Lens filters in the digital camera world may seem like an option rather than a necessity, but they still have lots of useful applications. Many of the color correcting and special effects filters made for film cameras can be easily replicated in modern photo editing software. But, options such as ultraviolet (UV) and neutral density (ND) filters are still widely used.
This is why for smaller lenses, we are bringing you the best 43mm filters for a range of applications. Many photographers use a UV or clear glass filter as a simple protector for their expensive, front element. While other commonly used filters are the ND or a polarizing filter, which are hard to replicate their effects as naturally in post-processing.
As with any filter you attach to the front of your lens, it’s always wise to buy the best quality versions possible. Even if you own a kit lens, you always want the peace of mind that a filter will not degrade the light entering the lens. This means, in many cases, just spending a few dollars more will give the peace of mind that the filter is only doing its job and not also degrading an image.
1. B+W 43mm XS-Pro Clear MRC-Nano 007 Filter (Overall Winner)
B+W offers a wide array of lens filters throughout their range, with the B+W 43mm XS-Pro Clear MRC-Nano 007 filter being a great choice. It’s a simple, clear filter which is a popular accessory for digital cameras as a front element protector. While filters, in general, may not be front of mind for digital cameras, protecting the front element is still one of the largest applications for filters today.
This B+W offering stops dust and scratches affecting the front element. It reduced reflections and ghosting while still allowing a light transmission rate of 99.8 percent.
The 43mm filter features a Multi-Resistant (MRC) and Nano coating for added protection, while also being made from Schott glass for added clarity of images. The filter is well made, with a brass filter ring, and comes with its own plastic case.
The idea behind a clear filter is to not affect the light quality in any way, which is exactly what the B+W filter achieves. Essentially, this filter provides protection without you knowing it’s attached to your lens.
For extreme value, you can’t beat the Tiffen 43mm UV Protector filter for general protection. This UV filter not only absorbs ultraviolet light, but it also acts as a great protector for the front of your camera lens.
The 43mm filter is made from ColorCore technology, which essentially laminates the filter between two high-quality pieces of glass for optimum quality. The filter provides protection as expected, with a high degree of light transmission. If you’re needing a very cost-effective protector for your lens’ front element, then the Tiffen is a possible option.
ZEISS doesn’t just produce high-quality lenses, they also produce filters to the same standard. A commonly used filter for the 43mm thread comes in the form of the ZEISS T* UV Filter 43mm, which has protective and ultraviolet light reducing abilities.
One of the standout points of this filter is the renowned ZEISS T* anti-reflective coating, which reduces reflections and also improves light transmission. The filter has a very slim profile, but comes in its own little plastic carrying case.
If you don’t mind the extra cost of this 43mm filter, it will provide some of the best light transmission qualities of a UV filter, with also the peace of mind of the T* anti-reflective coating.
The Gobe 43mm 3Peak UV filter is made from premium German SCHOTT B270 glass and represents one of the more expensive offerings on this list. Gobe provides its filters in three different levels of quality and pricing, starting with the 1Peak and going through to the 3Peak version which provides pro-level quality.
The filter features a 16-layer nano-coating for more neutral looking images while also reducing reflections and protecting the front element from scratches and dirt. The filter states that it can reduce 99.8 percent of ultraviolet light which will definitely benefit film users. As a protective filter for digital lenses, this is a high-quality filter with a long lifespan of keeping your front element clean.
5. Hoya 43mm Digital Filter Kit II (Budget Winner)
For those photographers out there with 43mm lenses, the Hoya 43mm Digital Filter Kit II represents great value for money while providing a bunch of useful filters. The package includes a UV (C) HMC filter, a circular polarizer, and a three-stop neutral density filter, which all come in a carry pouch.
These three types represent the most commonly used filters, produced to the usual Hoya standards. The UV filter absorbs UV light, which provides more neutral colors, contrast, and definition to images. The filter also acts as a good protector for a front lens element while featuring an HMC multi-coating. The filter is stated as allowing 97 percent of light transmission, which is optimum for this type of UV filter.
The circular polarizer filter helps to reduce reflections and glare, while the neutral density filter provides 8x or ND 0.9, which is the equivalent of three stops of compensation.
Each of these 43mm filters provides high-quality glass at a reasonable price point, with the peace of mind that they have been produced by a quality lens filter manufacturer.
Bottom Line on 43mm Filters
When choosing one of the 43mm filters on the market today, it’s always best practice to choose a highly regarded brand to make sure optical quality is maintained. High-quality filters may cost a little more, but you also get the peace of mind that your expensive lens retains its light-gathering abilities.
There are of course many types of filters available in the 43mm thread size, which would be outside the scope of this article for every conceivable permutation, which is why we have focused mostly on protective and UV filters. These types of filters are also a good starting point to check out the quality of each brand and may even inspire you to venture into using a wider range of lens filters.