Why you need a DSLR camera lens filters ? Because, they are basically plug and play Photoshop for your day to day photography. Yes, I said it right you can actually change how your picture will look way before you go into Photoshop or any other tool to edit your photo and bring it up a notch.
Majority of you know that many people apply filters to their lenses just to protect your lenses from scratch and dusts but nowadays these filters can really up your photography game, without you having to buy those expensive lenses for every scenario and burn big holes in your pockets. I will be honest with you the pictures will not be as good as the original lenses but you will be able to perform your job well with these filters and some experience.
In this post I will be covering following filters with you :
A) UV DSLR Camera lens filters:
The filter blocks UV light and removes the blue cast from images taken in very bright sunny conditions.
Having said that, I have seen some evidence that for certain lenses a UV filter can reduce the purple fringing caused by longitudinal chromatic aberration. The purple fringing of longitudinal chromatic aberration only occurs in particular circumstances and is not to be confused with the much more common colored fringing caused by lateral chromatic aberration (most noticeable in the corners of the frame).
Another argument is that these filter do help you to reduce scratches and dust from settling on your main lens without effecting the quality of the image you take. Do the math yourself if you accidentally drop your camera with the filter on the lens then you can easily replace the filter if it gets broken without burning a hole in your pocket. same goes for scratches the filters can easily be replaced but lenses are really hard to replace specially the expensive ones. So another perk of using the filters on the lens all the time.
B) Macro DSLR camera lens filters :
These filters really come in handy when you want to indulge in macro photography or you can say detailed close up shots of the subjects.
Macro filters typically come in packs of 4. Each filter has a different magnification level. The 4 in my pack are +1, +2, +4 and +10…the higher the number the more magnification the filter creates. I love that they came in a portable case that keeps them padded and protected.
The numbers are nothing but the amount of magnification they offer when screwed on your regular lens so you can imitate Macro Lens Photography. The best part in you can combine them to get more better results by screwing them on top of one another, Like if you want a +3 magnification you can screw +1 and +2 on top of each other and have a +3 magnification.
I have an EF 18-55mm zoom lens of 58mm thread size(you can see your lens thread size on top of your lens illustrative image shown)
and I tried these filters one by one and then all together on a bowl of almonds and got the following results Though they were not as good as you will achieve with an original Macro lens but the did a good job on a budget, and also you have to be standing really close to your subject like almost touching the lens on the subject to achieve the desired results.(Pro Tip: I recommend shooting with manual focus as with the filters attached it is sometimes tough for the camera systems to perform auto focus)
1) With +1 Macro lens filter attached ( Manual Focus)
This is the result I achieved with +1 macro lens filter and I was pretty impressed as they were really cheap buy. But with these filters you will have to figure out everything manually you have to go back and forth and adjust your focal length till you achieve your desired result.
2) With +2 Macro lens filter attached ( Manual Focus)
This is what I achieved with +2 Macro filter on the Lens, Again same way of work, Back and Forth movement close to the subject with manual focus to achieve best results.
3) With +4 Macro lens filter attached ( Manual Focus)
This Image is what I achieved with the +4 Macro lens filter and with same procedure, Manual focus and back and forth movement until you achieve the desired result.
4) With +10 Macro lens filter attached ( Manual Focus)
I was particularly impressed with this filters result. It gave me amazing details of the almonds by following the same procedure of manual focus and Back and Forth movement by being close to the subject.
5) With +17 Macro lens filter attached ( Manual Focus)
For this image I did not move the camera but only attached the other lens on top of one another so I achieved +17 (1+2+4+10=17) magnification with a bit of a manual focus.
I was really impressed with the Images I got with these filters, so if you just need a simple Macro photography job to be done you can achieve them with these filters without burning a hole in your pocket.
C) ND DSLR camera lens filters :
ND (Neutral Density) filters are those filters specifically designed to change the density of light without hampering the color of the image you are trying to capture. In other words you will have more control over your exposure of the photograph you are about to click.
There are many types of ND filters like solid ND filters, IR ND filters, Graduated ND filters, Attenuater/blender ND filters. In this article we will be talking about Solid ND filters ( as I have experimented with those rest I will cover in my next article).
The Solid ND Filters reduce the amount of light passing through the camera lens without changing the color of the scene. They are especially useful in bright light conditions to help prevent overexposure. Neutral Density filters also allow proper exposure at a wider lens opening for reduced depth-of-field to highlight a key subject by making the foreground and/or background out of focus.
- Eliminates overly bright, washed-out images
- Balances exposure
- Controls depth-of-field
- Allows slower shutter speeds to produce blurred motion effects
- Available with High Quality – Water White Glass
The ND filters play a boon to Landscape photography as mostly you need broad daylight for amazing landscape shots which sometimes means you have use higher shutter speed to get that smooth, amazing shot specially of the sky or a waterfall, but this means overexposed photos if you use just the lens.
