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I have a 50mm 1.8g and 18-55mm kit lens with my Nikon D3300. Which lens is best suited for landscape photography?

Planning to buy a filter set consisting of UV, Polariser and ND filter. For which lens should I buy the filters?

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The 50mm lens has a filter size of 58mm. The 18-55mm lens has a filter size of 52mm

You have two choices. The 18-55 is a versatile lens, so you could buy the smaller 52mm filter set for that lens, but the filters will be too small to work on the 50mm lens. But the 18-55mm covers a range of focal lengths including 50mm, so you could just use that lens for all your landscapes. For typical landscapes wider focal lengths are useful, and you can often use a tripod and don't need a fast lens or narrow depth of field that you get with the 50mm prime.

The other option is buy a 58mm filter set which will work on the 50mm lens. And then also buy a 52mm-58mm step-up ring. That would screw into the 18-55mm lens and allow you to fit the same 58mm filters onto that lens as well.

The UV filter doesn't really serve any purpose on a digital camera other than possibly protecting the lens if you drop it. The polariser is very useful and the ND filter can be useful at times. Depending on what the cost of the set of 3 filters is, you might consider just getting a good polariser, but that's up to you.

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Both film and the digital sensor are highly sensitive to UV light. The digital sensor’s surface is protected by a cover glass that is also a UV filter. This negates mounting a UV filter except for protecting the mounted lens from damage via scratches etc.

The most valuable filter is likely a polarizer. This filter mitigates reflections from certain surfaces (mainly non-conductors). When using one, you select a favorable camera to subject angle of view and rotate the filter for the desired effect. Polarizing filters come in two flavors, linear and circular. Most sold today are circular, however the ones purchased at swap meets are likely linear. Because the modern camera likely utilizes a polarizing filter for auto-focus and perhaps light metering, use of the linear type is unadvisable (may or may not interfere). The circular design is two filters sandwiched together. The first is a linear that does the job. The second is called a retarder that de-polarizes, thus avoiding interference with automation tasks. The polarizer darkens blue sky causing the white clouds to stand out, thus enhancing the contrast and saturation. It does this without changing the color of the vista. The Polarizer also blocks UV light.

The next most valuable is the neutral density filter. These come is various densities. They are useful as they reduce the amount of exposing energy. Their use permits a wider working aperture and/or long exposure times under bright light conditions. A graduated ND is helpful to adjust the ratio of skylight vs foreground. These improve detail in foliage under bright sky conditions. Best is a filter that progresses to 2 stops attenuation (0.60 density).

Special effects filters are neat. These are starburst and soft focus and the like

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Buy the larger 58mm set and a 58->52 step-down ring, and you've got both lenses covered!

Later, if you find the step-down frustrating, buy a 52mm filter that you need: maybe just a polarizer, maybe an ND, maybe something entirely different.

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Polariser is definately something to look into. As for the other filters: I have these square filters which are like Cokin. Please note that it's cheap plastic, but for me it's enough and I rather scratch these than the more expensive ones, but you know your budget, experience with photography and if you need the best equipment.

The big advantages are:

  • You buy them once and have them for all your lenses and only need different rings to attach them
  • You can stack multiple filters, e.g. a gradient ND and a "full" ND filter or whatever suits the situation
  • You can svivel the filter holder and change the position of your filter(s) to match what you shoot

I'm sure that there are downsides, but for me the pros above clearly outweight the one I found so far for me: You have to detach the filter holder in order to adjust the polarizer.

EDIT: Completely forgot to answer the first question. The 18-55mm would be the better solution here since it's wider. Have a look here what others do with this lens and your camera, assuming it's the 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6.

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I'd start with one good polariser (58mm or larger) and step down ring(s) as needed.

But I'd also guess that the 18-55mm will be used for landscapes much more than the 50mm. 50mm is kind of long for most landscape work (generally speaking) and you don't need the wide aperture for landscapes (generally). That 50mm is great for low-light and portraits, but my guess is the 18-55mm will be your main landscape lens. So if that assumption is correct, then a 52mm polariser, just for the 18-55mm, is a viable option.

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