Photographic Filter Comparison

Compare test shots of how solid and graduated colour lens filters affect photos taken with a digital camera. I used a cheap Graduated and Solid Filter Set bought off Amazon to produce these example photos. Using filters when taking a shot blocks certain colours of light to the camera sensor. As camera sensors have a limited dynamic range of light sensitivtiy this can help balance exposure over an image that has a bright sky and dark foreground (for example). The effects of this cannot be easily replicated in editing where there has been over- or under-exposure. For each filter I have taken two shots at different exposure shutter speeds. I kept the aperture at F8 and the ISO fixed at each location. The camera was a Nikon D90 with the 18-105mm VR Kit Lens. Click thumbnails for slightly larger images.

© 2013 Matt Cornock

Comparison

The top two photos are the reference photos without any filters. Example shots show the original, a post-processed equal-channel greyscale mix, then the individual red, green and blue channels from the original.

InfoOriginalGreyscaleRedGreenBlue

None

No Filter

1/1000s

F8

ISO:320

None No Filter 1/1000s Original None No Filter 1/1000s GreyscaleNone No Filter 1/1000s Red ChannelNone No Filter 1/1000s Green ChannelNone No Filter 1/1000s Blue Channel

None

No Filter

1/1000s

F8

ISO:400

None No Filter 1/1000s Original None No Filter 1/1000s GreyscaleNone No Filter 1/1000s Red ChannelNone No Filter 1/1000s Green ChannelNone No Filter 1/1000s Blue Channel

Test photos with filters

See: Filter Icons Key. Compare above: Click [+] to add that row to the top for comparison. Use [-] to remove it from the comparison collection.

InfoOriginalGreyscaleRedGreenBlue

ND2

Solid Filter

1/500s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

ND2 Solid Filter 1/500s OriginalND2 Solid Filter 1/500s GreyscaleND2 Solid Filter 1/500s Red ChannelND2 Solid Filter 1/500s Green ChannelND2 Solid Filter 1/500s Blue Channel

ND2

Solid Filter

1/800s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

ND2 Solid Filter 1/800s OriginalND2 Solid Filter 1/800s GreyscaleND2 Solid Filter 1/800s Red ChannelND2 Solid Filter 1/800s Green ChannelND2 Solid Filter 1/800s Blue Channel

ND4

Solid Filter

1/200s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

ND4 Solid Filter 1/200s OriginalND4 Solid Filter 1/200s GreyscaleND4 Solid Filter 1/200s Red ChannelND4 Solid Filter 1/200s Green ChannelND4 Solid Filter 1/200s Blue Channel

ND4

Solid Filter

1/800s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

ND4 Solid Filter 1/800s OriginalND4 Solid Filter 1/800s GreyscaleND4 Solid Filter 1/800s Red ChannelND4 Solid Filter 1/800s Green ChannelND4 Solid Filter 1/800s Blue Channel

ND8

Solid Filter

1/60s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

ND8 Solid Filter 1/60s OriginalND8 Solid Filter 1/60s GreyscaleND8 Solid Filter 1/60s Red ChannelND8 Solid Filter 1/60s Green ChannelND8 Solid Filter 1/60s Blue Channel

ND8

Solid Filter

1/800s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

ND8 Solid Filter 1/800s OriginalND8 Solid Filter 1/800s GreyscaleND8 Solid Filter 1/800s Red ChannelND8 Solid Filter 1/800s Green ChannelND8 Solid Filter 1/800s Blue Channel

Pink

Solid Filter

1/500s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Pink Solid Filter 1/500s OriginalPink Solid Filter 1/500s GreyscalePink Solid Filter 1/500s Red ChannelPink Solid Filter 1/500s Green ChannelPink Solid Filter 1/500s Blue Channel

Pink

Solid Filter

1/800s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Pink Solid Filter 1/800s OriginalPink Solid Filter 1/800s GreyscalePink Solid Filter 1/800s Red ChannelPink Solid Filter 1/800s Green ChannelPink Solid Filter 1/800s Blue Channel

Red

Solid Filter

200

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Red Solid Filter 200 OriginalRed Solid Filter 200 GreyscaleRed Solid Filter 200 Red ChannelRed Solid Filter 200 Green ChannelRed Solid Filter 200 Blue Channel

Red

Solid Filter

1/800s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Red Solid Filter 1/800s OriginalRed Solid Filter 1/800s GreyscaleRed Solid Filter 1/800s Red ChannelRed Solid Filter 1/800s Green ChannelRed Solid Filter 1/800s Blue Channel

