The Best Digital Camera Filters Tips and Techniques For Beginners

How To Use Digital Camera Filters For Beginners

How To Use Digital Camera Filters – In this section of Digital Photography Tips and Techniques, Photos By Meta Explains How to Use Digital Camera Filters – Ultraviolet Filters (UV Filters), Circular Polarizing Filters (CPL Filters) and Neutral Density Filters (ND Filters) – Fixed ND Filters and Variable ND Filters, plus Special Astrophotography Filters and Didymium Filters.

The Best Digital Camera Filters To Use – Ultraviolet Filters – Circular Polarizer Filters – Neutral Density Filters

Ultra Violet Filters for Improving Sky Shots
Ultra Violet Filters for Improving Sky Shots

UV Filters

UV Filters are most often used as Lens Protection Filters. Some Digital Photographers say Lens Protection Filters aren’t really necessary. Meta purchased 3 damaged Minolta Maxxum AF Lenses, that could have been saved if they had some form of Lens Protection Filters installed (flat spots on the lens threads from being bumped, banged or scraped). They were returned. Meta bought one Minolta AF Lens with a dented Skylight Filter, which appears to have saved the lens threads from getting damaged. Based on her Minolta Lens experience, Meta is a strong believer in Lens Protection Filters. Installing a UV Filter is a lot cheaper than repairing or replacing your expensive Digital Camera Lens.

You can test a UV Filter by looking for any dark reflections behind you – there shouldn’t be any dark reflections.

CPL Filters

CPL Filters are an essential item in every Digital Photographer’s camera bag. CPL Filters dramatically deepen blue skies, reduce unwanted reflections on nonmetallic surfaces and saturate colors, especially when used outdoors. CPL Filters are rotated (always rotate clockwise as not to loosen it) to dial in the desired polarization effect.

Meta uses a CPL UV Filter as her Primary Lens Protection, due to the High-Transparency Rate and UV Protection in one filter. Even when shooting Hummingbirds, there are still tiny reflections in the Hummingbird’s feathers that can benefit from a CPL Filter.

Think of CPL Filters as Sunglasses for your Digital Camera. Meta’s Rule of Thumb – If you need sunglasses, so does your Digital Camera. Some Professional Photographers leave a CPL Filter on their Digital Camera most the time, especially if they shoot in bright sunlight.

You can test a CPL Filter by rotating it in front of your LCD TV, LCD Computer Screen or Laptop Screen, which emits polarized light. It should go totally dark when rotated. This test doesn’t work on iPhones.

Neutral Density Filters for Smoothing Waterfalls
Neutral Density Filters for Smoothing Waterfalls

ND Filters

ND Filters are often sold as a Set of Three ND Filters: NDX2, 0.3 (1 stop), NDX4, 0.6 (2 stop), and NDX8, 0.9 (3 stop). ND Filters are used to eliminate overly bright and washed out images and to control Long Exposures and Depth of Field. ND Filters are often used for Long Exposures, when shooting Smooth Waterfalls, Rivers and Lakes. Meta sometimes uses Variable ND Filters which are very handy when the light is constantly changing, like when shooting Sunrises and Sunsets.

Long Exposure ND Filters Table

You can test a ND Filters by placing it on a bright white sheet of paper. It should be neutral gray without any color tinting.

HOYA Digital Camera Filters

Meta uses only premium HOYA HD3 Filters. HOYA is Japan’s first specialty manufacturer of optical glass and the world’s largest manufacturer of optical glass and filters.

If you’re just starting out in the world of Digital Camera Filters, HOYA sells a Digital Filter Kit II, which contains one UV Filter, one CPL Filter and one NDX8, 3 stop ND Filter, in a Handy Filter Pouch. Buy one Filter Kit Size for each Lens Diameter.
HOYA 49mm Digital Filter Kit II
HOYA 55mm Digital Filter Kit II
HOYA 72mm Digital Filter Kit II
HOYA 77mm Digital Filter Kit II

HOYA Filter Kit Information


Where To Buy The Best HOYA Digital Camera Filters

The Best CPL Filters – How To Use Circular Polarizing Filters

Circular Polarizer Filters

HOYA HD3 CPL Filters are used to control reflections, provide more vivid colors, darken blue skies and reduce glare without changing the color of the light. HOYA HD3 CPL Filters use a premium high transmission polarizing film that yields 40% greater light transmission than standard CPL films. This translates to an additional 2/3rds of a stop of light passing through the filter for an overall 92% light transmission rate. Lifetime Limited Warranty when purchased from a USA Authorized Retailer.
HOYA 49mm HD3 Circular Polarizer Filter
HOYA 55mm HD3 Circular Polarizer Filter
HOYA 72mm HD3 Circular Polarizer Filter
HOYA 77mm HD3 Circular Polarizer Filter

HOYA HD3 CPL Filter Information

The Best UV Filters – How To Use Ultraviolet Filters or Lens Protection Filters

Ultraviolet Filters

HOYA HD3 UV Filters are primarily used on Digital Cameras as Lens Protection Filters, but they can also reduce harmful ultraviolet light and eliminate any bluish cast in images. Meta keeps a UV Filter on each of her Digital Camera Lenses. HOYA HD3 UV Filters are multi-coated yielding 99.7% light transmission. Lifetime Limited Warranty when purchased from a USA Authorized Retailer.
HOYA 49mm HD3 UV Filter
HOYA 55mm HD3 UV Filter
HOYA 72mm HD3 UV Filter
HOYA 77mm HD3 UV Filter

HOYA HD3 UV Filter Information

The Best ND Filters – How To Use Neutral Density Filters

Neutral Density Filters

HOYA ND Filters are typically sold as a Set of Three Fixed Neutral Density Filters: NDX2, 0.3 (1 stop) Filter, NDX4, 0.6 (2 stop) Filter, and NDX8, 0.9 (3 stop) Filter.

