We get a lot of questions about lens filters. There are so many different kinds that all do different things that we decided we should put a post together to help you decide whether you even need one, and if you do, which one you should choose. Big thanks to Jacob for filling in the details and snapping some photos.
UV filters were made popular in the film days to prevent “accidental exposures,” i.e. when UV rays caused fogginess and haze that took away from the sharpness of an image. Nowadays, that’s less of a concern. UV filters, therefore, function less in the creation of an image (they do help with lens flare a little) than they do in protecting those expensive pieces of glass you mount to the front of your camera. Instead of breaking the front piece of your lens if you drop it, UV filters are an inexpensive piece that will shield the front of your lens. We suggest checking out Promaster‘s line of Multicoated UV filters or their Digital HGX UV filters.
Circular Polarizing filters are useful when taking photos of glass and water, in that they remove pesky reflections that obscure their glare-y surfaces. This is particularly useful if you’re an architectural photographer, or a landscape photographer taking photos of rivers and waterfalls and the like. We suggest Promaster Digital Circular Polarizing Filters or their Digital HGX CPL Filters, which have a nicer optical quality.
Neutral Density filters cut down on the amount of light let into your lens. ND filters are used by photographers during bright days when you want to have a wide open aperture or need to make a long exposure. ND filters are especially popular among videographers, but many landscape photographers also swear by their ND filters. For example, say you’re taking a shot of a waterfall during the day and you want to keep that shutter open to get that nice misty look. Well, in that situation an ND filter would be your best friend. We highly recommend Promaster Variable ND filters, which allow you to adjust the level of light being let into your camera, giving you even more control over your exposure.
Close Up filters are an inexpensive way to get macro-like detail. While not truly macro like you would get with a good macro lens, Close Up filters simulate macro effects by using a convex shape to magnify the image. Check out Hoya’s Close Up Filter Sets if you’re interested in macro effects without paying a pretty penny for them.
We have 200+ lens filters in stock. Have a question that wasn’t answered here? Feel free to quiz our wonderful sales staff at 866-940-3686 about lens filters and any other gear you might want to know more about.