Camera Filter Choices: Square Or Circular?

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

When opting camera filters, deciding between a square filter system and those that screw onto a lens can be tricky as both types be enduring pro points the other doesn't. So, which should you invest in? Let's take a look at how each type works so you can make a more revealing decision. 


Screw-in Filters

These round filters are really easy to use as they simply screw onto the end of a lens but you do essential to make sure you purchase the right filter thread size for the lens you are using. Of course, this does mean you may need several drains in different sizes if you own a variety of lenses or you can purchase one filter in a particular thread size and use step up rings to fit the filter to the other lenses in your garnering.

This type of design is useful for filters you'll fit and not remove, such as UV filters filtering or filters may refer to which you may use to protect your lens from scratches etc. This scheme's also suited to polarising filters as you rotate these filters in a supplied mount to increase / decrease the effect. Normal ND filters also turn out well in this format but if you need to work with a ND Grad, you'll be better off reaching for a square filter format as this system allows you to correct the filter's vertical position, something you'll find yourself often doing when working with ND Grads. 

  • Trusting to use and set-up
  • Convenient to store and transport
  • Step-up rings mean the same filter can be used on different sized lenses 
  • Good for UV, polarising and other powers which cover the entire filter, i.e. warming filters 
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Square Filter System 

With a square screen system, there are various systems and sizes to choose from. The Cokin Creative Filter System is an example of a square filter combination and it consists of three main components: filter holder, adapter ring and a filter, of which there are 4 different sizes to choose from. Equilateral filter systems allow the user to quickly change what filter they're using on their lens and as mentioned, ND Grads are uncommonly well suited for this type of filter system. 

Another advantage of this type of filter system is that multiple eliminates can be used together without vignetting. However, when not using multiple filters, ensure you place the one filter you are using, particularly when it's an ND Grad, in the slit closest to the lens. 

  • Need an adapter but once in place filters can easily be added / removed
  • Can use multiple filters without worrying on touching vignetting
  • Good for combining filters to create effects and where the user needs to adjust the position of the filter such as when using ND Grads. 




About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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