BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Penny Leitow

Best Filters to Start With

Hello! I'm a new member as of today...
A good friend of mine gave me a Nikon F60 camera & general purpose lens (58mm) for my birthday. He said that I would need a UV filter for the camera so I will be picking one of those up.

I plan to take a lot of outdoor photos as I would like to eventually become an Equestrian Photographer. My favorite subjects are animals, nature & people.

I've read that the polarizing filters help obtain brighter/bolder colors outdoors and I like the look of soft focus pictures. I don't want to spend a ton of money in lenses as I would like to buy a digital SLR in the near future. I'm thinking filters would be a better option for getting different effects. The only problem is that I don't know which would be best suited for what I would like to do - any suggestions on types/brands etc?
Thanks! :)

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8/16/2005 8:35:58 AM

Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Penny, and welcome to BP!

So you are just starting out with serious photography, this is a great place to start with many very knowledgeable and helpful people. Let me see if I can explain a little something about filters as I understand them. It is true that a UV can cut glare, at least in small part; however, the most common use is simply to protect the glass of your lens. Some people use them and some think they can interfere with the quality of good glass – everyone seems to have a different opinion on this. Polarizers are useful when you are shooting in certain types of light under certain type conditions. A polarizer will not help if you are shooting directly into strong light. It will help when the light is coming at an angle to your lens. Polarizers cut glare and reduce harsh reflections. A polarizer will help to concentrate blues and greens, but has less affect on other colors.

If you are interested in photographing horses, something I do a lot of since we have horses, you may find that rather than investing in filters that will ultimately not really add that much to your images, you will want to save up for a faster lens that will give you greater depth of field and that will allow you to shoot from a greater distance. I tend to mostly use my 55-200mm lens when shooting moving horses and my 200-500mm lens when shooting at shows or events. Both lenses do better when mounted on a tripod – I use a tilt shift head for ease and speed of movement. You can, and I do, handhold when I can use higher ISO speeds (I shoot mostly digital, but you can use higher ISO rated film such as 400). If you are planning to purchase a digital camera in the future, just decide if you hope to stay with Nikon or if you will switch to another brand. The lenses you purchase now, for your current Nikon, should work with any digital SLR Nikon (someone who uses Nikon, correct me if this is wrong!).

The only filters that I use on anything of a regular basis are my polarizers and graduated neutral density filters. I am not much of a fan of “fancy effect” filters, but some people here use them and can offer you help and advice. I hope that this helps you!


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8/16/2005 9:15:31 AM

Penny Leitow   Hi Irene,
Thanks for your input! I picked up the UV filter today & I will also be purchasing a polarizing filter, sounds like it would be very helpful. The higher speed lens sounds like a wonderful idea also especially for riding/action shots.

I think I am going to go with a Canon for my digital SLR though so I will probably wait on the lens until I get that. I love the point & shoot Elph APS that I have & their digital cameras seem to get really good reviews too. But who knows, after I get comfortable with the Nikon I may be dedicated to them! haha

Luckily I will have plenty of "test" subjects while I'm learning the ins and outs of the Nikon. I spend a lot of time at the stable where I keep my horse & there are always nice photo opportunities. Plus since my horse is only two I intend to take lots of pictures while he is growing! :)

By the way, I browsed your photo gallery - I love the floral shots you have posted! They remind me of some that I took last summer with my Kodak digital cam (though yours are much nicer)

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8/16/2005 10:03:49 AM

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