Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
×

:iconkaz-d: More from Kaz-D


Featured in Collections

News by alexandrasalas

Journals and Litterature by AJ333

News, Journals, JOY by DistortedSmile


More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
June 27, 2012
Submitted with
Sta.sh Writer
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
6,248 (2 today)
Favourites
60 (who?)
Comments
45
×

Photography Troubleshooting: Filters

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 3:30 AM
This week we bring you another issue of Photography Troubleshooting to hopefully give you some tips and explanations behind how to make use of some photography accessories. If you have a question, query or any thoughts you wish to see discussed just drop us a comment or note!


"The use of filters, how to pick them and examples of situations where they would be helpful...."

~ moria330


Hi moria330, filters are a good way of diversifying your photographic opportunities without spending a great deal of money (though, granted, many of the better quality filters can get to be relatively expensive).

In film photography, filters were used a lot more extensively then they are today thanks to the nature of the medium.
For example colour filters were used for white balance purposes on colour films that were balanced for different light types, so, you could shoot artificial light balanced film under daylight if you had a filter that corrected for it.

Filters by Sarinka


Additionally colour filters were used for black and white photography so the film would capture only the spectrum of light you were filtering for, providing emphasis or deemphasis of the features of the subject or scene.

Colour filters aren't nearly as popular today mostly because digital photography has far less need for them, the only exception being with digital black and white cameras (as in cameras that can only capture black and white images), which are, suffice to say, definitely in the minority.

Color Filters... by CanenArt

There are three or four types of filters that (as far as I am aware) are the most pertinent to digital photography: Neutral Density and Graduated Neutral Density filters; Polarising filters; Infrared and Ultraviolet filters; and depending on your perspective UV/Haze filters.

Neutral Density and Graduated Neutral Density (henceforth shorted to ND and GND respectively) both block light coming through them. They're referred to as ND filters because they're supposed to block light equally across the spectrum, leaving no colour casts as a result.

Many may wonder why such things are needed at all, particularly if you've spent the money to buy a fast (wide aperture, or low F/number, like F/1.8) lens.
Plain ND filters are useful because they allow you to use longer shutter speeds, particularly during the day time. Long exposure photography is often difficult at best without a plain ND filter, particularly under direct sunlight.
The visual effect of this can be striking, to give an example, you could use a strong ND filter to take a long exposure of a city centre, and the end result would (or at least could) show that city centre to be deserted.
A less extreme use of a plain ND filter is the ability to use your fast lens at its widest aperture under direct sunlight.

Rua Augusta by jpgmn


A GND has a more specific use, and is less useful for digital cameras thanks to post processing techniques, and has an area of the filter that is filtered and an area that is clear (or unfiltered), and either a small or large transition between those two (often referred to hard and soft, respectively).
Using a GND basically allows a single shot HDR image to be taken, as the highlight area (typically the sky) can be darkened, while the darker foreground can be exposed more normally.

GND's are particularly useful in high contrast landscape scenes, but they tend to rely on the horizon being relatively straight in order for the effect to be best used, hence why post processing HDR techniques can be a better option, in spite of the requirements that HDR photography often needs.

French Alps by alien-sid

Polarising filters do exactly what they say, they polarise the light coming into the sensor. This typically as the effect of increasing colour saturation, darkening the sky, and removing reflections, if the filter is rotated the right way.
This should have several obvious advantages.
A polariser will also work as a ND filter, as most polarisers reduce light entering the lens by 1.5 to 2 stops (so, say a photograph can be taken at 1/200th of a second, all the other settings being equal, with the filter, you'd need to shoot at 1/50th of a second).

Polarity by Ubhejane


Infrared and Ultraviolet filters, and by far, Infrared filters are the most popular of the two mentioned, rely on an image sensors natural sensitivity to both of those spectrums of light.
Infrared and Ultraviolet filters should appear black to the naked eye, though some near-IR filters may appear to be a very dark red, particularly when viewing a bright light source with one.
Because both filters block out all or nearly all visible light, exposures can take upto several minutes, depending on how much infrared light has been blocked on the image sensor (the reason why manufacturers block IR is because it can and does lower overall image quality).
Ultraviolet filters are much less popular, because, while the image sensors found in cameras tend to be sensitive to it, very little UV light manages to reach the sensor thanks to the lens itself naturally blocking most UV light. As such, special UV lenses or known UV friendly lenses are needed for UV photography. It should be noted, also, that only certain lenses work well with IR photography too, some lenses create a 'hot spot', which is actually literally true.


