Filters Explained

There are many different types of filters available to photographers, some of these have very practical applications and when used correctly can completely transform your image into a unique and creative piece of work. When buying filters it is important that you know what diameter your lens is, look for this symbol:  along with this a number and millimeters i.e. ⌀52mm ⌀ 58mm and so on. As filters go directly onto your lens, they can often effect the image quality, so it is best not to buy “bargain” filters, unless you know what you are looking for.

Buy UV filters Ireland

UV Filters

Overview: These clear filters are common and easy to find in most camera shops. UV filters are no longer used for there “UV filtering properties”, as modern digital cameras have one built into the sensor, however these are still often used as lens protectors.

Pros: Protects front of lens

Cons: Can interfere with image quality and produce colour casts

Price Range: €5-€100

Reliable Brands: Cokin, Kenko, Hoya, Lee and Nisi,

Tips: Don’t buy the cheapest filter you come across, especially if using expensive lenses or lenses that are not a kit lens. Instead buy something mid range, or buy a lens protection filter.

Buy circular polarising filters ireland

Circular Polarizing Filter

Overview: A circular polarizing filter is another common filter and is sometimes called a “CP ” Or “Circ Pol” filter. it is one of the few filters that cannot be replicated in post processing. These filters have a myriad of uses including removing reflections from water and glass and saturating colours, to name a few. They are one of the few filters that no travel or landscape photographer can do without. You can see how to use one here

Pros: Reduces glare, reduces reflections, saturates colours, compensates for dust and pollen in the air for sharper shots

Cons: Can consume up to 1.5 stops of light

Price Range: €25-€250

Reliable Brands: Cokin, Kenko, Hoya, Lee and Nisi,

Tips: When buying a CP Filter look for a filter with thin rings to reduce darkening around the edge of the lens.

Buy ND filters ireland

ND (Neutral Density) Filters

Overview:  ND filters are used to create long exposures like misty water or other motion blur. these filters act like sunglasses they literately are just a dark piece of glass that restrict light entering the lens forcing a slower shutter speed. These lenses come in different “Densities” that will allow more or less light entering the lens.

Pros: Can be used to create fantastic effects

Cons: Can only be used on a tripod or with very fast lens in very unique circumstances.

Price Range: €25 – €250

Reliable Brands: Cokin, Kenko, Hoya, Lee and Nisi,

Tips: When buying ND filters try to go with something mid range in terms of density i.e. 4 stops. Also do not go with the cheapest option as often the glass will produce a colour cast.

Buy ND Grad filters ireland

ND GRAD (Neutral Density Graduated) Filter

Overview: Just like the ND filters, ND Grad filters literately are just a dark piece of glass that restrict light entering the lens, however instead of darkening down the whole scene, they just make the sky darker allowing you to create stunning landscapes. ND grad filters are one of the most important pieces of kit in a landscape or travel Photographers bag. See how to use one here

Pros:  Essential for landscape and travel photography

Cons: Fragile, scratch easily and time consuming to set up.

Price Range: €25-€500

Reliable Brands: Cokin, Lee and Nisi,

Tips: When buying these filters, have a look at picking up a system instead of a screw-in filter, as these will allow you to bundle your options and save money. You will then have a system that can fit multiple lenses.

Buy cokin filters ireland

Filter Systems

Overview: Most of the filters we a have discussed so far are called screw in filters, in that they screw in to the front of the lens. Another type of filter is aN attachment or slide in filter. These are used as a system, they come in three parts, the ring, the holder and the filter. They are incredibly versatile and are a must for any travel or landscape photographer.

Pros: Fits many lenses, by changing the filter ring, allows you bundle purchases, flexible and replacements. Aattachments are easy to find.

Cons: Bulky and often not easy to use handheld.

Price Range: €55-€500

Reliable Brands: Cokin, Lee and Nisi

 Tips: When Buying a filter set, do not rush out buying the most expensive set, as they are often like a first car, they will end up scratched and battered while learning to handle and use them.