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I have a panasonic G85 with Lens LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. How do I find the right ND filter for this lens? I'm new to photography and really confused about this.

Closest Focusing Distance0.20m / 0.66ft (Wide), 0.25m / 0.82ft (Tele) Maximum magnification Approx. 0.27x / 0.54x (35mm camera equivalent) Diagonal Angle of View84.05°(Wide) to 20.44°(Tele) General Filter Sizeφ58mm / 2.3inchMax. Diameterφ66.0mm / 2.6inch

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    @mattdm I think OP is not concerned about the size of the filter rather overwhelmed by all parameters of filters. Sure, the size is the thing that really matters but it is worth explainig why. – Crowley May 18 '17 at 21:25
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    I definitely agree that we should have an explanation as to how to pick out the right parameter from all that mess, but I don't think we need a version of this question for every lens (and fixed-lens camera!) in existence. – mattdm May 18 '17 at 21:26
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    My sense is that the OP is not only confused about filter diameter, but also things like density of the ND filter, variable density ND filters, graduated ND filters, centre ND filters, combination filters (e.g. warming ND filter) and possible additional filter features (e.g. silm, multi-coated, etc) – osullic May 18 '17 at 22:28
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    Related: What ND filter would you recommend? – scottbb May 18 '17 at 22:31
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    Bhavik, sorry to throw a wall of links at you, but I guarantee that those links to related questions have very good information about what ND filters to use when, under what conditions, etc. Before we can help you any more with your understanding of ND filters, we need some explanation from you: why do you think you need ND filters? What do you want to take pictures of, that need ND filters? Under what conditions are you taking those pictures? If you tell us what you want to do, we can help guide you to how to do it, and what ND filter(s), if any, are needed. – scottbb May 18 '17 at 22:40
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It is easy to get lost in the specifications, if you do not know what they mean.

The only one important to get an filter is the filter size. In this case, it is 58mm. Any filter with a 58mm size will fit on the lens.

One common option though is to use a larger filter and a step-up ring. This can save tons of money if you have lenses with different filter-sizes. In which case you can buy filters for the largest lens, say a 77mm, and then you buy a 58-to-77mm step-up ring for this lens and other as needed. The only one catch is that you cannot use the lens hood with a step-up ring.

  • Aren't old lens hoods mounted to the thread as well? And if you buy, say, ten 77mm caps for ten lenses, you may get a discount. And one thing to be careful about: Large lens(step-up ring) may throw unwanted shadow when using flashes mounted too close to the optical axis (build-in or small ones). – Crowley May 18 '17 at 21:22
  • Pretty sure there is no such lens hood for Micro Four-Thirds lenses but maybe, I haven't seen a thread mounted hood. It would be hard to get aligned properly if it was petal-type. – Itai May 18 '17 at 22:12
  • Every screw-on hood I've seen has been the round, not petal, type. They're fairly common in the low end market. Looking on google, though, apparently they're now making petal type screw on filters! Yikes. Even the product shots at amazon show the thing crooked on the lens! – Michael C May 19 '17 at 1:17
  • Thank you so much for your help. This is great info You are right in that it's easy to get lost in the specifications. – Bhavik Shah May 19 '17 at 6:42
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There are several things to consider:

  • filter type (screw in or square)
  • filter size (58mm in your case)
  • filter factor (the filter "power" - how much of the light it lets through)
  • filter "shape" - solid or graduated

Screw in filters attach directly to your lens, square filters require an adapter. This can be advantageous when you have several lenses of different filter diameter (you then need one set of square filters and several adapters; adapters are cheaper than filters).

The filter size depends on your lens, and in your case is 58mm (unless you own / plan to own more lenses; then consider buying the biggest one and a step down reduction to 58mm)

The required filter factor depends on the style of photography you plan. ND filters go from ND2 (passes one half of light - decrease of 1 stop) to ND1000 (lets in 1/1024th of light - a decrease of 10 stops). Lower factor filters can be shot handheld, high factor require a tripod; exposure time can be several minutes.

You do not need the full range; the most common filters in long exposure photography are ND1000 (ten stops of light loss, sometimes called the Big Stopper) and ND64 (six stops of light loss, sometimes called the Little Stopper).

Besides ND filters with fixed filter factor there are also variable ones. They function like two overlapping polarizers. I do not recommend these, as they are expensive and prone to showing strange artifacts on some lenses, but there are people who like them.

Graduated ND filters are dark on one side and translucent on the other. They are used to limit the dynamic range of your shot - typically decrease the difference between brightly lit sky and a darker landscape.

There are also special filters where the graduation runs from center to edge; you don't need these with your Lumix.

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This lens features pre-cut threads on the flange that surrounds the front of lens barrel. These accept a 58mm filter with male threads. The arrangement is typical, you will have no difficulty finding 58mm filters.

By the way, we are talking optical filters. These are made using transparent flat glass or plastic. There are a plethora of filters. We mount a filter when we want to modify the incoming light rays in order to realize an enhancement.

Neutral Density (ND) filters are gray in color and they function just like sunglasses in that they reduce the brightness of the available light. Now your camera is capable of handling bright light conditions, It is not likely that an ND filter will be needed if you are doing general picture taking. However, you can use an ND filter to make enhancements. In portraiture, the custom is to blur the background so it does not distract. To accomplish, we deliberately set the lens aperture to a large diameter (f/3.5). This act yields a shallow distance zone (depth of field), and this blurs the background. If the subject is well lighted, opening up the lens to such a large diameter is challenging, we mount an ND to enable this deed.

We mount an ND when we choose to use a super slow shutter speed under bright light conditions. This simulates dim light conditions. A super slow shutter causes moving objects to image blurred. This is a trick way to make fast moving water in a stream or waterfall appears tranquil.

We can mount a graduated ND. This is a filter, very dark at one end that gradually changes to very light at the other end. We use it to help balance the brightness difference between sky and foreground.

The ND has many uses, I recommend that first you buy a polarizing filter. This filter acts like a mild ND and at the same time, delivers lots of enhancements. A polarizing filer mitigates atmospheric haze common when imaging distant landscapes. The polarizing filter mitigates reflections from glass was water. All the while it increases color saturation (adds contrast) without altering the natural colors of a vista. This is your best bet for a first filter.

Also, please read your camera manual and basic book or two on photography. This plus practice are the keys to this kingdom.

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