A good fil­ter sys­tem can turn snap­shots into stun­ners. Here’s how to pick the right set-up for you

NPhoto - - Test Team -

01 Shape

All our kits have square or rec­tan­gu­lar fil­ters. Round, screw-in al­ter­na­tives can be cheaper, but they’ll only fit lenses of the same di­am­e­ter and can’t be po­si­tioned to suit your com­po­si­tion.

02 Stops

NDs and ND grads are graded ac­cord­ing to how much light they block, eg ND2 (one stop), ND4 (two stops) and ND8 (three stops).

03 Neu­tral­ity

Go for a kit with neu­tral den­sity fil­ters or ND grads and they should be just that: neu­tral. The dark­ened sec­tion shouldn’t in­tro­duce any no­tice­able colour cast to the fi­nal im­age.

04 Ma­te­rial

Most fil­ters are now made from op­ti­cal-grade plas­tic, mak­ing them lighter and more shat­ter-resistant than glass al­ter­na­tives. They are more prone to scratches, though, so han­dle with care.

05 Size mat­ters

Smaller P-size fil­ters of­fer a good bal­ance of porta­bil­ity and lens cov­er­age, with 100mm-wide fil­ters be­ing a bet­ter match for FX D-SLRs. Smaller A-for­mat kits suit com­pact sys­tem cam­eras.

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