Step rings for lens filters are an essential item for almost any photographer who’s been engaging in photography for a while.
What are step rings and why do you need step rings as a photographer?
Let’s find out!
What Are Step Rings?
Step rings are adapters to change one thread size of lens filters to another size. There are step rings that go both directions - step up rings and step down rings.
The terms stup up and down are from the lens’ perspective. Step up goes from a small lens diameter to a larger diameter for the filter while step down rings reverse this.
Step rings are commonly made of machined metal, often aluminum, and can be very thin and prone to bending and flexing. A 72mm to 77mm step ring will be a large diameter of thin metal and can easily be warped in a camera bag full of other gear.
On the other hand, a 52mm to 77mm step ring will be somewhat thick.
Why Do You Need Step Rings?
Primarily, you need step rings to adapt your filters of various sizes to your lenses of various sizes. Many photographers, myself included, will buy a pricey filter in the largest size needed and then adapt it to our smaller lenses. Since the perspective is from our lens, this is stepping up. We step up from our smaller lens diameter to the larger diameter of the filter.
So, why not just buy filters for each size lens we have?
We do tend to do this for certain types of filters. For instance, if you believe in using protective clear or UV filters, you would put one on each lens that takes one. You might also have a couple of C-POL filters.
photo by 4FR via iStock
Higher priced filters, such as large C-POL filters or ND filters, can quickly make a dent in your photography gear budget. If I have a lens that needs an 82mm filter and also have a lens that takes 72mm, buying two high quality C-POL filters in those large sizes is doubling up the price. Buy the larger filter and adapt it to the smaller lens diameter.
Why not adapt the larger lens to a smaller filter, step down? That might save a small amount of money, but stepping down also increases the likelihood of vignetting due to the ring intruding on the lens field of view. Unless I absolutely have to, I won’t use step down rings, only step up rings.
photo by Sasaton Krungsee via iStock
Step rings are a useful solution to a problem. Other issues come up when you start buying, selling, and trading lenses and other photography gear, as us photographers are prone to do. Over years of doing this myself, I have accumulated a lot of different size lenses and filters.
I also have enough step rings to fill an entire dresser drawer, since I was always needing something different than what I had and I was prone to warping my step rings with rough handling and improper storage. Hey, I try.
A Better Solution
SInce many of you are a lot like me in regards to filters, I get to tell you some really good news that could be a real game changer in your filter use.
H&Y Filters has invented a variable step ring adapter called the Revo Ring that takes care of step ring needs and adds a nifty feature by way of how it adapts filters to lenses.
Revo Ring is an adapter for lenses to filters that is one size on the outer ring for the filters and varies throughout a wide range on the inner ring for the lenses. H&Y Filters has made three different range sizes which pretty much correspond to MFT, APS-C, and Full Frame camera formats.
Using the Revo Ring is surprisingly simple, you just mount the filter, and then put the Revo Ring on the lens and twist the ring until it fits. That’s it! No more fumbling with lots of different step rings to find just the right combination of sizes.
The unexpected feature for me is that the operation also makes it like a quick release for filters.
I can set up for my shot without a filter, then add my ND or C-POL filter in mere seconds and expose that image. If I change lenses, all I do is one quick twist to remove the filter from the one and another quick twist to mount in on the other.
Get in on Their Kickstarter
You will want to jump on this new idea as soon as you can, the Revo Ring will change your use of multiple filters on multiple lenses with step rings for the good. It’s one of the most ingenious new ideas for an old problem that I’ve ever seen in photographic gear.