Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 10

23/11/2016 ChoosingaCameraLensFilter

CambridgeinColourALearningCommunityforPhotographers

Home
Books
Tools
Tutorials
Concepts&Terminology
UsingCameraEquipment
Editing&PostProcessing
ColorManagement&Printing
PhotoTechniques&Styles
allphotographytutorials
Forums

GetUpdates
enteryouremailhere Submit
search

CAMERALENSFILTERS
Cameralensfiltersstillhavemanyusesindigitalphotography,andshouldbeanimportantpartofany
photographer'scamerabag.Thesecanincludepolarizingfilterstoreduceglareandimprovesaturation,or
simpleUV/hazefilterstoprovideextraprotectionforthefrontofyourlens.Thistutorialaimstofamiliarize
onewiththeseandotherfilteroptionsthatcannotbereproducedusingdigitaleditingtechniques.Common
problems/disadvantagesandfiltersizesarediscussedtowardstheend.

OVERVIEW:LENSFILTERTYPES
Themostcommonlyusedfiltersfordigitalphotographyincludepolarizing(linear/circular),UV/haze,
neutraldensity,graduatedneutraldensityandwarming/coolingorcolorfilters.Exampleusesforeachare
listedbelow:

FilterType PrimaryUse CommonSubjectMatter


Linear&Circular ReduceGlare Sky/Water/Foliage
Polarizers ImproveSaturation inLandscapePhotography
Waterfalls,Rivers
NeutralDensity(ND) ExtendExposureTime
underbrightlight
GraduatedNeutral ControlStrongLightGradients
DramaticallyLitLandscapes
Density(GND) ReduceVignetting
ImproveClaritywithFilm
UV/Haze Any
ProvideLensProtection
Landscapes,Underwater,
Warming/Cooling ChangeWhiteBalance
SpecialLighting

LINEAR&CIRCULARPOLARIZINGFILTERS
Polarizingfilters(aka"polarizers")areperhapsthemostimportantofanyfilterforlandscapephotography.
Theyworkbyreducingtheamountofreflectedlightthatpassestoyourcamera'ssensor.Similarto

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/cameralensfilters.htm 1/10
23/11/2016 ChoosingaCameraLensFilter

polarizingsunglasses,polarizerswillmakeskiesappeardeeperblue,willreduceglareandreflectionsoffof
waterandothersurfaces,andwillreducethecontrastbetweenlandandsky.

Select: NoPolarizer PolarizeratMax

twoseparatehandheldphotostakensecondsapart

Notehowtheskybecomesamuchdarkerblue,andhowthefoliage/rocksacquireslightlymorecolor
saturation.Theintensityofthepolarizingeffectcanbevariedbyslowlyrotatingyourpolarizingfilter,
althoughnomorethan180ofrotationisneeded,sincebeyondthisthepossibleintensitiesrepeat.Useyour
camera'sviewfinder(orrearLCDscreen)toviewtheeffectasyourotatethepolarizingfilter.

Thepolarizingeffectmayalsoincreaseordecreasesubstantiallydependingonthedirectionyourcamerais
pointedandthepositionofthesuninthesky.Theeffectisstrongestwhenyourcameraisaimedina
directionwhichisperpendiculartothedirectionofthesun'sincominglight.Thismeansthatifthesunis
directlyoverhead,thepolarizingeffectwillbegreatestnearthehorizoninalldirections.

However,polarizingfiltersshouldbeusedwithcautionbecausetheymayadverselyaffectthephoto.
Polarizersdramaticallyreducetheamountoflightreachingthecamera'ssensoroftenby23fstops
(1/4to1/8theamountoflight).Thismeansthattheriskofablurredhandheldimagegoesupdramatically,
andmaymakesomeactionshotsprohibitive.

Additionally,usingapolarizeronawideanglelenscanproduceanunevenorunrealisticlookingskywhich
visiblydarkens.Intheexampletotheleft,theskycouldbeconsideredunusuallyunevenandtoodarkatthe
top.

Linearvs.CircularPolarizingFilters:Thecircularpolarizingvarietyisdesignedsothatthecamera's
meteringandautofocussystemscanstillfunction.Linearpolarizersaremuchlessexpensive,butcannotbe

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/cameralensfilters.htm 2/10
23/11/2016 ChoosingaCameraLensFilter

usedwithcamerasthathavethroughthelens(TTL)meteringandautofocusmeaningnearlyalldigital
SLRcameras.Onecouldofcourseforegometeringandautofocus,butthatisrarelydesirable.

