Seven Basic Filter Applications for Digital Cameras

Being able to use an electronic software filter program that allows you insert effects or control or change the image subsequent to it being captured provides a fantastic enhancement opportunity, but if you want to totally take control the decisive images you capture, no one has conceived a substitute for good old optical filters for precision and repetitive control of color balance or special effects in addition to the convenience.

When you filter the light prior to it getting to the lens and striking the sensor or the film plane, there are several important advantages. You are able to match the brightness extent of your subject to the traits of the medium you're capturing it to, and obtain results that are professional quality even when in tough lighting environments. As an example, polarizing filters eliminate reflections on glass, shiny, and water surfaces, although retaining sub-surface factors. These effects are not possible using software filters after the image is already captured, which can only impart filter effects, and not genuine light filtration.  Additionally elimination of uncertainty and ability to see the desired effect immediately, not hours or days later. See more in-depth filter page

Black & White Film FiltersCooling FiltersWarming FiltersNeutral Density FiltersPolarizing filters
Graduated FiltersdColor Correction FiltersInfrared FiltersUltraviolet FiltersSpecial Effects Filters

Seven Basic Filter Applications for Digital Cameras

  • Lens Protection - Protect your lens from moisture, scratches and damage
  • Correction - Bring the optical correction to a known standard, leaving more latitude for digital effects used later
  • Contrast Control - Ultra Contrast and Low Contrast filters allow your digital camera to capture more shadow detail or lower contrast evenly

See Also

Filters by Brand Name

Bower Filters The Bower Corporation was established in 1949 by Saul Bower

In it's half a century existence the Bower name has become synonymous with quality products at affordable prices. Bower offers a vast selection of photographic accessories such as lenses, adapters, filters, light flashes and tripods.

B+W FiltersFounded in Berlin in 1947 B+W has succeeded in establishing itself as one of the worlds leading filter manufacturers. Using only the highest quality materials and state of the art production equipment – B+W products deliver the best quality photographic filters available in the market today. B+W has also pioneered the way in filter surface coating technology – with its Multi Resistant Coating (MRC) providing highly advanced reflection reduction and top quality protection against scratching, dirt and moisture.
Canon Filters. Canon filters are available for nearly every EF lens. Whether it's protection from the elements or the effects of a circular polarizer, Canon filters enhance images and protect...
Cavision Filters. Cavision Enterprises Ltd. is a privately held corporation, incorporated under the laws of British Columbia, Canada. Cavision was founded in January 1993. Cavision designs and manufactures a wide variety of accessories for professional cameras, including wide angle attachment lenses for TV cameras, director’s viewfinders, 3x3" & 4x4" matte boxes, glass and resin filters, and carbon fiber boom poles
Celestron, manufactures a wide variety of the last word in optics that have created a fortunate international standing for its well-designed products and assistance in the voyaging of the skies. A leader in conceiving, making and importing first class optical products, including telescopes and interrelated accessories, binoculars, lens filters, spotting scopes plus microscopes, Celestron benefits from world wide brand-name recognition.
Cokin Filter System. Cokin Filters are made from CR39. The CR stands for Columbia Resin. During WWII uncured CR-39 Resin was used to coat aircraft fuel tanks. The CR-39 would "self heal" the tanks when struck by flak. CR-39 is transparent in visible spectrum and is almost completely opaque in the ultraviolet range. It has high abrasion resistance, in fact the highest abrasion/scratch resistance of any uncoated optical plastic. CR-39 is about half the weight of glass and index of refraction only slightly lower than that of crown glass, making it an advantageous material for eyeglasses and sunglasses lenses. 
Digital Concepts Filters Sakar International, Inc. is a 30-year old consumer electronics manufacturer. Their mission has always been to deliver great product at affordable prices. Over the years they’ve grown from a small family business to a leader in technology trends, with showrooms and distribution worldwide. Digital Concepts company has evolved alongside technology
Digital Innovations makes low priced specialty filters sets for all major brands of both digital point and shoot cameras as well as DSLR cameras.
Formatt Filters are a long-established market leading glass filter manufacturor in the UK, with dealers and customers worldwide.
Hasselblad Filters. Hasselblad original filters are manufactured to meet and exceed the most stringent demands on optical flatness and transmission qualities. These filters are specially designed to complement Hasselblad’s outstanding lenses in the best possible way.
Heliopan Filters. Dyed in the mass Heliopan filters are ground, coated and polished to the very highest German industry optical standards . Both Heliopan screw-in style plus series sized filters are inserted into black anodized precision brass rings to eradicate binding or any cross threading plus this ensures optimal alignment. The quality, care, and operation of Heliopan's filters simply make them the best filters in the world!  Heliopan screw-in filters come in in sizes ranging from 19 x 0.5 mm through 127 x 0.75 mm. Series sizes range from series V through 93 mm. Additionally they have square filters from 2 x 2 through 4 x 4" dimensions, plus Bayonet type filters made n Bay I, II, II, IV, V, 50, 60, 70, and 104 sizes. New Article Aug 15, 2011
Hitech Filters. The Best Match for Your Lenses Hitech’s state-of-the-art optical resin lets you maximize your lenses’ capabilities.

