Lens Accessories: Filters
So folks in this section we're going to be talking about accessories there's a lot of different lens accessories and I know a lot of people have questions about whether they should use this or that or what's the importance and what is this new? And so we're going to talk about all those little things that get attached to the lens that we use for a variety of reasons we're going to start off talking about filters so pretty much all the lenses have filter threats built into the lands and they are different sizes and you can buy accessory filters to put in there for a variety of reasons the most common reason is for protection of the mainland's and one of the things that I see other professional photographers often saying is why would I stick a cheap piece of glass in front of a very high quality piece of glass? Well, let me explain that to you a straight clear piece of glass is very simple to make the optical glasses very difficult that's a very different type of glass yes, you do need t...
o have a decent quality glass and I prefer higher quality filters to lower quality filters but it's not that hard and if you've ever done the test and guess who's done the test difference between using a filter and not using a filter is either completely invisible you're not going to see any difference at all or it's so incredibly minor that you would be so hard pressed to see any difference at all the area that you're probably most likely to see some differences if you point your cameras into bright lights you might get some different flare depending on how well coded those particular filters are and so it very much is a personal opinion as to whether you use filters so something to pay attention to is the size of the filters of the lens that you have and the lens is that you want to get because it's not going to be something like well, I'm not going to buy that lens because I only use seventy seven millimeter filters and that lenses in eighty two but it's good to know. Okay, well now I need to get a new filter or maybe I would prefer this lens over that lands just cause it has the same filter size so it's one of those minor features that you might look at that would sway you one direction or the other in a particular lands and so there's a number of lenses that are just so wide they do not have filter threads on them they have kind of built in little lens hood's and there's no way of protecting the front of the lands and so there's really nothing you can do on these they have special caps that fit over the front of the lens in a different way than a normal snap on cap would have that kind of a slip on cap, and you want to be careful about losing those because those are, of course, extra money because they're special lens caps. There are some lenses that used drop in filters because the front of the lens is so big it would be prohibitive in it's prohibitively expensive to have a front filter. They have drop in filter. So for some of the big gun lenses, they have the drop in filters, and this is a great way to get a polarizing filter in a much more price effective way. Because it's going to be so much smaller in size, the uv protection filter is a matter of personal choice to me, it's very much thought of insurance. Do you have insurance on your lens? Because if it's damaged, the place that it's composed likely going to get damaged is that front element on the lands? And so there are many people who prefer not to use you ve s it's a personal choice, and some people who use you v s I tend to use u v s on pretty much all my lenses because I don't like using lens caps, and now, with a uv filter, I could just stick it in the bag. And I don't have to worry about it I pick it out and yes, after ten or twelve years I have to replace the uv is because they eventually get some scratches on him after that period of time. But if you take care of your gear not a major issue and I don't notice inequality differences and pretty much every photo that you see of mine has a uv filter on the front of it and I don't have an issue with quality. However I do buy good quality filters there are cheap filter hers and there are good filters and I actually have a few filters up here just to kind of play around with and one of the things that you'll notice about higher quality filters well, they'll be better glass quality and there's sometimes you'll see multi coating on here which will help reduce flare problems and the biggest difference is actually in the bring that goes around the outside edge of it and there's a couple options one is aluminum, the other is brass a luminous is a softer metal and when you turn it on your lands that softer metal can kind of bind up and crossed thread more easily on the lands which makes it really hard to get off the brass is ah harder mettle and it's less likely to have that problem and one of the ways that you can tell it's just by picking the filter up and seeing how heavy it is and the other is, if you have a metal surface, if you do the little spin test listening, it sounds very tinny and plasticky. And so now, with heavier metal, you can definitely hear the difference. And so once again, this is the aluminum and the brass, and beyond that there is a noticeable weight difference, and if you'd like to feel the weight on these, you can feel that the brass ring you can just kind of hand those down there's a noticeable difference, and most of that is in that filtering. And so there is a and that that's, you know, I don't like my equipment weigh any heavier than it needs to, but it's a relatively small aspect to have on there and, you know, while we're here, I don't think I have a slide for one of the things that people have issues with on filters is getting them off, you know, opening the can of pickles, how do you open the cannon pickles? And we all have the case on, and then we hand it to somebody else and they take in they go up, no problem and there's a reason for it and that because when we attach a filter, were often squeezing this circle into a little bit of an oval and so, as we turn it, if you don't want to turn it too hard, all you needed is just