Filters: What you need to know
You have either seen or even tried using camera lens filters before as a beginner or professional photographer. For several reasons, creators use this little piece of glass, but the most common thing to do is to manage difficult illumination conditions while shooting.
Filters help to eliminate glare and distortion, improve contrast, reduce lens light, and more. Each lens filter is designed to provide a particular effect to increase the ultimate look of an image. In extremely difficult conditions they may be essential for capturing scenery, improve color and minimize reflections, or they may simply protect lenses. Camera Lens Filters in photography and film are commonly used and although some use filters only in rare cases, others rely on filters for their daily work.
What are Camera Lens Filters and How Do They Work?
You may be wondering — So, what exactly makes filters so useful? It actually depends on the type of photography or filmmaking projects you do.
Why do you use your sunglasses? They help you see better in bright light, prevent harmful UV rays/wind/stains in your eyes, and minimize glare, as well as other benefits. Filters can also be used to minimize reflections, shield the lenses from possible harm, reduce the quantity of light that reaches the lens in its entirety, and even improve color. In fact, if filters are not used properly, filters may harm photographs. The sunglasses in a dark room were a good comparison. So you need to know not only what filters to use but also how to use and under what circumstances. There are many different types of filters – from cheap UV filters to very expensive multi-hundred dollar filters, which make it difficult to choose the right filter type.
For example, landscape photographers heavily rely on various filters, while street and portrait photographers rarely get to use them. Since digital photography is all about the quality and intensity of light, lens filters are often necessary to modify the light before it enters the lens. Many photographers think that some of the built-in tools in Lightroom and Photoshop can simulate filter behavior, making filters redundant in the digital age. Some filters, in fact, can never be simulated in software and some actually help in getting even better results during post-processing. In this article, let's talk about filters and discuss all the different types of lens filters available, what they do, when, and how to use them.
Features to Look For in Lens Filters
Protects the front element of a lens from dust, dirt, moisture, and potential scratches. High-quality UV filters can be permanently mounted on lenses with a minimum impact on image quality.
Filters out polarized light, dramatically reducing reflections, enhancing colors, and increasing the contrast. Can be used for any type of photography. Polarizing filters are typically circular, allowing for easy control of the effect of polarization.
Reduces the amount of light entering the lens, thus decreasing the camera shutter speed for your images. Useful for situations where motion blur needs to be created (rivers, waterfalls, moving people) or large apertures must be used with flash to avoid overexposure.
HARD-EDGE GRADUATED NEUTRAL DENSITY (GND)
Hard-edge GND filters are primarily used in high contrast situations, where the sky is much brighter than the foreground and the horizon is flat. These filters are always rectangular (giving the ability to move them in all directions) and are typically used with filter holders.
SOFT-EDGE GRADUATED NEUTRAL DENSITY (GND)
Soft-edge GND filters are also used in high contrast situations, but where the horizon is not necessarily flat. The soft edge allows for smoother transitions, making the use of filterless evident. Soft-edge GND filters are also rectangular and are normally used with filter holders.
REVERSE GRADUATED NEUTRAL DENSITY (GND) FILTER
The reverse GND is a specialized filter used by landscape photographers when shooting against the sun while it is getting close to the horizon. While a regular GND filter gradually transitions from dark to clear towards the center, reverse GND filter transitions from dark to less dark from the center to the edge.
Generally used to alter camera white balance. Corrects colors, resulting in a change in-camera white balance. Some color filters can subtract colors, blocking one type of color and allowing other colors through. These types of filters were popular for the film. They are rarely used in digital photography since their effects can be easily applied in post-processing.
CLOSE UP FILTER
Also known as “diopter”, a close-up filter allows a lens to focus closer on subjects. These filters are only used for macro photography.
There are a few different types of special effects filters. Star filters make bright objects look star-like; softening/diffusion filters create a “dreamy” look used for portraits, multi-vision filters create multiple copies of a subject; infrared filters block infrared and pass visible light; bokeh filters have a certain shape cut in the middle of the filter that makes bokeh highlights have the same shape, etc.
How much do Lens Filters cost?
Filters are here to add secret sauce to cinematic footage and crispier photos... you can get the new Moment CineBloom Diffusion Filters starting at $49.99.
Is it worth it buying Camera Lens Filters?
K. I am here to spill the tea and let you know why you should use Lens Filters to enhance your images.
THEY PROTECT YOUR LENS
The most affordable types of lens filters are those that are clear and simply used for protection. These are great for protecting the front lens element during normal shooting situations, as the clear glass does not affect your images in any way. Protective lens filters eliminate the possibility of scratches, cracks, and dust accumulating on the surface of your lens.
THEY CAN CORRECT OR ENHANCE IMAGE COLORS
There are certain types of photography filters that can alter or boost the colors in your images. Some have the ability to correct the color temperature of a scene, while others can enhance color and contrast for a more vibrant image.
THEY HELP ENSURE ACCURATE EXPOSURE
When working with particularly difficult lighting conditions, filters are a great option for achieving even and accurate exposure across your entire image. They do this by blocking some of the light that enters the lens (in varying degrees). These are particularly helpful when shooting outdoors during the daytime, particularly when using fast shutter speeds may not be enough to avoid overexposure.
THEY ADD IMPACT TO YOUR IMAGES
Camera filters can help improve your images in various ways—they’re useful for increasing contrast in an image, creating more vivid colors, eliminating glare and distracting reflections from water and glassy surfaces, and more. But they can also be used to add a little oomph to an otherwise lackluster shot by adding some interesting effects, like multi-point “stars” on light sources or softened edges.
Photographers, whether you're an entry-level creator or a professional who's not sure which lens filters would fit best for you and your projects, or if you need recommendations for lenses or accessories brands that will help you achieve the image results you need, please contact our Gear Guides Team firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll pair you with a guide based on your background and needs, and we'll find the right Lens Filter for you.