Here’s a quick rundown on using some of the most common types of photography filters and considerations when using them. I’m focusing here on screw-in filters for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
What a Polarizer Filter Does
A polarizer (or polarizing filter) cuts glare. In doing that, it makes many scenes more vibrant, with richer colors, darker skies, clearer water, and fewer reflections.
There are different kinds of polarizer filters. The most common in photography are linear and circular polarizers. Linear polarizers are less expensive, but they don’t work on DSLRs that use through-the-lens metering and autofocusing.
Circular polarizers don’t have that limitation, but they are also more expensive. They have two pieces of treated glass that rotate relative to each other. As you rotate the front piece, the strength of the effect changes because the maximum effect is when perpendicular to the light source.
There are some considerations when using a polarizer filter. One is that they slightly reduce the amount of light passing through the lens, typically by around 1.5 to 3 stops. Another is that some thicker polarizers can introduce vignetting on some lenses. They don’t work as well on very wide-angle lenses. They don’t work well with most lens hoods. And they don’t work well with lenses where the front element rotates when focusing.
What a Neutral Density (ND) Filter Does
A neutral density filter reduces the amount of light passing through the lens and hitting the sensor (or film). A standard neutral density filter has consistent filtering across the whole filter (i.e., it’s the same amount of dark across all of it). Ideally, they should be a completely neutral gray that doesn’t impart any color cast to the image.
A graduated neutral density filter is darker on one side than another. A common use for those is in landscape photography to even out the light levels from a bright sky and a darker foreground.
Standard neutral density filters typically used to slow down the shutter speed. Some practical examples are exaggerated motion blur like a silky smooth waterfall, to “remove” people from an architectural landmark, to match a specific shutter speed to framerate (in video), to eliminate the risk of propellers in the shot (in drones or helicopter shooting), or to be able to use a wide aperture in bright conditions or with flash when high-speed sync isn’t an option.
Neutral density filters come in different strengths, ranging from subtle to almost opaque. Confusingly, there are a few different rating systems. For example, an ND0.9, ND8, and ND103 rating all refer to the same amount of light reduction (in this case, it’s a 3-stop reduction).
There are also variable neutral density filters that work by rotating two pieces of glass by each other to adjust the strength of the effect.
Again, there are considerations in using a neutral density filter. They work best when the camera is mounted securely on a tripod or other mount point. Darker ND filters can interfere with a camera’s autofocus. And there is often a risk of color casts coming into play, whether from an imperfectly neutral cast in the filter itself or the effects of how sensors (or film) react to long exposures.
What a UV/Haze/Protection Filter Does
A UV or haze filter cuts down some parts of the light spectrum to increase clarity through hazy or glare conditions (but to a much lesser extent than a polarizer filter). But because their effect is so subtle, they have little negative impact on image quality, and they’re relatively inexpensive, photographers often use them as a layer of protection for the lens. Dropping a lens or scratching against other gear in a camera bag is much less expensive when you only have to replace a relatively inexpensive filter rather than a whole lens.
Some photographers argue that any extra glass between the sensor and the scene will have a negative effect, however minimal, and therefore prefer not to add a protection filter. Others argue that there’s little practical optical difference and that the benefits of having that extra layer of protection outweigh those minimal effects. Basically, it’s one of those things that comes down to personal preference.
Things to Watch For with Screw-in Filters
When using screw-in filters, there are some considerations to factor in. Here are a few of them.
Many filters (but not all) have a thread on their front as well. That lets you attach another filter on top of it, known as stacking.
What you can get away with here depends on the quality of the filters you’re using as well as the specific lens you’re using. Better quality filters generally have fewer negative optical effects, so they might get away with more pieces of glass before image quality starts to suffer much.
On wide-angle lenses, in particular, there’s a risk that the filter’s frame will start to be visible in the shot, leading to vignetting around the corners and edges. Stacking multiple filters on top of each other increases that risk,
Step-Up/Step-Down Filter Rings
Ideally, you’d have a filter that exactly matches the lens diameter. But that’s not always practical.
Step-up and step-down filter rings don’t have any glass—so they’re not filters. They’re adapters that bridge the gap between the lens diameter and the filter diameter when you don’t have the perfect fit available. For example, they’d let you use a 77mm filter on a lens with a 68mm diameter.
The biggest negatives relate to using step-down filters; that is, putting a smaller filter on a larger lens. That usually leads to vignetting (you can change the crop from full-frame to APS-C on some cameras, which can be a workaround).
As I mentioned above in the stacking filters part, wide-angle lenses are particularly prone to vignetting when adding filters. So, with wide-angle lenses, it’s often a good idea to be especially mindful of stacking.
In some cases, you can also find slim filters that are designed for wide-angle lenses. They’re especially useful for avoiding vignetting.
And some very wide-angle and fisheye lenses have bulbous front glass and won’t accept a screw-on filter.
Whether you can use a screw-on filter at the same time as a lens hood depends on the specific lens. Some work well; some don’t. And some dedicated lens hoods even are designed to function as filter holders themselves.
Lens hoods tend to be inconvenient when using circular polarizer filters or variable neutral density filters.
Don’t Over-Tighten Them
Filters should go on finger tight. Doing them too tight risks damaging the fine threads on the lens or filter or both, which are usually made of relatively soft brass, aluminum, or plastic.
If you have a filter that stubbornly won’t come off, try a rubber band, (clean) kitchen gloves, or a filter wrench.
