When travel photographer Craig Pulsifer accidentally smashed the front of his lens recently and found his lens filter fused firmly to the metal threads, he went to Canon for help. The removal process explained to him by a Canon Professional services technician is probably something most people wouldn’t think to try: use a hammer and hacksaw to surgically remove the stuck filter. Pulsifer followed the advice, and found that it works quite well (though he does warn that it’s “not recommended for the faint of heart”).
Photographer Nick Cool came up with one of the strangest pieces of do-it-yourself camera gear that we’ve seen so far this year. He took an ordinary stainless steel sink filter — yup, the thing that catches food at the bottom of kitchen sinks — drilled various-sized holes through it, and stuck it into a filter ring after taking out the glass. The resulting photographic sink filter takes soft focus photos with pretty strange-looking bokeh in the background. Changing the size of the holes drilled into the plate produces different bokeh styles.
You can find the step-by-step tutorial on the build over on DIYPhotography. There are also some more sample photographs over in this Flickr set by Cool.
How To Build A Soft Focus Filter From A Sink Drainer [DIYPhotography]
Image credits: DIY soft focus filter and DIY soft focus filter by Nick Cool
UV lens filters are a popular way to protect the front element of lenses from damage, but you should make sure you invest in a high-quality one unless you want to make a huge sacrifice in image quality. Reddit user EvilDoesIt shot the photos above comparing a cheap filter with a pricier one:
The top one is a $20 Quantaray UV filter. Bottom is a ~$70 B+W MRC UV filter. This is a more extreme example, but it shows the difference between a nice filter and a crappy cheap one. Both these shots are unedited JPEGs from my Nikon D7k with a Nikkor 17-55 ƒ/2.8 @ 1.3s ISO100.
I do realize that the top pic can be easily fixed by adjusting levels, but in my opinion, it’s always better to get the best picture you can get out of your camera before editing. [#]
His last sentence is a gem: to achieve the best images, you want to make sure you’re squeezing out the best image quality you can from each step along the way.
Image credit: Photographs by EvilDoesIt and used with permission
Here’s a quick tip for if you ever have a hard time removing a lens filter from a lens (e.g. when it’s damaged): use a shoe. Simply take any shoe with a grippy flat bottom, press it firmly against the filter, and then turn it. It’s a super simple technique that should work every time unless the threads on the lens itself are badly damaged.
Thanks for the tip, Luke!
Here’s a quick photo related life hack: if you have a lens filter that just won’t come off, try using a rubber jar opener to do the task. If you don’t have one already in your kitchen, there might be cheap ones at your local dollar store!