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Discussion Starter #1
I have taken photos for 2 years now but the images quality dont satisfy me much. I had rejected to use filters before anf now i change my mind because I want to discover new things. There are tons of different lens filter out there, and I have known the types but not sure which brand or something I should invest in. My budget is not high but with reasonable quality I can still manage to have it. Please tell me what are your thought and experiences.
Thanks a lot!!!
 

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Filters, for the most part, won't increase your image quality. There are a lot of things that affect image quality such as the type of camera, quality of lens and technique. Glass, for the most part, is everything!Then again, used properly even plastic kit lenses can produce some wonderful results!For my digital, I use mostly a circular polarizer when shooting during the day. I have a 77mm B+W Kaeseman which set me back some coin and a 77mm Marumi which was fairly inexpensive.I use a 77mm for with appropriate adapter ring it can fit all my lenses. The polarizer will increase contrast and cut glare, but again, it won't increase image quality. Over water I almost always use a polarizer. I also have a bunch of Cokin filters that I'll use occasionally.Marumi, I think, is a good buy for quality vs. cost. So is Tiffen. B+W I think only if you're making money on your shots!I also use yellow, red and orange filters when I'm shooting film, also to increase contrast. Oh and also a deep red for infrared shooting.I got a bunch of different filters for different occasions and special purpose shots, but I rarely used them.Perhaps you should further explain what you think is wrong with your images (and post an example) and others can chime in and offer some advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am sorry about the "quality" phrase, in my langue quality can be how good is the image. I am really in with landscape photography and really want to create more beautiful colour but the sky is too bright to compare with the land. I've read that I may have needed the GND filter to manage the light. However, I'm confusing between which brand I should buy....
 

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Buy a graduated filter kit. Lee make the best but you also have Tiffin and Cokin on a budget (which should be fine for your needs). Also a good circular polariser is an essential in any kit bag. By the way what camera are you using and how are you shooting? Personally I always shoot in RAW and then tweak my colours, temperatures, and saturation levels etc in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) though some people will prefer to do everything in camera at a shooting level.
 

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What Shaggydog said.
I have a Cokin graduated ND set. Fairly inexpensive. Cokin also makes a blue yellow polarizer which I use sometimes for some interesting effects.
Sing Ray also makes one but more expensive.

For the square filters, Cokin and HiTech are the inexpensive way to go. Lee if you want to step up.
 

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With digital, the only filters you can't really reproduce are polarizers and graduated neutral density filters. The digital work around for ND filters is to try HDR. If you are using a tripod, compose your shot and set up automatic exposure bracketing to change your shutter speed automatically over a series of shots. Software will combine all the shots for you so you have an image with lots of dynamic range. You could do this with film too, but trust me stacking negs is a PAIN and for the most part you don't need to if you expose correctly.
Anyway. My point is you only really NEED a polarizer these days. Keep in mind that if you have spent thousands on a lens and then thousands on a camera and you stick a cheap filter on the front you are wasting money. Your images will only be as sharp as the crappy, cheap filter will allow. Sure 150GBP might sound like a lot for a filter, but at the end of the day it's not.
I personally always have a good haze filter on my lenses because I don't use lens caps. It's for protection.
 

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I'm using the 70D and mainly I use it for shooting short-films, landscape photography. I just take pictures when I feel it is in the right moment to take. These are my works, please give me some feedback to improve. https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
Ok, you should definitely give filters a go to give your pictures some more punch and 'oomph'. You see in some of your pictures where you have a blank white sky? Try using a circular polarizer at least to play around with the contrast and put something back in there, also check your exposure and highlights, don't be afraid to dial in a little exposure compensation to deepen your colours a tiny bit if need be. A graduated ND filter kit can definitely help here as well to bring balance to your pictures and avoid those big old areas that are devoid of detail. Just get a Cokin kit if you don't know where to start and one of their graduated ND filters. You might also want to look at how you are framing and composing your pictures, an instant way to get your pictures looking a little more professional is to always get your lines straight. Give the filters a go and enjoy experimenting with them to see how much impact you can add to your pictures, you've got the basics right, it's just a case of going a little further and asking yourself how you could improve every shot you take.
 

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Graduated neutral density in various grades, polarizer, skylight. That's about all you need unless you're doing black and white. The Cokin system is very good if you purchase the higher quality glass. You won't notice image degradation unless it's extremely cheap filters. Post processing will fix that. Let's say you wanted to blur a water fall during the day. That would need neutral density filters because of the amount of daylight involved and to allow very slow shutter speeds in bright light. Landscape photography really needs GND and polarizing filters, even a skylight filter will help. I do this for a living and have been doing it for years. Some of my shots with filters:


arizona.jpg cannonBeach2.jpg kauai3.jpg panama.jpg yellowdogA.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #13
wow, your photos are spectacular, do you have any social network to public your photo? I would like to follow you to learn more about photography. I think I'm going for the polarizer first and others afterward.
 

