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TPF Noob!
Jan 10, 2012
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Key West
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
How many of you use filters? A friend of mine told me that I shouldn't bother using them, because it limits more of your freedom when editing, but is this true? I'm trying to find a filter that enhances the clarity in my pictures. What do you guys think?
There is no filter that will give you better clarity exactly... A polarizer will give you less glare, neutral densities allow longer shutter times, but any filter is an additional piece of glass between the sensor and the scene, so if anything you lose a little bit to the filter. Some folks use UV filters to prevent debris and whatever from getting on the front lens element. Even these filters at their best aim to "not be seen", and at their worst will negatively affect contrast and sharpness.

Clarity is pretty vague, but it's usually technique thing? Is there a specific issue you're having? Maybe it's something you can do differently instead of adding equipment.
Many of the filters that were used 'back in the day' are obsolete in the digital era. It's just a lot easier and more flexible to apply those effects with software. For example, there is very little need for any color filters. You can easily adjust the colors in a digital image and you have infinitely more options that just filter on or filter off.

But that being said, there are still uses for filters with a digital camera. For example, the effects a polarizing filter can't really be replicated in post, so it can be a very useful filter.
Split or graduated filters can come in handy, because they can allow you to compress the dynamic range of a scene (as seen by the camera), which can allow you to photograph a scene that might otherwise have been beyond the camera's ability to capture. Although, with HDR techniques (multiple exposures) the need for grad filters is much less.

Neutral density filters (or any filter that blocks light) can be handy because they can be used to get a longer shutter speed for a given lighting scenario.
The only 2 filters i use are a polarizing filter and an ND filter.
Thats great information! Thank you for breaking it down more for me to make it easier to understand what exactly some of them do, and how the yare useful!
In addition to polarizing and neutral density filters, which are extremely useful, many people suggest using a fairly inexpensive UV filter (but not too cheap) at all times to provide protection for the front lens element. I know a friend who dropped their camera once and shattered the UV filter, but the lens was left perfectly intact.

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