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Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings

From: The Practicing Photographer

Video: Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings

I spend a lot a time in classrooms and in Lynda courses

Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings

I spend a lot a time in classrooms and in Lynda courses telling students, oh, buying new gear won't make you a better photographer. You know, you don't need to think about, buying some new thing that's going to suddenly improve your images. I can say that because I've bought every piece of gear, and I can tell you it didn't make a difference. I'm going tell you this week though, on this installment of the Practicing Photographer, how you can not spend very much money and get much better use out of your gear. Here's the situation I'm talking about. I have here a 24:105 millimeter lens on my camera.

I really like it, it's my walk around lens. It has a 77 millimeter thread size. I also happen to have this 50 millimeter, f1.2 lens that I really like. It's great in low light. It's great when I just want to work with a normal lens. It's got a 72 millimeter filter size. Really, Canon couldn't, 5 millimeters? They couldn't manage to get a 77 millimeter thread size on here? So here's why this is such an issue for me. Lets say that I want to put a nice expensive filter on this lens, like a neutral density filter.

I happen to have, I have and own along with everything else a 77 millimeter neutral density filter that I keep right here in my neutral density filter holder. I never travel anywhere without this. This is a nice Hoya 77 millimeter neutral density filter. The problem with these big filters is they're pricy, if you want to get a good one. This one is somewhere between 75 to a 100 bucks. Now, you can buy cheaper ones. But this is a nice piece of glass on this camera right now. I don't want to corrupt it with a bad filter. So I went ahead and spent the money on the nicer filter.

But it's 77 millimeters, I can't use it on my 1.2 50, or can I? There actually is a way I can do it, I can buy a step-up ring, which I happen to have right here. This is a 72 to 77mm step up ring. It's just a little piece of metal. It's got 72 millimeters threads on this side, and 77 millimeter threads on this side. So I can take this and screw it on to the end of a 50. It fits just like any filter does. It really is just like a filter there's just nothing inside it.

Screw that down, then I can attach my filter to it. So what this means is rather than having to buy a $100 filter for one lens and then go out and buy the same $100 filter for another lens, I can buy one $100 filter and then a couple of $4 step-up rings. So, if you have a filter set that you like, maybe you have a neutral density and a circular polarizer, maybe an infrared, those are all expensive filters, especially when you're buying the larger sizes. You have a filter set that you like. But you've got a bunch of lenses you'd like to use it on. And they don't all have the same filter size.

Some simple step up rings can be a very inexpensive way to get them there. Now, there are some caveats. If I'm working with a wide angle lens, then a step up ring might actually be visible in the corners of the frame. I might get a little bit of vignetting. Typically, just zoom in a little bit, it goes away. So you might lose a little bit of your wide end, you may not. It depends on your particular lens. I can also step down. I can go from 72 millimeters, sorry excuse me; 77 millimeters down to 72 millimeters. I can go all the way down to 58 millimeters. If I do that, I'm definitely going to have vignetting.

Still, this is such a better alternative than buying a bunch of expensive filters. I can buy I spotted the other day, a kit that went from 58 to 77, not one step up ring, but a series. And it was 15 bucks. So you can mix and match different filters to get get things adapted to the size as you want. The more you stack, the more you're going to risk that vignetting effect. Now, like any filter, I can get this thing stuck on my lens. So you want to be careful about screwing these things down too far. Also, if I have it on here, especially if I have a big stack, I may not be able to use a lens hood, or some other lens attachment.

If you want to know about working with filters and how to get them unstuck from each other, check out my specialty lenses course. I've got some tips in there. In the meantime, this is a great way to feel like you bought some new gear, without having to spend a bunch of money.