NEUTRALDENSITYFILTERS
Neutraldensity(ND)filtersuniformlyreducetheamountoflightreachingthecamera'ssensor.Thisisuseful
whenasufficientlylongexposuretimeisnototherwiseattainablewithinagivenrangeofpossibleapertures
(atthelowestISOsetting).

SituationswhereNDfiltersareparticularlyusefulinclude:

Smoothingwatermovementinwaterfalls,rivers,oceans,etc.
Achievingashallowerdepthoffieldinverybrightlight
Reducingdiffraction(whichreducessharpness)byenablingalargeraperture
Makingmovingobjectslessapparentornotvisible(suchaspeopleorcars)
Introducingblurtoconveymotionwithmovingsubjects

Smoothedwaterfromalongexposure

However,onlyuseNDfilterswhenabsolutelynecessarybecausetheyeffectivelydiscardlightwhich
couldotherwisebeusedtoenableashortershutterspeed(tofreezeaction),asmalleraperture(fordepthof
field)oralowerISOsetting(toreduceimagenoise).Additionally,someNDfilterscanaddaveryslight
colorcasttotheimage.

UnderstandinghowmuchlightagivenNDfilterblockscansometimesbedifficultsincemanufacturerslist
thisinmanydifferentforms:

AmountofLightReduction
Hoya,B+WandCokin Lee,Tiffen Leica
fstops Fraction
1 1/2 ND2,ND2X 0.3ND 1X
2 1/4 ND4,ND4X 0.6ND 4X
3 1/8 ND8,ND8X 0.9ND 8X
4 1/16 ND16,ND16X 1.2ND 16X
5 1/32 ND32,ND32X 1.5ND 32X
6 1/64 ND64,ND64X 1.8ND 64X

Generallynomorethanafewfstopsisneedformostwaterfallscenarios,somostphotographersjustkeep
oneortwodifferentNDfilteramountsonhand.Extremelightreductioncanenableverylongexposures
evenduringbroaddaylight.

GRADUATEDNEUTRALDENSITYFILTERS
Graduatedneutraldensity(GND)filtersrestricttheamountoflightacrossanimageinasmoothgeometric
pattern.Thesearesometimesalsocalled"splitfilters."SceneswhichareideallysuitedforGNDfiltersare

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/cameralensfilters.htm 3/10
23/11/2016 ChoosingaCameraLensFilter

thosewithsimplelightinggeometries,suchasthelinearblendfromdarktolightencounteredcommonlyin
landscapephotography(below).

GNDFilter

FinalResult

Priortodigitalcameras,GNDfilterswereabsolutelyessentialforcapturingdramaticallylitlandscapes.With
digitalcamerasonecaninsteadoftentaketwoseparateexposuresandblendtheseusingalineargradientin
photoshop.Ontheotherhand,thistechniqueisnotpossibleforfastmovingsubjectmatterorchanginglight
(unlessitisasingleexposuredevelopedtwicefromtheRAWfileformat,butthisincreasesimagenoise).
ManyalsopreferusingaGNDtoseehowthefinalimagewilllookimmediatelythroughtheviewfinderor
rearLCD.

GNDfilterscomeinmanyvarieties.Thefirstimportantsettingishowquicklythefilterblendsfrom
lighttodark,whichisusuallytermed"softedge"or"hardedge"forgradualandmoreabruptblends,
respectively.Thesearechosenbasedonhowquicklythelightchangesacrossthescene,whereasharp
divisionbetweendarklandandbrightskywouldnecessitateaharderedgeGNDfilter,forexample.
Alternatively,theblendcaninsteadberadialtoeitheraddorremovelightfalloffatthelens'sedges
(vignetting).

SoftEdgeGND

HardEdgeGND

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/cameralensfilters.htm 4/10
23/11/2016 ChoosingaCameraLensFilter

RadialBlend

note:intheabovediagramswhite=clear,whichpasses100%ofthelight

Placingtheblendshouldbeperformedverycarefullyandusuallyrequiresatripod.Thesoftedgeisgenerally
moreflexibleandforgivingofmisplacement.Ontheotherhand,asoftedgemayproduceexcessive
darkeningorbrighteningnearwheretheblendoccursifthescene'slighttransitionsfasterthanthefilter.One
shouldalsobeawarethatverticalobjectsextendingacrosstheblendmayappearunrealisticallydark

Choose: FinalPhoto LocationofGNDBlend

Notehowtherockcolumnsbecomenearlyblackattheirtopcomparedtobelowtheblend
thiseffectisoftenunavoidablewhenusingGNDfilters.

