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Filters are incredibly useful little accessories that can make shooting in bright light or with long exposures so much easier. But that's not all they do!
Discover all the different kinds of filters you can use to really make your project standout:
Linear polarizing and circular polarizing filters help darken skies, manage reflections, and suppress glare from water surfaces.
Neutral Density Filters
ND filters reduce the amount of light entering your lens. This allows you to do things like shoot at slow shutters speeds in bright light to get smooth waterfalls. They are also helpful for filmmakers using fixed shutter speeds in variable lighting conditions. They are offered in a variety of exposure factors, some half clear and half dark to affect only skies, and some in a variable style so that you can shift the factor without changing filters.
Hot mirror filters allow visible light to pass through the lens while reflecting infrared light back to the source. These filters help protect color fidelity in certain situations and can be useful when photographing or filming fire.
Pro-mist filters create a pastel-like effect that acts as a kind of diffuser for smoother skin and decreased contrast.
When you want fall foliage to really pop, these are the filters for you. They reduce muddy tones, bring out reds and oranges, and are the ideal accessory for any landscape shooter. Filmmakers will sometimes also use these filters for better skin tone results.
UV filters are automatically paired with almost all of our lenses that we rent at BL. These kinds of filters, called Clear UV, are mainly used to protect the front elements of lenses since modern digital cameras have sensors that can filter UV light for you (which wasn't the case for film or early digital systems). There are specialty UV filters available for scientific purposes, ultraviolet photography, or for specifically cutting out UV and IR rays below a certain wavelength.
IR filters need to be paired with IR film or modified sensors to filter out visible and ultraviolet light and to let pass through IR light waves for high-contrast black and whites or strangely-colored landscapes. Greens are rendered white for otherworldly results, whites appear gray, and blues take on a whole new drama.
Filters comes in a wide variety of diameters and shapes. Most filters are of the round, screw-on type where the diameter is matched to the diameter of the front of your lens. Some of these filters have threading on both sides so that you can stack filters. Another style of filter is the square or rectangular drop-in type. These require a holder or a matte box to operate but can be otherwise used on just about any lens you put behind them. They have much less vignetting risk than round filters but they are fairly delicate and take up more space to pack around. If you're using a super-telephoto lens, it's clear you can't fit a normal screw-on filter to a lens element that large. The solution is to use a rear drop-in type of filter. These typically hold 52mm filters inside a little tray that drops down into the back of the lens. Similarly, lenses with bulbous front elements, like those typically seen in ultrawides and fisheyes, will have a little slot at the back of the lens for holding gelatin filters.
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