Filter Care & Use

Lens filters have many uses and have a permanent place in your camera bag. You may be using a filter to protect your expensive lenses from dust or finger smears or maybe you want to use it for an effect that you want. What can you do to ensure that your filters do not degrade the quality of images that your expensive lenses produce? Here are some pointers:

TO DOs for Your Camera’s Lens Filters:

  1. Buy a good filter: A bad filter can do more harm than you expect. Low quality filters can have wavy glass, and that will reduce the quality of the output of your favorite lenses.
  2. Never touch the glass of the filter: The oil from your skin will rub off on the filter and could damage its coating. Some filters are noted to retain fingerprints if not cleaned up immediately. Always hold a photographic filter by the edges.
  3. Store filters in their boxes: This ensures that dust and fingerprints stay away. If you buy a filter case or pouch , don’t buy a cheap one that will degrade over time and leave a residue on the filter surface.
  4. Clean it like you would clean your lens: Use a lens cleaning kit or a blower brush. Keep it clear of sand, dust and sea spray.
  5. Keep a UV filter on at all times, especially if you’re likely to be visiting the beach or are in a sandy/humid location.

DO NOT DOs With Your Camera’s Lens filters:

  1. Don’t press the filter ring when screwing it on or unscrewing it: The filter mount is usually made of thin Aluminium and will warp if you press it or tighten it too much. This makes it difficult to remove and could spoil your lens’ filter mounting thread.
  2. Don’t use your camera like it’s all fine now that you have a protective UV filter on it: It’s still the same lens, you’re only protecting the first element from dust and direct scratches. You still have to be careful with it.
  3. Don’t point your camera into direct sunlight or harsh lights: The filter’s anti-reflective coat (if it has one) is not as good as the lens’ coating and it will usually create a spot of lens flare.
  4. Don’t forget to clean the filter regularly.
  5. Don’t forget that you have a filter on: If you think that you’re going to get a group of unforgettable images and you have a great lens on your camera, take the filter off – capture the image in all its glory.

Take Care of Your Filters!

As photographers, we often invest in the finest lenses and cameras, but the subtle art of using and caring for lens filters can make a profound difference in our work. Filters are not just accessories; they are tools that can elevate our creativity, protect our investments, and enable us to capture the world in unique ways. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your photographic journey, understanding the nuances of filters can enhance your craft.

Do You Have More Tips For Working With Filters?

Your insights, experiences, and tips are valuable to us all. Have you discovered a filter usage technique that transformed your images? Or perhaps a cautionary tale about a filter mishap? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments below. Together, we can explore the fascinating world of lens filters, learning from each other and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with our cameras.

Remember, photography is not just about capturing light; it’s about shaping it, controlling it, and making it tell a story. And often, a well-chosen and well-cared-for filter is the unsung hero behind that perfect shot.

Susheel Chandradhas

Susheel Chandradhas

Susheel Chandradhas is a Product Photographer and Filmmaker based in India. He has been taking photographs (almost) all his life. He has a diploma and a bachelors degree in Visual Communication, where his classmates all believed that he would write a book on photography... Instead, he writes on this website (because - isn't a community more fun?).

His passions include photography, parkour, wide-angle lenses, blue skies, fire extinguishers, and fast computers.

In addition to writing for Beyond Photo Tips, Susheel is a staff writer for Fstoppers.com, and owns and runs ColoursAlive, a photography, and video production studio.

You can connect with Susheel on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

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6 Comments

  1. Some great pointers for filters!

    I definitely think many people don’t consider DO point #1 – and will put a cheap’n’nasty filter on the front of an expensive lens!

    One thing to add about DON’T point #5 – it’s particularly important to remove a filter if you’re doing night-time photography, else you’ll get glare and reflections from all the lights in the photo.

  2. Filter is another grey area to me…i rarely use one except the uv filter….reason being I don’t knwo how to use it in most of the cases… this write up will greatly help in starting the use of filter….thanks…

  3. Really helpful article, always good to remember to keep away from sea spray. Sometimes water droplets create a cool effect, but they can really hurt a filter.

  4. I like this article a lot. Filters are great for getting good quality images on almost any camera. I speak about it at my site clickitphoto.net and other photography tips. I really did find this informative.

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