Filters in General

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What are all the different types of filters for, other than being a way to protect the front element of a lens? I see all sorts of different types of filters being advertised of listed but I dont really know what they do. Can some one either tell me or point me in a direction where i can see a list of different types of filters and what they do?

Thanks!
 

Yahoozy

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like... do u mean protecting the lens in case you drop it or protecting it from dust or what?
 

Socrates

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What are all the different types of filters for, other than being a way to protect the front element of a lens? I see all sorts of different types of filters being advertised of listed but I dont really know what they do. Can some one either tell me or point me in a direction where i can see a list of different types of filters and what they do?

Thanks!

The great majority of filters were intended for film work. With digital photography, there are really only two or three that are meaningful. The most important is a polarizer, a "circular" polarizer. This will cut down on reflections from surfaces and from water particles in the air (which will deepen the blue in the sky). The term "circular" does nothing for you but if it's not circular, your meter and focusing won't function properly. To simplify, the front surface polarizes the light, removing all waves in a particular direction. The rear surface unpolarizes the light that got past the front surface.

A "skylight" filter removes UV rays.

A protector is clear glass and I've got mixed emotions. I use them but I buy absolute top-of-the-line. Darned if I want to put $3.00 worth of glass in front of my $1000 lens.

Pretty much everything else that the old film filters did for you, your digital camera will do for you today.
 

Alex_B

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A "skylight" filter removes UV rays.

I always thought a skylight and a neutral UV filter are not the same ...

Pretty much everything else that the old film filters did for you, your digital camera will do for you today.
My digital camera is not capable of mimicking the effects of my various neutral density filters or of graduated neutral density filters. And I would not know of any other digital camera capable of that.
 

j_mcquillen

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My digital camera is not capable of mimicking the effects of my various neutral density filters or of graduated neutral density filters. And I would not know of any other digital camera capable of that.

I think Socrates was referring to the fact that the effects of graduated neutral density filters can be mimicked to some extent by combining a number of different digital exposures of the same scene (eg HDR). Granted, this isn't always the best way to do it however, and I certainly wouldn't want to do away with my trusty ND grads :D
 

Mystwalker

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I am using cheap (<$30) filters on my 50mm f/1.8 and my 28-135 kit lens.

I have expensive multi-coated (etc, etc ...) on my "L" lens.

To tell the truth, I do not see any difference. But I'm a beginner so distortion can hit me in head and I would not recognize it. I didn't think it made sense to pay for "L" lens then find out a $30 piece of filter is distorting photo.
 

Alex_B

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I think Socrates was referring to the fact that the effects of graduated neutral density filters can be mimicked to some extent by combining a number of different digital exposures of the same scene (eg HDR). Granted, this isn't always the best way to do it however, and I certainly wouldn't want to do away with my trusty ND grads :D

well, several exposures, that is a totally different technique, and I would not really call it convenient ;)

Also, it does sometimes not work that well with moving scenes ;)
 

Alex_B

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I am using cheap (<$30) filters on my 50mm f/1.8 and my 28-135 kit lens.

I have expensive multi-coated (etc, etc ...) on my "L" lens.

To tell the truth, I do not see any difference. But I'm a beginner so distortion can hit me in head and I would not recognize it. I didn't think it made sense to pay for "L" lens then find out a $30 piece of filter is distorting photo.

distortion will not be so much the problem, but you might get flare or similar effects under difficult light. in easy light, even the cheapest filters will do it.

I'd probably say your 50mm lens would also be worth a somewhat more expensive filter. it is not a bad lens i guess :)
 

93rdcurrent

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Even a cheap UV filter will protect the lens itself... ;)

I have a circular polarized filter I switch between the lenses as needed and I purchased UV filters that stay on my individual lenses mainly for protection. There are a couple of other filters that would be interesting to get but that is more up to artistic needs and most of it can be accomplished in our trusty ol' Photoshop.
 

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