Read any magazine article on photography filters, any webpage about photography filters or any photography forum posts on filters and I bet square filter systems are the “must have” filter system that is better than screw in filters.
Square filter systems are very good and also the best/easiest solution in many circumstances, however there are instances when screw in filters are the best option. Using screw in filters in these situations won’t result in better photos than using square filters, but using screw in filters make the whole task slicker and more efficient, and hence more enjoyable.
Screw in filters still have a place in photography and better than square filters in a few situations such as…………..
When travelling light
Screw in filters take up little room and can be stored attached to camera lenses so they require very little (and I mean very little – perhaps a few mm) additional space. Screw in filters do add a little extra weight, but this is negligible.
Square filters are thin and light and don’t take up much additional space either, however the filter holder does, and it not only adds additional bulk but also weight. In addition to the filter holder you will also need the appropriate adaptor ring which will also need storing. The filter holder adaptor ring can’t be permanently left on the lens because the lens cap won’t fit with it attached, and you really don’t want to carry around an expensive lens without a lens cap on do you?
If you want the lightest and most portable filter system for travelling, or for general purposes for that matter, it is easy to see screw in filters are the best solution.
When taking portraits
Portrait photography often requires opening the lens and shooting at wide apertures to intentionally blur out the background. Most of the time you won’t have any issues shooting with the lens wide open however bright sunlight can create some problems. To shoot wide open in bright sunlight you may need to use an ND filter.
You could use a square filter system in this situation however it would be a total faff. If you took the shots from a single location and used a tripod you wouldn’t have too many issues but if you want to move around the model and taking handheld shots from a variety of different locations and positions a square filter system would be cumbersome and a hindrance.
In this situation screw in ND filters are by far the best solution. Screw in filters add little bulk or weight to the lens, won’t get in the way or disrupt the shoot and will allow you to move freely around the model snapping as you go.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.