Why I No Longer Care About Filter Sizes for Lenses

One common complaint I get these days is that Nikon has pretty much abandoned the 52mm, 62mm, and 77mm trio for their filter choice. Back in the film days, if you owned filters with those three sizes, you were golden. If you wanted to build a lens set with only one or two of those filter sizes, again, you were golden.

Today Nikon makes lenses with 40.5mm, 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm, 77mm, and 82mm (I threw the Nikon 1 lenses in there for the first number). Some lens sets, such as the f/1.8G prime set, don’t really use any common thread size. You’d need nine filter sets to be a wide ranging Nikon shooter in the digital age. 

But I don’t care. As I note in my Filters 101 article, I rarely use filters with digital cameras. I’ll use a polarizing filter to reduce reflections when needed, and I’ll sometimes still use a graduated neutral density filter to hold exposure down on an area such as sky in some situations, or a plain neutral density filter to hold back exposure to get slow shutter speeds. That’s about it.

So yes, I have a 52mm, 62mm, 72mm, 77mm, and 82mm circular polarizer in my kit, three of those accumulated over the film years. If I need another size, I’ll use set up rings (e.g. 67->72mm), though this sometimes makes lens hood use impossible. 

For the neutral density filters I’ve always used a Cokin-style holder with rectangular filters, so I really only need filter holder adapters of all the sizes, though I’ve been known to just hold the filter against the lens at times.  

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