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09-25-2007, 02:10 PM   #1
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Do you UV filter?

We purchased our lenses for several reasons, and two of them being for contrast and color reproduction. I performed a test to see how contrast and color shift would be affected by using a UV filter on your lens. If you have LBA and have lenses with filters, or anyone who uses a UV filter, then come take a look.

Check it out here:
UV Filter Test | Your lens will love you after this


Last edited by imadethis; 09-25-2007 at 03:14 PM.
09-26-2007, 12:01 AM   #2
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Interesting test. I'd be interested in seeing the effect on an outdoor picture, since the 'UV' part of the UV filter will then have a specific effect compared to the bare lens. Obviously the amount of UV light in an outdoor scene varies considerably with location, weather and altitude, and different sensors may respond differently due to different amounts of built-in filtration.

I'd also be interested in the results from one of the higher-end filters such as the Hoya Pro or B&W range.

Looking forward to the second test ...
09-26-2007, 10:14 AM   #3
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Hi imt

The first thing I ever do without exception when purchasing a new lens is ALWAYS to obtain at the same time a good-quality skylight or UV filter to protect the frontal element from unintentional damage.
IMHO it's a much better strategy than risking getting unwanted fingerprints or permanent marks and scratches on the precious multi-coated surface of the glass in question. Although I find the results of your test fascinating in their own right, I'd still continue to follow this procedure regardless and would simply accept any 'slight' degradation to the final image that might occur in so doing.

Best regards
09-26-2007, 10:39 AM   #4
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For me, it depends on the lens. If the lens has a good protective hood, like the 43mm, then I don't use a protective filter. If the hood offers little protection, like the 31mm, or if the front element is huge, like the 14mm, then I do use a uv/skylight/neutral/protective filter. I like to throw the lenscap in the bag, swing the camera over my shoulder, and trudge out into the great big world.

09-29-2007, 10:18 PM   #5
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It depends on where you are taking your photo's.

Myself I spend a LOT of time down by the sea and the local riverside where there can often be a lot of spray blowing about. I'm always careful to keep
my gear as dry as possible but have had the odd filter ruined by salt spray.

Hence my Bigma always has either it's UV or Circ-Pol fitted when down there. Even at the high cost of replacing them (they are an 86mm fitting) it's much cheaper than losing the lens.
10-05-2007, 09:29 PM   #6
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Practice safe photography - wear a lens cap!

That is an interesting comparison of UV filters and bare lens that supports something I learned in 1983 from John Shaw. I'll never forget his illustrative photos and his words "you spent hundreds of dollars on a premium lens - why would you put a $5 piece of glass in front of it to take pictures?" He followed this up by stressing the importance of using a lens cap for both protection and to keep dust off the lens. Since this workshop I've never used a UV filter (or any other except a polarizer) and I'm sure that my images are better as a result.

I completely understand the security one feels when adding a protective layer over an expensive item but in this case I believe you are better served by a plastic lens cap. If you do hit the end of the lens with significant force, the UV filter is likely break inwards and scratch the lens surface. If you hit a plastic lens cap hard enough to break it you'll probably have more serious damage than a scratched lens.

We all have to decide for ourselves where our comfort level is. I've decided that since I haven't damaged a lens in 36 years I can afford one accident if it ever happens. In the meantime I'll just use my lens cap and care.
10-06-2007, 08:28 AM   #7
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I totally agree with Hornet's comment.

And a filter can never out perform a pentax SMC coat plus its not in par with the designed optical formula of the lens and will only cut down contrast and resolution.

Try to use the lens hood and cap when every you can. If anything use a polarizer!
10-06-2007, 08:46 AM   #8
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Confused too!

I'm new DSLR's and have acquired a K100-D and Tamron 70-300 Di.

I wonder what the Pentax official stand is on UV filters. I thought that protection from UV to the lens is one of the consideration. Acting as a first line of defence is added bonus. But the comment about using plastics makes more sense from a physical protection sense.

10-06-2007, 09:03 AM   #9
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Interesting test.

I'm still a little undecided about using a UV - normally I do as much of my photography is coastal areas & I just don't want sea salt eroding the lens coating.

This also begs a question though regarding the use of any other filters - polariser/ND Grad etc etc. The conclusion must be then that any addition degrades the image quality ?

Just how noticeable is it in the "real world" though ?

10-06-2007, 09:26 AM   #10
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Real world examples

Simonkit asked for some real world examples. In John Shaw's (now out of print book) "The Nature Photographers Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques" there are a couple of sample pictures illustrating the negative effects of UV filters (primarily flaring) as well as a no-nonsense approach to filter use discussed by John (page 54/55). If you don't have this book I highly recommend it and any other John Shaw book. He is both a brilliant photographer and a gifted communicator (his books are worth it for the images alone).
10-06-2007, 10:14 AM   #11
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There was a nicely-performed test of UV filters and their effects on resultant images by JonasB over on the Bad Forum some time ago. He came to the conclusion that while it doesn't impact sharpness or contrast much at all, there are other impacts that vary from lens to lens. Not surprising that your link posted a successful test, since JonasB determined that the FA35/2 was excellent with a UV filter - the 31m Limited was not as good.

I've used them sparingly, and usually end up with a ghost or piece of flare that makes itself quite unwelcome. For now, I'll only consider using UV filters if they are the really good (read: expensive) ones and only on my rare glass.

Notice the aliens at the top of this sign - they are from the UV filter (a genuine Pentax Super-Multi-Coated UV one):
10-06-2007, 10:21 AM   #12
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Count me among those who use lens hoods instead of UV filters to protect the front of my lens. Back in the days of camera shows (pre-Ebay), I used to go to camera shows and dig through the junk bins of the various dealers. I used to purchase as many screw-on, metal Pentax lens hoods as I could find. Then I'd rummage around until I could find a lens cap that would fit the front of the lens hood. This is the way I use my prime lenses....with the deepest hood that doesn't vignette and no protective filter. (Knock on wood) In 30 years, I've never had any serious damage to the front elements of my lenses. I'll admit that using this technique with zoom lenses is much tougher because it's hard to find a hood that offers sufficient protection to the front element yet doesn't vignette at the wide end of the zoom.
10-06-2007, 12:53 PM   #13
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I have been using UV filters, when I started photography in the long and distant past. This was a recommendation by my then prefered dealer. I used them for many years until the day I realised, that the ghosting and additional flares I would encounter from time to time in my slides, where simply artefacts from these protective filters.

I always used B+B, Heliopan (these ware the least miserablest) and Hoya HMC. But since this realisation, I put them all away.

I always use lens hoods, which should give enough protection for the front element and so far it worked, despite the occasional drop and bump.

The only situation, when I use a UV filter is, when photographing on the beach or shoreline in windy conditions. The spray is really hazardous and the filter doesn't degrade the image in this situation too much, as the spray will reduce contrast anyway.

Of course Skylight filters are even worse, as they introduce a colour shift on top. These are warm-up filters, not clear protective filters!


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