finger tight that's the first thing is, don't over tighten it on here. The second thing is, if it's stuck on there, there's three or four different solutions, one solution is, if you can't get it off, just move your fingers ninety degrees and try it here, because maybe squeezing it here is the wrong place that you need to have your fingers over here, so that solution number one is just move your fingers number two is used more fingers, as many as you can to spread out the force so that you're not changing the shape of that circle. The third solution, which I really didn't come upon until recently, is to try to put as little force on it a cz possible, so just barely touching it, turning it, and in some cases, you can actually push down on it like this, because that way, it's not changing its shape or form in the camera shop. Sometimes they have special lens wrench tools, which has this rubber strap that you put around it, and you kind of wrench it off and it's, grabbing everything and turning really hard, but generally it's one of my favorite things when we're doing a tour in cuba and somebody says, I got my filters stuck on it give you the land's give me I want to do it and so, you know, I tried the fingers in different areas try all the fingers, try as little pressure as possible, and I've had a number of cases where it's just barely touching the lands, I can get it off, but if I'm trying to crank on it, I'm just putting too much pressure on it and so first off, just don't put him on there too hard that be the first thing, okay, the polarizing filter is something that would be virtually impossible, totally impossible, but virtually impossible to mimic and photoshopped. So this is something that you really need to do out in the field. This is a very dark filter. This is an outdoor filter, so someone like myself who does travel and lansky a photography uses this quite frequently. Now the polarizing filter is an interesting filter because it effects light differently, according from according to the direction that it is coming. So you will put this filter on your lens, and then you will rotate it, and you will be able to see in your viewfinder the effect that this polarizer is having on the light in front of you. To be honest, you don't need to mount it on your camera all you can just hold it up to your eye and turn your eye now I have a pair probably like a lot of you polarising sunglasses and I don't know if you've ever done this but uh okay it looks a little weird but when you're driving down the road if you do this it looks like you're listening to music but it actually it'll change the reflection of light the way it's hitting the roadway and the roadway will change density and color and this is what's also happening in our polarizing filters and so we're going to use this to either have more or less reflections this is horseshoe bend down in arizona and if you'll notice the river it shows you in the river a lot of the reflections of the sky and the clouds you can see the blue in the clouds so let's go ahead and turn the polarizer and now we have reduced those reflections and so you can choose by looking to the lens and rotating the filter do I want to see the reflections from the clouds or do I want to see more into the water the color of the water or what's below the water surface and so very effective when you are looking in water so in this case you can see the reflections on the top of the water very easily as we rotate the filter we can see in the water very very clearly so it depends on what's most important to you and so it's very much a personal twice as to where you want to leave this generally you're putting it on because you want to get the maximum polarising effect and so that's generally where most people leave it but it's anywhere that looks good so if you're photographing from a boat if you're photographing water, it does a really good job but we encounter reflections in many different areas so this is that a video clip and you can see me adjusting the polarizer adjusting the reflections off the side of the tulips and when we adjust to reduce those reflections were getting less blown out highlights spots and we're getting a better saturated a little bit more intense image. And so this is something that I would use in that type of lighting situation in the amazon were having a giant leap here and we're getting a lot of white reflections from the canopy above us we're going to add a polarizer and now we're going to reduce those reflection so that we can see the green of that leaf a little bit more clearly and so this could be very effective not only just out on a bright sunny days but in the forest is well, so no polarizer let's add the polarizer to this image and it really changes how lush that vegetation looks one of the reasons that it will be a very effective filter for travel photography is it affects the blue sky so let's, go ahead and start this video and you can see I'm adjusting the polarizer and you can notice the saturation in the columns as well. So saturation in the sky changing from a kind of a medium blue to a very, very dark blue in seattle if you want to see mount rainier, we have hayes here from time to time and that polarizer will help cut through some of that hes as well in long distance shots and so really makes a big difference here in this telephoto shot of mount rainier and so intensifying that blue sky is one of the main reasons people use this and you'll notice that it has very little effect on our subject itself it's just that background area where it has a really strong impact on it. And so since I started teaching classes, I've shot a lot of photos of polarizer on polarizer off, and so I have an endless collection of with him without but as a learning technique, I would encourage you to do the same because it'll really hammer home the point about when it works and when it doesn't work and when it's going to work is when you have side light, so you ca see these beauts in arizona and where is the sun coming from off to the right hand side he can tell it's coming from over here hitting and let's add a polarizer here this is probably one of