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Old Mar 10, 2011, 4:48 PM   #11
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Another good site is www.canon.com.au/worldofeos
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Old Mar 10, 2011, 5:59 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by swerve66 View Post
I recently purchased a Canon 7D. I was wondering if a filter will make my pictures better and if so which ones. Also, what is the best way to learn more about ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. Is there a good book or video?
Filters are tools. And like any tool, a filter should only be used when it is appropriate to do so. There are many types of filters. This is a description of the most common types.

UV filters are for film. Digital sensors do not respond to UV light so you don't need to filter it.

Clear protective filters are used when environmental factors can damage your lens. One example is corrosive mist or spray, such as ocean spray (salt) or Yellowstone park geysers (sulfur.)

Neutral Density (ND) Filters are used to reduce light, usually for artistic reasons. The best known example is photographing moving water. By cutting light and using a longer shutter speed, a sense of flow can be captured in the image. A Graduated Neutral Denstity (GND) Filter is half clear, allowing a portion of the image to be exposed normally. These are used to reduce the brightness of a particular area of the scene, such as a bright sky in a landscape scene.

Polarizers are tricky to use. They are primarily used outdoors to eliminate or reduce reflections of sunlight, which is itself polarized. Also, reflections from certain surfaces can be reduced if the surface polarizes the light. The effects of polarizers are...deeper blue skies, greater contrast in clouds, brighter foliage, and reduced reflections from water and glass. But polarizers only work when used properly.

Learn more about polarizers here...

Enhancing/Intensifying/Didymium filters (all the same) intensify certain natural colors. They work well for landscape shots. Here are some examples...

With black & white photography, color filters are used to change the lightness of colors, and so change the B&W rendition of those colors.

A good way to view filters is as Photoshop for the lens. Itís a time-honored way to manipulate the look of your image in ways that canít be done on the computer. Use filters only when necessary for a certain effect. Otherwise, leave the filter off because filters reduce image quality. To protect your lens use a hood instead of a filter.
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