Digital SLR Photography - - The Beginner ’s Guide -

SCREW- IN Fit­ting di­rectly on to the thread of your lens, screw- in fil­ters are made of high- qual­ity op­ti­cal glass. Depend­ing on how many lenses you own, how­ever, and if they have dif­fer­ent fil­ter threads, you may need to in­vest in the same type of fil­ter to fit dif­fer­ent lenses, which can be very ex­pen­sive. An al­ter­na­tive is to in­vest in a ‘ step up’ ring, which is an adapter that lets you fit a large fil­ter to a lens with a smaller fil­ter thread, re­duc­ing the num­ber of fil­ters you po­ten­tially need. These 'step up' rings, how­ever, are no­to­ri­ous for get­ting stuck on lenses.

While screw- in fil­ters are smaller, easier to store, faster to at­tach and can be used with a lens hood, you’ll po­ten­tially end up car­ry­ing a lot more fil­ters or adapters. The screw- in sys­tem isn’t quite as fu­ture- proof as the slot- in sys­tem ei­ther as if you up­grade your lens, you may find your fil­ter thread changes too, forc­ing you to in­vest again in new fil­ters with dif­fer­ent sizes of fil­ter threads.

SLOT- IN Typ­i­cally square or rec­tan­gu­lar pieces of glass or op­ti­cal resin, slot- in fil­ters are se­cured via a fil­ter holder that at­taches to your lens via an adap­tor ring. One of the big­gest ad­van­tages of this fil­ter sys­tem is that all your fil­ters will work with all of your lenses thanks to the in­ex­pen­sive adap­tor rings. How­ever, they're larger and much more frag­ile than screw- in fil­ters. Most fil­ter hold­ers are also de­signed with mul­ti­ple slots, mak­ing it quick and easy to com­bine fil­ters with­out any vi­gnetting, which is com­mon when you at­tach two or more screw- in fil­ters at the same time. Many hold­ers also come with space to at­tach a cir­cu­lar po­lariser, which is of­ten the pre­ferred style for this type of fil­ter.

Slot- in sys­tems vary in size, the most pop­u­lar be­ing the 100mm sys­tems by Cokin, Hoya and Lee Fil­ters. The adap­tor rings are avail­able in var­i­ous thread sizes and the hold­ers are known for slot­ting on and off eas­ily.

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