Filters: B+W vs. Hoya vs. Tiffen

Joined
May 9, 2009
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So what are, if any, are the differences between the filters from these brands? I've noticed that Tiffen is the least expensive and B+W are the most expensive, but is there really that much of a difference in quality? Or performance? I was in adorama today and saw that a 77MM UV filter by Tiffen was $25.95, Hoya was $35.95, and B+W was $41.95. And this was all for just a glass UV filter, not a CP or ND.

Can someone tell me what commands the premium in B+W over Tiffen or Hoya? And whether it is worth it to spend the extra money for a B+W?
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2007
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997
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Los Angeles, California
Hoya/Kenko Pro1 filters from maxsaver.net hit the bang for the buckometer for me. Generally very well reviewed, nicely built, thin enough to avoid vignetting on wide lenses, and all at a price that doesn't aggravate the heck out of me. I'm sure B&W filters are very nice, but most of them are absurdly expensive, at least for me. I'll leave them for the folks with multiple $1500+ lenses.
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2008
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Chgo/Glenview. my heart, New Mexico
I can not recall the site that showed vividly why Tiffen came in about last. I'm certainly no fanatic. I have taken some test shots to compare my 70-300vr to the 300/4 and can not see a huge diff yet these photos clearly showed a huge difference in filters
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2007
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Rockville, MD
You're probably comparing apples to oranges. A 77mm Tiffen for $25 sounds like an uncoated filter. I actually have a few of these and they work fine. The reason I have them is for occasional rough duty shooting. They're laminated so they won't shatter if they take a hit, and they're also very easy to clean. The other ones are probably multi-coated, or "super" multi-coated which is why they steadily get more expensive.

I like Hoyas and Tiffens. B+W are nice but
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
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Redmond, WA
tomtom has mentioned before that B+W filters use Schott glass, which he thinks is better quality than Nikon glass :biggrin:

The U.S. market also gets quality brass filter mounts. I do think the higher price is justified. I have a B+W Kasemann CP and it's great. I've not noticed any negative optical impact from the B+W filters I have. And I've found them easy to clean.

I dislike the lower-end Hoya filters. The coating is relatively "sticky" so dust and dirt tends to stick to it and a rocket blower or microfiber cloth just pushes it around. The higher-end Hoya filters are better in this regard.

FWIW, here's a thread with someone complaining about his lens. Turns out he had a Hoya Pro1 HD filter. In post #7, he removed that expensive filter and his sharpness problem went away. :eek:

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/66710-sigma-17-70mm-f-2-8-4-5-not-good.html

I did a google search and found a post on a Nikon site where someone was having the same sharpness issue. Turns out it was due to the Hoya Pro1 UV filter I was using. I removed it this morning and took a few shots. The sharpness problem is gone.
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
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Paris, France
I mostly have B+W because of the brass mount. Aluminum can gall and jam on the lens. Brass seems to always unscrew.
There's always the trick to run a paper pencil along both of the threads, graphite working as a dry lubricant. Works pretty well.
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2009
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Hertfordshire, England
All of my lenses have B+W filters on them on the basis that they are not as expensive as Nikon and the quality is excellent as either a UV or Polarizer. I guess you get what you pay for.

I also use Cokin X-Pro when I need a grad.
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2008
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Canada
Hoya HD or Pro 1 are very good. I've found that the UV or polarizing ability is the same as cheaper models but I find better sharpness when comparing to cheaper models. Same quality for B+W.

Tom
 
Joined
May 9, 2009
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Location
NYC
You're probably comparing apples to oranges. A 77mm Tiffen for $25 sounds like an uncoated filter. I actually have a few of these and they work fine. The reason I have them is for occasional rough duty shooting. They're laminated so they won't shatter if they take a hit, and they're also very easy to clean. The other ones are probably multi-coated, or "super" multi-coated which is why they steadily get more expensive.

I like Hoyas and Tiffens. B+W are nice but
Nope, they are the glass UV filters. Check it out below, B+W is $46, Tiffen is about $12, and Hoya is $39.

B+W
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/11974-REG/B_W_65070156_77mm_Ultraviolet_UV_Glass.html

Tiffen
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/72719-REG/Tiffen_77UVP_77mm_UV_Protector_Glass.html

Hoya
http://www.adorama.com/HY77UV.html?searchinfo=hoya+77mm+UV+filter

I went to Adorama for the price on the Hoya because I couldn't find it on B&H, but their prices are pretty much in line with each other.

So to others arguments, the B+W has a better mount since it is brass, but I've never really had a problem with the thread on my Tiffen or Hoya filters in the past. And they also used higher quality Schott glass - but is the Schott glass really worth that much premium over the other brands?
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2008
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Saint Joseph, Louisiana, USA
I started in photography in 1974 and stayed in it until about 1990. All that time I used Tiffen filters almost exclusively, on Pentax Takumar lenses, Canon FD lenses, Leica R lenses, and Nikon Nikkor lenses without any problems.

When I got back into photography in 2005, I put Nikon filters on all my Nikkors (very inexpensively, thanks to eBay). Of course, if you shoot digital, uncoated filters like Tiffens may cause some problems.
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2009
Messages
324
Location
Toronto
I've never used Tiffen, but have used Nikon, B&W, and one Hoya. Most of them have been just UV filters, and I can't see the differences between them.

The Hoya is a very recent and very expensive purchase. I think it may be the nicest polarizer of several that I've owned over the years. It doesn't jag tone or contrast at all, it just does its job and cuts glare.

However it has already infuriated several times by sticking VERY firmly to the lens. I have NOT over-cranked it, in fact after the first time I rotated it with exceeding care to try to avoid locking it to the lens, but it still got stuck. If I got incautious or the lens got bumped, this nearly-$300 filter would be a permanent part of the lens until I got professional help.

For that price, it should be absolutely no-compromise quality, and it's not.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
7,498
Location
Los Angeles, CA
I have all three brands. Tiffen CP's, Hoya UVs and star filter and a B+W CP. The B+W is the heaviest of them all, and way WAY overbuilt. The difference between the B+W and Tiffen CP's is that the Tiffs arent as STIFF as the B+W.. the rotating part has a lot of "play" when you rotate it, unlike the B+W which is super stiff.. to a point where if you turn to the wrong direction, you can accidentally unscrew the polarizer off the lens. I have to mention also that the Tiffen's polarizing effect is "better" than the B+W. I found that the B+W's effect is very mild when turning the CP, compared to Tiffen.

My Hoya filters are also good, solid, and lighter than B+W, but they definitely have better build than the Tiffs. I think the Hoyas have the best bang for the buck.

That being said, I don't use any filters anymore. They are a hassle and I want my images to come from pure, unfiltered Nikkor goodness. Screw the filters! (no pun intended)
 

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