Filters in digital photography?


I know this is a pretty broad subject, but I'd like to start experimenting with filters, but I'm not sure where to start! Could someone please briefly explain them to me....I like the effect the give and I have a simple understanding of how they work... I have a canon 400D if that helps! Any info would be really helpful! Thank you! xx


I have a Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM and a normal kit lense! thank youuu

6 Answers

  • tom n
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Alot of filters are now redundant on digital however there are a couple of filters that cannot be duplicated in Photoshop. The first is a circular polariser and the second is a neutral density filter. I sometimes use a graduated neutral density filter however these effects can be duplicated in Photoshop.

    The circular polarsier is used to minimise reflections from water or windows and it also gives a darker blue in the sky and makes foliage richer for example.

    ND filters reduce the amount of light entering the camera and therefor allow you to acheive sync speeds on your flash in certain situations, or allow you a shallower depth of field when using flash. It will also give you slower shutter speeds which can be useful in various situations.

    B&W filters are the 'ants pants' and also expensive. I have many filters in my cupboard that I no longer use such as colour filters. These effects are better dealt with in post processing.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Yes, your photos will come out better if you use the right equipment instead of trying to simulate effects in an image manipulation program. I'm not sure if you would find use for a neutral density filter, but a graduated one sure. Colour-correction filters are obviously not worth using on a digital camera because of white balance, but other than that I would say learn how to use them.

    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The two most important filters you need are:

    1) A UV/Haze or Skylight filter to protect the front element of your lens. The UV filter removes atmospheric haze in scenics. The Skylight filter removes the bluish cast seen in open shade and sometimes in snow scenes.

    2) A circular polarizer. You can use it to darken a blue sky and remove glare/reflections from glass, sand, water, snow and painted metal - but not polished metal. It also enhances colors.

    There are numerous "special effects" filters such as a soft focus, center spot (the center is clear, the rest of the filter will produce a soft effect), the star burst (comes in 4, 6 or 8) to produce "light rays" emanating from a point light source.

    Always buy quality name-brand filters. Heliopan, Singh-Ray, Tiffen, Hoya.

    Back in the days of black and white film we often used red, green, yellow, blue, orange filters to enhance a picture. With Photoshop you can duplicate their effects. Now if your camera allows multiple exposures you can experiment with colored filters. If it doesn't there's really no need to buy them.

    With color film we used an FL-B filter under flourescent light or an 80B to use daylight balanced film with incandescent light indoors. Since your camera has white balance control you don't need filters.

    You might enjoy a visit to and their section AIRC (Adorama Imaging Resource Center). Click on SFX Photography and you'll find examples of in-camera multiple exposures and how to do them with Photoshop if your camera doesn't allow multiple exposures.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Photo shop can be used to give you an idea what kinds (tints) of filters to get. I like a yellow tint for shooting greens and foliage. Really makes them pop.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Sakura
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    We need to know what kind of lens you have so we can tell you the perfect fit... a circular polarizer is a good filter to start with.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.