Camera filters enhance and support your photography by helping you capture a professional-looking image. But with all the different types of photography filters on the market, it’s tricky to know what filters work best for certain circumstances. In fact, one of the most common questions you’ll hear from novice photographers is “What filters do I need for my camera?”
The short answer is that it depends on the type of photography you’re capturing. Are you a travel photographer interested in boosting your landscape photography? Or, maybe you’re a filmmaker who wants to manage the sunlight that’s hitting your lens.
Regardless of your photographic purpose, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find out what filters are best for your camera setup.
Why are camera filters necessary?
Camera filters check quite a few boxes for the proverbial functions of photography. A common mistake is to assume that filters are a product of the past and that you can add digital filters later. But professional photographers understand that the reality is that it’s always better to work in-camera and control your photography from the source.
Part of the artistry of photography involves shaping your imagery as much as possible on location. There are even some benefits of proper filtration that you can’t get in post, like shooting through windows and dealing with reflections and glare. And when it comes to cinematography, this is doubly true. One cannot simply “fix it in post.”
What do different filters do for cameras?
The power of camera filters does everything from managing the light that enters your lens to delivering better color accuracy and protecting your lens from the elements.
Now that we understand why camera filters are so important to your photography, let’s take a look at what you can expect from each kind.
- ND Filters
- Polarizer Filters
- VND Filters
- UV Filters
ND filters are essential in every photographer’s kit. Ask yourself, do you plan on shooting under sunny conditions? Yes or yes? Then, you’ll need a dedicated ND filter. This is the case because NDs increase the number of f-stops so you can mitigate how much sunlight enters your lens.
This also rings true for filmmakers. Think about it, if you’re filming a documentary and following your subject during a sunny afternoon, you’ll need those extra stops to control exposure as the sun changes. In addition to controlling light, there are other effects like dropping your shutter speed for motion blur.
Tiffen Water White Glass NATural IRND Filters provides a wide range of filter types (49mm, 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm, 77mm, and 82mm filter sizes) for every kind of situation you’re in. The NDs have a 6-stop exposure reduction and precise levels of color accuracy.
If you plan on capturing landscapes, taking photos through windows, or dealing with reflections, then you’ll need a solid polarizer filter. Once you see the difference between your photography with and without a polarizer filter, you’ll be sold for life.
Tiffen Circular Polarizing Filters are optimized for landscape photography. Like most filters, and notably polarizers, its circular design allows you to rotate to increase or reduce its effect. It eliminates UV rays outdoors and removes reflections while increasing color saturation without affecting the overall color balance.
Right away, you’ll notice how polarizer filters deepen the blues of the sky, separating it from clouds and accentuating saturation for an impressive image. And just as it enhances the sky, you’ll notice more texture and details within bodies of water for breathtaking imagery.
The main difference between regular NDs and VNDs is ease of use with the latter allowing you more flexibility in adjusting the amount of light. In fact, this is done much in the same way as you would adjust a CP. That said, make sure to distinguish a VND from a CP as it doesn’t produce the same polarizing qualities.
A VND is comprised of two NDs, an inner layer that’s fixed and the outer layer that you can adjust by turning it (as mentioned above). Professional photographers use VNDs to enhance their depth of field and separate their subjects from the background for greater effect.
You don’t want just any VND set, but rather a trustworthy and reliable brand like the Tiffen Variable Neutral Density Filter. They offer a unique way of maintaining complete control over the depth of field and are designed with a built-in rotating ring ranging from 2 to 8 stops. It’s also a money saver since you can rotate to the degree of ND with just this one filter.
No matter if you shoot on film or digital there’s real value for what you can get out of a UV filter. You’ll sometimes hear a UV filter referred to as a “Haze” filter because it does just that; it eliminates haze, moisture, pollutants, and UV light from the atmosphere, giving you a much clearer result. Another case for UV filtration is how it protects your lens from scratches, moisture, or any other kinds of damage that you can experience when in the field.
Some photographers prefer to go without a filter, arguing how every additional glass can obscure your image. But this is a myth because you need to take into consideration the value of the glass.
For instance, Tiffen UV Protection Filter uses high-quality glass that ensures perfect color neutrality, and a coating process that produces no color shift. It’s best to be safer than sorry, especially with glass that also improves your photography.
Best Filters for My Camera
There are many types of camera filters out there that will improve your photography. So, if you’re asking yourself “What filters do I need for my camera?” then, you should consider the meat and potatoes of filtration: NDs, Polarizer, VNDs, and UV filters.
But keep in mind that the quality of your filters directly affects your photography. Quality glass like that of Tiffen, for example, enhances your photography whereas cheaper filters can appear dull. But with the right filters in your toolkit, you too can capture photography like the professionals.
- Tiffen 4×5.65” NATural IRND 0.3 Filter
- Tiffen 4×5.65” NATural IRND 0.6 Filter
- Tiffen 4×5.65” NATural IRND 0.9 Filter
- Tiffen 4×5.65” NATural IRND 1.2 Filter
- Tiffen 4×5.65” NATural IRND 1.5 Filter
- Tiffen 4×5.65” NATural IRND 1.8 Filter
- Tiffen 4×5.65” NATural IRND 2.1 Filter
- Tiffen 4×5.65” Circular Polarizing Filter
- Tiffen 4×5.65” Ultra Circular Polarizing Filter
- Tiffen 4×5.65” Warm Ultra Circular Polarizing Filter
- Tiffen 4×5.65” Multi Rota Tray 138mm Circular Polarizing Filter
- Tiffen 43mm UV Protector Filter
- Tiffen 46mm UV Protector Filter
- Tiffen 49mm UV Protector Filter
- Tiffen 52mm UV Protector Filter
- Tiffen 55mm UV Protector Filter
- Tiffen 58mm UV Protector Filter
- Tiffen 67mm UV Protector Filter
- Tiffen 77mm UV Protector Filter
- Tiffen 82mm UV Protector Filter