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Filters

You can never be too rich, too thin, or own too many filters. Slap a filter on the front of your lens and you can transform a boring image into a kaleidoscopic marvel. Filters let you apply split-field colorization (that is, blue on top and reddish on the bottom of an image, or vice versa) in the camera, or create a romantic blur in a glamour portrait. Conventional photography has long been rich with clever filter techniques that add star-points to highlights, apply serious color changes to images, and polarize sunlight to reduce reflections off shiny objects. If you’ve ever packed a stack of decamired (color correction) filters in your camera bag, or wondered which Cokin filter to buy next, you’re already hooked on the optical effects you can get with glass or gelatin.

Filters are such an important part of serious photography that I’d never consider a new digital camera with a fixed lens that didn’t have a screw mount on the front of the lens for the filters. I’d even give extra weight to a model that accepted (or could use an adapter for) my extensive collection of 37mm and 52mm diameter filters. Your knowledge of using filters can be transferred easily to digital photography, and will come in handy with image editors, which themselves are designed to use software “filters” to modulate images. The first thing a photographer notices when introduced to Photoshop is how many of the image editor’s filters mimic traditional photographic filters and darkroom effects.


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