HOYA ND Filters can be used to eliminate overly bright and washed out images and to control Long Exposures and Depth of Field. ND Filters are commonly used by Videographers when shooting at 1/50th of a second shutter speed in bright light.
HOYA 49mm ND Filter Kit
HOYA 72mm ND Filter Kit
HOYA 77mm ND Filter Kit

HOYA ND Filter Kit Information


HOYA SOLAS Professional IRND Filters – Neutral Density Filters play an important role for Professional Filmmakers and Professional Photographers because they allow you to precisely control the amount of light passing through the lens for greater creative control over exposure. For Professional Videographers, this means shutter speeds that match your video frame rate while maintaining the depth of field you require. For landscape photographers, it means you can reach longer exposures or achieve a shallow depth of field in bright sunlight. The HOYA Professional IRND Filters out the IR part of the light spectrum combined with a High Quality Neutral Density Filter. The result is a ND Filter that maintains consistent color from 1 stop to 10 stops.

HOYA SOLAS IRND Filter Information


HOYA Variable ND Filters – HOYA Variable Neutral Density Filters can take the place of a wide range of Fixed ND Filters, which saves money by only needing to buy one filter and saves time on location by not needing to change filters constantly to change the effect, just turn the right to get the effect you want. The HOYA Variable Neutral Density filter puts you in control of your exposures. Filter adjusts from 1.5–9 stops or NDX3–NDX400.
HOYA 55mm Variable ND Filter
HOYA 72mm Variable ND Filter
HOYA 77mm Variable ND Filter

HOYA Variable ND Filter Information

The Best Astrophotography Filters – Special Red Enhancer Filters or Didymium Filters Reduce Urban Light Pollution

Astrophotography Filters

HOYA RA54 Red Enhancer Filters or Didymium Filters are commonly used to Shoot Astrophotography and Night Photography. Didymium Filters greatly reduce the effects of Urban Light Pollution, by neutralizing the Yellow in Sodium Vapor Street Lights. (Photo: Left). The Award Winning Film (Video: Top), “Keep Looking Up”, a night sky time lapse film, was filmed entirely using a HOYA RA54 Red Enhancer Filter!
HOYA 49mm Red Enhancer Filter
HOYA 55mm Red Enhancer Filter
HOYA 72mm Red Enhancer Filter
HOYA 77mm Red Enhancer Filter

HOYA Red Enhancer Filter Information

Buyer Beware – How to Detect Fake Camera Filters and Counterfeit Camera Filters

Counterfeit HOYA Filter
Counterfeit HOYA Filter – No HOYA Logo – Faded Paint

Counterfeit Camera Filters

Counterfeit Camera Filters are a Huge Problem – In a Global Marketplace, no Camera Filter Company is immune to Fake Camera Filters and Counterfeit Camera Filters sold directly out of China. If you manufacture a Quality Camera Filter, eventually someone will try to counterfeit it and try to sell then cheaply on Online Auction Sites and Roadside Flea Markets. Meta has received a few Counterfeit Filters sold directly from Chinese Online Sellers. These Filters were advertised as HOYA, Tiffen and ZoMei. Lesson Learned: Never buy Cheap Camera Filters Online directly from Chinese Sellers!

USPS Regulations – 136.3 Counterfeit and Pirated Items“Any type of counterfeit or pirated article is prohibited in outbound international mail”. If an International Seller wants you to mail Counterfeit Merchandise back for a refund, tell them it’s illegal to do so in The United States. Notify the Online Auction Site and tell them that you received Illegal Counterfeit Merchandise, which should get their attention! Always Report the Counterfeit Seller! If they get enough complaints about a seller, they should shut them down!

How To Detect Counterfeit Camera Filters – Typos, spelling mistakes, bad grammar, poor product quality, missing logos, poor quality printing, packaging and labeling are often Red Flags for Counterfeit Camera Filters. The Filter will often feel cheap, rough and lightweight. Meta bought a few Counterfeit ZoMei UV Filters from a Popular Online Auction Site. The filter quality was so bad, you could wipe off the black paint with an alcohol pad. If you find Cheap Camera Filters with Free Shipping from China – Hit the Back Button!

Avoid Counterfeit HOYA Filters – Always Purchase Genuine HOYA Filters from an Authorized HOYA Retailer.

Hoya Filter USA

The New HOYA Logo – Not all HOYA Filters have the New HOYA Logo (curved line in the H which extends into the O). Many older, but still Genuine HOYA Filters, (HOYA Red Enhancers for example) are still on being sold with simply “HOYA” printed on the Filter Ring.

How To Detect Fake HOYA Filters – Below are a few helpful links to help you determine if your HOYA Filter is a Genuine HOYA Filter or a Counterfeit HOYA Filter. Online Auction Sites and Roadside Flea Markets are often sources for Cheap Counterfeit Camera Filters from China. If you are unsure about your HOYA Filter’s Quality, Contact HOYA USA at 1-800-421-1141. When Purchasing HOYA Filters Online, always look for this HOYA Logo:

Hoya Authorized Dealer

Detecting Fake HOYA Filters
How To Spot Fake HOYA Filters

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Top Digital Photography Tips and Techniques For Beginners
Digital Photography Tips and Techniques For Beginners

Photos By Meta

Top Digital Photography Tips and Techniques For Beginners
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Photos By Meta

Nature Photographs were shot by North Carolina Nature Photographer Meta Gätschenberger of Photos by Meta, with Sony Lenses and Minolta Lenses.

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