The light fil­ter is a spe­cial opti­cal glass for the lens. It pro­tects the tech­nique from impacts, and also affects the final pho­to. Col­or fil­ters trans­form col­or, ND fil­ters bright­en, soft fil­ters sharp­en, and polar­iz­ing fil­ters dark­en the sky and remove reflec­tions in the frame.

In appear­ance, it is almost impos­si­ble to dis­tin­guish a high-qual­i­ty fil­ter from a bad one if there are no gross defects on it — cracks, stains. There­fore, when buy­ing a light fil­ter, we have to trust the com­pa­ny that makes it. We talk about the most famous man­u­fac­tur­ers of light fil­ters and under­stand their pros and cons.


Price segment and quality

When choos­ing a fil­ter, decide on the max­i­mum price and how often you will use it. For exam­ple, it is bet­ter not to save on a pro­tec­tive fil­ter for a stan­dard lens. With it, you will pro­tect the optics from mois­ture, dust, scratch­es, and high-qual­i­ty fil­ter glass will not knock down sharp­ness and change col­or repro­duc­tion. At the same time, you can use it con­stant­ly — put it on once and for­get it.

If you are an ama­teur who takes a cam­era once a year on trips, or a begin­ner who has not decid­ed whether he needs a fil­ter to cre­ate a rarely used effect, take a clos­er look at bud­get man­u­fac­tur­ers. After you test the fea­tures and ben­e­fits of the fil­ter, look at the more expen­sive mod­els.

  • Pre­mi­um fil­ters. They are pro­duced by Tiff­en, Cokin, Zeiss. These com­pa­nies are renowned for pro­duc­ing high qual­i­ty fil­ters and optics. Suit­able for pro­fes­sion­als and those who are sure of their choice and are ready to pay extra (or maybe over­pay) for qual­i­ty and brand.
  • Fil­ters of the mid­dle price seg­ment. There are sev­er­al dozens of fil­ter man­u­fac­tur­ers in this cat­e­go­ry, but B + W and Hoya brands are well-known in the pho­to com­mu­ni­ty. Both com­pa­nies also pro­duce lens­es, tele­con­vert­ers, macro attach­ments. They have a wide range and there is a divi­sion of fil­ter mod­els by price and qual­i­ty: pre­mi­um, medi­um and stan­dard (ama­teur) seg­ments. This option is an ide­al val­ue for mon­ey, so we will dwell on them in more detail.
  • bud­get fil­ters. Ando­er, Kenko (sub­sidiary of Hoya), unknown Chi­nese brands in online stores. Options for begin­ners, ama­teurs and those who want to exper­i­ment. It will save mon­ey and allow you to decide that, yes, you need a soft effect or night city lights in the form of cross­es. But keep in mind that bud­get mod­els can change col­or repro­duc­tion, knock down sharp­ness, and also that the fil­ter will not ful­ly reveal its full poten­tial due to the poor qual­i­ty of mate­ri­als com­pared to col­leagues in high­er seg­ments.
  • If you are unde­cid­ed, take a clos­er look at the fil­ters of cam­era man­u­fac­tur­ers — Canon, Nikon, Olym­pus, Pen­tax, etc. Such fil­ters are most com­pat­i­ble with lens­es from the same com­pa­nies. This is the main plus — you can be sure of the qual­i­ty. Minus — the cost and a small assort­ment. For exam­ple, Canon offers only three types of fil­ters: polar­iz­ing, pro­tec­tive and neu­tral den­si­ty. The price range is from 1700 to 46 thou­sand rubles per fil­ter. Suit­able for strict brand fol­low­ers who trust only him.

If every­thing is clear with pre­mi­um seg­ment fil­ters: you pay a lot — you get qual­i­ty, then with man­u­fac­tur­ers of medi­um and bud­get mod­els, every­thing is not so clear. We stud­ied the B + W and Hoya line­up, fig­ured out their pros and cons, and also tried to find out what Androer and Kenko bud­get fil­ters are capa­ble of.


A Japan­ese com­pa­ny that man­u­fac­tures opti­cal equip­ment and elec­tron­ics. The fact that the com­pa­ny spe­cial­izes in optics and has its own pro­duc­tion indi­cates that the fil­ters (and this is also an opti­cal acces­so­ry) will be of high qual­i­ty — they are checked, test­ed, and not pur­chased from an unknown Chi­nese fac­to­ry.

Hoya has sev­er­al sub­sidiaries:

  • Pen­tax. It pro­duces cam­eras, lens­es, binoc­u­lars, micro­scopes, tele­scopes, glass­es glass­es.
  • Kenko. Pro­duces tele­con­vert­ers, ama­teur-grade fil­ters (more on them below) and lens­es under the Tok­i­na brand.

The com­pa­ny devel­ops both pre­mi­um and ama­teur fil­ters. Here’s how they share:

1. Pre­mi­um. Hoya HD range. Pro­tec­tive, ultra­vi­o­let and polar­iz­ing fil­ters.

Glass­es rec­om­mend­ed and praised by expe­ri­enced pho­tog­ra­phers. They are made of tem­pered glass, which means that such fil­ters are not easy to break or scratch. In addi­tion, they were coat­ed with a spe­cial coat­ing against mois­ture and grease, which makes it easy to clean the fil­ters with a reg­u­lar microfiber cloth or a spe­cial pen­cil for optics.

