The Right Filter for the Right Application
When it comes to camera filters, there are those photographers who love them and those that hate’em. Many purists don’t like filters because they don’t want anything coming between reality and the image on their exposed film. Filter fans and I’ll confess to being one don’t worry about resolution charts and like to have fun with their photography. If you’re on the fence, here are a few reasons for using camera filters.
When working under difficult environmental conditions, such as blowing dust or sand, the right filter will protect your expensive camera lens. A UV filter is helpful when photographing mountain and marine scenes and can even prevent you from a spontaneous outbreak of stupidity. For a short time, I was persuaded by the perfectionist’s argument and was shooting a car show with a wide-angle zoom attached to my camera and while walking through the trade show area the front element of my lens came in contact with a wire rack. S-c-r-a-t-c-h. That was the end of my flirtation with perfection.
The big deal with filters, especially with wide-angle lenses, is that sometimes the mount is so thick it can cause vignetting. So-called slim-mount lenses minimize or eliminate the problem. Fotodiox, who until recently I didn’t even know made filters, offers a series of affordable slim mount UV filters for wide-angle lenses. The filter is a double threaded UV filter, coated with multiple layers to prevent glare and provides correction for Ultraviolet light, which can be an issue at high altitudes. The filter has a low profile ultra slim aluminum filter ring and comes with a 24-month warranty. Get this: A 72mm version that fits my EF 16 – 35mm f/2.8L II USM lens costs less than 10 bucks and it’s the same prince for 77 and 82mm versions.
Other useful filters include the Circular Polarizer that can remove unwanted reflections from non-metallic surfaces such as water or glass. The filter can also saturate colors, providing better contrast; i.e. darkening blue sky, removing reflections from leaves for dramatic landscape photos. Fotodiox offers a 3-Filter Kit is sizes from 49 to 77mm that contains a UV/Haze protection filter, circular polarizer, soft diffusing filter (to hide minor flaws in portraits) and a carrying case for $18.95 in all sizes.