Camera Filters: the only cheat sheet you’ll need for beautiful, balanced exposures

Camera Filters: the only cheat sheet you'll ever need to get beautifully balanced exposures

Square vs Round camera filters

Square vs Round camera filters

Camera filters are available in either round or square/rectangular designs. The round filters simply screw onto the front of your lens, while the square type need a holder and an adapter ring to attach them.

Which system you should choose depends on the type and number of filters you’re likely to use, and also the lenses you’ll want to use them with.

Round camera filters are ideal for using individually, and if all your lenses have the same filter thread size. Square filters are a better option when you plan on using more than one filter at a time, or if you own a range of lenses with different thread sizes.

The end use of a filter also has a bearing on your choice of filter system. For practically full-time lens protection, you can’t beat the convenience of a circular screw-in filter, whereas rectangular filters are more suited to specialist effects – graduated filters, for example – as you can slide the filter in its holder to position the effect precisely.

Save some money
Buying the whole system for square camera filters can be very expensive, but as a stopgap you could consider simply holding the filters in front of the lens.

You need steady hands and the camera locked off on a tripod for this technique to work, and it won’t be easy to hold the filter still for exposures of a second or more.

Another simple solution is to use a tiny amount of Blu-Tack to help keep the filter in position while you hold it.

PAGE 1: Using camera filters effectively – free cheat sheet
PAGE 2: Camera filter options
PAGE 3: Square vs Round camera filters


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  • jmeyer

    Hi Steve – It’s because printable pdfs are very large in size, even at low-res, and we simply don’t have the space. We’re looking at other ways, but in the meantime you can drag and drop it to your desktop, then crop and save each individual sheet.

    Not sure what you mean by advertising. There are a few ads on the site, but there aren’t any ads on the cheat sheets!

  • jmeyer

    ‘Pointless’ sounds a bit harsh, as you can still read them and learn from them. We’re trying to give these to you for free, and PDFs are way too large to host on the site, as are PSD files. We’ve broken up some of our more popular cheat sheets in this longer format and put the PSDs on Flickr (Google ‘posing guide’ and you’ll find links in that post). We’re working our way through them, but if there’s one like this that you want now you can drag and drop the file to your desktop. Then just crop each of the four sections and save as a new file. Those should print fine.