Home Newsletter Locations Diary


Photography Filters Pinhole Business


Filters - What you need

The digital photographer can benefit from using filters, the most essential is the Neutral density graduated filters that allow you to hold back the exposure of sky's and bright areas, and the polarizer.

Beyond this we have a wide range of other opportunities using Neutral density filters to allow longer exposures, black cards to allow double and multiple exposures and coloured grads.

Perhaps some special effect filters may also appeal.

We have a range of articles on filters and associated options including:-

In this article I am looking at what you actually need to obtain to be able to use this. I am assuming that you already have a camera, tripod etc but no filters, beyond UV or protective filters.

You can cope with different sized lenses by using either stepping rings or adaptors. Adaptors are a part of the Filter holders kit.  You don't therefore need to have separate sets of filters for each lens.

Round filters, screw directly on the lens or via stepping rings and most of us have a polarizer that fits in this way, its quicker and simpler than getting the filter holder and all, out. If budgets are tight however a single polarizer that is apart of the filter holder kit is a practical proposition, and of course less to carry. The polarizer that you need is a circular not linear polarizer, but it is usually the only one offered in any event. Some involved in B&W photography still, like to use round filters, particularly if they previously used film and already had them, but you can achieve the same with the square or rectangular filers that fit into filter holders. With the need to use stepping rings  to go across lenses, its a lot more fiddling about with round filters. Graduated filters need to be in holders so we can slide them to the desired position, so it makes more sense usually to have all your filters fit one system and work better together.

Filter holders and systems, have the advantage of flexibility and of course can be grown or expanded over time, and you don't need to go out and get everything at one. If you are going to teach yourself to use it, this is going top take some tome, and probably best done an item at a time, later you can combine the effects.

So what do you put on your shopping list

  • A filter holder (or kit including one) see the article on filter holders.
  • Adapter (you need at least one) you don't get one with the filter holder or kit. This allows the filter holder to connect to a lens, it needs to be the one that goes with the filter holder, they are not interchangeable across makes. If you have several lenses have an adaptor for the largest lens. There are some P kits now available that also include an adaptor so you need to watch the specific offering to see what is included, and if the adaptor, if provided, will fit your lens.
  • Additional adaptors or stepping rings to allow other lenses to be used.
  • Neutral density graduated filers.  You could start just with a soft ND2, but you will find that a set of three is often an economic option. You would then have ND2, ND4 and ND8, this is 1, 2 and 3 stops at its darkest part. A second ND2 would often come in handy, allowing one from the top and one from the bottom.
  • Polarising filter   either to fit the filter holder or a separate screw on filter.

Optional additional items

ND filters   - extend the exposure time, allowing some other options, uses and examples and more in the article on these.

Coloured graduated filters  - we have an article covering the uses.

Card for double or multiple exposures, can be a piece of black core mountboard or a piece of black card and use a black marker to blacken the edge. See the article on double and multiple exposures for details.

Special effect filters star filters, multiple images, soft, netting and others.

You will have noticed that a range of other articles are linked to this page allowing you to both find out about these options as well as see how you might use them. If this is not enough then we also have a further information page complete with links to other articles, filter manufacturers etc.

See also: Filter Section for more articles.


This page:

Link directly to this page, with text or the button on right.

Text linking: Filters - What you need on Photographers Resource

Linking Instructions                            http://www.photographers-resource.co.uk/

Photographers Resource, all the information for the photographer