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Lens Filter Benefits

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Lens filters still serve many different purposes in this digital age and are widely used in photography. They can offer protection, reduce reflection, alter light and enhance colors. In this article, we'll talk about the filters we tend to use the most. 

What Are Lens Filters

Lens filters are transparent or translucent glass, plastic, resin, polyester and polycarbonate material that attaches to the front of a lens. They come in circular, square and rectangular types. Circular (screw-in) filters connect directly to the front of the lens, square and rectangular (drop-in) filters utilize an adapter that attaches to the lens. 

Lens Filter Types

  • UV/Clear/Haze Filter

In the past, these filters were used to block UV light from hitting the film or camera sensor. But, with the advancement of digital photography, all DSLR cameras presently have built-in UV filters. Now, the primary purpose of the UV filter is to protect the front element of a lens from dust and scratches. Be sure to purchase a good quality UV Filter as lower quality versions could reduce image quality, increase reflections and flares in your images.  

  • Circular Polarizing (CPL) Filter

The primary purposes of the CPL filter are to reduce reflections, enhance colors, increase contrast and reduce haze. This filter is especially good if you want to darken the sky or lessen the intensity of reflective surfaces like water or windows. The effect and intensity of this filter changes dependent upon one's angle to the sun. Also, there is usually a loss of 1-2 stops of light when using this filter so be mindful of your camera settings when using this. 

  • Neutral Density (ND) Filter

ND filters reduce the amount of light entering the camera lens thus allowing you to decrease shutter speed and increase exposure time. These filters are useful when you want to shoot with a wider aperture on a bright day or shoot with a slower shutter speed with moving water to create that "foggy" effect. They also allow you to shoot with wider apertures in studio photography. ND filters also come in hard

These three options are popular amongst our photography community but they are not the only options available. Other filter types include Hard-Edge Graduated Neutral Density (GND) Filter, Soft-Edge Graduated Neutral Density (GND) Filter, Reverse Graduated Neutral Density (GND) Filter, Color/Warming/Cooling Filter, and Special Effects Filter. These all have their intended purposes and we encourage you to research them. Happy shooting!