Lens filter function selection guide

By | September 19, 2020

Filters are arguably faster to use, based upon your situation, so if you’re a photographer who is always on the go (such as at public events), they might offer the very best choice. They also don’t suffer the danger, much like slot-in filters, of slipping or sliding from a holder if you chance to be changing position in a hurry.
The other path you can choose, then, would be to use slot-in filters, which by their nature require you to use a dedicated holder (which can usually take several filters at a time, in the event that you so desire ). For this, you will also need to buy an adapter ring that attaches to the front of the lens in use, onto which the holder then slides. The holders and connector rings themselves fluctuate based on individual and manufacturer product particulars, but as long as you stick with the same’system’ you’ll be absolutely fine.
As you might imagine, there are hundreds of creative filters out there. These span every conceivable effect from colourful light correction to starbursts, soft focus and even aids to focusing. This list covers the most popular options, with a concise overview of what each can do for you.
The rule of thumb here should be, as ever, buy the very best that you can afford. Keep in mind, the light might need to pass through the filter before travelling via the lens and onto the camera detector, so the higher the quality of that glass, the better. Realistically, this equates to ensuring you get the sharpest pictures potential.


Prior to the times of dedicated’protective’ filters, threaded UV and skylight filters were popular options for protecting lenses. Aside from this, their principal objective is to cut excessive ultraviolet lighting and haze, thereby improving contrast and colour in your images.
A word of warning: if you just happen to be heading to picture an epic waterfall like Niagara Falls, do not use one of these filters. Many a time a photographer has return from their day trip wondering why the beautiful hazy rainbow they saw hasn’t been recorded by their own camera. If lens protection is what you’re after, proceed with a guardian filter instead.
Polarising filters are something of the golden child in the filter universe because they’re so very helpful. This is the reason a great deal of people assert that every photographer must have one inside their bag. By far and away the most popular use for them would be to decrease (or completely remove) reflections and glare on reflective surfaces, as well as to darken blue skies and bump up the saturation and colors in a scene. For this reason, they are particularly popular with photographers that frequently capture images of bright, shiny subjects (such as cars) and vivid landscapes. With the latter, a polariser will especially make the clouds stand out from a rich sky, including a feeling of drama and atmosphere, with the blue of the skies and green of the property showing up particularly well.
Polarisers arrive in circular and linear forms. With the filter in place, just turn it one way or the other through 360 degrees; you will see the visual effect changing throughout the camera viewfinder, particularly when the camera is positioned at a 90 degree angle to the sun (which is the most effective shooting place ). In this way, you’ve got complete control over how pronounced the result is, although bear in mind you will lose two EV stops of light because the filter absorbs light in the procedure – so keep an eye on your shutter speed so as to prevent camera shake. Linear polarisers will confuse the AF and metering systems on modern DSLRs so, unless you are using an older analogue model, it is ideal to stick with circular polarisers for overall usage.
Neutral Density filters are also often to be found on the severe landscape photographer’s kit list. Rather than with an immediately visible influence on the picture, the power of NDs may be seen on either the camera settings until the camera is released and, of course, from the closing images.Simply place, the purpose of these filters is to reduce the amount of light entering the lens (and so hitting on the camera’s detector ).