CHOICES FOR THE BEST CAMERA FILTER
Everyone loves a photo taken with a camera filter and everyone needs filters, more then you know! Sure, you can get unusual photographic effects glore! But here, I’m not talking about the special effects camera filter – you know the kind – the one that turns the sun into a rainbow of sunbeams, or makes the sky all sorts of unnatural shades.
I’m talking about camera filters that can help you make better nature photographs – that will help put some punch in an ordinary sky, without making it look like you are on another planet – and the right camera filter that can compensate for shortcomings in your camera’s lens.
The absolute MUST for landscape photography is a Skylight or Ultra violet (UV) camera filter. The skylight filter adds a very slight warming cast to your photos as it cuts through the bluish atmospheric haze of the great outdoors!
They are so inexpensive, I have one on almost my lenses. It’s a good way to protect your lenses from scratches; AND I find there’s almost never a need not to use one.
However, aside from protecting your lens from dings and scratches, on your digital camera, you won’t really see the same warming power as you do with film cameras. I spend 2 weeks in the Okanagan Valley, shooting all sorts of interesting mountain photos, with my new Nikon D70 and a UV filter.
In an little experiment, taking a photo with the camera filter, and another without it, there was not noticeable difference. All the haze of the mountains was still there and as blueish as ever. But my lens WAS protected from the rain, mist, fog; and my klutzy behavior (always banging around, with a camera or not!)
Anyway enough about me 🙂 My kit also contains a few polarizering camera filters, because they cut the glare from foliage, saturating the colours, and adding vibrancy to enrich your shots. See the effects of polarizing filters on the sky. (new window)
The other camera filter I would not be without is a graduated neutral density filter. This filter helps compensate for the camera’s exposure latitude (or dynamic range if you shoot digital) when shooting very contrasty scenes – like a bright sky and dramatic mountains or hills. This is especially crucial for us digital photographers.
I generally use Cokin Filters because one filter will fit most of my lenses, with the addition of an inexpensive adapter ring.
But I have to say that I’m not happy with using their graduated grey filter as a neutral density filter. My local camera shop (the one that caters to the Pros, and so should know better)insisted that the Cokin graduated grey filter (#P 121) was really a ND filter. However, the color cast it imparts to my images shows it is NOT neutral.
See for yourself: So I’m researching both Lee and Singhray filters as recommended alternatives. The Cokin gradual grey isn’t really any good as a grey filter either given its pinkish cast. (maybe that’s what the P really stands for?)
The rest of my Cokin filter collection consists of a 3 stop neutral density filter (which IS neutral – go figure!); and the P 700 Infrared filter (equivalent to an 89B).
I also use the Cokin P173, the Blue to Yellow polarizer for special effects, sunsets, really dramatic skies, and golden autumn landscapes. I’ll be posting images taken with these here, soon.
Also well used in my bag are close up filters. I have a set of three Hoya close up filters that I use when I either don’t have my macro lens with me, or just because the effect is a little different.
These are essentially magnifying glasses for your camera. The set I have has three different magnification “powers” and you can stack them together for maximum impact. Be aware though that this also decreases the image quality especially around the edges.
Of course, you can’t get the life size (or near life size) images that you can with a macro lens, but it work well in a pinch!
There are may place you can get camera_filters camera filters on the Net, but I’ve always got great prices and service at Amazon, believe it or not!