G’day action cam users!
So, lets cover a topic that could be deemed more for intermediate/ advanced photographers, but should be embraced by even the amateur action cam users.
In everyday photos and video, your cam will capture great images, especially if you have the most up to date models, featuring the best imaging sensors. But with the right lens for the scene, your shots will look even better, and need less colour/ contrast editing afterwards. If your a more adventurous photographer, such as a diver, then filters are pretty much a necessity to give immediate colour or density correction, especially beyond the 5m point, where the red spectrum begins to really fade through the water.
So here, I will cover the 6 main filters that come in the filter set we carry at PRO GEAR, you can find the set here: https://www.pro-gear.com.au/products/6-piece-52mm-filter-kit
1) UV Filter
UV filters are often used to protect the front of a lens, the logic being that any damage caused to a filter is preferable to any damage to the front element of a lens.
UV lenses filter ultraviolet light, this was a popular choice with film photography, although they are required to a lesser extent today thanks to the auto white balance systems found in all digital cameras.
Best use: Top side, any conditions.
2) Polarizing Filter (CPL)
Polarizing filters are a must in any landscape photographer’s bag, so it’s natural that you should have one for using your GoPro or action cam topside during dive trips. The filter reduces glare (on the water, leaves, rocks, etc) and adds saturation and contrast into bright scenes, such as giving the blue of the sky a darker depth to really pop against clouds. When out on location, you can hold this filter up to your eye to preview its effect and determine whether you’ll use it.
Best Use: Topside photo and video on sunny days.
3) Neutral Density (ND) Filter
Neutral density (ND) filters are meant for topside use and are critical for certain video/photo situations. ND filters block light, making slower shutter speeds possible. The GoPro Hero 3+ uses a fast shutter speed by default, which freezes action very well. There are times, however, when some blur creates a sense of movement and enhances the action in the frame. The ND filter can be used to achieve this. Examples include moving pavement while driving and waves splashing against rocks.
ND filters are also very useful for time-lapses, where slow shutter speeds (aka “dragging the shutter”) create slight blur, resulting in a smoother time-lapse.
Best Use 1: Video & photos with a static subject as well as a subject that needs to be blurred to show speed or the passage of time.
Best Use 2: Smooth video, especially for GoPro time-lapses or when mounted on vibrating surfaces.
4) Red correction filter
Red filters compensate for the lack of red light in underwater scenes (since red is the first color to be lost when descending in water). This shift in available light will often confuse the camera’s white balance metering, so the red filter helps deliver accurate, vibrant color in your video, as well as much-needed contrast. The Polar Pro red filter is designed to be used in tropical and blue water, optimized for use between 10 and 80 feet.
Best Use: Ambient light (no video lights). Blue water/ tropical locations past 5m.
5) Yellow correction filter
Yellow Filter should be used in shallow Tropical waters in the morning, shall use in blue water. You will find some suspended solids in tropical seas, as a result, the long-wave scattering is relatively low and short-wave scattering is stronger. Light is absorbed more under the deep sea and then reflected and it shows blue on the surface. So we always use the yellow filters to correct the colour in the morning on tropical waters.
Best Use: Early morning, shallow blue/ tropical water above 5m
6) Magenta correction filter
Magenta filters also compensate for the lack of red light but are optimized for green water between 10 and 80 feet. Not only do the filters bring colour back into the scene, but they also help bring back the contrast needed for interesting video.
Best Use: Ambient light (no video lights). Green water.
So these are the 6 filters that come in our filter kit, which also comes with the waterproof housing adapter ring, screw key, lens cleaning cloth and 3 compartment storage pouch. Really really handy bit of kit, and well worth getting. You can find it in store here: https://www.pro-gear.com.au/products/6-piece-52mm-filter-kit
One last bit of advice regarding this filter kit, when you aren’t using each filter, screw them together before placing in the storage pouch, this prevents them sliding against each other, which will scratch the lenses. I normally group the red, yellow and magenta together in one pocket. The UV, CPL and ND in another pocket, and the lens cloth and screw key in the last pocket. Simple, keeps things tidy, and most importantly, stops the lenses getting damaged.
I hope you found this information useful, and makes your action cam experience even better! Feel free to share some of your media with us on our facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Pro.Gear.and.accessories/
And for any other mount or accessory needs, check out our home page here: https://www.pro-gear.com.au/
Stay safe, stay awesome!