So you can create special effects with lens filters

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Lens filters are made of glass or plastic and are attachments that you either screwed in front of the lens or in special filter drawers in the back of the lens attaches. There are tons of filters for a wide variety of applications and effects. For example, color filters such as red, blue or green are used in analog photography to affect the contrast in black and white photography.

In this article you will find out which lens filters are available and what special effects they can produce. In addition, you will learn why the use of lens filters in spite of digital image editing is still worthwhile.

Objektivfilter
Lens filters are made of glass or plastic and are usually screwed on the front of the lens. (Photo: panmukola0 / Pixabay)

Is a lens filter worthwhile in digital photography?

In digital photography, it is often advisable to rework special effects on the PC, because with digital cameras often the sensors are blocked by the respective other colors and the resolution is thereby reduced.

Although there are endless possibilities in digital photography to revise the photos, there are still some lens filters that can not be digitally adjusted.

Which lens filters are there?

Lens filters can be easily screwed on the front of the lens and achieve a great effect, even without digital post-processing. Below we explain which filters exist and how they work.

Today, UV filters are superfluous, since all modern lenses are high-quality tempered. However, this filter is still often used as protection for the front lens, although it can also adversely affect the image quality.

UV-Filter
Especially when traveling UV filters are often used to protect the lens of the lens. (Photo: Pixabay / Pexels.com)

If one uses a polarizing filter, this prevents the incidence of light from certain light waves. In particular, unwanted reflections are suppressed, for example, you can see this very well on water surfaces or smooth surfaces. If you photograph the sky, the filter helps to capture the sky with clouds a little darker blue and to increase the contrast to the clouds.

The viewfinder makes it easy to observe the changes in the polarizer. The polarizer is rotated until you have achieved the desired effect. Filtering stray light also has a positive effect on color saturation. The photos and their colors appear clearer overall than without a filter.

Polarisationsfilter
(Filtering stray light makes the photo subject or colors clearer. (Photo: Victor Koldunov / 123rf.com)

A gray filter (neutral density filter) reduces the amount of incident light, otherwise they behave neutral in color. These filters are available in different designs and they are called N1 to N4 or 10, 100, 1000. Here, this designation indicates by how many stops the amount of light is reduced. One aperture is equal to N1 or 10, while three apertures are N3 and 1000, respectively.

If the amount of light allows only a short shutter speed, but the image design requires a long shutter speed, then a gray filter is used. Especially in nature and street photography, this filter is often used.

The stronger the gray filter, the more motion blur is possible. For example, it is possible with architectural shots that you can completely hide passing people or creeks and rivers to a blurred fog.

With gray filters there are many points to consider, a comparison of ND filters before buying is highly advisable.

ND-Filter
The ND filter (gray filter) turns the water into a blurred fog. (Photo: INKIE / Pixabay)

Gradient filters work like gray filters, but not the entire filter surface is colored. The colored part goes over in a gentle course in an uncolored part. Gray gradient filters are often used, especially in landscape photography, because there are often large brightness differences.

If the sky is properly lit, it comes to a much too dark foreground. However, if the foreground is properly lit, the sky is too bright. The gradient filter compensates for these contrasts.

You could even compensate for the right exposure with digital image editing by taking two shots. Once with the correctly lit sky and once with correctly exposed landscape and later both photos are put together. However, this works only with static subjects and enormous effort in post-processing. Through the filter you can avoid this procedure.

Verlaufsfilter
The gradient filter ensures optimum exposure and compensates for differences in brightness in a picture. (Photo: Joshua_seajw92 / Pixabay)

How are lens filters optimally stored?

There are different sets of lens filters to buy or you can get individual filters for lenses. This is especially useful when you have lenses with different diameters. The larger the diameter, the higher the price for the filter.

For perfect travel photos not only lens filters along with other accessories are an important factor, but the right travel bag for the photo equipment must be selected.

Conclusion

As you can see in this post are lens filters for special effects in times of digital photography and post processing of great importance. For example, by using a gradient filter, you can save a lot of time in post-processing the images. In addition, when using the filters, you can see the result through the viewfinder of the camera, which of course is a great advantage.

Alexander Eser

Alexander is a freelance author and online entrepreneur who takes up topics from various fields in various guest contributions.

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