Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 27

Thread: do I need filters?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Michigan and Louisiana USA
    Posts
    15
    Real Name
    Tim

    do I need filters?

    I am new to digital having had some experience in film. It seems as though the WB Shift/BKT options on my Canon T3, (or the many options in post-exposure processing) might make a "warm up" filter unnecessary. Is that the case? Are there other digital options to filters too, for example instead of using a polarizer or neutral-density filter?

  2. #2
    Rhoads238's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    505
    Real Name
    Jason

    Re: do I need filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by muffitt View Post
    I am new to digital having had some experience in film. It seems as though the WB Shift/BKT options on my Canon T3, (or the many options in post-exposure processing) might make a "warm up" filter unnecessary. Is that the case? Are there other digital options to filters too, for example instead of using a polarizer or neutral-density filter?
    Hi and welcome to CiC!

    I'm sure that other people will be more knowledgable on this subject than I am but ill take the first stab at it. It all depends on what your looking to do really. Many times you can get around using filters by using different techniques in post processing. Although this is often more time consuming than just using them in the first place. While sometimes filters are irreplacable. For example if you are using an ND filter to stop down and show motion blur. However using an ND grad filter to darken a sky can be done by taking a bracketed exposure and then stiching them together to make an HDR photo. Its considerably more effort and truthfully HDR can look just awful when not done subutely. Although that is just my opinion. Something like the effect of a polarizer can also be done in pp however part of the function of a polarizer is that it cuts reflections which I personally wouldnt know how to do in pp. Not saying that its not possible though, I just dont know how to do it. As far as the color boost from a polarizer, its easy to enhance in pp. Like I already said I believe other people will be more knowledgable on the topic. I hope this was helpful. Welcome again to CIC.

    -Jason

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    South Devon, UK
    Posts
    11,706

    Re: do I need filters?

    It mostly depends on how you shoot and edit, as Jason has mentioned. Also your choice of subjects.

    I always add a UV filter to my lenses mostly for a bit of protection. Some people say this isn't necessary but I suspect they are far more careful with their equipment than the way I tend to shoot.

    Otherwise, I don't normally bother about filters and adjust during editing. Shooting Raw allows for readjustment including white balance (colour tone) etc much better than Jpeg shooting.

    I have tried polarizers but haven't really got on well with them and normally adjust for these problems during shooting.

    Some people like graduated filters for landscapes etc. But most of my landscape work isn't totally suitable. However, if you regularly shoot sunsets etc it may be something to consider. A bit of extra gear to lug around just in case you need it though; and extra expense.

    HDR can be an alternative, but often it isn't suitable for me due to movement of the subject/background. I mostly try to overcome this by shooting for the problem areas then recovering a bit more range by creating a couple of Raw conversions with different 'exposure' settings and merging the results.

    So, putting it simply, other than a protective filter, I wouldn't worry about filters until you discover a particular need.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    A Pacific Island
    Posts
    925
    Real Name
    Andrew

    Re: do I need filters?

    I too recently moved to the D side. Take a look at your cameras options as you may find some of the digitally added filters addressable in the menu. If you are going to get into editing, most of your optional filter effects can be added in post production. The exceptions are a polarizer which I use a lot and ND filters when used for special effects and to overcome some lighting problems. Other ones like a starburst can be used for creative endeavours but those a pretty limited and probably not what your question was about.

    I would recommend you move to shooting raw and get the free Canon image converter as soon as you get comfortable with your camera. When you get that far you will have a lot more questions.

    Welcome to the group.

  5. #5
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    12,863
    Real Name
    Manfred Mueller

    Re: do I need filters?

    While you can emulate some filter effects in PP, there are some situation where you still need a physical filter. Pretty well any situation where you want to control how the image is recorded will still require a filter. In my case, I shoot with three types of filters:

    1. Polarizer - you cannot reduce glare off of non-metallic surfaces any other way. I rarely shoot outdoors without having a polarizer on the lens or at least in my camera bag. It can help add more punch to clouds and skies.

    2. Neutral density filter - it is the only way you can reduce the amount of light hitting your sensor. There is only so much you can do with shutter speeds, ISO setting and f-stops, and if these don't work, ND is the way to go.

    3. Graduated neutral density filter - if you have a situation where you are shooting a very high dynamic range image, like a sunset, this will help. Applying a gradient to an exposure where you have exceeded the dynamic range of your camera's sensor will not give you a good image. GNDs work in this situation.

  6. #6
    Glenn NK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Victoria BC
    Posts
    1,510

    Re: do I need filters?

    There has been some discussion on this and other forums about the need for filters with DSLR cameras.

    What I've discerned is that the only filter that cannot be duplicated in processing is a polarizer.