Also, if we com­pare the line of polar­iz­ing fil­ters, they are brighter than the sim­i­lar B + W F‑PRO KSM C‑POL MRC and even Zeiss POL mod­els, which means that the frame bright­ness will not drop so much. Of the minus­es — some users claim that Hoya HD glass­es turn yel­low com­pared to B + W.

2. Mid­dle seg­ment. Fusion ONE, Fusion Anti­sta­t­ic, Hoya HMC.
3. Stan­dard or ama­teur seg­ment. HOYA UX, TEC.

It makes no sense to com­pare pre­mi­um with the aver­age or ama­teur seg­ment, even with­in the same brand — the qual­i­ty of the pre­mi­um seg­ment is much high­er.

But, if you com­pare the aver­age with the ama­teur, then in some cas­es you can think about the choice. For exam­ple, polar­iz­ing fil­ters HOYA Fusion One Cir-PL and HOYA UX Cir-PL. The data is as fol­lows: Fusion ONE is eas­i­er to clean, less glare, cuts off ultra­vi­o­let bet­ter, that is, it pro­tects the matrix from light, and increas­es the con­trast of the image.

But the essen­tial advan­tages of HOYA UX are that it is two to three times cheap­er and lighter, which means that the frame will be brighter and you won’t have to raise the ISO. If you don’t have the fastest lens, is it worth it if you take a fil­ter three times more expen­sive, but it will be almost impos­si­ble to shoot through it?


Ger­man brand of the Schnei­der-Kreuz­nach con­cern. It is renowned for pro­duc­ing high qual­i­ty optics for medi­um and large for­mat cam­eras, as well as sup­ply­ing lens­es and opti­cal parts for Kodak and Sam­sung dig­i­tal cam­eras.


Their fil­ters are made from glass from the Ger­man com­pa­ny Schott, which is part of the Zeiss group of com­pa­nies (the same man­u­fac­tur­ers of pre­mi­um optics that even make med­ical equip­ment, micro­scopes and com­po­nents for plan­e­tar­i­ums).

Their fil­ter frames are made of brass, not alu­minum like oth­er brands. Because of this, their fil­ters are heav­ier, but the frame is stronger and less like­ly to get stuck on the lens — they are easy to remove.

1. Pre­mi­um mod­els B + W Pro­line and B + W XS-Pro (a ruler with a thin frame so that the fil­ter does not get into the frame if you shoot with a wide-angle lens on full-frame cam­eras). These are polar­iz­ing, pro­tec­tive and ultra­vi­o­let fil­ters.
2. B+W Basic for begin­ner pho­tog­ra­phers.
3. Mod­els for cre­at­ing spe­cial effects. For exam­ple, soft fil­ter B + W Soft-Pro, infrared B + W 092 Dark Red, B + W 093 or gra­di­ent B + W Grad­u­at­ed. Gra­di­ent fil­ters come in dif­fer­ent col­ors: gray, orange, pur­ple, green, blue, red.

B+W fil­ters have a brass frame. They are heav­ier but stronger than the same Hoya frames.

Anoth­er plus in addi­tion­al acces­sories that allows or does not allow you to put a light fil­ter on your­self. For exam­ple, the B+W XS-Pro allows you to mount a lens cap or hood on top of your­self, despite the fact that these are mod­els with ultra-thin frames, while the Hoya Super HMC does not.

Of the minus­es, some users com­plain that the polar­iz­er rotates tight­ly on B + W polar­iz­ing fil­ters.


A Japan­ese com­pa­ny famous for light fil­ters and tele­con­vert­ers. A sub­sidiary of Hoya that man­u­fac­tures high-end optics. But Kenko itself has more than 10 sub­sidiaries that make lens­es (includ­ing indus­tri­al full-frame lens­es for pro­duc­tion automa­tion), fil­ters for pro­duc­tion lines and image qual­i­ty con­trol cen­ters, tripods, and com­po­nents for video sur­veil­lance.

In their line­up pro­tec­tive, ultra­vi­o­let and polar­iz­ing fil­ters. There are also mod­els for macro pho­tog­ra­phy and neu­tral gray mod­els that reduce the amount of light that enters the lens.


Unusu­al mod­els include the Kenko 82S Vari­able NDX ND fil­ter com­pa­ra­ble in price to the pre­mi­um seg­ment. This is a fil­ter that will be use­ful for video­g­ra­phers — it allows you to adjust the amount of light by turn­ing the ring on the fil­ter. This is use­ful if you’ve been shoot­ing video indoors and then sud­den­ly went out­side on a sun­ny day, or if you’re record­ing video out­doors with part­ly cloudy skies.

You can also high­light the fil­ter for astropho­tog­ra­phy Kenko STARRY NIGHT, which, accord­ing to the man­u­fac­tur­ers, sup­press­es the light “noise” of the city and makes sky pho­tos more con­trast and deep.

