Which Filters Do You Really Need for Landscape Photography?

Just because you can, it doesn't mean you should. In this world of photography gear and gadgets, sometimes, less is more. When it comes to filters and landscape photography, which do you really need?

I didn't have my first child until after 40, and in many ways, I'm thankful for that. As a single man gallivanting about in Tokyo in my early 30s, I certainly knew my way round the streets of Shinjuku and Shibuya, but more to the point, I knew how to spend. That troublesome habit extended to my love of photography, and I was, by anyone's definition, a slave to Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS). Whether it was lenses, camera bodies, software, or something else, if it was new, I wanted it. Thankfully, marriage and kids slowed that right down, and when I look at all the gear I've amassed, I have to wonder if my spending wasn't a little too frivolous. I often ponder if I needed half the gear I got, including filters.

And that brings us to this great video by fototripper, in which the host considers the filters you really need for landscape photography. As you might expect based on my paragraph above, I've got all kinds of filters, but these days, I seldom use any of them. One I do use without fail is a CPL, or Circular Polarizing Filter, usually from Hoya. And in this video, the host agrees with me, stating, perhaps controversially, that a CPL is the only filter you really need for landscape photography. I'm not sure all the makers out there will agree, but he provides some good points as to why. Give the video a look and let me know if you agree.

Iain Stanley's picture

Iain Stanley is an Associate Professor teaching photography and composition in Japan. Fstoppers is where he writes about photography, but he's also a 5x Top Writer on Medium, where he writes about his expat (mis)adventures in Japan and other things not related to photography. To view his writing, click the link above.

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For sunset and sunrise...reverse grad is a must..0.9 and 0.6...even 1.2 if it is really bright...ND 1000 for sunsets to have the f stop at the sweet spot...lighter nd for sunrise but i love the canon rf to eos adapter with the variable nd so that i can use my 11mm zoom...

Soft grad 0.6...for flat horizon 0.9 hard grad..but i seldom use hard grad because i seldom shoot empty spaces...