Using drone lens filters for aerial landscape photography will bring the quality of your images and video to the next level. This post takes you through the various types and best camera filters, explaining how and when to use each filter.
The information here will give you a solid understanding of the various lens filters for landscape photography, whether using a drone or ground based camera photography.
Below, we have some terrific videos explaining the various types of lens filters and examples of camera filters.
Then with a bit of some practice using the different types of lens filters, you will become a real professional.
When you’re producing great photos and video with the assistance of the various types of drone lens filters, then you can enter some big aerial photography competitions. One of the best with great prizes is the Skypixel Competition run by DJI. The prices really are awesome.
To assist growing your knowledge on perfecting your camera settings and techniques, visit our dronezon aerial photography series of articles.
If you are looking to upgrade to the latest drone, which have the latest and greatest cameras for aerial cinematography, then check out this top drones with gps and 4k camera article.
Types Of Camera Lens Filters For Landscape Photography Explained
Lens filters have been widely used by both amateur and professional photographers since way before digital photography arrived on the scene. Most people who work a lot with photo software know about filters from these applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Instagram to name a few.
These applications try to emulate the look and feel of certain types of camera filters through digital means in post-production. It sometimes works, but mostly doesn’t.
Real lens filters are attached in front of the lens, so that they alter the light hitting the camera sensor. There are all sorts of camera filters: some enhance colors, while others reduce reflections, block the UV light, or allow you to capture mesmerizing infrared photographs.
Whatever the case is, the most important thing you need to remember when using camera lens filters is the fact that they change the way your camera sees the scene. It also means that you need to adjust the settings on your camera accordingly to get a good exposure.
Types of Camera Filters
Camera filters are often categorized by the way they attach to the lens or the effect they give to your image.
Screw On Camera Lens Filters
Screw on filters come in different sizes, corresponding to different camera lenses. A lens with a 52 mm mount can only work with 55 mm filters. If you have multiple lenses of different sizes, this type of filters can end up costing you a lot of money.
The second type of filter is in the form of a sheet of glass, which slides into lens adapters. The glass itself can be used with adapters of all sizes, and the adapters are fairly inexpensive.
Now, you can also subdivide filters according to their shape. The most common type are circular filters, but you can also get square and rectangular filters.
Lens Filters Examples And Camera Filter Kits
Most manufacturers supply a camera filter kit, which would include the lens filter ring adapter, a microfiber cleaning cloth and a carrying pouch. A lens filter kit would include something like the following;
- Ultraviolet UV
- Circular Polarizer CPL
- Neutral Density (ND2, ND4, ND8)
- Close Up Macro
Specific Drone Camera Filters
Manufacturers of camera filters design specifically for a particular camera or drone. Len filters, for example are made specifically for the GoPro camera or DJI drones.
- 【1-INCH IMAGE SENSOR】Equipped with a 1-inch image sensor and large 2.4μm pixels, DJI Air 2S is capable of 5.4K/30fps and 4K/60fps video.
- 【MASTERSHOTS】The next evolution of QuickShots, MasterShots is an advanced intelligent feature that gives users the best shots in any location with just a tap.
- 【THE CENTER OF ATTENTION】FocusTrack features Spotlight 2.0, ActiveTrack 4.0, and Point of Interest 3.0, making it a breeze for DJI Air 2S to follow or circle your subject.
- 【ONE BILLION COLORS】The 10-bit Dlog-M color profile can record up to one billion colors while retaining all the little details that make footage pop.
- 【7.5 MILES MAX VIDEO TRANSMISSION】DJI Air 2S features DJI’s most advanced O3 (OcuSync 3.0) image transmission technology, giving you an ultra-smooth, clear, and reliable image feed every time you fly.
- Compatibility: This drone filter set is specially designed for DJI mini 3 pro. Including: CPL, ND8, ND16, ND32, ND64, ND128. Royal blue filter that belongs to the blue sky
- CPL Filter: CPL filters enhance color and contrast. You can adjust the light by adjusting the scale and eliminate non-metallic reflections such as water and glass reflections, which helps to capture clearer, more detailed images
- ND Filters: When taking pictures, it can enhance the color saturation and prevent overexposure and enhance the clarity of the picture in different strong light environments. When shooting video, you can reduce the shutter speed to enhance picture comfort
- Ultra-light Aluminum Alloy Frame:The filter frame is made of aluminum alloy and non-slip design, easy to install and remove. The filter is only 1g heavy, it can better protect the drone lens without affecting the flight of the drone
- Environmentally Friendly Optical AGC Glass: The filter is made of 32-layer coated AGC glass, which is waterproof, oil-proof and scratch-resistant. Reduce lens flare and reflections while maintaining sharpness for better protection of drone footage. Light transmittance up to 98.5%
- 【6 Pack Filters & 1 Set Fan Blade】This ND/UV/CPL filter kit is specifically made for the DJI Mavic mini, DJI Mini 2,DJI Mini SE,DJI Mini 2 SE including 6 Pack-(CPL, UV, ND8, ND16, ND32, ND64), and 1 set fan blade.