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thank you! I'm redoing my public photo page into a landscape and travel documentary photo site right now. Also I've separated the model work, who wants to see models anyway? :)
 

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I swear by the Lee filter system. Graduated ND Filters will help even out the sunlight and landscape. You can check some of my landscape photos on my instagram: @darthski
 

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Assuming you have a digital camera you only really need filters that affect the amount of light coming through the lens, not the wavelength (colour) and not special effects (which can be mimicked digitally)

I have:
Circular polariser (darken some blue sky/cloud, snow, water reflected light - be careful at wide angle that you don't get uneven darkening)
5-stop and 10-stop Neutral Density (darken everything by the number of stops indicated - good for lengthening exposure time while on tripod for creating motion blur - water, clouds, etc.)
Infrared (lets mostly Infrared wavelength through - a bit of fun used for unusual lighting effect - I find best results on warm Summer days)

I also have:
Ultraviolet (does not affect light detected by digital sensor, but can protect against minor scratches on any expensive lens you might have)

I do not have:
Graduated ND (used for darkening one area of the lens only - usually top in landscape photographs with bright skies).
I prefer to shoot twice (once for bright tone and once for darker tone and then combine in post-processing) - sometimes you can get away with exposing for bright and then burn (lighten) dark areas in post-processing, the danger being noise may become unacceptable.

Composition on some of your photos is good.
One thing I would ask is are you shooting in RAW?
If not I would highly recommend you do, so you can tailor the RAW conversion for the different type's of pictures.
e.g. I think some of your B&W pictures would benefit from higher contrast and deviation from mid grey as your key tone - all this can be controlled carefully when processing the RAW image.
I use Lightroom, but there are other options out there.

Every photographer is always learning, so never get disheartened.
Good luck.
 

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I'm with Darthski regarding Lee filters, great stuff.

If you're shooting digital (and using RAW files), you can always bracket your exposures and blend them in post. Also, many of the new higher end cameras have such a high dynamic range sensors that you can usually expose for the highlights and pull up the shadows without any real loss of image quality.

I still shoot quite a bit of film so I'm in the "get it right in camera" camp.
 

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Can I just say one thing if I may. Shooting in RAW is definitely the way forward for any photographer wanting to improve but I'd actually recommend that the OP here doesn't concern himself too much with bracketing exposures and the like just yet. I'd recommend that he just work on his composition at this stage and learn the classic rules of photography such as the rule of thirds and the golden spiral (and of course when to break them). I'd also suggest that he also starts playing around with his filters and PASM settings and exposure compensation to start making his photos a little more interesting and learning how to draw the eye into a picture add convey impressions of depth, time, and motion. Only once he's really got a real understanding of these and is looking for further ways to improve his picture would I then suggest taking steps into exposure bracketing. I agree that it is a vital area to learn but I feel it's better to really get to grips with the classic Ellen's first rather than trying to polish up images that aren't quite as engaging as they should be due to a missed opportunity in composition, focusing, and the like.
 

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Can I just say one thing if I may. Shooting in RAW is definitely the way forward for any photographer wanting to improve but I'd actually recommend that the OP here doesn't concern himself too much with bracketing exposures and the like just yet. I'd recommend that he just work on his composition at this stage and learn the classic rules of photography such as the rule of thirds and the golden spiral (and of course when to break them). I'd also suggest that he also starts playing around with his filters and PASM settings and exposure compensation to start making his photos a little more interesting and learning how to draw the eye into a picture add convey impressions of depth, time, and motion. Only once he's really got a real understanding of these and is looking for further ways to improve his picture would I then suggest taking steps into exposure bracketing. I agree that it is a vital area to learn but I feel it's better to really get to grips with the classic Ellen's first rather than trying to polish up images that aren't quite as engaging as they should be due to a missed opportunity in composition, focusing, and the like.
You're right of course Shaggy - the better you can get the original shot, the less post-processing needed.

However, here are some arguments for post-processing:
- Early on, as you're learning it can be difficult to understand why specifically your photo isn't 'popping' or doesn't hold interest. By getting to grips with what you find yourself correcting in post, you can become more aware of what you need to correct in camera. So you may start off heavily correcting exposure, sharpening, etc. but as you progress you learn to look for those issues in camera and over time find yourself correcting less (that is what happened for me). The counter argument is you don't learn from your mistakes and use post as a crutch - you must guard against this.
- As you know. all images have been processed from RAW state. Even in-camera JPG has applied default settings for processing from RAW. Post-processing just gives you the option to deviate from these defaults - to better suit the look you are trying to achieve for the picture. By getting pictures closer to your intent, you are less likely to become disheartened and more likely to keep your photography going.

Anyway, my advice for the OP is to try an exercise:
Try taking pictures of subjects you would never usually take in situations you would never normally take pictures.
Not enough light? No flash? try exposing for the brightest object in the darkness - what works in the resulting picture, what doesn't.
Subject moving? Try a slower exposure and see how it turns out? What's good, what's bad?
How about camera moving? - intentionally drag your camera on a slower exposure as you're taking the shot.
Another shot 1.5m above ground level? Take a shot of a common subject from down low or up high?
Intentionally put the horizon off horizontal - what feeling does it convey?
... and we could go on.

My advice is to experiment and have fun - and then be analytical and learn from your experiments. Looking at photos in post can help you become analytical.

(I always thought the one thing this watch forum was missing was a RAW v JPG battle :) )
 
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