BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Cassandra L. Griffith

What Filters Should I Purchase for My New Camera?

I just purchased a Canon EOS Rebel 2000. I want to purchase some filters, but am not sure which ones to buy. I know that different filters have different results. I just want to know if anyone might know of a website that can explain this to me. Like, what a red filter does, and what a blue filter does, a polarized filter, ect. Thank You!

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6/25/2003 8:30:33 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
  Yellow, orange, green, red and blue filters are intended for use with B&W film. Some shades of different colors produce the same grayscale in B&W. They are used to provide "color separation" for greater contrast by shifting some of them to darker or lighter shades of gray. Which color depends on subject, background and desired effect. If used with color film, the effect is quite radical. A common filter with B&W film is the polarizer.

For color film, the three most commonly used filters are a UV, skylight and polarizer. The UV knocks off the UV at and above the visible spectrum. Whether or not this makes a difference in your photographs depends on UV content of the light itself, your lens(es) and the film you are using (its sensitivity to UV). The skylight provides a slight amount of warming by filtering out a small amount of the blue. It's primary, intended use is in "open shade" with a lot of blue sky above. It makes a difference with slide films, but near zero with color negative as the printing process is capable of performing much more color balancing than this filter does in shifting color response.

The polarizer is a more specialized filter for reducing glare from non-conductive smooth surfaces such as glass and water (doesn't work for glare from bare metal). Also can make sky a darker blue . . . but typically only the northern and southern sky at about 90 degrees to the sun.

My advice is to use your camera for a while without any filters and get accustomed to using it. Knowing what things look like without any filters will help determine which ones might be of interest. I do use filters, but not that often with color film; more with B&W for color separation with certain subject material and backgrounds. Use of "special effects" filters is not that often either. Overuse of these in particular can easily make your photographs more "cliche" than artistic. Sparing use of them goes a long way toward greater impact when you do use one (special effects). I only use one when subject and composition truly fit with the special effect.

I do advise getting into the habit of using a lens hood! There should be one for your lens.

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6/25/2003 10:44:04 AM


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7/1/2003 7:34:01 AM

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