    There are many people that use (and use effectively) graduated neutral density filters, producing excellent results. However digital sometimes (not always) permits us to take multiple shots (at different exposures), and combine them. The exception being subjects that move or change shape (water, people, etc) between the capture of the images.

    A single density neutral density filter can also be useful if the lighting is bright, and the image requires a long exposure (we don't have ISO 10 yet ).

    A graduated filter can in some instances be replaced in processing - I just finished modifying an image using the "gradient filter" in Lightroom - it's very effective.

    I will not get into the somewhat heated topic of UV filters used solely for protection; UV filters were indispensable with film, but not required per se for digital. There has been endless and pointless debate about the use of UV filters.

    Glenn

    PS Edit: I just read Manfred's comments - we were typing at the same time. I agree with his comments.

  7. #7
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    1,861
    Real Name
    Mark

    Re: do I need filters?

    Hi Muffet, in short no you dont! apart from a polarizer and maybe something to protect your lens (i use a tiffen ultra clear) the rest can be done in post processing. You dont need to use HDR if you dont want to you can just take a bracket of exposures and merge them in photoshop to expose all your elements correctly. Digital is a whole new learning curve, im sure youll enjoy it and youve come to the right place for friendly advice!

    its generally the done thing here to put your name and location in your profile, were a friendly bunch, all on first name terms!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    18,899

    Re: do I need filters?

    Polarizers and neutral density filters both reduce the amount of light getting to the sensor. Neutral density filters have the advantage of allowing you to determine how much light is reduced, whereas polarizers reduce always by the same factor, usually about 1 1/2 or 2 stops. So, if you're not yet sure of the type of photography you're going to be doing or if your budget allows only for one filter for the time being, I would make the polarizer the first filter to purchase for outdoor shooting. That's because the polarizer can both reduce light and glare, whereas the neutral density filter only reduces light.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Michigan and Louisiana USA
    Posts
    15
    Real Name
    Tim

    Re: do I need filters?

    Wow! Thank you all so much for your prompt and excellent advice...much to digest here.

    I look forward to being a part of this very knowledgeable and generous on-line community.

    Tim
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Lansing, Michigan
    USA

  10. #10
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    30,683
    Real Name
    John

    Re: do I need filters?

    I made it two years without any filters, but eventually purchased the polarizing filter. Went four without using UV but eventually decided my luck was nearing the breaking point and purchased one for all my lenses. Recently ordered a pair of anti-glare sunglasses and the world looks rosy. I think another filter might be in order even though I can get the same effect with post processing.

  11. #11
    Glenn NK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Victoria BC
    Posts
    1,510

    Re: do I need filters?

    A related question - does anyone here use any of the Singh Ray filters or have first hand experience with them?

    I occasionally see an image taken with the Gold-N-Blue filter. They are quite expensive.

    http://singh-ray.com/goldnblue.html

    I have a feeling that as my pp skills in LR4 grow , that I can probably achieve anything they do except polarize.

    Glenn

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: do I need filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    A related question - does anyone here use any of the Singh Ray filters or have first hand experience with them?

    I occasionally see an image taken with the Gold-N-Blue filter. They are quite expensive.

    http://singh-ray.com/goldnblue.html

    I have a feeling that as my pp skills in LR4 grow , that I can probably achieve anything they do except polarize.

    Glenn
    Hi Glenn,

    Yes - I use Singh-Ray exclusively.

    Trying to emulate filters in PP is a bit of a mixed bag; GND filters are a good example: Lets say you have a typical sunset shot with the most brightness on the horizon, but also foreground detail you want to protect. Lets say that you don't have a 3 stop filter - so - you have to expose for the highlights - and lets say that exposure turns out to be 1 second (just tuck that away somewhere).

    In post production you'll have to use the fill light control to reveal the shadow detail -- but that detail is likely to be very noisy because it's essentially significantly under-exposed.

    With a 3 stop GND filter you can now expose the scene for 8 seconds - giving you the same exposure for the highlights, but now a full 8 times the exposure for the shadow detail -- making a huge difference to the noise levels in revealed detail (which you'll probably still have to do by the way).

    The only way to achieve this using a "digital GND filter" would be to take 2 shots and blend them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't (if there is movement in the transition zone then "things get complicated").

    So in this case a GND filter is giving you an in-camera 3 stop dynamic range compression.

    Another GND example would be my recent "Automotion" and "Enlightening Journeys" images where the intensity of the car lights dictates my aperture and ISO - it's then a trade off between length of exposure for the ambient light -v- number of cars that travel through the scene during that time. If I wanted a shorter exposure to limit the number of light trails - but needed more exposure for the ambient light from the sky then I could open up the aperture or increase the ISO to take care of the ambient light, but use a GND filter to stop the corresponding over-exposure of the headlights. Again, to do this digitally I'd need to use 2 shots and make it a composite. (to which some folks would then argue "it's not real").