The best glass money can buy can’t undo the damage caused by a bad filter. That’s why the Hitech filter system is now part of the Visual Departures group of innovative products. Made of pure optical resin, Hitech filters are manufactured to more exacting standards than any other photographic filter. Compare filter types, and you’ll find that Hitech’s filters are a great match for your fine lenses. And they’re part of a complete system, including a full range of color correction, black-and-white, neutral density, graduated, and special effects filters, not to mention the best-made filter holder we’ve ever seen.

Hoya Filters Since its establishment in 1941 as Japan's first specialty manufacturer of optical glass, Hoya has diversified into new business areas that exploit the potential of advanced optics technologies. The Company has continued to grow as a global enterprise through the expansion of its diverse business, which encompass electro-optics, photonics, vision care, health care and crystal products.
Kenko Filters
Kenko-Tokina has created an adjustable neutral density (ND) filter which may be be varied from ND2.5 through ND1000. The Kenko variable NDX filter has the ability to make the scene darker from 1.3 through 10 EV. The filter allows wide aperture openings while preserving an accurate exposure within your camera's shutter speed range, or when using an extremely long shutter time to emphasize movement.  New Article Aug 2, 2011

KODAK Filters
Kodak filters are available in more than 100 varieties. Gelatin filters are for use with image-forming light beams. KODAK WRATTEN Gelatin. Check for available sizes.

Lee Filters. The LEE Photographic Filter System has set new standards for professional and amateur photographers alike. The robust, well designed filter holders and top quality hand made filters combine with a range of lens shades and accessories to produce the ultimate filter holder system.
Leica FiltersLeica filters for the Leica M system are made of optically pure glass, parallel plane ground and precisely annealed, so the full performance of the Leica M lenses is retained even with a filter attached. The range is purposely limited to the filters most commonly needed in photographic practice: The UVa filter primarily performs the role of protecting the front element of the lens, and can be left permanently attached. The circular polarization filter eliminates disturbing reflections on non-metallic surfaces, and helps to increase contrast as well as provide richer color reproduction.
Nikon Filters The price for Nikon filters is though of course healthy - you know what I mean when you go out shopping them, espcially for 77mm, such as the UV filter L37C. This might not be an issue for a pro, but for amateurs it might.
Opteka Filters Founded in 2002, Opteka has very quickly become one of the top manufacturers of converter lenses and filters for digital point and shoot cameras as well as high magnification telescopic lenses for 35mm SLR cameras. Our line of products has recently expanded to include tripods, flashes, power grips and digital picture frames.
Polaroid Filters continue the brand's long legacy of superior optical solutions. All their filters are carefully formulated to ensure consistent color and accuracy throughout the entire surface of the glass. Why? Consistent color means consistent high quality results. They know that a poorly made filter makes a great lens and camera worthless, that's why their frame rings are constructed of special alloys that won't expand or contract over time or due to temperature extremes-it's also why they back their filters with an 10 year warranty-because they engineer them to last. Like all Polaroid optics, Polaroid filters are precision manufactured to the most demanding of tolerances. This ensures consistent high quality results even after years of use.
Quantaray Filters "Great value for the price and good construction. I have used Heliopan and Hoya polarizers and see no difference. Keep in mind that when used with wide-angle lenses of less than 21mm (62mm filter) you will get dark corners but this can happen with even the more expensive "slim" filters."
Rodenstock Filters Stringent quality precision machined crafted metal rings to ensure optical flatness. Professional filters for all imaging applications.
Designed for use with high performance optics.
Meets RoHS standards for environmental concerns.
A high quality optical glass.
A unique quality scratch resistant lotus leaf hardcoat to prevent abrasions and the effects of moisture, while providing a professional standard of light transmission necessary for high resolution imaging.
Schneider OpticsMost of the glass comes from Schott, the finest German glass manufacturer. Exceptions would be our diopters, prisms and cross screen filters which utilize high-quality optical glass. Also, B+W Softar filters are supplied by Zeiss and are made from acrylic.
Sigma Filters Sigma's EX DG filters benefit from our multi-layer lens coating, developed to counteract the highly reflective characteristic of image sensors. With older style filters, light would reflect off the image sensor.....
Singh-Ray Filters An American maker of photographic filters. They are among the more expensive brands, and have a reputation for high quality and personalized service. Chances are if you are into landscape photography you already know of Singh-Ray or use their products already. They are a world leader in filters to help bring your photography to a whole new level
Sony Filters Sony high-quality filters bring out the best in your lenses with famous Carl Zeiss T* coating that suppress ghosting and flaring.
Sunpak Filters. The Sunpak trusted name is now on a new line of popular filters, backed by an extraordinary no questions- asked lifetime warranty. Filters built to our exacting standards so you focus on the image, not on your camera. No-nonsense filters to help you make the most of almost every photo opportunity.  Discover how Sunpak PicturesPlus Filters can make you the better photographer you know you are. 
Tiffen Filters. Tiffen has been a leading manufacturer and supplier of photographic filters and lens accessories for the consumer/professional imaging and the motion picture and broadcast television industries for almost 70 years. The company has a rich history of innovative product design, superior optical consistency and unparalleled quality. Tiffen has been recognized for its product and engineering excellence earning two Technical Achievement Awards and a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, as well as an Emmy Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

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