Nowadays, there are all sorts of apps and filters that people use to achieve a desired effect and enhance the quality of their photos. Sure, downloading an app or choosing an Instagram filter is easy and convenient, but they can’t compare to real camera lens filters, at least not to a true photographer regardless of whether they’re a beginner or experienced professional.
Filters have many uses in the world of photography ranging from capturing scenery in difficult lighting conditions to amplifying colors and reflections. In other words, lens filters allow us to bring our artistic side to life while still applying a number of practical purposes. Good news is that you can find inexpensive lens filters regardless of your budget. In this post, you’re going to see some of the best lens filters for under $40.
1. Gobe NDX 37mm Variable ND Filter (Overall Winner)
Gobe is an Australian brand that prides itself in creating camera lens filters and other pieces of equipment. Their main objective is to boost the quality of photos and allow users to get the most out of their photography experience. The best thing about Gobe is that this is an environmentally-friendly company. For every purchase of NDX Variable ND filter, they will plant five trees in an area devastated by severe deforestation.
This particular lens filter reduces light intake to eliminate overly bright images and allows users to explore various creative possibilities. For instance, this ND filter can also facilitate slower shutter speeds to capture motion, and it can give you a wider aperture for a shallower depth field.
Two polarizing filters are used to construct this variable filter.. The bottom cuts out the light from one plane while the top filter can be rotated to cut out an increasing amount of the remaining light. An ultra slim profile allows you to avoid vignetting on wide angle lenses. With this inexpensive lens filter, you can eliminate excessively bright and washed out images.
2. Amazon Basics 58mm UV Filter (Budget Winner)
Lens filters come in many sizes nowadays, and they allow photographers, both professionals and beginners, to achieve various effects while shooting. Not all filters produce a specific effect and instead can protect your camera from UV rays. Amazon Basics’ UV Protection filter is one of the cheapest filters on the market, and it does a great job providing protection from UV radiation necessary for everyday use.
This filter will decrease ultraviolet light, thereby eliminating the unwanted bluish cast in images. At the same time, it shields the lens from dirt, scratches, and dust. It’s perfect for people who are shooting outdoors a lot.
If you’re looking for a filter that will provide maximum protection, then the Waka 72mm MC UV filter is worth taking into consideration. Why? The reason is simple; the lens filter is multi-coated with 16 layers to make sure that dust, dirt, scratches, and other environmental influences don’t disturb your lens or the quality of your images.
Waka’s UV filter is incredibly cheap, yet the price also comes with great quality. In case you’re wondering whether there’s a need for multiple coatings it’s important to mention it has 99% transmittance whereas single-coated filters have 90% transmittance.
This ultra-slim filter is ideal for wide angle lenses. Another cool feature is the golden line on the edge, which adds more beauty to the filter and the camera in general.
The X2 lens filter from Breakthrough Photography features high-quality AGC glass from Japan, water and dust repelling nano-coated layers, and incredible durability. At an affordable price, the X2 belongs to the group of more inexpensive lens filters compared to products that cost twice as much or even more.
The brand precisely machines each X2 traction frame from environmentally friendly aluminum. Thanks to the matte black finish, reflections are absorbed instead of being reflected into the lens barrel. The state-of-the-art nano coated layers eliminate flaring, low contrast, and ghosting. This filter also comes with a useful cloth you can use to keep it perfect at all times.
If you’re looking for filters that will protect the lens without changing the image, then Tiffen’s 49mm Neutral Density 0.9 filter is a good choice. What this filter does is reduce the amount of light passing through the camera lens without changing the color of the scene. Basically, this filter can prevent overexposure in bright light conditions without altering the colors of the scenery.
The affordable price coupled with depth-of-field control is a great addition to your camera equipment arsenal. The Tiffen ND filter allows proper exposure at a wider lens opening for decreased depth-of-field to accentuate the key subject of your image. Made in the USA, this camera lens filter also comes with a 10-year warranty.
Just like the Tiffen filter mentioned above, the K&F Concept filter is a neutral density filter that lowers the amount of light reaching the film without affecting the color. This affordable lens filter applies slow shutter speeds under strong sunlight exposure. K&F has made this filter with their own high-quality optical glass. Thanks to the wider outer optic, it can reduce vignetting at wide angles.
It’s also useful to mention that this neutral density filter is adjustable. It can be adjusted from ND2 to ND400. Due to the fact, K&F lowers the amount of light that is reaching the film without changing the color and allows you to have more control of any lighting environment.
Depth of field is decreased effectively thanks to the wider apertures allowed. You can use the K&F Concept lens filter for dynamic shots, waterfalls, waves, streams, and other forms of motions outside. A lens cleaning cloth is also included.
Not looking for a single filter? Then a kit can be incredibly practical. Kits allow us to take our photography experience to a whole new level. Vivitar’s 55mm Professional Lens Filter Set is priced conveniently and gives you a wide range of possibilities with seven inexpensive lens filters. So what’s in the kit? Vivitar includes ultraviolet (UV) protection, a circular polarizer (CPL), and fluorescent (FLD) lens filters in addition to the Vivitar Macro Close-Up Set.
Besides these useful pieces of equipment, there’s also a cleaning cloth made of microfiber, a lens cap with cap keeper leash, a tulip flower lens hood, and a filter carry pouch. This set of inexpensive lens filters is suitable for all 55mm lenses including Nikon and Sony Cameras, but many users state it also works perfectly with Panasonic Lumix.
Every photography kit also needs a filter so while you’re looking for good yet inexpensive lens filters, you may as well take this one in consideration. Polaroid Optics 49mm Multi-Coated Circular Polarizer Filter (CPL) comes at a low cost, and it works well to eliminate reflections from glass and water. At the same time, the lens filter gives you control of color saturation. In other words, the blue sky will be bluer, and the green grass will be greener. With the Polaroid Optics filter, you have the opportunity to achieve more intense color clarity, which is one of the most common effects we want to see in our images.
How many times have you taken a photo and thought the colors were kind of dull? Thanks to multi-coated CPL from Polaroid Optics you can make your photos more vivid and clear. The multi-coated protection ensures durability and is ideal for everyday use. Great construction of the filter protects the lens from environmental influences, which saves you money in the long run.
Choosing Inexpensive Lens Filters
Lens filters not only protect the lens itself from UV, dirt, scratches, and water, but they also enhance the quality of photos. These filters come in a range of options. Some are neutral and don’t change anything while others enhance colors. Some simply protect your lens and shield it from UV rays.
When choosing inexpensive lens filters, you need to take your needs into consideration. Think about your photography style and effects you prefer before you decide which lens filter to buy. Good news is that the options are numerous, even on a tight budget.