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Camera Lens Filters Buying Guide

Camera lens filters  still have many uses in photography  and should remain a part of any photographer's camera bag .  With a variety of camera lens filters out there, you can choose to have one for the reduction of glare or one to simply provide extra protection to the front of the lens.  We are here to familiarize you with the different options that are available as well as what they can do for the effects of your photos. 

Popular Types 

Linear  and Circular Polarisers 

  • Reduces glare and improves saturation.
  • Commonly used in landscape photography, focusing on areas such as sky, water, and foliage. 

Neutral Density  (ND )

  • Extends exposure time.
  • Commonly used in areas under bright light, or to "smooth out" rivers and waterfalls. 

Graduated Neutral Density  (GND )

  • Controls strong light gradients and reduces vignetting. 
  • Commonly used to photograph dramatically lit areas.   

UV/Haze 

  • Improves the clarity of pictures and provides excellent lens protection.
  • The most common of camera lens filters, this can be used to photograph all kinds of subjects. 

Warming/Cooling 

  • Changes the white balance in photographs.  A warming effect will reduce blues and increase reds, whereas a cooling effect will enhance blues and reduce reds.
  • Commonly used in special lighting situations or for underwater photography .    

Attaching Your Filter

You can buy camera lenses  and filters  to meet your needs or go for value with a camera filter kit  or set .  Either way, you have a number of ways in which to attach your filter to your camera or lens. 

  • Screw-On Filter :  This is the easiest way to attach a filter and therefore is one of the most popular formats.  Here, you simply screw the ring-shaped filter onto the lens .  These come in a variety of sizes to match the diameter of varying lenses.    
  • Drop-In Filter :  If you have a long telephoto lens  with a wide diameter, it may include a convenient drop-in system.  A small compartment near the rear of the lens houses a drop-in filter.
  • Modular Filter Systems :  Made for photographers with a lot of lenses in varying sizes, having a system allows you to mount a filter holder  to the front of your lens and then adjust it accordingly.  
  • Filter Ring Adapters :  This allows you to fit a non-compatible filter to a specific size lens.  These adapters are also called stepping rings  because a step-up ring  allows you to use a larger ring than your lens size and vice versa for the step-down ring .  Note that size designations are always lens first, then filter.       

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