If you do use a filter it is no substitute for a lens hood and lens cap. IMO the B+W MRC's and Heliopan's are built better than Hoya...
Outside of the argument about "protection" which is a religious war at times, with digital there is less need for filters. Circular polarizers, neutral densities ND and graduated neutral densities seem to be the types one would need..
With NDs and CPLs, then good quality and of a suitable diameter - which may mean you buy large and use step-up rings. It might even be worth considering a larger size than you "need" if you expect to go to a larger diameter lens at some point. With graduated NDs, then Cokin has some color cast and HiTech and some of the others are perhaps a better idea but the Cokin holders are a good value. With the rectanglars, again, it may be worthwhile buying the wider holder and filters to accomodate future needs..
The Filter Connection at:http://www.2filter.com.
Is a good place to do some loking for price and feature comparisons...
With film, filters are a useful way to control 'whitebalance'. But digital, that can be handled rather effectively either in-camera or in post processing. Not a lot of reasons to buy filters any more..
And ANYTHING you put in front of a lens is going to affect image quality at least a little bit. So I prefer to shoot 'commando style' in raw and then make corrections in Lightroom..
If you're going to buy filters in spite of my advice not to, I'd say buy the best you can afford. When it comes to image quality and photography, you really DO get what you pay for. The filters won't do much that you can't do in post processing, but you want to do as little damage to the image as possible, so buy the best..
STOP Global Stasis! Change is good!.
Now that you've judged the quality of my typing, take a look at my photos..http://www.photo.net/photos/GlenBarrington..
Glen Barrington wrote:.
The filters won't do much that you can't do in post processing.
That's almost true (certainly for the UV and warming/cooling and other colored filters), but there are still some that have their place in the digital world..
A circular polarizer will help reduce or glare and specular highlights on sunny days. It's by no means a filter you'd want on your camera 24/7, but it has it's uses and can improve image quality. A neutral density filter will allow you to take long exposure shots in daylight or VERY long exposures in low light. On a bright day, a graduated neutral density filter will essentially allow you to expose the ground properly without overexposing the sky for landscape shots. You could do this in multiple shots and merge in photoshop, but many would prefer to just get the results straight out of the camera...
I went from not thinking I would not need "filters" to buying several within a week. I really enjoy my 4+ closeup. I have gotten some very satisfactory closeups without the expense and precision needed for true macro work. I did get a CP filter and have only tried it once. I am sure it will get very limited use, but when needed there is no substitute. I also decided on UV/protection filters.
One glop of tree sap on my closeup lense was enough to convince me...