- 【Import AGC Glass】Made by import AGC optical glass with 28 multi-layer coatings waterproof,oil-proof, scratch resistant, reduces lens flaring and reflection.
- 【Ultra Lightweight Frame】Aviation aluminum alloy frame construction-lightweight design each frame ONLY 0.8g. No affect for the gimbal calibration!
- 【Filter Function】UV filter protect the lens away from dust and scratches with 99% transmittance, CPL filter helps eliminates non-mettallic surface glare and ND filter enables longer exposures to capture the beauty of time and movement.
- 【Note】Kit Includes a small hard plastic case and 6-pack nd/cpl/uv filters. Give 1 sets of Mini1 and Mini 2 fan blades. Note: the fan blade set needs to use together with, couldn’t combine with other brand’s fan blades.
- 【Widely Compatibility】This ND Filter Kit is compatible with Hero 9 10 11 Black.
- 【Multi Coated Glass】Premium 18 layers of multi resistant coatings for a flawless appearance to reduce lens flare and avoid vignetting.
- 【Reduce Lens Flare】Neutral density filters reduce light to decrease the chance of overexposure. Polarizer filter increases contrast while eliminating reflection and glare. The CPL Filter is at a preset level and can prevent unnecessary glare from reflecting surfaces (such as water, snow and even glass windows) without rotation.
- 【Easy to Use】Unscrew the original filters counterclockwise, then turn the filter clockwise to allow a quick swap to another filter. This filter kit helps to get crystal clear pictures and videos efficiently during climbing, cycling, skydiving, etc.
- 【What You Get】Package includes CPL, ND8, ND16, ND32, ND64, ND1000 filters in a small protective hard plastic case. Note: Only the glass surface is water resistant; The filter cannot be used in water
- Compatibility: This lens filter kit perfect fit for GoPro Hero 11 10 9 8 Black Official Protective Housing Waterproof Case. Can not be used with GoPro camera or the any other housing case directly.
- Usage: +5 close-up filter for magnifying scenery, Red filter for 12 to 85 ft seawater, Magenta filter for 8 to 75 ft freshwater, Snorkel red filter for 2 to 15 ft seawater.
- Working Principle: The professional color formulas balancing the entry of extra green light, provide flawless videos and pictures in underwater conditions.
- Product Features: The filter made of special molecular material for lens. Each piece of filter has passed strict quality inspection，which has the properties of high strength and high light transmission.
- Package Includes: 1x +5 close-up filter,1x Red filter, 1x Magenta filter,1x Light red filter, 1x Drawstring bag, 4x Safety tether.
- NOTE: ONLY compatible with GoPro Hero 11 Hero 10 and Hero 9 camera lens; Please check your model before ordering
- GREAT FUNCTION: ND filters reduce the amount of light reaching the film without affecting the color and allow you to have more control of the camera’s aperture, exposure time, and sensor sensitivity settings; It can produce a shallower depth of field or achieve a sharper photo
- MULTI COATED HD OPTICAL GLASS: Made of HD optical glass, a good level of transmittance, crystal clear glass for high definition video; Features water proof, oil proof, and scratch proof, reduces fingerprints fog. It also ensures low refractive index/outstanding color neutrality/perfect target transmission.
- RAPID INSTALLATION: Unscrew the original filters counterclockwise. Then turn the filter clockwise to allow quick exchange between filters
- QUALITY DESIGN: The filter frame is made of quality aviation aluminum frame, which is light and durable. It will not affect the lens function
You can view the various types of drone camera filters available on the below link;
- DJI Drone Camera Filters on Amazon
- GoPro Camera Lens Filters on Amazon
DJI drones are by far the most popular drones on the market. They have over 70% of the consumer and aerial cinematography market. Therefore you can see a huge range of camera filters designed for DJI drones. It’s another reason for going with DJI. There are many aerial landscapes which only a filter can capture perfectly.
Drone Camera Filters For Landscape Photography
Camera Filters Types For Aerial Or Ground Photography
You can buy all types of lens filters, but only some of them are widely used for landscape photography.
These include UV filters, which improve clarity and provide additional lens protection. There are also special effects filters such as the infrared filter, which dramatically alter the appearance of a scene to create unique visual effects.
When working with camera filters in the beginning, take notes of what each filter does with you. Practice with each filter.