    With regards to Singh-Rays Vari-ND filter, I can dial in the shutterspeed I need for an effect - dial in the aperture I need for DoF control - and then dial in the exact amount of attenuation I need to balance the exposure. Digitally I'd need to stack up to 256 shots to achieve the same simulated attenuation. I can even change the attenuation during a long exposure if the light changes significantly.

    With regards to the likes of the GoldnBlue polarisers - in theory one can simulate the effect to a degree in PP (eg using LAB mode to separate the yellow/blue colour opponent pair from the green/magenta, but I'm pretty sure you can't do that in LR). I'm a "get it as close as possible in-camera" believer (which then gives me the best possible data from which to take an image to the next level in PP with).

    Hope this helps

  13. #13
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    1,861
    Real Name
    Mark

    Re: do I need filters?

    Hi Tim, forgot to mention Nd filters! oops. and polarizing filters can cause shadowing in cetain lighting conditions so arnt always useable (circular)

    Interestingly a vari ND can be made by attaching a linear and circular polarizer together though results can be give a colour cast

    Colin i have a light craft workshops vari ND but it produces shadowing at larger apertures and is only any use from F5 and up does your vari ND act in the same way? im thinking of moving to Lee fixed ND filters because of this.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: do I need filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark von Kanel View Post

    Colin i have a light craft workshops vari ND but it produces shadowing at larger apertures and is only any use from F5 and up does your vari ND act in the same way? im thinking of moving to Lee fixed ND filters because of this.
    Hi Mark,

    No - the Singh-Ray Vari-ND is probably the highest quality piece of kit that I own (and I own a LOT of kit). I've heard about the lightcraft product a few times now - unfortunately - it's usually never in good terms.

    You get what you pay for.

    I'd never go back to fixed density filters now (in fact I have two of the Vari-NDs) (different sizes).

    Donald bought one too.

  15. #15
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,977
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: do I need filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Donald bought one too.
    He did indeed and now wouldn't be without it. It is eye-wateringly expensive for just the enthusiastic amateur like me, but is a magnificent tool.

  16. #16
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    1,861
    Real Name
    Mark

    Re: do I need filters?

    Ahhh welll read the reviews, didnt think it was cheap at 150 but got bitten, now if id have bought it from my local dealer i could have taken it back! guess ill sell it.

    Donald where did you get your Singh-Ray Vari-ND from?

  17. #17
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,977
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: do I need filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark von Kanel View Post
    Donald where did you get your Singh-Ray Vari-ND from?
    From B & H in New York. I couldn't find a UK stockist.

    I had a colleague going over to New York for a visit/shopping trip and I asked her if she's mind popping in and getting me one. That saved me the import duty cost which I would have had to pay if I'd got B & H to ship it.

    Now if any UK Tax Inspector reads this and wants to pursue me for fraud, I'd suggest that he/she diverts his attention to Starbucks and the like and our current government's failure (or total lack of interest) in pursuing action against those high earning corporations and individuals who use all means to avoid paying tax. Makes me very angry.

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    A Pacific Island
    Posts
    925
    Real Name
    Andrew

    Re: do I need filters?

    I have a Singh Ray ND filter that I bought with great plans on using it that just haven't panned out. Other than one time I just haven't put enough planning into a shot that I remembered to take it with me. Hopefully that will change and I'll get some use out of it. I will get one of their magnificent polarizers this Saturday after my numbers are pulled on the lottery.

    And Tim, if you are like others and want to get it right in camera then Lee grad filters are worth the few dollars to do that. Some instances like Colin described when DOF and movement are part of your advanced needs then grad filters are the only way you can get some results however that may not be worth the expense just to try.
    Last edited by Andrew1; 25th October 2012 at 03:57 PM.

  19. #19

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: do I need filters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew1 View Post
    I will get one of their magnificent polarizers this Saturday after my numbers are pulled on the lottery.
    It's a comment I often hear, but I think it needs to be put into perspective; obviously none of us have unlimited budgets, but I struggle to understand how folks will spend thousands on cameras and lenses (and other related items like software), and yet not want to invest a few hundred dollars on a support item that (if needed) has a far far far far bigger influence over the quality of the shot than - say - a cheaper version of their camera. Or put another way, if one was constrained by an inflexible budget then one could get better photographs using a cheaper camera and better filter.

    And, a filter will last a LOT longer than the camera.

  20. #20
    Glenn NK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Victoria BC
    Posts
    1,510

    Re: do I need filters?

    I might also add to Colin's last comments, that the single piece of "extra" equipment that has improved my results more than anything is a good tripod.

    Glenn

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •