What is a Step-up Ring?
A Step-up ring is basically a thin metal or plastic ring which increases the lens diameter. Simply screws directly onto your lens then the adapter ring for your chosen filter screws on top. This allows you to attach a larger filter size so you don’t have to buy or carry multiple filters for each of your different sized lenses.
It doesn’t have to break the bank balance?
Have you been put off going down the filter route for fear of it being too costly as you have different sized lenses and don’t wish to break the bank buying separate filters for each? How about if I told you there is a way you can use one filter on multiple lenses? Simply find your largest thread size and purchase a Step-up ring/s for the rest.
How to measure your lens for the correct filter size.
It may seem obvious, however for newbies just starting out this can be very confusing. So, for the avoidance of doubt- Lens diameter is not the same as focal length. Lens diameter is a physical measurement on the front part of your lens. On my Canon lens the diameter is etched on the inside of the front of the lens ( image example below). Identifiable by a circle with a line right through the middle with a number at the side, this is the measurement needed to select the correct filter size- Alternatively, you could go old school and get your ruler out to measure the diameter in millimetres.
What to buy?
When buying Step-up ring/s, the goal is to find the thinnest and strongest compound if you want the best optical quality in the final image. If the ring is too thick it makes the gap between lens and filter too wide which causes all types of issues from vignette, sharpness is compromised, possibility of light leaking. The Haida ones I use are Aluminium and I’ve never had any problems. One more tip, to avoid vignetting, make sure the filter size is larger than the lens size.
Is it possible to stack Step-up rings?
Yes, it is possible to stack Step-up rings on top of each other, however this is something I highly do not recommend as it increases the distance between filter and lens which can cause vignetting and/or ghosting. All in all bad practice!
Step-up rings are probably the cheapest photography accessory I own and the most useful. Well worth investing in and will save you some pennies but make sure it’s good quality, don’t go for the cheapest.
I hope you found this helpful and simple to understand. Any further questions/advice I’m more than happy to help.
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- Step-up rings simply explained without techy jargon
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