What different PHOTOGRAPHY FILTERS do and why you need them!

Today I’m going to talk about filters in
photography and which ones I recommend there are many filters in photography
from the ones that screw on to the front of your lenses magnetic ones that click
on really quickly right through to ones that use special brackets so you can
slide them down in front of your lens I’m going to show you each of them what
they do and how they will change your photos the first one I’m going to show
you is the UV filter this is a clear filter and it’s meant to cut out
ultraviolet light if you’ve ever been into a shop to buy a lens they will
usually try to sell you a UV filter to go with your new lens but I’m not sure
it’s such a good purchase UV filters used to be practical for film cameras as
a lot of film stock is sensitive to UV light I remember I had one for my EOS 5d
but nowadays digital sensors can cope with UV light a lot better now I
understand the principle of having one to protect your front element but
nowadays these front elements are pretty robust and can withstand quite a bit of
weather we normally take them out in without getting damaged and as most of
us photographers are pretty precious about our kit it is in safe hands well
most of the time anyway also if you have a lens hood on the camera this will
offer a bit of protection I’ve dropped a lens before and the lens hood broke but
the lens didn’t one thing I don’t like about UV filters is that it’s another
piece of glass in between your subject and your sensor and this really doesn’t
have to be there especially the really cheap ones that are available online so
in most circumstances I don’t use one the one lens I do use them with when the
weather is really bad or if I’m out in the desert when it’s really windy is the
Tamron 17 to 28 millimeter this has a groove around the front element that is
the perfect place for dust sand and dirt to catch so I don’t take any chances
with this especially in the desert now an ND filter is a neutral density filter
this means it should be neutral in the color cast and we’ll have a different
density depending on what filter you get or basically will cut out a
certain amount of light from getting to your sensor the perfect analogy for this
is that it’s like a pair of sunglasses for your camera now I really do like
fixed nd filters and have a whole host of them for my camera they can do
anything from letting you open up the aperture in the middle of the day whilst
controlling your shutter speed they can get rid of people in your travel photos
and they can also slow down your shutter speed enough to blur any kind of
movement in your shots they come in varying strengths from a one stop filter
right through to a 15 stop filter and beyond a one stop filter will reduce
your shutter speed by one stop of light so for example if you have a shutter
speed of one one-thousandth of a second you’ll cut it down to one 500th of a
second so having the amount of light a 10 stop filter will reduce it from one
one thousandth of a second to one second and a fifteen stop filter will reduce it
from one one thousandth of a second to thirty seconds so having a range of
these is well worth it and you can really do so much with them I have a
three stop a full stop a six stop in a 10 stop ND filter and these give me
everything that I need now the more expensive ones tend to be closer to
having a neutral color whereas the cheaper ones sometimes produce a bit of
a color cast and it can be really hard to remove when you’re editing your
photos now if you haven’t seen it already check out Mack Rangers test that
he did on 10 stop nd filters I’ve got a link in the I in the corner and in the
description he had around about 15 different Indies so it’s well worth
watching I have the magnetic filters from free well and they’re pretty good
value for money and really quick to use as well the kind of middle of the range
cost wise and are as neutral as I’ve seen especially with their ten stop nd
filters but there are many other reputable brands out there I definitely
recommend getting at least a couple of nd filters and I’d start off with say a
four stop and a 10 stop ND filter a graduated filter is a filter that has
half Clair glass and half darkened so you can see on this one the bottom half
is clear and the top half has the nd in it now these are slightly more
specialized filters and a great when you have a
rate horizon and a bright sky in this example I have the Sun setting and if I
was to just take a photo of this scene without the filter the sky would be
overexposed or the ground would be underexposed with a graduated filter
they normally work best in these filter brackets
once you have framed up your shot you can slide the filter into place and drop
the exposure of the sky you can get the border between the clear glass and the
ND piece of glass exactly where you want it in your frame and that’s where these
brackets really come in handy this will give you a better overall exposure
bringing the sky and the land closer together and within the dynamic range of
your camera if you’re not sure what dynamic range is click on the eye in the
corner or the link in the description to my quick video on that subject
now these grad filters are great when the horizon is flat but when something
does protrude into the sky or when you’re in the mountains and the line
between the darker and the brighter parts of your image aren’t flat you’ll
run into problems also if you are going to get these I’d recommend the bracketed
ones over the screw on ones as with the bracketed ones you can put the horizon
exactly where you want the next filter I’m going to talk about is the polarizer
and this is a filter that will restrict the amount of polarized light coming
into your camera they normally rotate and so you can change the intensity of
this filter I’ve done a video on these already so if you haven’t seen it yet
click on the eye in the corner or the link in the description you can create
more saturated colors in your photos it can deepen the blues in the sky as well
as reducing the amount of light reflected from shiny surfaces if we look
at these leaves you can see them with and without a polarizer you can also use
them when photographing through glass if there is a bit of glare on that glass
normally a polarizer will get rid of this generally a polarizing filter works
best at 90 degrees to the direction of the sunrays it is one of those filters
where you do need to be a little bit picky about when you use it but when you
get the hang of it it’s really good filter and I do
recommend getting one a variable ND filter does the same as a normal fixed
ND and the only difference is that when you
rotate it it darkens or lightens the shot so I have these two different ones
I have this one from Tiffin and these ones from free well the Tiffin is good
from about one to five stops but does have a slightly blue color cast also it
doesn’t have hard stops and if you go beyond five stops you’ll tend to get
this X pattern appearing in your shots and it does make them unusable now if
you see companies claiming that their nd filters don’t have this X pattern be
very wary of them unless they have the hard stop like these free well ones or
the Pizza MacKinnon polar probe variable n DS you can see with this one as I turn
it it stops me from turning it too far so this means it won’t go into that bit
of polarization where you get that X pattern in your images the two pieces of
glass in a variable nd are polarized and when you do rotate them it reduces or
increases the amount of light depending on which way you do rotate them so with
these you will get a bit of a color shift due to this polarization now the
benefits of a variable nd that you only have to have two filters and you can
cover most bases with this set from free well I can cover anything from a two
stop to a nine stop reduction now I don’t recommend getting ones without
hard stops as it’s so easy to go into that X pattern especially when you’re
rushing around trying to get that shot really quickly if you are a photographer
I’d still recommend getting fixed nd filters over the variable ones as you’re
only shooting through one piece of glass now if you’re a videographer variable ND
filters are great and you can keep your shutter down following that 180 degrees
shutter rule you can also use it to have a wide aperture in the middle of the day
to get that shallow depth of field look and more importantly you can adjust them
subtly as the exposure changes whilst you’re filming now there are things like
starburst filters and colored filters but these seem a little bit gimmicky so
the filter list that I’ve just gone through are the only ones that I’d
recommend for photography and videography now one last thing you will
need a place to put them all most companies do supply them with individual
cases but if you have these in your bag they’ll rattle around and they’ll
quickly take up space so I’d recommend getting a pouch of some kind now I have
this third-party pouch and it’s perfect for me
I can slot all of my filters in there and I can access them really quickly and
these are nice soft padded pouches if you want to get one of these I’ve linked
it in the description below now do you think I’ve missed any out or are there
any other filters do you think that I could benefit from let me know in the
comments below it’d be great to hear your thoughts and
if you like this video try this video next it’s Mack Rangers massive ND filter
test if you’ve seen it check out my waterfall video down here and if you
haven’t already remember to subscribe to my channel for weekly tutorials on
photography thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time

