The 3 Best Filters for Landscape Photography, Ranked

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We nominate what we believe are the three best filters for stunning landscape photos.

Words and Photography by Urth HQ

Lens filters are compact but powerful tools that can help you be better prepared for the wild and unpredictable conditions you’ll encounter when capturing landscape images.

There are a wide range of lens filters that are all super helpful for landscape photography including: UV filters, CPL filters, ND filters, star filters, infrared filters, and graduated filters too. In this article, we nominate what we believe are the three best filters for landscape photography.

#3 – A UV Filter

When shooting landscapes, ultraviolet light creates a blue hue and makes details look a little blurry. It’s usually quite subtle but can be seen more clearly on hazy days, which is when a UV filter really comes into its own. When you cut ultraviolet light, you’ll remove the cold blue hue and, by cutting the haze, your landscape images will be sharper and clearer. 

INSURANCE FOR YOUR LENS

Another factor that makes UV filters great for landscape and other outdoor photography ventures is that they protect your lens from the elements. If you have a lens filter on your lens and it falls victim to sand, dirt, mud and the rest – it may just save your lens. We’ve had customers drop their cameras and their lens filter was the only casualty – easily replaced and a lot cheaper than replacing a lens.

Shot without a UV filter.
Shot with an Urth UV Filter Plus+.

#2 – A Variable ND Filter

Shooting in nature means adapting to changing and often difficult light conditions. A variable ND filter is the most useful tool a photographer can have to make the most of variable light. Variable ND filters have a rotating outer element that let you adjust how many f-stops of light you block from entering your camera. If you’re starting out with ND filters, we recommend a variable ND so you have more flexibility while you’re learning how and when to shoot with an ND.

EXPAND YOUR SHOOTING HOURS

A variable ND filter lets you tame and tone back the hard light outside the preferred golden hours around dawn and dusk. And if you’re shooting on a cloudy day and the sun keeps hiding and reappearing behind clouds, a variable ND is the easiest way to keep your exposure true – you simply rotate your variable ND.

EXPLORE NEW CREATIVE POSSIBILITIES

Variable ND filters can unlock new creative effects with your landscape photography too. By blocking more light, you can achieve motion blur and depth of field effects – even in bright light – without overexposing your photographs.

#1 – A CPL Filter

Circular Polarising lens filters (CPL) cut reflected light for better colour saturation, stronger contrast, and increased vibrancy – a clear winner for the best landscape photography lens filter. You can use a CPL to cut reflected light off bodies of water to reveal the true colours beneath the silver glare. You can cut reflections from windows and even eye-glasses  for a clearer view of what’s behind them. 

MORE DRAMATIC SCENES

In outdoor photography and videography, you’ll notice better colour saturation of foliage, a deeper blue sky, and stronger contrast even in filtered light (think cloudy days). If you aren’t capturing the landscapes around you in the way you want, a CPL lens filter could make a world of difference.

Shot without a CPL filter.
Shot with an Urth CPL Filter Plus+.
Shot with an Urth CPL Filter Plus+.
Shot without a CPL filter.
Shot with an Urth CPL Filter Plus+.

Conclusion

If you’re interested in exploring and elevating your landscape photography, these three filters are incredibly powerful tools to have in your kit. UV filters, ND filters (both variable and fixed) and CPL filters can help bring out the best in your landscape photographs. 

While a CPL is our number one pick as the most versatile and best filter for landscape photography, they’re all helpful in different ways, it ultimately depends on what you’re shooting and trying to achieve. 

A final tip before you go, when making a decision about the quality of lens filter you should buy, match the quality of your filter to the quality of your lens – if in doubt, go for the better quality filter.

Did you know Urth plants 5 trees for every filter purchased? They’re good for your photography, and better for the planet. Shop our range of lens filters

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2021-03-03T00:54:14+00:00Categories: Gear|Tags: , |