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Camera Filters
Part 1

Choosing the right camera filter for your intended use can be a confusing process. Some photographers assume that the most expensive camera filter is the best. Thin or slim filters may cost more, but this does not necessarily make them better optically than a standard ring filter. In most case’s using a slim 3mm filter on a 200mm lens gains you nothing over using a standard 5mm ring filter.  Sometimes a particular filter may only be available in the slim version. One example is the L41 UV filter glass is only put into the slim ring by Hoya and Kenko. If you need high UV reduction that does not add a color cast to the image then you will need to spend the extra money for the Slim Mount. The Super HMC series will serve most image makers just fine, without spending nearly twice the price for the Pro 1 camera filter

I use multi coated camera filters most of the time, but in some instances a non coated camera filter would be a better choice. Someone photographing a surfer that is dealing with water spray and sand should consider using a non coated protection filter like the Tiffen UVP or the new Water White Digital Camera Filters, these are extremely durable filters, that can be easily cleaned in the field. A proper lens hood for the lens will help minimize flare and ghosting. A lens hood is the most important item a photographer can use to improve contrast and reduce flare and ghosting. When ever possible use the hood supplied by the manufacturer, using the OEM hood on the majority of lenses will provide the best shade without causing vignetting of the image. If you need help with choosing filters for your camera please call us Toll Free at 1-877-806-3594

 Top quality optics is more important than ever with the increasing resolution offered by digital cameras. Lens and filters that once produce acceptable result when shooting film, may not produce a sharp image when used on even a mid range digital camera.  Small scratches or dirt on filters or lens elements are far more likely to effect image quality when using a high resolution digital camera than with film.  

 Modern AR coating used on camera lenses and filters is much more durable than it was even a few years ago, but it will still scratch.  Several small fine scratches in a filter or a lens caused by improper cleaning  is much more detrimental to image quality than one or two small scratches caused from use. The small cleaning marks actually make the filter or camera lens a diffusion filter or softener.  If you have a scratch on a camera filter or lens the use of a lens hood will help reduce the chances of lens flare caused by the sun reflecting on the imperfection.

  I have used filters for over 30 years and have never considered not using one on any of my lenses when they are available to fit them. After a few hours of shooting my use of filters has kept a considerable amount of dust, dirt and moisture off my front lens element. Improper cleaning of a camera lens or filter cause more damage than accidents while shooting.

Whenever possible you should not attempt to clean your equipment in the field.  It is better to wait until your home were you have proper lighting and the time to devote to cleaning your equipment properly. The few lens and filters I have scratched have always occurred when I tried to clean them in the field under less than ideal circumstances, caused from dirt or grit getting on the surface and being rubbed across the surface.

Graduated Neutral Density Camera Filters

 ND Grads are one of the most useful camera filters you can have.  They can be used to even out exposure to keep it within the dynamic range of your camera or film.

ND Grads can be used in any position on the camera lens. They do not always have to be used in foreground background compositions. Grads can be set to even exposures out on strong side light photo’s or used to intentionally underexpose parts of an image to create silhouettes. Round graduated camera filters are somewhat limiting in their use. The camera has to be moved to align the filter to the area that needs the exposure controlled this makes composing an image difficult at best.  A better solution is to use a square grad and a holder. The camera can be set up for the best composition that you visualize. The graduated camera filter then can be rotated and moved within the holder either horizontal or vertically. Allowing for exact placement of the camera filter in relation to the area that needs the exposure modified.  When judging the placement of grads it is sometimes useful to stop the camera lens down using the depth of  field preview as an aid in best placement of the scene to be photographed.



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