the biggest impacts that I've seen and this is no photoshopped this is just straight in camera no polarizer polarizer and so you need to be looking for situations that are side lit and sometimes that will force you into certain types of compositions on dh they may or may not work out or sometimes you can make him work out one way or the other but it really helps you get that intense saturated look and in this case the sky is just very plain there's nothing going on but the polarizer on let's let's jump back if we can okay well maybe we'll just continue forward okay so you want to think about where the sun is and turning ninety degrees to the sun because that is where you're going to get the strongest impact and so if you are standing out in the field you need to be aware of where is the sign now if the sun is over there you can point right there and shoot the shot that's good and if the sun's over there you can shoot there or I could shoot back here and so you want to have the sons of the sun off your shoulders and so one of the areas that's tricky to work with on polarizer is really wide angle lenses because in this case we have a lens that's so wide it's looking almost towards the sun but it's also looking ninety degrees over here so we have polarized a portion of the sky but not the rest of it, and that doesn't look so good because that's not very natural looking, and so you've got to be careful with these wide angle lenses because you get a dark, blue, beautiful sky here, but not so good over there. And what do you do in this case? Probably just don't use a polarizer at all, and so here's a video clip of a place that you shouldn't use a polarizer because it's on ly polarizing about half the photo, it looks really nice on that half of the photo, but itjust you can't get it over on the other half because the sun's in the wrong position so just pay attention to any time you have side lighting, which is often a great type of lighting to have for a lot of different types of photography. And when you d'oh, add that polarizer on and just watch your image, pop is amazing what it does so polarizer is there going to reduce the reflection they're going to increase the saturation and increasing them blue in the sky though you don't leave the polarizer on all the time generally you will not use a polarizer inside at all it's an outside type filter and a polarizer is going to steal about two stops of light it depends on the exact polarizer and the position it's so you can't figure out the exposure put on a polarizer and just take the picture you got readjust shutter speeds and or apertures once you put that polarizer on and the reason why the polarizer doesn't work inside is that you I need in order for this to work, you need a strong directional light source and if you have lights coming from multiple locations the window, the lamp, the desk lamp over there you got light coming from all over and it's bouncing all over you don't get it the effect of the polarizer you need one strong light source and in most of those situations that's going to be the sun, which is going to be in just one part of the sky for using polarize er's filters in general. But polarizer is in particular sometimes they are rather thick in their size and you have to be careful with using really wide angle lenses because they see so far out to the side that you'll actually see the polarizer on the edge of the frame and so they do make a serious of slim filters for those of you using sixteen thirty fives or seventeen thirty five lenses like that now I just mentioned that it's very difficult to use a polarizer with wide angle lens, but there still are situations where you can use it maybe you're shooting vertically where you have a pointed in the right direction and so with any lens that goes less than twenty I would probably recommend the slim now you may need to check to see if it's absolutely necessary but generally less than twenty most cases you'd be wiser to get a slim why don't they make him all slim? Well, the difference is is that this has threads so that you can put a lens cap on it the slim ones do not and so that may play a factor into how it fits into your system of equipment I showed you before, but some of the big lenses have these droppin polarizer, which is a really easy way of adjusting polarization in fact, it's actually better here than on the other cameras because you have your camera, your lands and you just have a little dial here you don't have to reach around to the front and so it's very, very easy to work with the next type of filter I want to talk about is the neutral density filter neutral means it doesn't have any color effect to it density means it's dark so it's just a plain dark filter that's going to reduce the amount of light coming into your lands why would we want to reduce the amount of light coming into our camera? We always want more like well, we're going to do this for three main reasons either to get slower shutter speeds for waterfalls and rivers and things like that to get to preferred aperture settings if you remember the maximum sharpness on our lens is going to be in the middle of the aperture range or we might want to get shallower depth of field and this is why there's a lot of people who shoot video or film and use this and they want to get a shallow depth of field because when you shoot with those type of cameras there a little bit more limited in shutter speeds than us still photographers so let's imagine that we're shooting this rushing water and we're at five, six, one hundred twenty fifth of a second well, we want to slow down this water and get that nice blurry effect what do we do? Well, we're going change your aperture one, two, three, four, five stops which means we can go five stop slower on our shutter speeds and we can get down to a quarter of a second all right? So now we've got a nice slow shot well, what if I want to go slower than a quarter of a second? Well you're out a lot, you've gone as far as you can in your camera, that's as much as you can do, and we're going to assume that you're the lowest esso on this. Well, this is where you bring in the neutral