Infrared Landscape Part III by knechtrootrecht


In both cases, it should be noted that IR and UV light have different focussing points than visible light does (which is part of the reason why IR sensitivity reduces image quality in visible light images), as some focus adjustments are often required for either. This can be mitigated some what by using a narrower aperture to increase depth of field, but doing so does mean you'd have to increase exposure time even more.

Finally, please don't confuse an Ultraviolet filter with a UV/Haze filter, they're about as opposite in purpose as is feasible. A UV/Haze filter seeks to block UV light (as opposed to an Ultraviolet filter blocking visible light), and as the name suggests, will reduce 'haze'. As mentioned, most lenses naturally block most UV light anyway, and the image sensor is typically less sensitive to UV light than it is to IR light. So most UV/Haze filters essentially serve as a protection for the lens.
Using a UV/Haze filter is a somewhat divisive subject, as they can have some visual impact on an image, but, can actually reduce the quality of the image by being another piece of glass (thus two air/glass interfaces) the light has to go through, particularly if the quality of the glass is not very good unless you spent a lot on the filter.

my new UV filter by Simobg

Naturally, which ones you choose depends on what you're photographing and what you want to achieve. But, personally, I'd recommend getting a Polarising filter and a ND filter, as both can open up many creative opportunities.


~ sine-out


:bigthumb196612498:>


Previous Troubleshooting Articles...
:bulletblack:Lighting
:bulletblack:Backgrounds
:bulletblack:Noise
:bulletblack:What Digital Camera?



Add a Comment:
 
:iconfreaky208:
freaky208 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Is there a technique one could use to give the same effect of a filter for a camera that can't be fitted with one?
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Have you looked at programs such as photoshop or free versions like Gimp/Picasa/Paint.net? :)
Reply
:iconfreaky208:
freaky208 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I do use Photoshop, but I'm mostly referring to photographs like these;
[link]
[link]

I was told that the only way to get long exposure shots like these were possible only with filters, but my camera model can't be fitted with filters.. :/