Dark Orange

Solid Filter

1/200s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Dark Orange Solid Filter 1/200s OriginalDark Orange Solid Filter 1/200s GreyscaleDark Orange Solid Filter 1/200s Red ChannelDark Orange Solid Filter 1/200s Green ChannelDark Orange Solid Filter 1/200s Blue Channel

Dark Orange

Solid Filter

1/800s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Dark Orange Solid Filter 1/800s OriginalDark Orange Solid Filter 1/800s GreyscaleDark Orange Solid Filter 1/800s Red ChannelDark Orange Solid Filter 1/800s Green ChannelDark Orange Solid Filter 1/800s Blue Channel

Light Orange

Solid Filter

1/400s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Light Orange Solid Filter 1/400s OriginalLight Orange Solid Filter 1/400s GreyscaleLight Orange Solid Filter 1/400s Red ChannelLight Orange Solid Filter 1/400s Green ChannelLight Orange Solid Filter 1/400s Blue Channel

Light Orange

Solid Filter

1/800s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Light Orange Solid Filter 1/800s OriginalLight Orange Solid Filter 1/800s GreyscaleLight Orange Solid Filter 1/800s Red ChannelLight Orange Solid Filter 1/800s Green ChannelLight Orange Solid Filter 1/800s Blue Channel

Yellow

Solid Filter

1/400s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Yellow Solid Filter 1/400s OriginalYellow Solid Filter 1/400s GreyscaleYellow Solid Filter 1/400s Red ChannelYellow Solid Filter 1/400s Green ChannelYellow Solid Filter 1/400s Blue Channel

Yellow

Solid Filter

1/800s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Yellow Solid Filter 1/800s OriginalYellow Solid Filter 1/800s GreyscaleYellow Solid Filter 1/800s Red ChannelYellow Solid Filter 1/800s Green ChannelYellow Solid Filter 1/800s Blue Channel

Green

Solid Filter

1/200s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Green Solid Filter 1/200s OriginalGreen Solid Filter 1/200s GreyscaleGreen Solid Filter 1/200s Red ChannelGreen Solid Filter 1/200s Green ChannelGreen Solid Filter 1/200s Blue Channel

Green

Solid Filter

1/800s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Green Solid Filter 1/800s OriginalGreen Solid Filter 1/800s GreyscaleGreen Solid Filter 1/800s Red ChannelGreen Solid Filter 1/800s Green ChannelGreen Solid Filter 1/800s Blue Channel

Blue

Solid Filter

1/200s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Blue Solid Filter 1/200s OriginalBlue Solid Filter 1/200s GreyscaleBlue Solid Filter 1/200s Red ChannelBlue Solid Filter 1/200s Green ChannelBlue Solid Filter 1/200s Blue Channel

Blue

Solid Filter

1/800s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Blue Solid Filter 1/800s OriginalBlue Solid Filter 1/800s GreyscaleBlue Solid Filter 1/800s Red ChannelBlue Solid Filter 1/800s Green ChannelBlue Solid Filter 1/800s Blue Channel

Purple

Solid Filter

1/320s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Purple Solid Filter 1/320s OriginalPurple Solid Filter 1/320s GreyscalePurple Solid Filter 1/320s Red ChannelPurple Solid Filter 1/320s Green ChannelPurple Solid Filter 1/320s Blue Channel

Purple

Solid Filter

1/800s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Purple Solid Filter 1/800s OriginalPurple Solid Filter 1/800s GreyscalePurple Solid Filter 1/800s Red ChannelPurple Solid Filter 1/800s Green ChannelPurple Solid Filter 1/800s Blue Channel

Grey

Solid Filter

1/15s

F8

ISO:320

[+]

Grey Solid Filter 1/15s OriginalGrey Solid Filter 1/15s GreyscaleGrey Solid Filter 1/15s Red ChannelGrey Solid Filter 1/15s Green ChannelGrey Solid Filter 1/15s Blue Channel

Brown

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/1000s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Brown Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s OriginalBrown Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s GreyscaleBrown Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Red ChannelBrown Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Green ChannelBrown Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Blue Channel

Brown

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/400s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Brown Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s OriginalBrown Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s GreyscaleBrown Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Red ChannelBrown Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Green ChannelBrown Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Blue Channel

Red

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/1000s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Red Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s OriginalRed Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s GreyscaleRed Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Red ChannelRed Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Green ChannelRed Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Blue Channel

Red

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/400s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Red Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s OriginalRed Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s GreyscaleRed Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Red ChannelRed Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Green ChannelRed Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Blue Channel