Despite the fact that Kenko fil­ters belong to the stan­dard seg­ment, ama­teur pho­tog­ra­phers con­stant­ly com­pare them with Hoya and try to find out who is bet­ter. At the same time, in Japan, it is Kenko that is con­sid­ered the leader among light fil­ters, while Hoya is designed for the West­ern mar­ket. It turns out that these are the same prod­ucts, but under dif­fer­ent brands and for dif­fer­ent mar­kets.

The fact that Hoya and Kenko are essen­tial­ly the same com­pa­ny adds cred­i­bil­i­ty to the lat­ter’s fil­ters. Many users real­ly do not see much dif­fer­ence between their fil­ters, while oth­ers claim that Kenko scratch­es more eas­i­ly and cleans worse. But if this hap­pened to your fil­ter, it is like­ly that instead of the orig­i­nal, you were sold a plas­tic fake, on which, instead of sput­ter­ing, they could sim­ply stick a cheap film.

The main thing to pay atten­tion to, whichev­er of these two brands you choose, is the degree of enlight­en­ment. It is bet­ter that it be high­er, and, there­fore, the fil­ter itself is more expen­sive. The sec­ond point is the qual­i­ty of the glass. If you sud­den­ly found a Hoya or Kenko fil­ter for 100 rubles instead of the expect­ed sev­er­al thou­sand, most like­ly you have an imi­ta­tion in front of you.


Chi­nese con­sumer brand. In addi­tion to light fil­ters, the com­pa­ny pro­duces macro rings, bud­get action and dig­i­tal cam­eras, lava­lier micro­phones, video cam­eras, tripods and acces­sories for them, pho­to­phones, uni­ver­sal flash­es for any cam­eras, bud­get stu­dio lights, reflec­tors and pho­to bags.

It is dis­tin­guished by its afford­abil­i­ty and the fact that it allows you to buy a whole set of fil­ters with a rich pack­age for less than two thou­sand, which will also include a car­ry­ing bag, clean­ing wipes, a lens cap and a hood. Ide­al for the begin­ner who wants to test dif­fer­ent effects and get a feel for the pos­si­bil­i­ties of fil­ters.


The range of fil­ters is quite nar­row: pro­tec­tive, polar­iz­ing and ultra­vi­o­let fil­ters. Of the unusu­al and inter­est­ing — a set of fil­ters for macro pho­tog­ra­phy, which reduce the min­i­mum focal length for focus­ing. If you don’t want to con­nect your life with macro pho­tog­ra­phy, but it’s inter­est­ing to try, it’s bet­ter than over­pay­ing for a Hoya kit, which will cost 14 thou­sand rubles against a thou­sand for Ando­er.

Conclusions and tips for choosing a light filter

  • In order for the fil­ter to be put on the lens, they must have the same diam­e­ter. The diam­e­ter of the lens is always writ­ten on the bor­der behind the front ele­ment of the lens, as well as on the cap. Only after that you should choose a fil­ter and decide on a brand.
  • The range of man­u­fac­tur­ers is huge. After a cur­so­ry look in a search engine, you can eas­i­ly count at least 25 brands, not to men­tion Chi­nese sites that sell “name­less” acces­sories for pho­to­graph­ic equip­ment. Of all the vari­ety, it is bet­ter to choose a well-known man­u­fac­tur­er who val­ues ​​\u200b\u200bits rep­u­ta­tion. But this means that you will have to over­pay for the brand.
  • An impor­tant para­me­ter when choos­ing a fil­ter is the degree of enlight­en­ment. It shows how much light the fil­ter blocks. This is reg­u­lat­ed by apply­ing a spe­cial coat­ing to the fil­ter. The more spray lay­ers, the high­er the per­cent­age of light that the fil­ter traps, and the less extra glare will enter the frame.

There are the fol­low­ing des­ig­na­tions:

— Glass with­out enlight­en­ment. Blocks out 92% of the light.

- Sin­gle lay­er coat­ing. Indi­cat­ed by the let­ters SC, C or E next to the name and diam­e­ter of the mod­el. Blocks out 95% of the light.

- Three-lay­er. Des­ig­nat­ed by the let­ters MC. Blocks out 99% of the light.

- Six lay­ers. Des­ig­nat­ed by the let­ters SMC, HMC, MRC and retains 99.7% of the light.

If you do not trust the mark­ings or there are no sym­bols on the fil­ter, test the lev­el of enlight­en­ment as fol­lows: put the fil­ters on a plain sur­face so that bright light (lamp, flash­light, sun) shines on them. The bet­ter the glare from the light is vis­i­ble, the worse the coat­ing.

  • On wide-angle lens­es, the fil­ter can enter the frame, form­ing a hard vignette. To avoid this, look for a fil­ter with thin frames. Of the minus­es — on a thin frame, the lens cap can con­stant­ly fall off.
  • Always pay atten­tion to the mate­r­i­al from which the fil­ter is made. High-qual­i­ty optics is nec­es­sar­i­ly glass. Avoid plas­tic.


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