Despite the modern ease of digital post-production, the practice of using lens filters is very much alive. From managing difficult light conditions to creating certain moods - there's nothing like capturing the perfect shot, right there in the moment.
Why use Camera Filters?Filters to your camera are what sunglasses are to your eyes. But just as sunglasses distort your vision indoors, filters can equally degrade image quality as they can improve it. Using filters in the wrong situation, using poor quality filters and adding unnecessary layers over the lens can ruin your shot. That's why it's important to learn about them.
- offer protection
- alter light
- reduce reflection
- enhance colors
The images below show the effect of the filter before and after. The part of the shot inside the circle is the after, and the outside portion is the before.
1. Camera Filters: Protective Filter
Suitable for: All PhotographyA protective filter, as the name suggests, protects your lens from dust, dirt, fingerprints, moisture and scratches.
2. Camera Filters: Ultraviolet (UV) Filter
Suitable for: All PhotographyUsed with SLR Cameras as UV can interfere with photo quality - appearing as a haze. Also used as another form of protection for modern dslr cameras as UV filters are inbuilt.
3. Camera Filters: Polarizing Filter
Suitable for: All PhotographyA Polarizing filter is used to reduce reflections, increase contrast and enhance colors. Two types are available, linear filters traditionally used for film photography, and circular filters, used with dslr cameras.
4. Camera Filters: Neutral Density Filter (ND)
Suitable for: Landscape and Flash PhotographyA ND or Neutral Density filter is effecting for avoiding overexposure when large apertures are required. Ideal for long exposures. Click here for my tips and tricks on long exposure photography.
5. Camera Filters: Hard-Edge Graduated Neutral Density Filer (GND)
Suitable for: Landscape PhotographyThis filter is used to balance exposure in high contrast situations between bright skies and dark landscapes. Best used when photographing flat horizons, such as an ocean view.
6. Camera Filters: Soft Edge Graduated Neutral Density Filter (GND)
Suitable for: Landscape PhotographyThis filter is used in high contrast situations where the landscape is not entirely flat, such as mountain ranges. Avoids over and underexposure while making the use of a filter less evident.
7. Camera Filters: Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter (GND)
Suitable for: Landscape Photography
This filter is great for transitions from a dark center to a lighter edge. This allows for photographs shot against the sun to be captured as they appear in person - without overexposure.
8. Camera Filters: Color Filters
Suitable for: All PhotographySuitable for color correcting, subtracting, blocking and boosting. Perfect for film photographers wanting to correct or add color to a shot.
9. Camera Filters: Cooling and Warming Filter
Suitable for: All PhotographyThese filters are used for correcting unrealistic tints of color, or to add one. They change the mood and atmosphere of a photo by altering the white balance.
10. Camera Filters: Close-up Filter
Suitable for: Macro PhotographyThis filter allows for close-up shots by shortening the minimum focusing length. Lenses come in a range of strengths also known as diopter, with higher numbers indicating a closer focal point.
11. Camera Filters: Black and White Filter
Suitable for: All PhotographyMultiple filters are used to enhance black and white images. Red, orange, green and yellow filters are used to bring out certain monochrome shades.
I hope that this post could be inspirational as well as educational. The digital darkroom can't do anything so it's good to know what filters can be used and what effect they achieve. I wouldn't advice you to buy all, but start with those that suit your photography needs and go from there. The better quality filter you have the better the result.