Tech Talk – Filters Part 2

A little while ago I wrote a piece on various filters you can get for your lenses. Now I did do a far bit of research into these filters, but not a lot in area of actual use, I had been using them for less than 6 months. Don’t get me wrong I still stand by a lot of what I wrote, but I thought I might impart a little bit more wisdom from using various different ones.

I have not bothered with Coloured filters, nor the Special Effects ones, costly and quite frankly I reckon it would be easier to manipulate in Photoshop anyway. Possibly just me?

Circular Variable ND Filter, I am yet to meet a photographer who actually likes these. I never got any decent results and just assumed any errors was me. Well it wasn’t. I soon switched to plain old Circular N1000 ND Filters and fell in love with Long Exposure photography, and I have never looked at that filter again (Want to buy one cheap?). I still sing the Praises of the ICE ND Filters, but I now have a new love Graduated ND Filters……..I use a Format Hitech Lens Kit with a 2.0 hard grad, 2.0 soft grad, 6.0 reverse grad. I have just added a another 4.0, 6.0 and 8.0 as well. the Format kit is lovely, but fiddly and expensive, honestly sometimes I just put on my ICE ND Filter as it is quick and mostly painless!

UV Filters Quite frankly UV Filters don’t do a lot at all, they are mainly for protection. This is a tough call, some people think it’s a waste of money as it won’t protect your lens in a fall, in fact it may create more damage. Neither will it help if you bang your lens on rocks, logs, sharp projectiles. They are often harder to clean than your lens and are not as strong. THEY DO however protect your lens from sand blasting at the beach, small projectiles, sea salt (to a very minute degree according to some). So why buy them? I have one for each lens, a good quality glass ones……..was I conned? Possibly. Do I still use them? Yes. Why? New and gullible………perhaps? I figure I have already bought them, so I may as well use them. In saying that I find I am actually putting them on less and less.

Circular Polarisation Filter (CPL) This is a love hate relationship with some photographers. Some hate them with a passion, some love them; I LOVE THEM. I have several which I use all the time when I am outside during the day. Especially on a sunny day at the beach. Think of it like sun glasses, when it is really sunny, and there is glare off the water it is difficult to see, well same with your camera. If you need Polarised Sunglasses………..chances are you camera does too! I like a CPL as you can adjust the amount or strength you require. It is terrific for shooting through windows and shoot through shallow water. Hold on a 45 degree angle and the glass or water disappears! I have heard complaints about colour distortion, but I have bought good quality glass ones and have minimal distortion.  Yes it can slightly oversaturate the colours a touch, but personally I like it that way, it makes the image brighter and appear ‘sunny’ as it was on the day it was shot. Again this is personal taste.

But why do you NEED filters? Honestly you don’t, if you are just starting out, or only shoot macro, or only shoot portraits or still life, then chances are you don’t need any of them. I never use filters when I shoot portraits in the studio. But if you want to try Long Exposures, or Landscapes, especially Beach Scapes you might want to look into them.

Til Next time, happy snapping…………