Dark Orange

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/1000s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Dark Orange Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s OriginalDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s GreyscaleDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Red ChannelDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Green ChannelDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Blue Channel

Dark Orange

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/400s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Dark Orange Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s OriginalDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s GreyscaleDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Red ChannelDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Green ChannelDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Blue Channel

Yellow

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/1600s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Yellow Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1600s OriginalYellow Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1600s GreyscaleYellow Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1600s Red ChannelYellow Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1600s Green ChannelYellow Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1600s Blue Channel

Yellow

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/800s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Yellow Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/800s OriginalYellow Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/800s GreyscaleYellow Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/800s Red ChannelYellow Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/800s Green ChannelYellow Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/800s Blue Channel

Green

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/1000s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Green Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s OriginalGreen Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s GreyscaleGreen Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Red ChannelGreen Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Green ChannelGreen Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Blue Channel

Green

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/400s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Green Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s OriginalGreen Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s GreyscaleGreen Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Red ChannelGreen Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Green ChannelGreen Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Blue Channel

Blue

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/1000s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Blue Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s OriginalBlue Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s GreyscaleBlue Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Red ChannelBlue Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Green ChannelBlue Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1000s Blue Channel

Blue

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/400s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Blue Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s OriginalBlue Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s GreyscaleBlue Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Red ChannelBlue Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Green ChannelBlue Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/400s Blue Channel

Purple

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/1600s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Purple Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1600s OriginalPurple Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1600s GreyscalePurple Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1600s Red ChannelPurple Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1600s Green ChannelPurple Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/1600s Blue Channel

Purple

Gradient (Positioned Half Frame)

1/800s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Purple Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/800s OriginalPurple Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/800s GreyscalePurple Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/800s Red ChannelPurple Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/800s Green ChannelPurple Gradient (Positioned Half Frame) 1/800s Blue Channel

Pink

Gradient (Positioned Full Frame)

1/1000s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Pink Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s OriginalPink Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s GreyscalePink Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s Red ChannelPink Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s Green ChannelPink Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s Blue Channel

Pink

Gradient (Positioned Full Frame)

1/800s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Pink Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s OriginalPink Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s GreyscalePink Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s Red ChannelPink Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s Green ChannelPink Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s Blue Channel

Dark Orange

Gradient (Positioned Full Frame)

1/1000s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Dark Orange Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s OriginalDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s GreyscaleDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s Red ChannelDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s Green ChannelDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s Blue Channel

Dark Orange

Gradient (Positioned Full Frame)

1/400s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Dark Orange Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s OriginalDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s GreyscaleDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s Red ChannelDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s Green ChannelDark Orange Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s Blue Channel

Yellow

Gradient (Positioned Full Frame)

1/1600s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Yellow Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1600s OriginalYellow Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1600s GreyscaleYellow Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1600s Red ChannelYellow Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1600s Green ChannelYellow Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1600s Blue Channel

Yellow

Gradient (Positioned Full Frame)

1/800s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Yellow Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s OriginalYellow Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s GreyscaleYellow Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s Red ChannelYellow Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s Green ChannelYellow Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s Blue Channel

Green

Gradient (Positioned Full Frame)

1/1000s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Green Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s OriginalGreen Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s GreyscaleGreen Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s Red ChannelGreen Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s Green ChannelGreen Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s Blue Channel

Green

Gradient (Positioned Full Frame)

1/400s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Green Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s OriginalGreen Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s GreyscaleGreen Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s Red ChannelGreen Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s Green ChannelGreen Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s Blue Channel

Blue

Gradient (Positioned Full Frame)

1/400s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Blue Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s OriginalBlue Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s GreyscaleBlue Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s Red ChannelBlue Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s Green ChannelBlue Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s Blue Channel

Blue

Gradient (Positioned Full Frame)

1/800s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Blue Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s OriginalBlue Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s GreyscaleBlue Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s Red ChannelBlue Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s Green ChannelBlue Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/800s Blue Channel

Purple

Gradient (Positioned Full Frame)

1/1000s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Purple Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s OriginalPurple Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s GreyscalePurple Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s Red ChannelPurple Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s Green ChannelPurple Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/1000s Blue Channel

Purple

Gradient (Positioned Full Frame)

1/400s

F8

ISO:400

[+]

Purple Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s OriginalPurple Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s GreyscalePurple Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s Red ChannelPurple Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s Green ChannelPurple Gradient (Positioned Full Frame) 1/400s Blue Channel

Filter icons

Filter type is indicated by the icons:
White rectangle - No Filter No Filter. Grey rectangle - Solid Colour Solid Colour. Rectangle with half grey gradient, half white Graduated Filter (transition positioned near horizon). Rectangle filled with gradient Graduated Filter (top of filter at top of frame, gradient across whole frame).