Aproblemwiththesoftandhardedgeterminologyisthatitisnotstandardizedfromonebrandtoanother.
Onecompany's"softedge"cansometimesbenearlyasabruptablendasanothercompany'ssocalled"hard
edge".Itisthereforebesttotaketheseonacasebycasebasisandactuallylookatthefilteritselftojudgethe
blendtype.Mostmanufacturerswillshowanexampleoftheblendontheirownwebsites.

Thesecondimportantsettingisthedifferentialbetweenhowmuchlightisletinatonesideofthe
blendversustheother(thetopversusbottomintheexamplesdirectlyabove).Thisdifferentialisexpressed
usingthesameterminologyasusedforNDfiltersintheprevioussection.A"0.6NDgrad"thereforerefers
toagraduatedneutraldensityfilterwhichletsin2fstopslesslight(1/4th)atonesideoftheblendversusthe
other.Similarly,a0.9NDgradletsin3fstopslesslight(1/8th)atoneside.Mostlandscapephotosneedno
morethana13fstopblend.

HAZE&UVFILTERS
NowadaysUVfiltersareprimarilyusedtoprotectthefrontelementofacameralenssincetheyareclearand
donotnoticablyaffecttheimage.Withfilmcameras,UVfiltersreducehazeandimprovecontrastby
minimizingtheamountofultraviolet(UV)lightthatreachesthefilm.TheproblemwithUVlightisthatitis
notvisibletothehumaneye,butisoftenuniformlydistributedonahazydayUVthereforeadverselyaffects
thecamera'sexposurebyreducingcontrast.Fortunately,digitalcamerasensorsarenowherenearassensitive
toUVlightasfilm,thereforeUVfiltrationisnolongernecessary.

77mmUVfilter

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/cameralensfilters.htm 5/10
23/11/2016 ChoosingaCameraLensFilter

However,UVfiltershavethepotentialtodecreaseimagequalitybyincreasinglensflare,addingaslight
colortintorreducingcontrast.MulticoatedUVfilterscandramaticallyreducethechanceofflare,and
keepingyourfilterverycleanminimizesanyreductioninimagequality(althougheveninvisiblemicro
abrasionswillaffectsharpness/contrast).HighqualityUVfilterswillnotintroduceanyvisiblecolorcast.

Fordigitalcameras,itisoftendebatedwhethertheadvantageofaUVfilter(protection)outweighsthe
potentialreductioninimagequality.ForveryexpensiveSLRlenses,theincreasedprotectionisoftenthe
determiningfactor,sinceitismucheasiertoreplaceafilterthantoreplaceorrepairalens.However,forless
expensiveSLRlensesorcompactdigitalcamerasprotectionismuchlessofafactorthechoicetherefore
becomesmoreamatterofpersonalpreference.

AnotherconsiderationisthatUVfiltersmayincreasetheresalevalueofthelensbykeepingthefrontlens
elementinmintcondition.Inthatsense,aUVfiltercouldalsoevenbedeemedtoincreaseimagequality
(relativetoanunfilteredlens)sinceitcanberoutinelyreplacedwheneveritisperceivedtoadverselyaffect
theimage.

COOL&WARMFILTERS
Coolingorwarmingfilterschangethewhitebalanceoflightreachingthecamera'ssensor.Thiscanbeused
toeithercorrectanunrealisticcolorcast,ortoinsteadaddone,suchasaddingwarmthtoacloudydayto
makeitappearmorelikeduringsunset.

Aboveimage'sorangecolorcastisfromthemonochromaticsodiumstreetlamps
withthistypeoflightsourcevirtuallynoamountofwhitebalancecorrectioncanrestorefullcolor.
Acoolingfilterorspecialstreetlightfiltercouldbeusedtorestorecolorbasedonotherlightsources.

