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How to Pick a Filter to Use with Your Digital Camera

by Staff Writer

Photographer using a digital camera with a UV filter

Things You Need:

  • Digital camera
  • Assortment of camera filters

Having the right lens filters on your camera can enhance your photographs in interesting ways before they ever touch a computer. You'll find many types of photo filters, designed to reduce glare, soften colors or just protect your camera lens. This article will help you decide which type of lens filters will produce the effect you're looking for.

Choosing a Photo Filter:

  1. Determine the size of your lens. Usually, photo filters are used with digital SLR cameras. Examine the end of your camera lens barrel for a circular symbol with a line through it, followed by a measurement in millimeters (mm). Use this lens measurement as a guide for selecting photo filters.

  2. Select a filter based on photo effect. Each photo filter has a different effect on the resulting photo.

    Photo Filter Effects

    • Anti-glare: If you want to reduce glare coming from reflective surfaces, like water or glossy materials, try a polarizing filter. Polarizing filters can also darken the sky in your photos, putting focus on the foreground.

    • Haze removal: A UV filter is a good choice if you want to clarify your image from haziness caused by ultraviolet light, especially in heavy sunlight. These camera filters are good for protecting the lens without altering your shot too heavily.

    • Blur and selective focus: A neutral density filter will allow you to take longer exposure shots with a blur effect, without changing the color balance of the photo. Graduated neutral density filters feature partial attenuation, or "tapering," of light, allowing you to have selective focus around one area of your shot.

    • Contrast reduction: You can soften up a shot by using a diffusing filter. Different diffusion filters use different methods to produce the softening effect, reducing contrast and creating a dreamy haze around your photo without compromising color.

  3. Choose filters with optical coating. Not all photo filters feature the protective optical coating that is designed to cut down on glare in your shots. Be sure to eliminate this problem from your photography by selecting quality photo equipment with this coating.

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