06-18-2014 05:41 PM
Filter are for lenses, not the camera. Your most popular lenses are Polarizers, Neutral Density, and UV filters.
Polarizers block light of a specific orientation, which allows you to block reflections (to a degree). The most noticable effect of this is the sky. Without getting into a discussion of why the sky is blue, a polarizer can take some of the haze and lightness out of sky, giving you a deeper blue. It will dim the amount of light coming into the camera, so you have to compensate for it.
A neutral density filter is there only to dim the amount of light entering a camera. It has very specific uses, which you probably don't need at this point. In general, the more light the better.
UV filters were originally for film cameras, but frequently used on dSLR anyway. Not for the UV filter, but purely as a protector. It's just a clear piece of glass. I keep them on all my good lenses, and occasionally on cheaper ones too if I'm in a particularly dusty or hazardous area (I used to use them rock climbing). There is a lot of debate about the use of these. The camp that is against them argue that it degrades images quality and offers minimal protection. The camp that is for them argues that the loss of quality is neglible, and worth it for the added protection.
06-18-2014 10:55 PM
I'm one of those who DO NOT use them with the exception of a polarizer & maybe eventually some Neutral Density filters. I used to have them on all my lenses when I shot film but no longer go that route & even though there is a small scratch on my 24-105 L (which may have been caused by maid while cleaning my room while on vacation) I haven't seen a need to "protect" the front element in that way. I do use my lens hoods to do that but I also don't shoot in dusty conditions nor in the rain, which would change my thinking. Best discussion I know of is here.
06-19-2014 10:47 AM - edited 06-19-2014 10:50 AM
I agree with all the above...
If you shoot a lot of scenics, for example, a Circular Polarizer might be a very handy filter to have. It's useful to deepen the blue of the sky and make white clouds really stand out, to reduce or control reflections off water and glass, to increase color saturation in foliage and other things outdoors on overcast days, even in some portrait situations. It's one of the most useful of all filters, and also one of the most difficult (or impossible) to replicate in post processing softwares. I would encourage a C-Pol (sometimes "CPL") as one of the first and most important filters you might want.
Neutral density filters are handy for long exposure still photographs, such as making flowing water look "creamy". Today's DSLRs just don't have a low enough ISO setting, so ND filters can help in situations where you either want a long exposure or are trying to use a large aperture in stronger light. ND filters are gray all over to reduce the light reaching the sensor, and come in a wide variety of strengths: 1 stop, 3 stop, 6 stop, 10 stop and more.
I do carry UVs to fit all my lenses (well, at least all the ones that can be fitted with a filter). But they are stored in my camera bag until actually needed for protection. I'd install one if out shooting in a sand storm, for example.
If you go looking for Circular Polarizer or any other filter, don't skimp. Get a good quality, multi-coated to make for the best image quality. B+W MRC, Pro and Kaesemann are very good. Hoya HMC, SHMC, HD and HD2 are too. Also Marumi gets high marks (I haven't used them personally). Heliopan, Singh Ray and Lee are some other well respected brands.
I would encourage you to first get the matching lens hoods for all your lenses, though. A hood is great protection for the lens alone... But when using filters, it's even more important to use a hood (to also protect the filter... both from oblique light and from physical bumps).
06-19-2014 10:47 AM
"Do I need lens filters?"
And one of the most overlooked aspects of whether to use one or not is, the filter is removable!
Yes, some folks that say filters harm the photo in certain conditions seem to forget the filter unscrews just as easily as it went on.
So in my situation I am a 'no' but a bigger 'yes'. People that say filters are bad, don't shoot photos of kids.
06-19-2014 01:26 PM
06-25-2014 08:08 AM
Without saying what sort of picures you want to take, cannot say.
It's not a Canon-specific subject so your best bet is to search on
the effects of various filters and see what would be useful for you.
Assuming that you are using a Canon lens then cheap filters will not do.