density filter, and these come in a variety of densities. If you had a three stop indy filter, what I would recommend is taking your aperture and going back to sixteen because sixteen is sharper than f thirty two because of the diffraction that we explain to talked about earlier. So you're going to get a sharper picture here and then you can use that extra stop of light over on the shutter speeds to get down to a half second too slow that down a little bit more. So now we're at a very sharp spot when it comes to apertures, and when we want to add on a little bit more neutral density to darken our image up, then we can continue to take our shutter speeds down further and further. Now, personally, I have a six stop indy filter because I think that's a good jump for a nature photographer have to do these types of photos here, so now I can get down to four seconds taking this shot, whereas before we were back up at a quarter second. F thirty two now how much difference is there? Well, let's take a look so let's switch this back to no filter and back at a quarter second and I think this is a pretty nice looking shot and then we switch it back to the six top indie and now we have a four second exposure and this is a nice stop and what I really like is having a choice between the two. And so by having that neutral density filter, I have the choice about how I want my image to look and it gives me more leeway in that type of situation. And so in this case, I did use a six top indie filters. I wanted a really long exposure. This is a five second exposure and this is a four second exposure and this would be impossible to get without the the filter because shooting moving water in the sun is generally I would put it on my no no list. But anything on the no no list always has exceptions. Okay? And so I wanted to try and see if I could do it. And so I use the six top in the filter and I got a one second exposure without the six stop filter let's figure it out one second would take us up to a half a quarter eight fifteen thirtieth a sixteenth of a second and so normally under bright light conditions, the slowest shutter speed I could get would be a sixteenth of a second. All right, so let's imagine you're down at the city park, you want to get a picture of the waterfall down there? How are we going to set our camera so let's assume we're gonna have our camera said that the best is au setting of s o one hundred let's just say the camera right now is choosing f eleven to fifteen because that's just kind of middle of the road stop, all right, so you want to slow it up? So what do we do? What we're going to do is we're going to take our aperture and we're going to slow it down from f eleven down to f thirty two one two they were going one, two, three stops and so now we can do the same on our shutter speeds and we can get down to a thirtieth of a second and for waterfalls thirtieth of a second is just where it's starting to get interesting if we want to take this much further, we can add in a six top indie filter everything gets dark and now we can go down six stops on our shutter speeds if we want to get a really long shutter speed now, how much of a difference is it between our first shot are kind of slow shutter speed and are really slow shutter speed well, I think it's a pretty significant difference and so if you really want to do this sort of thing, you probably want to get an indie filter because it gives you more leeway in into getting into those slower shutter speeds and so shooting moving water in fast son generally something I don't recommend but can work out but sometimes you just want that really slow shutters because it does give your images different look, this is probably my favorite waterfall that I have found its in uh up and bam it's very easy to find it's on the main highway it's called tangle falls beautiful area there and so nice slow shutter speed this is a sick six second exposure so when it comes to the neutral density filter there's a number of very different very good brands like v plus w and sting ray scientific are also quite good in many of their filters and the question really becomes how strong a filter should I get in the the simplest way to think about it is how many f stops isn't going to change and the general range is going to be anywhere from one to six there's tens there's there are ones like for shooting the sun at one hundred or thousand x where a thousand one hundred stops ten stops now the ten stops would be a lot there are some that are variable in this case, this is very popular with people shooting video because they can dialling exactly how dark it gets. I found that the variable ones tend to be very expensive, and they sometimes have a little bit of a color shift, so I'm not a big fan of the variables. I think just getting one of the other ones would be fine, and I think something in the three to six category, I think one stop just isn't enough. I've been perfectly happy with six, and so I really like that. Sometimes these air raided in optical density, where point three optical density is equal to one stop. Sometimes they're factored as a x factor, so to x means it needs twice a cz much time, which means it's a one stop reduction so different companies have different ways of rating it it's just different numbers on on the mouth that they want to run. The graduated neutral density filter we just talked about the neutral density fell through the graduated neutral density filter is a gradual change from nothingness to density, and this is for people who want to darken the sky because very often the skies are darker than the land that we are shooting itself, so these filters are notably different in a number of different ways first off they're not round and we do not screw minto our lens although they are made round and you can find him around and scream and the problem is is that if you screw these type of filters in and they're around the horizon line which is where this grady in is is always going to be in the same spot in the middle of the frame this allows us to move it up and down so the top half of this is neutral in color and it's darker this