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I bought some filters a few months ago with a 72mm thread. Now I find myself buying a new lens with a 77mm thread. I have never used step up/down rings before.

What the pro and cons of using an adapter for this as it is only 5mm difference.

Thanks

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  • 1
    Pro, you already have the 72mm, Cons, you may get vignetting. I have used step up but never step down.
    – Alaska Man
    May 16 '20 at 22:03
  • This is why in the long run you're usually better off just buying 100mm square/rectangular filters and holders. You then only need buy an adapter ring for each lens with a different thread size.
    – Michael C
    May 17 '20 at 0:48
  • At longer focal lengths, there will be less vignetting... but a wide-angle lens will have a noticeable ring. On the other hand, a step-down adapter is cheap, and you can crop away vignetting. May 17 '20 at 21:14
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A step-down ring is required to physically mount the 72mm filter on a lens with a 77mm thread. Since this is a step-down adapter rather than a step-up, the field-of-view of the lens may become partially obstructed, causing severe vignetting or even appearing visible at corners of the frame.

Essentially, there is no pro for doing this, only downsides because you are losing part of your image. Even when you crop the blocked-out corners, you have lost resolution and angle-of-view. The same can happen when use the wrong lens hood is used on a lens, even though it may fit the bayonet.

The amount of vignetting that occurs depends on the lens used and the set focal-length in case of the zoom. It could be the case that no vignetting occurs at all if the lens does not need that wide a filter. Generally though, a certain filter-size is chosen because that is needed to avoid obstructing the lens but manufacturers also round up to common sizes to avoid forcing users to buy an excessive number of filters and line up with common filter sizes, although there are lenses which take filters in half-milimetre sizes too, presumably to be as compact as possible.

With a zoom lens, there is additional complexity that usually causes the filter size to be sufficient for the widest angle but more than enough towards the telephoto end. This is not true of all lenses as some zoom internally.

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  • Thank you for your answer ! Basically I am switching from a Sony 18-105mm to a 24-105mm as I am going Full Frame. Does it means that if I zoom a bit, the vignetting I would see would be lens intense ?
    – Roman
    May 18 '20 at 21:53
  • Yes. From 24 to 28mm, corners will be obstructed and until about 35mm there will be intense vignetting, after that the smaller filter will not make much difference. Given though, that you are going full-frame and buying a fairly good lens, I honestly would not be skimping on filters. It's the last thing you would want is to have your investment in a better and more costly system be tarnished by a wrong filter.
    – Itai
    May 19 '20 at 0:11
  • I see. Thanks for the useful advice and explanation on how it works.
    – Roman
    May 19 '20 at 3:59
  • You're welcome. Please don't forget to mark the answer as accepted so that others can see that it answered the question.
    – Itai
    May 19 '20 at 12:46
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I just want to complement Itai's answer.

A step-up ring is a better scenario (having a 77mm filter on a 72mm thread)

But when the difference requires a lot of rings, let's say you need to use 8 rings, the filter is now further away from the lens, and some flaring could be noticeable.

Of course, the pro is that for expensive filters you could buy just a big one and get some adapter rings for some of your smaller lenses.

An alternative is getting a square filter system, where you only use one ring to be adapted to your lens at a time.

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  • Hi, Thank you for you answer. I am switching from a Sony 18-105mm to a 24-105mm as I am going Full Frame. I will probably test it out and update my filter if needed... I like the idea of square filter system but the space it would require might not be ideal in my case. Thanks again for your answer
    – Roman
    May 18 '20 at 21:57

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