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Categorized | Articles, Don Komarechka

Beginner Basics – What’s in a Filter? (preview)

©Don Komarechka With no polarizer, these maple leaves create a very distracting reflection. Settings: Canon 5D Mark II, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens, ƒ9@1/100 sec., ISO 100

©Don Komarechka
With no polarizer, these maple leaves create a very distracting reflection.
Settings: Canon 5D Mark II, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens, ƒ9@1/100 sec., ISO 100

©Don Komarechka Using a polarizer filter, the true red colour of the leaves appears rich and saturated. (same settings as above)

©Don Komarechka
Using a polarizer filter, the true red colour of the leaves appears rich and saturated.
(same settings as above)

Story and photography by Don Komarechka

The very first accessory usually offered to you after a new camera purchase is a filter. Lens filters serve a number of useful purposes, but they can often cause more harm than good when used in the wrong scenario. Some filters offer protection while others allow for new, creative choices, so which filters should you consider owning?

Having previously worked for a number of years at a camera retailer, I can say with confidence that most camera buyers were strongly encouraged to purchase a “UV” or “protective” filter for their lenses. Be very wary of this — while they do serve a purpose for peace of mind and for features like weather-sealing a lens, they can degrade the overall experience of your camera. Problems like flare can become worse with a filter, especially if there is dust on the glass. “Ghosting” can also occur, where bright light sources can appear to have a ghostly echo nearby. Such filters are high-margin items and boost the profits of retailers, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into added value for you, the photographer.

To read more of Don Komarechka’s column on filter choices, good and bad please pick up the Fall/Winter 2015 issue of OPC. To never miss an issue please subscribe today!

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