I don’t like applying filter effects, or for that matter any effects, to the image when I’m taking a shot or, more usually for me, shots in multiple exposure-bracketed HDR. With this in mind and the fact that I don’t very often want to remove reflections and I enjoy post processing my images and I can change saturation and other parameters, selectively if I choose, as it pleases me, enter stage right DXO Photolab and/or NIK Viveza 🙂 , I don’t carry a polarising filter. As for other filters like graduated filters etc. I can also do this, if I wish, in post processing. Unlike Olympus’ Art filters, colour creator, colour and black and white modes which I could apply to just the JPEG when shooting both JPEG and RAW and discard if I wish, lens filters will effect everything and, if I don’t like the filter effect later, it’s too late as I’m stuck with it or, at the very best, it’d take extra time removing it, if indeed, depending on the effect, that’s possible
The only filter I have with me nowadays, and it doesn’t get very frequent use, at least for most lighting conditions in this country, is my variable ND filter. I think that this type of filter is, by far, the most useful for me. I use it to reduce the light entering the lens and thus reduce the shutter speed when required and still enable me to set my preferred choice of aperture.
A while back I was shooting down on the banks of the River Wey on a bitter cold early morning straight into VERY bright sunlight and even stopping right down to f/22, which was something I didn’t want to do anyway, didn’t bring the shutter speed down enough for a correctly exposed single frame exposure let alone multi-frame HDR exposures and my ISO was already set to the lowest. This is one case where this type of filter is so useful as it allowed me to get shots that I otherwise couldn’t have got.
My PEN-F using electronic shutter has a fastest shutter speed of 1/16000 sec. which is usually more than fast enough but when I’m exposing +2 and +4 stops in such bright light as was the case here with my OM-D E-M1 mk 1 with its 1/8000 sec. fastest mechanical shutter speed, then it just wouldn’t have worked out without an ND filter to bring the exposure down within limits whilst allowing me to still shoot at my preferred aperture.
This doesn’t happen that often which is why the filter only gets occasional usage but it’s good enough reason to have it with me, especially if I’m visiting a hot country. I prefer the variable type as it doesn’t require changing or stacking multiple fixed ND filters and is thus quicker to fit and remove. The one that I have has a larger front filter diameter which prevents vignetting.