In a perfect world you don’t need a filter. Your lens, even the most basic of kit lenses, comes pre-coated to minimize flare and color aberration. And when not in use, every lens comes with a lens cap that protects the front element of your lens and never ever unknowingly falls off your camera as you stroll down the boulevard. But we don’t live in a perfect world so forget about all of the above. (And by the way, I think you just lost your lens cap)
Unlike film cameras, which are limited to an ever-dwindling choice of Daylight, Tungsten, or B&W film stocks, most all digital cameras can be programmed to a number of (usually) accurate preset color parameters. Custom white balance is a simple, menu-driven chore for most digicams, and there’s no shortage of affordable, easy-to-use white-balancing devices.
And while I’m a big proponent of getting things right the first time, in-camera, it’s still reassuring to know you can tweak your efforts days, weeks, months, or years after the fact in Photoshop, especially if you shoot RAW or better yet, RAW+JPEG. As for color and other ‘creative’ filters, many of these filters can be easily mimicked electronically using any number of digital filter kits we carry at B&H. So the question of the day is, in a digital world, who needs glass filters?The simple answer is … you, me, and everybody else running around with a camera. And the reason we need filters is because most unfiltered images fall short of what they can and should be in terms of clarity, contrast, saturation, and overall detail. But before we get into the details, let’s cover a few of the basics.