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Lens filters needed?


I have a birthday coming up next month. I'm asking for money to supply some additional filters per your recommendations. Here is what I have now:

Canon T7, 58 mm: CPL, UV.

Sigma 150-600, 95 mm: Nothing.

What would be needed for these two lenses to complement what I have or a minimum for the Sigma? Thanks.



What do you plan to capture with the Sigma?

I don't use UV filters, but instead use high quality clear filters to protect the front element.

I'll use CP filters mostly to give foliage deeper colors, have bluer skies, and to reduce reflections.

I'll use ND filters to:

  • Let me shoot at wider apertures in full sun
  • Do long exposures of water or clouds
  • Keep shutter speed at or below sync speed when using flash outdoors.  I can get more flash output if not having to resort to high speed sync.

EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L, 600EX-RT (x6), ST-E3-RT
EOS C70, RF 24-70 f/2.8L IS, EF-EOS R 0.71x

Ricky, a bit late for a reply but I use the 150-600 for nature photos. I'm in the bushes and woods where critters are very skittish,hard to approach. I have some wildlife in my backyard, too.



I keep high quality clear glass "filters" on all of my lenses that accept a front filter.  It does offer significant lens protection for the front element, is necessary for a few of the L series lenses to achieve weather resistance, and most importantly to me is that I won't hesitate to wipe the filter with a sleeve or shirttail if needed when shooting in the mist or rain-something I wouldn't do to the front element which only gets cleaned with proper cleaning gear.

I consider these clear filters to be consumables and when they get scratched, they get replaced.  Canon uses a tough coating on the big front element of the "great white" primes which are far too large for a filter and they consider the front element to be a fairly low cost replacement item but I only clean those with proper equipment; I don't treat them like I do disposable clear filters.

But don't go cheap on regular clear front protectors because they are still dependent upon the optical quality of the glass and they still have coating to reduce reflection and "ghosting".  So a good clear protector isn't just bare optical glass and a cheap off-brand Amazon filter will reduce image quality and potentially also reduce AF performance.


EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video


I bought the Sigma lens for birds and wildlife where getting close wouldn't be feasible. Also, here in East Tennessee, loads of mountain scenery. Thanks for the reply.

ND= Neutral density.

CP= Polarizing?. Same as my CPL filter?


You really do not need a UV filter.  There is a UV filter layer built into every digital image sensor today.

A CPL is not a good match for action photography.  The way it polarizes light frequencies tend to wreak havoc with Phase Detect AF systems.  They are best used on tripod to capture still life photos like landscapes.  Here’s why.  

First, you autofocus without the filter and then switch the lens to manual focus.  Mount the filter and tune it to its best setting.  Now you can take shot without the CPL interfering with AF.

"The right mouse button is your friend."


Yes, CP is Circular Polarizer.


EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L, 600EX-RT (x6), ST-E3-RT
EOS C70, RF 24-70 f/2.8L IS, EF-EOS R 0.71x


I use a lot of telephoto lenses, similar to your 150-600mm.... I almost never need to use any filter on those.

You didn't say what lens you use with the filters you already have, but I would guess it's an EF-S 18-55mm, with a 58mm diameter filter thread. For that type of lens, to me the UV would be a very useful filter for landscape photos, to deepen the blue of the sky, reduce reflections, make foliage more colorful, etc. It's not a filter I use all the time, but C-Pol are by far my most used.

In fact, there are many times when a C-Pol shouldn't be used. If you are trying to photograph a rainbow, a C-Pol filter will make it disappear! There are also times when a reflection is part of the image and the C-Pol would just ruin it. A C-Pol reduces the amount of light passing through to my sensor by 2X to 4X (approx.), so there are also many times when using one would cause too slow a shutter speed or too high an ISO to be necessary. This is one reason I rarely use one with telephotos, where shutter speeds can be pretty critical.

Finally, a C-Pol is most effective at 90 degrees from the light source, with its effect gradually tapering off as the light source is closer to 0 or 180 degrees... So, for example, a C-Pol serves no purpose when directly shooting a sunset or a sunrise. But if pointing the other direction, or if the sun is higher up in the sky, it can be useful.

So, even though a C-Pol is probably the most useful filter for digital photography, and easily the one I use most, I probably only use one 10 or 20% of the time.  

I have UV filters for my lenses, which I only install when necessary such as out shooting in a sandstorm! I use them at the seashore, because "salt air" on lenses is difficult to clean off and I'd rather wash a filter than the front element of my lens. UV are primarily used for "protection", which is pretty silly in most instances... after all how much protection can a thin piece of glass provide? Plus lens elements are a lot tougher than people think, while lens caps and lens hoods both do a really good job protecting lenses. UV have little other use today with digital. There can be rare instances in scenic shots where there's a distant blue haze that the filter can reduce a little. They are pretty low priority, but if you find yourself shooting in certain situations with it, you might want a UV for that 150-600mm.

Other than that, filters useful for digital are pretty highly specialized. Neutral density filters are used to allow really long shutter speeds or really large apertures to be used in brighter light conditions, where the exposure setting range of camera and lens aren't sufficient. For example, still photos of running water are sometimes shot at slow shutter speeds to make the water movement appear "creamy". A 3-stop or 5-stop or even darker ND filter can be used for that. Between your two lenses, I'd probably never use the 150-600mm, but might take this kind of shot with the 18-55mm. So I might want one or two ND filters for that lens. This would only be important if planning to do that type of shot, though. (Or, the other example, wanting to use a large aperture like f/1.4 or f/1.2 out in bright conditions... which doesn't apply here because neither of your lenses have a large aperture like that.)

For portraiture in particular, I have a few "black mist", "black spatter" and "black mesh" filters that are used to reduce fine detail and make skin look smoother. These are also what I'd call highly specialized filters. I only have them in the size needed for my primary portrait lenses and don't use the filters very often.  

Back in the days of film we had to carry warming, cooling, color correction and conversion filters. These are not needed with digital because we can simply set a Custom White Balance in the camera. And shooting digital, nearly all other "filter effects" can be accomplished in image post-processing... on the computer, with image editing software.

So unless you have need for some of those specialized filters, if it were me the only filter I might add to your kit would be a 95mm UV for very occasional use "protecting" that 150-600mm in certain situations. Other than that, it sounds to me like you are pretty well set.


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2) some other cameras, various lenses & accessories

"UV are primarily used for "protection", which is pretty silly in most instances... after all how much protection can a thin piece of glass provide?"

You ask a good question, and the answer is plenty. In the Southern California deserts where I often shoot, it is the mark of the newbie or the clueless to be walking around out there without a filter. Same when you're at the tidepools. Now, if you are at the museum or the wedding, or you're in town shooting the tourist sites, then this kind of protection may not be warranted. But where I often shoot, it is. I use B+W now, having graduated from Tiffen.



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