14 Replies to “What different PHOTOGRAPHY FILTERS do and why you need them!”

  1. Super, Mike! Great overview and clear explanations! A quick question regarding the Tamron 17-28 f2.8 lens ( which I am finally getting in a couple of weeks!) Like, you, I don't use a protective filter on my lenses normally but I did pick one up for that lens. Do you keep yours on it all the time or just when you are working in harsh circumstances? For instance, do you think it is necessary to have one on the lens when using in the city streets, as well as, say, when walking around a windy, rugged coastline? Thanks again!

  2. Great filter overview, Mike. I just bought the CP, 10 stop, 6 stop and 3 stop Freewell magnetic filters. Two of the three are are marked down on Amazon right now for about $20 off per filter. I would like your opinion on the Sony 70-200 2.8 versus F4. I am about to pull the trigger on one of those. I know there is a huge price difference, but if you could have one over the other, would you go with the 2.8 even though the weight difference is so much more. I don't have a photography store nearby to hold them and play with them. I just don't want to regret not spending the money if the 2.8 is a superior lens. Do you have any experience with these? If so, I would really appreciate your input. It would also help if I could blame you for spending the extra grand with my wife, so there is that as well.

  3. Great video Mike, i had some great fun using a 5 point/star filter not the best pics but good fun, question well silly question if i brought 6 and 4 stop would it make a 10 stop screwed together.

    All in all just another nice T btw 👍

  4. A comparision of diferent polaritzed filters will be wellcome and for astrofotography the contamination ones what you think about?

  5. Practical review (nice intro, btw). Do drop-in filters pose issues w/cleaning and maint considering their larger surface areas? DP Review recently posted a segment on UV photog where (as an aside) they demo’d how cheap UV filters did poorly at filtering out UV light.

  6. If you hate UV filters then just use a Tupperware lid! Haha just kidding. Again another great video…always concise, immensely helpful and fair. This is what every Youtuber should be like. Thanks

  7. Hi Mike! Great video!! I've been waiting for you to discuss filters, especially the X pattern you see in variable filters! I have the tiffen one and it's good for video, but I've noticed that blue cast a bit. Maybe I'll upgrade to the Freewell brand you mentioned that was that true stop! And less blue hints! -Mike

  8. I'm sorry, HDR-tool at Capture One Pro20 is not image blending, it just operates for one single image, although it shall be very good. Then we neither got Image Blending (true HDR), Panorama or Focus Stacking:-/ Guess you'll not think more about Capture One now.

    To be honest why I ditched Adobe was because of the tiny icons on my 13" Dell, I couldn't use the sliders. For C1 the icons are large and a pleasure to use, even on my small laptop. I'll stay with C1 anyway, because now I know this software quite well, and will prioritize making images rather than learning new software. Even drop to learn Affinity Photo for now. Will rather learn to print my images for different mediums, like Danile Milnor.

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