I was very surprised when 7Artisans informed me that they will soon release their new optical filters. It has been a while since I used optical filter. 35 years ago when we I was shooting analog films on my Nikon gear and I was developing the negatives my self and enlarged them on my Durst processor, I used filters a lot to improve image quality with UV or Skylight Filter. At that time I also experimented with circular pole filters, Neutral Density and soft filters to create new styles in photography. Today where most people are using digital workflows to create (paint) their images the art of creating remarkable photos SOOC has been very much lost. Everybody is an artist in Photoshop and combines the sunset with the eagles having the rising moon in their background. All this tainted in smooth and harmonic colors…
it is true the coatings of modern lenses have been improved drastically and most modern camera sensors are having extra filters mounted in front. For image improvements today a UV filter is not needed unless you are a nostalgic person that still sticks or even came back to analog photography. Even so I have a complete collection of analog cameras and a drawer in the fridge still full with Kodak Porta, Ilford FP4 and HP5 negative films, I am happy shooting digital. This happiness had got lost some years ago. At that time I was shooting with Nikon D1, 2, 3 and 4 digital cameras. I took only raw images and at least I had to use Lightroom to produce a decent image to share.
Since I discovered the Fujifilm X range cameras with the wonderful film simulations, that allows to shoot SOOC images of highest quality my enthusiasm and creativity is back. 98% of my pictures today are SOOC. I have time to concentrate on taking the images and writing this blog… (-;
Since I upgraded to the Fujifilm X-PRO3 this fun taking digital images got even stronger. The design of the hidden LCD screen used on the X-PRO3, so many people are complaining about as the biggest fail of Fujifilm, I am in love with it. To me this represents back to the roots of photography. Create and design the picture in your brain, set up the camera dials to take the picture and trust your camera. I guess this even might be digital “You love it or you hate it!”
In this context of doing almost only SOOC images today I was very happy to receive the two optical filters from 7Artisans. Two with 52mm and two with 49mm diameter. The 52mm I can use for the Firefly 25mm and 35mm f0.95 and as well on the 7Artisans 60mm f2.8 Marco MKII. The 49mm filter are fitting well on my always on lens 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 APSC.
When I announced, very excited on Facebook, that FedEx delivered the 4 filters from 7Artisans, I had a lot of reply/discussions from photographers from all over world that the UV Optical Filter is totally use less. Even they told it would reduce the IQ of the images. I fully agree, for optical reasons a UV filter is not needed on a digital camera anymore. But in my last 42 years with out UV filters on lenses I used in heavy metal concerts in the middle of the action or during close ups on touring car races as well in the forest and on mountains during shooting mountain bike races, I would have had at least 8 to 9 scratched or damaged lenses. One time, when I was to lazy to mount a filter, I had a damaged AF Nikkor 35-70mm f2.8 D lens while shooting a cross country run and got hit from flying around stones and dirt as I tried to be as close as possible for the special image to the athletes. A metal lens hood as some people suggested and I anyhow always use, is no protection in that cases. Replacing the filter is much cheaper than the lens repair.
One of the things that always has been annoying using filters on wider lens has been vignetting, dark corners. Last century optical filters had big frames. The 7Artisans are state of the art 2021 technology and extreme slim. I added here a picture of the filter mounted on the Firefly 7Artisans 25mm f0.95 and you get an impression how slim the filter is. Here are the real values:
5.4mm including thread
7.3mm including thread
On the following images, that are made SOOC, I marked for you if I took the image with “No Filter” or when I used one of the two filters I have labeled which one. Please have a look yourself but I can see no difference in using the UV filter or not. So there is no reason at all not to use UV Filter as a protection of the front lens. (Yes not in the studio or any good weather shooting situation but you never know how fast the weather can can change or a model is starting to hit you with her Louboutin´s.)
The use of the circular pole filter is easy and the turning well damped and guarantees no change by it self. The build quality of the filters is in line with the high quality of the 7Artisans lenses. The influence of the CPL Filter on the image can bee seen but is not extreme high. Reflections on glass are minimized and contrast and color slightly improved. I need to try those filters more also in other than such cloudy sad autumn weather conditions.
As usual I invite you to make up your mind your self and I am happy if you you leave me your feedback.