Reply
:iconsceneyme:
ScENeYmE Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Student Photographer
if you can change the settings on your camera, try making the aperture smaller (a higher number) and turning the ISO right down. Those settings will allow you to use a longer shutter speed to allow for the smoothness you see in those shots. Obviously, you'd have to use a tripod as well :)
Reply
:iconfreaky208:
freaky208 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry for the long reply.
Thanks! I'll try that (:
Take care!
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh yes, pretty much filters are your only option there :( It's the one thing that frustrates me too!
What camera do you have out of interest? What lens's?
Reply
:iconfreaky208:
freaky208 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh dear :( My model is Canon PowerShot A720 IS; Lens is 5.8-34.8mm (Canon Zoom Lens 6x IS)
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Ah I see. You're unlikely to find anything for that sort of camera like you said. :( The only thing you could experiment with is holding a square ND filter in front, not the same but it will work to a point :)
Reply
:iconfreaky208:
freaky208 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Whats a square ND filter?
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
It's one of these -> [link]
That sort of thing anyway. For DSLR Cameras we get a ring and mount that goes on the front so we can slide those square filters in. Sometimes they come in round too, but then you're restricted by size and lens. Square might just work being held in front of your camera. But again, it's not really a fix for that sort. :(
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconhumannature911:
HumanNature911 Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012  Professional Photographer
Great article! I still use all kinds of filters on my film and even on my digital cameras! As a photoshop dummy I can say it is easier to use glass filters than it is to learn how ro use the program and saves a lot of time, because you mostly have the picture the way you want it to be right in the camera and donīt have to manipulate your image for hours to get the same results.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh definitely easier :nod: I'm just getting into the others :D
Reply
:iconl0ne-w0lf:
L0NE-W0lf Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012
So helpful, thank you!
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Welcome!
Reply
:iconabravewolf:
abravewolf Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012  Professional Photographer
Excellent journal! This is the most useful filter guide i've found, and i have seen a few. Simply clear.
I've been using a lineal polarising filter in my ol' minolta for a while, however, when i bought a cpl for my fujifilm i found it's harder to archieve the sky darkening effect than with the lpl. Any idea why is this happening?
I also wanted a ND filter, but in my city i can't find :(
Thanks a lot for this article!
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:heart: Glad it's useful!
Reply
:iconjayxbriar4ever:
jayxbriar4ever Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I actually didn't know about filters until now. I will definitely look into a polarising filter for sure! Thanks for the great info! :iconlaplz:
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Excellent!
Reply
:iconblizzardlt:
BlizzardLT Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
very usefull :)
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:) excellent!
Reply
:icondianagrigore:
DianaGrigore Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012
Well-written and a lot of useful information! :clap:
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:hug:
Reply
:iconzokiart555:
ZokiArt555 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
:iconawwplz: :iconcongratsplz: :rose: :salute: :sun: :D
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:)
Reply
:iconzokiart555:
ZokiArt555 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
:rose::sun::bow:
Reply
:iconragnar949:
Ragnar949 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks for another great article.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for reading!
Reply
:iconmarob0501:
marob0501 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
amazing interesting article , thanks
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for reading :)
Reply
:iconmarob0501:
marob0501 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You have done a great job with this text
Reply
:iconyeliriley:
yeliriley Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I also use macro or magnifying filters. Cheaper than macro lenses or a tube. I may now be interested in a GND or ND filter after reading this.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh yes, they're brilliant!
Reply
:icondistortedsmile:
DistortedSmile Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Great article :D
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:D
Reply
:iconmathness:
Mathness Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012
I think you meant to write that a polarizing filter blocks polarized light, with an amount depending on the filters orientation in regards to the light (some light/materials are more orderly polarized than others). Good overview of the filters tho'. :)
Reply
:iconprincepal:
princepal Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
very usefull information, i never heard about filters before...
i am use to photoshop filters only :P
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
It definitely is, I learnt loads! :D
Reply
:iconprincepal:
princepal Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
:)
Reply
:iconelectricjonny:
electricjonny Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I think my favorite all around filter (not that I have many or have used many) would be the polarizing filter :nod: It really does a lot to make skies pop, and can also be useful to kill unwanted reflections.

I could probably look this up, but for the sake of laziness (going to bed anyway in a few minutes), what is the difference between circular and linear polarizing filters, in a practical use sense? At least I think those are the two kinds. And circular is the more popular of the two? I have a linear polarizer, I think, and it seems to do the job. Is there any big practical difference? I mean, I can point my camera at the sky (at around 90/-90 degrees from the sun) and twist the filter, and it will darken the sky/bring out the blues/make clouds pop, and do the same on reflections to knock them back.

Also, any experience with softening filters? I bought one a long time ago, but I've never used it much. In today's digital world, I imagine that most "special effect" filers like that could more easily be done in software.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Definitely my fav too :nod:
Reply
:iconsine-out:
sine-out Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I've no experience with such filters. I suppose the type of softening effect would determine how easy it would be to replicate in software or not, I'd wager that most softening filters aren't Gaussian in nature.

There are of course, many types of filters I've not mentioned, for example, using a filter with a shape cut out to affect the shape of bokeh is one I didn't mention. I simply decided to reference the more common types of filters that are used.
Reply
:iconsine-out:
sine-out Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Circular and Linear polarisers both polarise light in exactly the same way, so the visual result is identical. A Circular polariser incorporates a quarter wave plate which can convert linearly polarised light into circularly polarised light.

The reason why circular polarisers are more popular, particularly these days is that they work with phase detection auto focus, and linear polarisers don't, as they use polarisation to work.
Reply
:iconelectricjonny:
electricjonny Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Ah ok, that makes sense. The two linear polarisers I have are probably linear since the camera they are for is a fully manual camera (battery only used for the light meter).
Reply
Add a Comment: