Saturday, September 19, 2009

Filters

It is time I learned a lot more about on camera filters. Filters, by definition remove something from that which they are filtering. Camera filters remove somthing from the light entering your camera, maybe a color or the amount of light or blocking light coming from specific directions. I felt the need to get me some of these filters and the more I researched, the more products available (at many different prices) and the more information I found.

One good (online and free) primer that explains filter basics and then goes on to give brief descriptions of 2 dozen common filters and how they can compliment your photography can be found at:
http://www.digicamera.com/features/filterprimer/index.html

One way to narrow the choices is to think about what effects you are aiming for or consider a problem you just can't seem to overcome with the camera as is. I am looking to soften moving water in bright light and also reduce glare from shiny surfaces. From my reading, a neutral density (ND) filter should help with the former. It appears to block all colors equally hence blocking just the amount of light entering the camera. For the latter, a polarizing filter, specifically a circular polarizing filter sounds about right.

So an ND and a circular polarizing filter sound like a good start for my needs. Now, to determine which brand and quality to pony up for. People like Scott Bourne suggest bying the best, especially if you have expensive lenses. "Why put a cheap filter on an expensive lens?" He and Rick Sammon often comment about filters on their podcasts which can be found at http://photofocus.com/.

One last interesting fact is that no professional photographers seem to recommend a plain or UV filter just to protect the front of your lens as any extra glass will degrade your picture. Since I need all the help I can get, there are no UV filters on my cameras.

So, I will update this entry when I decide and buy some filters. More to come!

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