Photography by Jim Doty

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FILTERS LITE
Jim Doty, Jr.

PROTECTION FILTERS

My personal preference is for the HOYA brand Skylight 1B filter. Another option is to get a UV (ultraviolet) filter.  It is best to get the multicoated version (HMC). Buy one for each of your lenses and leave them on all of the time (EXCEPT when shooting Christmas lights, headlights and other bright lights sources).

WARMING FILTERS

Buy a Tiffen 812 or Hoya 81B warming filter for pictures on cloudy days or when shooting in the shade on sunny days. I prefer the 812 but many photographers prefer the 81B.

GRADUATED GRAY - SPLIT NEUTRAL DENSITY

When half of the photographic scene is darker than the other half, you can use a graduated gray or split neutral density filter. Two of the best are made by Singh-Ray (plastic) and the glass filters by Tiffen. It is best to buy them in a size to fit the COKIN P size filter holder. The nice thing about the Cokin P holder system is that many different filter manufacturers make their square or rectangular filters in the Cokin P size.

POLARIZING FILTERS

To darken blue skys at a 90 degree angle to the sun, or remove glare on vegetation in any light (even cloudy days), use a polarizing filter.  Good inexpensive choice:  Tiffen polarizing filter.  Expensive choice: Singh-Ray warm polarizer.  Read your camera manual to see if you need a linear or circular polarizing filter (has nothing to do with the shape of the filter). Many modern camera bodies require the circular polarizer if you want to meter and autofocus through the filter.

YELLOW/BLUE POLARIZING FILTER

To turn glare on water, vegetation or other subjects either yellow or blue, get a Cokin Yellow-blue polarizing filter #173.  When it works it's great.  The effect can be too garish.

ENHANCING/INTENSIFIER

Soups up reds, oranges and other warm colors. Great for fall.  Get a Tiffen Enhancing filter or Hoya Intensifier filter (basically the same thing). Also for sunsets.

80A LIGHT BALANCING FILTER (Blue in color)

For shooting nature subjects under warm tungsten light (household light bulb), use a blue colored 80A filter by Hoya or Tiffen.  Also for turning day into night, or turning sunlight on the water into moonlight on the water.

WHAT SHOULD YOU GET FIRST?

Skylight 1B filters to protect your lenses.  My second choice would be a polarizing filter.  After that, it is a matter of personal preferences and what kind of photography you most like to do.

Where can you find filters?

At your local camera store, or

B&H Photo in NYC or other sources on my LINKS page.  

This material is copyrighted. You may make one copy for your own use.  Do not reproduce without permission.

July 14, 2000
Updated Apr 17, 2001

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