Round, screw-in filters are ideal if you only want to use the filter on one lens, or lenses with the same size thread, but if you have lenses with different thread sizes you’ll need different filters for each one.
With the square filter system you only need to buy one set of filters, as these can then be attached to the lens using adaptors of different sizes.
Which type you should choose also depends on the type of filters that you want to use, as some filters are only really useable screwed directly to the lens or in a square filter system.
Skylight filters, for example, are best suited to the round screw-in design, but filters such as neutral density grads are easiest to use in a square filter system.
So, now we have the two different types of filters out of the way, let’s get to the 5 essential filters that I think everyone should own.
#1 – THE SKYLIGHT FILTER
The skylight filter should be a round filter, and should be purchased for every lens that you have. And it’s main purpose is to protect the front element of your lens. I have worked in a retail store before and I have seen the dropped lens brought in many of times. The one with the skylight filter, we just screw off the damaged filter.
SKYLIGHT FILTERS START AT ONLY $6.95 EACH
DEPENDING ON SIZE
CLICK ON LINK TO SEE THE DIFFERENT OPTIONS AND TO PURCHASE IF YOU WOULD LIKE:
#2 – POLARIZING FILTER:
Polarizing filters reduce the glare off of all surfaces except metallic surfaces. So, water clouds, sky, trees, all have reflective properties. And when you use the polarizing filter, you can enhance the color of those things, because you have cut the glare off those things. And yes, the sky is now going to become a richer blue because of this. This is also best used with a round filter.
The interesting technical feature that most people miss on this filter is that it works at it’s maximum when your lens is at a 90 degree angle to the sun. So, if the sun is straight up, say at 12 noon, the polarizing filter should work great at all horizon shots. But, if you have the sun down close to the horizon, take it at a 90 degree from the sun and you will get a richer color or maximum effect of the filter.
When you get the filter on your lens, it does rotate. Rotate the filter and you can actually see it work. It is amazing and worth every penny. Remember it does not work on metal, so, when you take pictures of your car, it will not cut the reflections off the metal, but it will off the glass.
Polarizing filters are more expensive than other filters. But, Amazon has great pricing on all the brands the carry:
#3 NEURTRAL DENSITY FILTER:
# 4 – GRADUATED NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTERS:
By placing the dark part of the glass over a sky that’s much brighter than the scenery below, and lining the transition up with the horizon, you can ensure a balanced exposure.
ND grads come in several different strengths, and with different transitions between the dark and clear areas.
For most uses a two-stop grad, also known as a 0.6 or ND4 grad, is a good option, but for shooting sunrises or sunsets with the sun in the frame, you may need an even stronger filter, such as a three-stop (0.9 or ND8) grad, to give a more balanced exposure.
An ND grad was used on the image on the right to balance the exposure ***
Some of the filter gradations change softly or do it rather abruptly. So, when you purchase them, make sure you get the effect that you want. I usually prefer the soft gradation. That way it seems more natural.
And of course, in this case, the square format filters seems to work the best. The nice thing of course is that one filter will work for many lenses, you will just need to get an adapter if the lenses use different diameter filters on the end.
Here is a complete kit for putting on your lenses. It is at a great price right now at Amazon. Check out the price and availability here at this link:
So, these 4 filters may be just the beginning of your collection of filters you will begin with. There are a huge amount of other filters you could use for your collection. At one time I had almost 25 different filters in my camera bag that all did different things. I would invite you to take a look at the many different filters available for you. If you got the time, please browse through the Amazon link, just for fun and see all the different filters available for cameras. Many manufactures are represented here and will show you the different styles, and fun things you can do. Here is the link that will direct you to this exciting hobby of “PHOTOGRAPHING WITH FILTERS”:
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**** Photos marked with the **** and some of the article was originally written and photos by:
JEFF MEYER and published by: TECH RADAR