After a short while, you will know exactly which filter you need for each landscape.
Think, plan and try to vision the type of scene you will encounter before you fly. If you plan, you will know what filter to attach to your drone camera.
Neutral Density (ND) Camera Lens Filter
A neutral density filter, or ND filter, preserves colors, while modifying the intensity of light. Photographers use the ND filter o take perfectly exposed shots in situations where they would otherwise be forced to stick with a certain combination of aperture and exposure time. The most common example which comes to mind are photographs of rivers or waterfalls under bright sunlight.
A neutral-density filter allows for a long exposure time, thus creating a stunning effect of running water. The Waterfall picture above is the work of JJ Harrison, which shows the beautiful effect of using an ND filter.
Graduated Neutral Density (GND) Camera Lens Filter
A graduated neutral-density filter, also known as a graduated ND filter, is very similar to a neutral-density filter. The only real difference is that the GND filter has a variable light transmission, making it extremely useful for pictures that include a brightly lit horizon with a darker landscape.
The filter evens out the scenery and prevents the sky from being overexposed and the landscape from being underexposed.
Graduated neutral density filters are also known as ND Grads. Here is another terrific article with videos to expand your knowledge on graduated ND filters.
Warming / Cooling Camera Lens Filter Types
This type of camera lens filter changes the color temperature of the scene, which can be used to add a bit of warmth to a cloudy landscape or to correct an unrealistic color cast.
Warming and cooling filters effect the white balance in the photo and most DSLR cameras today have a feature to automatically adjust the white balance.
However, some situations may still call for color filters, such as having to deal with unusual lighting. If you are shooting in a RAW file format, you might be tempted to skip this filter and adjust the color temperature during post-processing, but you are risking introducing noticeable image noise in certain color channels.
More information on the various warm / cool filters below.
Circular And Linear Polarizers Camera Filter Types
A polarizing filter is a must have tool for landscape photography. It is the first filter which landscape photographers buy to instantly improve their pictures. The polarizing camera filter adds vividness and contrast to your photographs.
Polarizing filters suppress glare and reflection from surfaces such as lakes, rivers, sea, glass and even book spines. This filter can also darken a blue sky. It also reduces the reflection of sunlight coming off shiny leaves if you were filming green vegetation in sunny weather.
It does this by reducing the amount of reflected light, which passes through to the camera sensor. What you get as a result is a noticeably improved saturation and subtle changes to the balance of the light in the picture.
For all normal lenses which have a filter thread in the front, you can get a circular polarizing filter, also known as a “circular polarizer”. A circular polarizer is very easy to use and once you attach it on the front of your lens, all you need to do is rotate it clockwise or counter-clockwise to get a different amount of polarization.
See the last video at the bottom of this post for a terrific explanation on polarizing filter types.
Close-Up Macro Camera Filters
While you may rarely use a close up filter while doing aerial photography, it may be just well worth having a set for that once in a lifetime shot. Close up camera filters can generally be bought as a separate kit. A close up kit generally include 4 close up macro filters of increasing magnification such as (+1,+2,+4,+10).
These close-up macro lens filters allow for detailed close up macro shots of small objects such as insects, coins, flowers, etc. They also have a stack-able design, so you could combine filters to achieve maximum magnification. For example, +2 plus +4 will become +6.
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Lens filters are a wonderful way how you can greatly enhance the overall quality of your landscape aerial pictures. Try out the various lens filters at different times of the day and find out the filters which complement your aerial photography. Over time your knowledge will build until you become a real lens filter professional.
Colored Camera Lens Filter Types
- Yellow Contrast Camera Filter – Gives a subtle contrast boost and is recommended for landscape and foliage.
- Red Lens Filter – Darkens blue creating dramatic contrast between sky and clouds. It also creates greater contrast between flowers and foliage.
- Blue Blending Camera Filter – Designed for bright contrasting landscapes. Selectively add blue color more precisely than polarizing filters for most natural hues.
- Purple Lens Camera Filter – Helps with aerial photography optical resin to provide real sharpness to photos.
- Light Green Camera Filter – Darkens sky in contrast to clouds. It is a basic contrast filter, primarily for use with black and white film.
- Orange Len Filter – Generally can be used for landscape and architectural photography on black and white film. Originally intended for use with black and white film, this filter absorbs blue and blue greens and renders blue tones darker as in marine scenes.
Videos – Camera Lens Filters Explained
Next up and to finish is a couple of videos with great explanations and examples on using camera lens filters for landscape photography.
This first video explains all about using polarized lens filters, which are so very important in aerial landscape photography.
Now to finish this post, here is a terrific video which some great practical examples on using various lens filters for landscape photography.