Filters are curious items. So simple in their style and yet to the uninitiated they can be the reason for much confusion – both in the time of purchase and when put into use. Frequently, enthusiastic photographers easily associate with their hard-earned cash, buying Camera filter that they believe will improve their images, only to be disappointed with the results. This actually is not anybody’s fault, rather a matter of education; as ever, understanding how to pick the perfect tool for the job and, more importantly, knowing how to get the best out of it, should be your starting point. In this guide, I will give you a basic overview of what is out there. Of course, not all shapes and types of filter will suit each photographer (or their funding ), but there’ll be something that’s ideal for you. Simply put, a filter is a piece of glass or resin that is (usually) placed in front of your camera lens. Some are more elaborate than others in their own function, but all share the quality that they change how your pictures will examine the right time of exposure (and, generally, ahead through the viewfinder, too). Some filters, for example ultraviolet types, do not actually have a noticeable visual impact, while others are often very striking, either in cutting out a lot of the light entering the lens or introducing colour and/or contrast to the spectacle in the front of your camera. What exactly are filters used for? Well, there are two main reasons why photographers use them – lens security and creativity. In the case of the former, a lot of people decide to leave a transparent threaded filter attached to the front of each of the lenses from the word go. The argument for doing so is that, if the front of the lens have pumped, scratched or unfortunately damaged, there is a fair chance that the filter will take the brunt of the impact. On the flip side, many people today maintain that image sharpness is compromised by the use of those filters. While this may happen to be true in the past, especially with cheap filters, the standard of materials used nowadays is so good that the average person would probably be not able to discern the difference in the resultant images. In the end of the day it is your choice but, having had lenses stored by protective filters myself, I know what I’d rather do! Filters may be used singularly or’stacked’ in front of the lens – it really depends on what visual impact you want to achieve. It might be that you want to cut out reflections in glass surfaces or perhaps you wish to tone-down a glowing white sky – either way, there is an exhaustive variety of mixes available to the photographer. There are numerous main designs but, whatever the way they attach, all varieties of filter basically work in the exact same way once firmly held in position. Perhaps the simplest design to use is the round, screw-in filter (note: this is not the same as a round filter, which I will return to later), which screws into the filter thread on your lens. When making your choice, make sure you double-check the thread size of your lens (frequently clearly indicated in millimeters – such as 67mm or 72mm – to the lens itself or on the underside of the lens cap) as this is the vital bit of information required for accurately fitting both elements.