Get­ting sloppy with fil­ters

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

We all know how im­por­tant it is to keep fil­ters spot­less, but even high­est-qual­ity, highly-buffed fil­ters will give duff re­sults if they’re not used prop­erly. If you’re us­ing a screw-on fil­ter, then it’s im­por­tant to fit a lens hood when you’re shoot­ing in bright con­di­tions, oth­er­wise there’s a risk of in­ter­nal re­flec­tions de­grad­ing the im­age.

It’s tougher to do this with a square fil­ter sys­tem such as those from Lee and Cokin, as you’ll need a spe­cial­ist lens hood. Us­ing your hand or your body to cast a shadow over the front of the lens is a good idea, but even then you can end up with ghost­ing – light re­flect­ing from the sur­faces of the fil­ters and lenses – if the fil­ter isn’t prop­erly in­stalled. Al­ways start with the slot near­est the lens; it’s easy to miss this if you’re shoot­ing in low light or in­clement weather.

In this first ex­am­ple, a 10-stop ND fil­ter wasn’t placed in the slot of the fil­ter holder that was clos­est to the lens. This led to ghost­ing, with the light be­ing re­flected off the sur­face of the fil­ter and lens. Note that the ghost­ing is the same shape as the aper­ture be­ing used

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