While digital photography and post-processing have done away with the need for certain types of lens filters, there are still a number of filters that can’t be replaced by Photoshop. Here’s a 8.5-minute video by DPReview on which filters you should still consider keeping in your camera bag.
The four filters introduced by host Chris Nichols are the circular polarizer (CPL), neutral density (ND), ultraviolet (UV), and graduated neutral density (GND) filters.
CPL filters help reduce unwanted glare from reflected surfaces (e.g. water) by selectively absorbing or passing light depending its polarization.
ND filters block some of the light entering your camera, allowing you to use an exposure triangle combination that would have otherwise resulted in overexposed photos.
UV filters may not do anything optically for modern digital cameras, but they can be used as a cheap way to prevent dust, smudges, and scratches from damaging your lens’ front element.
GND filters can help you prevent overexposing and clipping details in skies when shooting landscape photos and other tricky lighting environments.
“As much as I love the filters that we use today, as much as I do absolutely think they’re essential today, I do understand that digital technology gets better and better and eventually could replace these filters,” Nichols says. “But we’re not quite there yet. And as amazing as computational photography technology is getting […] I still don’t think they can 100% replace the filters that we have… yet.”