This is page 3 of 4. "Camera Accessories" begins here.

Some filters may be a good thing to have.

*The first is a UV filter. I get one for each lens I have. The only time it comes off its designated lens is to use another filter on that lens. I remove the UV filter to use another because unless it's necessary, I don't stack filters.

The UV filter does a couple of things. First and foremost, it protects the outer glass of your lens. If anything hits it, the filter is damaged, not the lens glass. This saves bunches of money when it comes time to fix it.

The actual purpose for a UV filter is to filter UV rays! Huh!? Imagine that, the purpose of a UV filter is to filter! No, actually UV protection gives you sharper, cleaner pictures and somewhat less haze in the shots. Yet common consensus seems to be that a UV filter does little to improve upon the UV protection built into your lenses.

There seems to be conflicting thoughts on whether this particular filter degrades your images. Do some tests. Set up a tripod and take the identical picture with and without the filter.

Do this under differing lighting conditions, then decide, for yourself, whether you think it noticeably affects your pictures. My thoughts are that if you will be greatly enlarging your pictures you may decide to forgo using a UV filter. Otherwise the protection from physical damage is worth the investment.

*Polarizer. For most lenses today you will get a circular polarizer as opposed to a linear polarizer. A circular polarizer is designed to work with lenses that have no turning parts on the outside of the lens. This includes all digital, auto focus lenses that I know of. Ask if you are not sure.

You spin one of the rings on a polarizer filter to darken the sky so it is not washed out. It will also minimize glare when you are taking a picture through a piece of glass or down into water.

Not polarized

Polarized

WOW!

Even notice the sky's reflection in the water!

* A Neutral Density filter is designed to reduce the amount of light entering the camera. What you will want what’s known as a graduated neutral density filter. It is light on one side and gradually darkens toward the other side.

You will spin it until the dark area is up in the sky. This will darken the sky without affecting the color of the sky. It will also not affect the rest of the image at all.

The end result is slightly different than using a polarizer. The polarizer affects the entire image. The graduated neutral density filter only affects the part of the image that is covered by the dark end of the filter.

Other than that, filters for digital cameras are pretty much optional. Most of the effects filters offer can be nicely duplicated in a post editing program like Photoshop Elements.

Yet, there are all kinds of filters out there for you to play with should you so choose. Learn about them and get the ones you want. They're fun and I like them.

When you add filters to your camera accessories be sure to get the right size for your lens. Nearly every lens, even though they are made for the same camera, has a different mounting size on the front.

What that means to you is you will need to buy a filter that is the right size for your largest mount. Then you'll have to get adapter rings for the rest of the lenses on which you will be using the filter.

Don't stack your filters unless absolutely necessary. As you zoom, stacking filters will cause a dark ring around the outside of your pictures known as vignetting. That will have to be fixed in a post editing program and even those don't do a perfect job.

I would have to crop this picture all the way to the red line because of the vignetting!

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