We study the effectiveness of several low-cost oblique illumination filters to improve overall image quality, in comparison with standard bright field imaging. For this purpose, a dataset composed of 3360 diatom images belonging to 21 taxa was acquired. Subjective and objective image quality assessments were done. The subjective evaluation was performed by a group of diatom experts by psychophysical test where resolution, focus, and contrast were assessed. Moreover, some objective nonreference image quality metrics were applied to the same image dataset to complete the study, together with the calculation of several texture features to analyze the effect of these filters in terms of textural properties. Both image quality evaluation methods, subjective and objective, showed better results for images acquired using these illumination filters in comparison with the no filtered image. These promising results confirm that this kind of illumination filters can be a practical way to improve the image quality, thanks to the simple and low cost of the design and manufacturing process.