The 10 Best Camera Lens Filters
This wiki has been updated 10 times since it was first published in July of 2018. If you're ready to take your photo skills to the next level, pick up a few of these camera lens filters before your next shoot. They're among the most useful accessories the prepared photographer can keep in their gear bag, allowing for better image control in different conditions. Our selection includes a range of options ranked by versatility, optical quality, and durability. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 16, 2020:
For this iteration of our ranking, we wanted to go back in and make sure there weren't any redundancies that couldn't be justified by significant differences in the offerings. For example, we had four different UV filters previously, as well as the Hoya Digital Kit II, which comes with one of its own. That kit stayed, because it offers a lot of high quality glass for a pretty reasonable price, but the Tiffen and Amazonbasics models were sent packing. That Amazon model in particular had a huge reflection problem from light bouncing off the front element of the lens and hitting the backside of the filter. You could tell that's what it was because the reflections were inverted, which is how images appear in convex front elements.
Our few neutral density offerings also saw some changes, as a Tiffen model, as well as a nice offering from Breakthrough Photography, both exited the list. This may be a personal preference, but given the flexibility of DSLRs and mirrorless cameras today, it doesn't make any sense to me to have a single-intensity ND. If you were shooting celluloid, sure, as your ISO (ASA) would be locked to your roll unless you wanted to push or pull it in development, so consistency in your ND could help you be more precise. But in the digital world, variable NDs make more sense. That's why we added the exceptional Gobe ND2-400 Variable Neutral Density to our list, as well as the Canon Drop-In Variable ND. The only place single-intensity ND does make sense is in rectangular graduated filters like you see with the Cokin Square Creative Kit, as these are most often used in static landscape work.
With some of the standard bearers in the filter market accounted for, we turned our sights to more niche options like the Tiffen 77HOSTR Hollywood, a star filter with an asymmetrical diffraction pattern scored into the glass that works wonders on in-frame light sources. It's a smart choice for music video shooters and avant garde filmmakers who want to add a hint of the ethereal to their work.
Kolarvision Archives This company's offerings are all about shooting in infrared. If you have a backup DSLR you're not using, they can convert it to sense the infrared spectrum instead of visible light, and then you can make specific decisions about color performance with their frequency-calibrated filters in front of any normal lens. The results are often breathtaking, but the camera conversion is more or less permanent, and autofocus might not perform the same as it did before. kolarivision.com