Lens Filter Size Charts
I’ve compiled some lens filter size charts, starting with some of the most commonly used and current lenses. You can find the corresponding chart here:
- Canon lens filter sizes
- Nikon lens filter sizes
- Sony lens filter sizes
- Fujifilm / Fujinon lens filter sizes
- Olympus lens filter sizes
- Pentax lens filter sizes
- Sigma lens filter sizes
- Tamron lens filter sizes
Ricoh GR III Accessories & Replacement Parts
Here are the model numbers of some of the core accessories and replacement parts for the Ricoh GR III.
- Ring Cap: GN-1
The ring cap is the small plastic ring that attaches around the lens. Chances are, it's fallen off. While you do have to remove it to attach the lens adapter, it's a poor design that tends to fall off and get lost far too often. I've lost a couple of them now.
The camera will work just fine without it. But that will leave some contacts exposed around the lens barrel, which isn't ideal.
The official replacement part is overpriced. But you can also pick up much less expensive aftermarket versions. They're also available in different colors, so you can bling up your camera with a personal touch--or make it look like the Street Edition.
- 【Compatibility】: Designed for Ricoh GRIII (only).This decoration ring is made of high quality...
- 【Easy to use & Protector】:Easy installation and removal and Protects lens barrel exterior.
The GR III has a USB Type-C connector port. When you get a cable, you can get them with another USB Type-C connector on the other end or a more traditional USB Type-A connector. Which you choose depends entirely on what you're plugging into. For example, some newer laptops only have USB-C, while most other computers have USB-A.
- The Anker Advantage: Join the 50 million+ powered by our leading technology.
- Enhanced Durability: Improved construction techniques and materials make a cable that lasts 12× longer.
Battery & Charger
- Battery: DB-110
It's a rechargeable lithium-ion battery rated at 3.6V 1350mAh 4.9Wh.
There are some other cameras that also use the same battery--notably, some Olympus cameras (the Olympus model number for the same battery is LI-90B). So they're quite widely available. You can get the official Ricoh version. There are also aftermarket versions that can be much better value but work just as well.
- This Wasabi Power kit includes 2 batteries and 1 charger for the Ricoh DB-110
- Each Wasabi Power battery features Premium Grade A cells, 3.7V, 1300mAh
- Charger: BJ-11
You can charge the battery in the camera (using a USB-C cable). There are also external battery chargers available. They're especially useful if you're using spare batteries, so you can charge and shoot simultaneously.
- AC Adapter: K-AC166
This is used to power the camera for longer shoots, such as time-lapse, or if you happen to be using the camera for live streaming as a webcam. It connects via the camera's USB-C port.
Wide-Angle Conversion Lens
- Wide-Angle Lens: GW-4
- Lens Adapter: GA-1
- Wired Shutter Release: CA-3
- Easy to operate, Half-press to focus, Full-press to shoot
- Fits macro photography well, eliminates camera shake
- Standard External Viewfinder: GV-1
- Mini External Viewfinder: GB-2
- ✪LCD Screen Protector perfectly fit for Ricoh GR 3 DSLR Camera . Not for other model. Easy to install...
- ✪9H Hardness - Longer tempering time, which made the screen protector has a higher hardness. Prevents...
- Soft Case: GC-9
- Neck Strap: GS-3
- Hand Strap: GS-2
Ricoh has produced a wide-angle conversion lens that takes the standard 28mm view down to a 21mm (in 35mm equivalent). While it does add some extra bulk to an otherwise small camera, it works well and adds a more dramatic, wider view. I have an [in-depth review of it separately](https://havecamerawilltravel.com/photographer/ricoh-gw-4-wide-angle-conversion-lens/).
Something to be aware of, though, is that you will also need to pick up the lens adapter separately. For reasons I really don't understand, the wide-angle conversion lens doesn't come with the adapter, and both are required to make it work. So make sure you pick up one of those at the same time.
Remote Shutter Releases
This is the official Ricoh remote shutter. It connects to the camera via a USB cable, and it's a simple shutter release (i.e., there's no timer or intervalometer).
You can also find aftermarket shutter releases for the GR III.
The Ricoh GR III doesn't have a built-in viewfinder. But they make two versions of an external viewfinder that slides into the camera's hot shoe. It covers both the standard 28mm view as well as the 21mm view if you're using the wide-angle conversion lens. There's also a mini viewfinder; that model seems to be hard to find.
The back screen of the GR III is quite exposed, and if you lie the camera on its back, the screen comes in contact with the surface. Even if you're putting the camera in your pocket, there's a risk of keys or coins scratching the screen.
There's no official screen protector, but there are good aftermarket versions. The one I use is this one. It's essentially a consumable that protects the screen. If you scratch the protector, you can quickly and easily replace it with another from the pack.
You can, of course, use the GR III with just about any camera case or bag. But Ricoh does make a dedicated soft-case that fits snugly around the camera and offers some protection even if you're toting the camera around in your pocket. I've been using one for a couple of years, and it's held up very well, and it keeps my camera safer from bumps and scratches.
Again, there's no particular reason you have to use the official GR neck strap, but there is one. The main part is leather, and it even has a discreet, embossed "GR".
If you do use a different strap, be aware that the strap loops on the camera are very small and won't take thicker (i.e., stronger) attachment loops. So you might need to use some D-rings as well.
There's even an official "GR" leather hand strap! But, again, aside from the branding, there's no special reason to use the official strap. If you do use a different one, you might need D-rings if the thread doesn't go through the camera's small attachment loops.
The GR III doesn't have a built-in flash. It supports the Pentax P-TTL flash protocol.Pentax External Flashes: