Lens Filters


What is lens filter?

Camera lens filter can serve various different purpose in digital photography. Photography can be quite tricky when it comes to playing with lights. In order to capture scenery in extremely difficult lighting condition, often photographer uses a lens filter to enhance colours and reduce reflection. It can also be use as lens protector, avoiding scratches or fungus. Filter gives flexibility in modifying the light before it enters the lens, since digital photography rely a lot on the quality and intensity of light.

Why should you use filters?

Filter act like a sunglasses, they help you see better in extreme light condition. Filter also serve same purpose, they protect your lens from potential damage, reduce the intensity of light that enters the lens and even enhance the picture colours.

Here is a list of typical lens filter that you can purchase, along with description of their usages:

UV / Clear Haze filter
Can be used for any kind of photography, they protects the front element of lens from dust, dirt, moisture and scratches. High quality UV filters can be mount permanently on lenses with minimum impact on image quality.

Polarizing filter
Can be used for any kind of photography. Filters out polarized light, they reduce reflections and enhancing colour and contrast. Typically circular in shape.

Close-up filter
Used mostly for macro photography, this filter allows a lens to focus way closer to the subject thus giving out magnified picture of the subject. Also known as diopter.

Neutral density (ND) filter
Often used for landscape photography, this filter reduces the amount of light entering the lens, thus decreasing the camera shutter speed. Useful for situations where motion blur needs to be created (rivers, waterfalls, moving subjects) by using long exposure shoot. Can also be use for flash photography, as it can avoid overexpose picture.

Types of lens filters

  • Circular screw-on filters
    The most common type that is mount directly on the lens filter thread. Circular filter comes in different thickness, some can create vignetting, and some others are ultra thin to diminish vignetting.
  • Square filters
    Popular among landscape photographers, it can be mounted via a filter holder system attached to the lens filter thread. Can be stacked together in certain situations, but might negatively impact image quality and add reflections.  
  • Rectangular filters
    Another popular choice among landscape photographers. Mounted just like square filters, but unlike square filters, they have more room to move up and down.
  • Drop-in filters
    These filters are use inside long telephoto lenses due to the large size of the front lens element. Only clear and polarizing filters are used for drop-in filters.

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