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This video is part of

Image for The Practicing Photographer
The Practicing Photographer

72 video lessons · 44625 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 3m 15s
    1. Shooting with a shape in mind
      3m 15s
  2. 7m 34s
    1. Introducing The Practicing Photographer
      1m 35s
    2. Canon wireless flash with built in radio control
      5m 59s
  3. 7h 0m
    1. Choosing a camera
      5m 27s
    2. Looking at light as a subject
      2m 22s
    3. Using a small reflector to add fill light
      5m 45s
    4. Editing photo metadata with PhotosInfo Pro for iPad
      6m 30s
    5. Let your lens reshape you
      7m 26s
    6. Compositing street photography images with Photoshop
      7m 44s
    7. Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings
      3m 56s
    8. Shooting without a memory card
      3m 6s
    9. Give yourself a year-long assignment
      5m 28s
    10. Working with reflections
      1m 26s
    11. Exploring mirrorless cameras
      7m 25s
    12. Batch processing photos with the Adobe Image Processor
      7m 30s
    13. Limiting yourself to a fixed-focal-length lens
      2m 13s
    14. Creating tiny worlds: Shooting technique
      4m 15s
    15. Creating tiny worlds: Post-processing techniques
      11m 41s
    16. Shooting macro shots on an iPhone
      3m 18s
    17. Using a tripod
      3m 33s
    18. Wildlife and staying present
      5m 58s
    19. Batch exposure adjustments on raw files
      6m 52s
    20. Why Shoot Polaroid
      11m 12s
    21. Seizing an opportunity
      4m 4s
    22. Four photographers do a light-as-subject exercise
      12m 24s
    23. Shooting macro bug photos with a reversed lens
      4m 54s
    24. Varnishing a photo for a painterly effect
      13m 36s
    25. Shooting wildlife
      7m 24s
    26. Discussion on how to shoot architecture
      12m 27s
    27. Using a lens hood
      4m 48s
    28. Working with themes
      2m 48s
    29. Setting up an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    30. Processing an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    31. Two perspectives on travel photography
      12m 28s
    32. Scanning Photos
      5m 37s
    33. Photo assignment: shooting an egg
      3m 13s
    34. Reviewing the egg shot images
      6m 47s
    35. Shooting in your own backyard
      4m 38s
    36. Jpeg iPad import process
      3m 17s
    37. Shooting a product shot in open shade
      9m 34s
    38. Reviewing the product shot images
      4m 5s
    39. Warming up
      3m 26s
    40. Taking a panning action shot
      10m 17s
    41. Scanning polaroid negatives and processing in Photoshop
      8m 17s
    42. Shooting a silhouette
      3m 9s
    43. Going with an ultra-light gear configuration
      5m 29s
    44. Working with masks and calculations in Photoshop
      12m 38s
    45. Working with flash for macro photography
      4m 55s
    46. Colorizing a black and white photo in Photoshop
      5m 10s
    47. Using duct tape and zip ties in the field
      4m 14s
    48. When the on camera flash is casting a shadow
      3m 4s
    49. Using Lightroom on the road
      6m 28s
    50. Listening to your camera to get good exposure
      2m 20s
    51. Shooting a successful self portrait with a phone
      7m 18s
    52. Switching to Lightroom from another application
      9m 48s
    53. Photographing animals in wildlife refuges
      6m 41s
    54. Shooting level
      2m 42s
    55. Photoshop and Automator
      8m 54s
    56. Shooting when the light is flat
      3m 23s
    57. Discussing the business of stock photography
      9m 48s
    58. Shooting tethered to a monitor
      3m 21s
    59. Making a 360 degree panorama on the iPhone
      4m 45s
    60. Understanding the three flash setup
      3m 34s
    61. Shooting a three flash portrait
      4m 6s
    62. Understanding the differences with third party lenses
      4m 43s
    63. Understanding why files look different on depending on device
      5m 25s
    64. Working with a geotagging app on the iPhone
      4m 43s
    65. Using high speed flash sync to dim ambient light
      7m 29s
    66. Using your iPad as a second monitor
      5m 46s
    67. Understanding exposure with a leaf shutter camera
      3m 28s
    68. Photography practice through mimicry
      8m 8s
    69. Posing and shooting pairs of people
      5m 35s

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