Thesefiltershavebecomemuchlessimportantwithdigitalcamerassincemostautomaticallyadjustfor
whitebalance,andthiscanbeadjustedafterwardswhentakingphotoswiththeRAWfileformat.Onthe
otherhand,somesituationsmaystillnecessitatecolorfilters,suchassituationswithunusuallighting(above
example)orunderwaterphotography.Thisisbecausetheremaybesuchanoverwhelmingamountof
monochromaticlightthatnoamountofwhitebalancecanrestorefullcolororatleastnotwithout
introducinghugeamountsofimagenoiseinsomecolorchannels.

PROBLEMSWITHLENSFILTERS

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/cameralensfilters.htm 6/10
23/11/2016 ChoosingaCameraLensFilter

visiblefiltervignetting

Filtersshouldonlybeusedwhennecessarybecausetheycanalsoadverselyaffecttheimage.Sincethey
effectivelyintroduceanadditionalpieceofglassbetweenyourcamera'ssensorandthesubject,theyhavethe
potentialtoreduceimagequality.Thisusuallycomesintheformofeitheraslightcolortint,areductionin
localoroverallimagecontrast,orghostingandincreasedlensflarecausedbylightinadvertentlyreflecting
offtheinsideofthefilter.

Filtersmayalsointroducephysicalvignetting(lightfallofforblackeningattheedgesoftheimage)iftheir
opaqueedgegetsinthewayoflightenteringthelens(rightexample).Thiswascreatedbystackinga
polarizingfilterontopofaUVfilterwhilealsousingawideanglelenscausingtheedgesofthe
outermostfiltertogetinthewayoftheimage.Stackingfiltersthereforehasthepotentialtomakeallofthe
aboveproblemsmuchworse.

NOTESONCHOOSINGAFILTERSIZEFORACAMERA
LENS
Lensfiltersgenerallycomeintwovarieties:screwonandfrontfilters.Frontfiltersaremoreflexiblebecause
theycanbeusedonvirtuallyanylensdiameter,howeverthesemayalsobemorecumbersometousesince
theymayneedtobeheldinfrontofthelens.Ontheotherhand,filterholderkitsareavailablethatcan
improvethisprocess.Screwonfilterscanprovideanairtightsealwhenneededforprotection,andcannot
accidentallymoverelativetothelensduringcomposure.Themaindisadvantageisthatagivenscrewon
filterwillonlyworkwithaspecificlenssize.

Thesizeofascrewonfilterisexpressedintermsofitsdiameter,whichcorrespondstothediameterusually
listedonthetoporfrontofyourcameralens.Thisdiameterislistedinmillimetersandusuallyrangesfrom
about46to82mmfordigitalSLRcameras.Stepuporstepdownadapterscanenableagivenfiltersizeto
beusedonalenswithasmallerorlargerdiameter,respectively.However,stepdownfilteradaptersmay
introducesubstantialvignetting(sincethefiltermayblocklightattheedgesofthelens),whereasstepup
adaptersmeanthatyourfilterismuchlarger(andpotentiallymorecumbersome)thanisrequired.

Theheightofthefilteredgesmayalsobeimportant.Ultrathinandotherspecialfiltersaredesignedsothat
theycanbeusedonwideanglelenseswithoutvignetting.Ontheotherhand,thesemayalsobemuchmore
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/cameralensfilters.htm 7/10
23/11/2016 ChoosingaCameraLensFilter

expensiveandoftendonothavethreadsontheoutsidetoacceptanotherfilter(orsometimeseventhelens
cap).

Foramoreindepthdiscussionofspecificfilters,alsoseethesetutorials:

Understanding&UsingPolarizingFilters
HowtouseGraduatedNeutralDensityFilters
HowtouseNeutralDensityFilters

Wanttolearnmore?Discussthisandotherarticlesinourdigitalphotographyforums.

BacktoPhotographyTutorials

Followusvia

Email
RSS
Facebook
Twitter
Google+

BROWSECATEGORIES
Concepts&Terminology
UsingCameraEquipment
Editing&PostProcessing
ColorManagement&Printing
PhotoTechniques&Styles

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/cameralensfilters.htm 8/10
23/11/2016 ChoosingaCameraLensFilter

GETOURNEWBOOK!

245K

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/cameralensfilters.htm 9/10
23/11/2016 ChoosingaCameraLensFilter

1.2k
Like

75

Copyright2016CambridgeinColour|Gallery|About|ContactUs

Email
RSS
Facebook
Twitter
Google+

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/cameralensfilters.htm 10/10