This is where ND filters prove useful, First they give you the required control over your exposure, Second, they give you creative control over your shutter speed. Below I have shown some examples how ND filters values makes all the difference, But all the photos are shot on F 3.5, Shutter @ 5 sec and ISO 200. so it will help you imagine what different values of the ND lenses mean and does.
1) With +2 ND lens filter attached ( F 3.5, S 5sec, ISO 200)
In this picture you will see that it is very overexposed I am trying to capture a scenario where I want the lakes water to be silky smooth. No edits have been done and the picture is taken in F3.5, Shutter 5 sec, ISO 200. since is is only ND 2 the picture came overexposed.
2) With +4 ND lens filter attached ( F 3.5, S 5sec, ISO 200)
Though now we are using ND4 filter but still the image is over exposed and of no use we are not getting the details we want. The image was shot in same scenario with F 3.5, Shutter 5 sec, ISO 200 still getting the same overexposed pic.
3) With +8 ND lens filter attached ( F 3.5, S 5sec, ISO 200)
This picture was shot with ND8 filter though the picture does not look too over exposed but still it is not the result we want. The picture was taken in the same scenario with F3.5, shutter 5sec, ISO 200.
3) With +8 ND lens filter attached ( F 3.5, S 5sec, ISO 200)
With the ND16 filter on we got the perfectly exposed photo and the desired smooth transition in water result we were looking for. The picture was taken in the same scenario with the F3.5, Shutter 5 sec, ISO 200.
The above exercise was only meant to make you understand what different powers on the ND filter does. It is not that lower power filters are not useful, everything depends on the scenario you are working in, amount of light shining on your subject and how much creative you want to be with your shutter.
D) Polarization DSLR camera lens filters :
I can really go into the technicalities of this lens but to keep this post brief I will just go into the benefits of using a Polarized filter on your lens.
Polarising filters change the way that your camera sees and treats light. Particularly – when using one you’ll notice a change in how your camera sees reflections and glare. As a result it also has the ability to change the vibrancy of some colors in shots.
Let’s look at a few areas where polarizing filters can have have the biggest impact:
- Water – When shooting a picture of water adjusting your polarising filter will mean you see into the water differently, cutting out glare and even changing the colour of the water. For example when I was snorkelling off a boat off the coast of Indonesia a few years ago I took a series of photos (on my film camera) using a polarising filter that made the water look crystal clear and a bright blue color. Without the filter the shots had nowhere near the same impact with a big reflection being picked up off the top of the water and a more murky color.
- Sky – Similarly, the color of sky can change remarkably using a polarising filter. Rotating the filter you’ll see a blue sky change from a light pale blue color to a vibrant and deep blue color (depending upon where the sun is). A polarising filter can cut out a lot of the smoggy haze that is often in city shots.
- Color – Polarizing filters cut down the reflection that many objects have (even those that you might not think reflect at all). This makes the colors of some of these objects more vibrant. For example out in the garden you might notice foliage on trees looking greener than you would get without the filter.
- Other Reflections – Shooting through glass can be a real challenge at times and using a polarizing filter can definitely assist in cutting down distracting reflections or glare. Similarly photographing shiny objects (like a new car for instance) with a polarizing filter will change the way reflections are treated.
These filters are easy to use. Most of you will use a circular polarizing filter which allows you to adjust how it impacts your shots but simply rotating the front element of the filter. As you do this you’ll notice that colors and reflections in your shot change. Once you’ve got it to a point that you like simply take the shot.
In the Picture below I will show you the difference a polarization filter can cause in your day to day photography
A) Without Polarization filter :
This is a picture of a car parked in direct sunlight see how the reflection is making it difficult to know the exact color of the car and even making the picture look over-exposed. This is where a polarization filter comes in handy. See for your self how the polarization filter dramatically changes the picture in the same conditions.
B) With Polarization filter:
See the big difference just adding a Polarization filter did it is like you have a Photoshop tool in your hand. The picture looks more crisp and detailed, as the reflection is gone we can see the actual color of the car and now the pictures seems perfectly exposed.
You can see for yourself how much of a difference just adding a Polarization filter does to the image you capture.
For the greatest impact try to keep the sun at 90° to you (ie to your side – not at your back and not shooting into the sun). This will help your polarizer to have the greatest effect.
The extent that polarizing filters work varies from situation to situation (often dependant upon the amount of sunlight) so it won’t have a massive impact in all situations – but in some (especially bright sunny days) the impact can be quite staggering.
So, This is all for the filters I have tested myself, be sure to buy some filters of your own and really make an impact with your photographs and stay tuned for more amazing articles on how you can up your photography game.