The first experience of every photographer is when they are suggested to buy a UV or Skylight filter to protect their lens. Most of the beginners lately find the benefits of using filters available to them. Once you have decided to add filters to your bag numerous of choices like company, quality, material, type and etc that are available for you. The first thing you will find is to have the cheapest filter. But that is not right; always buy a good quality lens filter that will save your lens for long period because it is easy to change filter then buying a new lens.
Cheaper Filters usually have an aluminum ring. It is more easily dented and can be bent down because of its softness this could jam the filter when mounting it on the lens. The most popular screw-in high quality filters are UV, polarizer and neutral density filter that are available for you.
The other type is known as drop-in filters. These filters are made of square or rectangular pieces of glass that are usually inserted in a holder and mounted onto the lens. Frequently, the holder, or mounting ring, can also hold a screw-in polarizing filter, as well as two or three drop-in filters in front of that. That allows you to combine the effects of a polarizer, neutral density filter, and a graduated neutral density filter.
Neutral density filters are available in both screw-in filters and drop-in filters, the drop-in filters allows more precise placement of the gradation, which means it will allow more creativity. Drop-in filters are generally part of the system some of the examples like: Lee filter system, Formatt-Hi-tech and Cokin P and Cokin Z filter systems. Make sure before you invest in a system that a filter you need is available, and is compatible with your lens size.
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Material of Filter:
You will notice while buying a filter, there are different rates for the same type of filters. The first difference in price is due to the material used in filters. Some material that is used to make filter includes optical resin, which is more of a plastic material and polyester. Polyester filters are usually used for color corrections, while the optical resin is more cost effective option as compare to glass.
More expensive filter is often made up of top quality glass such as German Schott Glass which is mostly color neutral and distortion free. Polarizer filter will always be made from glass. The only difference in the material due the chemical structure of the glass, thickness and coatings used. As far as the thickness is concerned, the thinner the filter is the better it reduces the distortion.
In cheaper filters, the polarizing material packs in between glass; while the polarizing material is bond directly to the glass. This minimizes the chance for air pockets, and other misdeed that could affect the image quality. Again, the quality of glass can vary widely between a budget-priced filter, and top quality one.
In old days of film, filters did not need to be coated as in digital era. Film was a sympathetic medium which didn’t pick up the flare or reflection like the way digital sensors. Just because of this reason multi-coating has become necessary for filter manufacturing. Higher quality filters will use these coatings to reduce flare, and increase light transmission.
An uncoated filter will suffer from a loss of light. Some filters have a single coating, which is better than none, but not good as a multi-coated filter. So using filter is a good innovation in photography. Most of the photographers don’t like using filter on their lenses as they think it affect the quality of the image but I disagree. Suppose, if you are moving through dense bushes the filters will help to protect the lens and it is easy to change filter instead of changing camera.
You can take shots with three different filters, with an uncoated, single coated and multi coated; the difference in the images will be easily visible. Filters not only help to minimize flare and increasing light transmission but also help to maintain good contrast and color reproduction.