is just plain old clear glass down here and so the way that these systems are often design is that you would mount it on the lands you put an adaptor on you put a bracket and then you move you can move the filter up and down more than more often than not I'll just hold the lens in front because it's just simple and fast and there's no problem with that at all so the way that I would use this is I would find a location where I have something in the foreground and the background that I want properly exposed in this case I have some flowers in the foreground that air looking quite nice and I have a beautiful sunset going on in the background doesn't that look like a beautiful sunset let's try a different exposure and maybe now we can see some nice clouds turning colors in the background but if we expose for that, the flowers have gone too dark and I, of course, would like the best of both worlds in this case, so what I will do is I will set the camera up for the flowers in the foreground, because that is the clear portion of the filter of what we'll be covering, and I'm going to take the indie filter, and I'm just going to slide it down so that it darkens the top of the frame and the clear part of the filter goes over the front and has no exposure change on it. And so it's, a very common technique, has been used for quite some time. The other way of doing this is a multi shot hdr technique, and so that technique arguably can work better in some situations, but it does require a tripod. It does require more possible shots, require software in time and putting this all together, and I'm big fan of getting things done in the field right at the time that you're shooting them and that you can do with the graduated neutral density filter sometimes called the split indeed, because it's split between dark on the top that's at our indy filter here, and we get a little bit more color and texture and saturation in the sky, and the foreground hasn't changed at all, so any time you see an image that has dark clouds and nice texture in the sky there's a good chance that the photographer used in indy filter so let's add an indie filter to this image darken up our sky the foreground doesn't change at all and so we can have one version of the other and you can choose and this is once again another filter that I've been doing a lot of with and without tests so that I can have examples in my classes but I think it's a good learning experience I'll shoot it once without and I'll shoot it once with to see how it works out in this case absolutely necessary we have blown out skye here pixels have got too much information but the foreground looks pretty good now we're able to darken that top part of the sky and it gradually changes in it in that gradual part we just don't even notice as it goes from dark to light here if you get positioned correctly and so it's standard technique for the landscape photographer because if you think about it how are you going to get a mounted in direct sun the same exposure as some flowers in the shade okay our eyes a just and this is pretty close to what we would see with their own eyes as we scan back and forth but just taking a standard shot there it's going to be much, much darker in the foreground now there's a wide variety of neutral density filters that you can get and some of the factors that you will see is to weather they're two stops three stops I think they even have one stops in some cases depends on which brand you by how much density do you want in the top part two or three stops I think two stops is really handy it's kind of been my longtime favorite but I've been using the three stop a little bit more recently I think those were the most valuable ones for most people I would recommend get the to stop first and then if you want to have to kind of as a backup or second version to go to then get the two in the three stop there's also a difference in how quickly it changes the gradation because sometimes they have soft, medium and hard gradations and there's a number of companies that have a wide variety of all of these and so there will be some people who walk around with kits with nine different filters in there so that it has just the right amount but this is what I used and I've been really happy with it I've gotten very good results with it so it's gonna help darken the skies just to bring them down a little bit so that they're not overexposed and gets that tonal range into something that you can capture with standard cameras because if it's outside the exposure range it's either this or hdr hdr does not work well for moving subject so anything moving whether it's grasses or people moving through out the frame this is gonna work much better. Technically this is not a filter, this is a close up webs they want to let you know this is a lens, not a filtered so nikon does make some very small close up filters or lenses that you can put on the end of your lands and this oh, this is a way for somebody to get a little bit closer who maybe had just one or two lenses and they just want to get a little bit closer and so they make a variety of these that you need to eat get correctly for the lens that you have. And so one of the nice things is that there's no exposure change for somebody who wants to get a little bit closer up. It doesn't get you as close up is a macro lens, which we're going to get into in the next big section, but it allows you to get in a little bit closer without spending a lot of money and so they have different lenses designed for different focal length because they need to have different types of optics to make it work right? But then you also have the filter size that combines to this to be honest with you, I don't know many photographers that use thes. They would rather use extension tube's, which is a topic we have coming up in a moment or actual macro lances. But it is the simplest way. If someone said, you know, I just have this one basic lands, and I just wish it focused a little closer. And I want something really simple and easy. That would work with that system. So they are available. And there, as I say, they're not too much money.