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Filters are used to improve image quality by altering the properties of light that enter the camera lens. They can be used individually or as combinations to affect contrast, sharpness, highlights, flare, color, and light intensity. There are hundreds available, but we will discuss the ones we commonly use.
Coatings applied to filters (and lenses) enhance light transmission and reduce reflections that can lead to undesirable flare and ghosting in an image. In general, light transmission improves as more layers of coating are applied. A multi-coated (MC) filter is more effective than a single-coated filter, which is far more effective than a filter with no coating at all.
[A filter can be used primarily to protect your front lens element (a topic of much debate). They can help protect your lens from dust, scratches and other damage that could lead to costly repairs. A filter is much easier and cheaper to replace than a front element.]