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07-15-2012, 09:35 PM   #1
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UV filters ARE important!!!!!

I've decided to post this in a new thread, re-worded slightly, instead of keeping it buried in another. I want to share my experience of deciding not to use a UV filter when something inside me told me that I should have.

In another thread, a poster noted to another poster, "I don't know why you are bothering to use a UV filter ... at all, to be honest. They do no good at all. Just use a hood if you want to protect the front element."

This isn't the only time I've read this argument. In fact, I've read it ad nauseum in these forums for a long time now. Therefore, I concluded that the majority must somehow be right and decided to break with tradition and not put a UV/skylight filter on my new DA* 50-135 a few months ago, but I already have a small nick/scratch on the front element. I've owned several lenses over the past 16 years and I'm very careful with them, but as they say, such things can happen to the best of us. I just wish it hadn't involved my most expen$ive lens.

So in actuality, a hood is a completely ineffective protector of the front element when a pointed object is involved, or when you bump something while removing the hood to reverse it and forgetting to put the lens cap on before doing so. Again, accidents happen.

The moral of the story: A good-quality UV filter does much good - especially when it's a fraction of the cost of a quality lens - and I greatly regret taking the status quo advice in this forum regarding this. So think twice before you buy into the argument that UV filters are a useless waste of money; I argue that the minimal extra cost is well worth it.

07-15-2012, 09:40 PM   #2
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I tend to agree...

I only remove the filter in long exposure shot of starry night, fireworks, where the filter will cast a shadow.
But I think CPL is more useful than UV filter? as UV filter is only serve for 'protection purpose' in digital camera (?).

Lee
07-15-2012, 10:06 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I generally subscribe to the "filters are a waste of time" theory. I have read of situations where a lens had a filter on and an impact to the front element drove the filter glass into the lens scratching it badly. Would the lens have been damaged without the filter? Maybe, maybe not, who knows. I think you can find examples both ways, so go with what works for you.

My primary objection to filters is that I have seen (and taken) too many images that had ghosts or artifacts from the filter in them. That is just not acceptable to me, so I do not use filters except for CPL when needed. Maybe that is cheap filters, or just shots into lights or the sun, or maybe just the lens, I don't know but it is enough to make me avoid them.

Bottom line, a filter will not improve the image quality, where a hood will. A hood will also protect the lens in some situations, but not all. A filter does add more protection at a cost of some image quality. So, pick your poison depending upon the situation and what you feel works best for your style and environment.

One area that I have been meaning to investigate further though is UV or Haze filters. Conventional wisdom says these have no benefit on digital, except for protection factor. But I wonder if that is really true? I live in the mountains and we have many hazy days from humidity rising from the trees. Would a conventional haze filter improve the contrast in those shots? I need to dig some filters out of the box and take some test shots.
07-15-2012, 10:24 PM   #4
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It is sort of like the ultimate fail proof protection is abstinence rather than condoms.

07-15-2012, 10:29 PM   #5
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Exactly! I just simply don't buy expensive glass Not that I've seen any scratch on the front of anything produce any real noticeable shit on the sensor.
07-15-2012, 10:46 PM   #6
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I once tested a $20.00 77mm UV filter by mounting my camera on a tripod and then photographed some very small type. The photographs without the filter were definitely sharper but I had to crop the photos to an extreme to find any difference. I would consider those more expensive UV filters.
07-15-2012, 11:02 PM   #7
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so did you get this 'nick' in the front element while using the lens, or were you carelss with the lens in another manner. Your story didnt actually explain how your lens got scratched, therefore i cant see as an observer, tha the lack of a UV filter was to blame. I have taken my 700 dollar zeiss 50mm to the top of a mountain, down through dark and damp caves, riding on top of jeeps (google 'jeepney'), into crowds of protesters, etc. It has never had anything but the hood for protection while in use, and a front lens cap when not in use. Not a single scratch.

The simple fact is, anything can indeed happen at anytime. Which means filter or no filter your lens can get scratched, broken, etc. Theres no way to say really that its absolutely good or bad to always have a filter. Youre taking a risk either way.
07-15-2012, 11:17 PM   #8
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I definitely like to have a filter on when going places I know I'm going to get crap on the front element, especially gritty stuff that may scratch if I wipe it off -- sea salt spray, blowing sand (that super-fine red stuff they have in Utah will get into anything), etc. With a filter I can take it off and run it under the tap if I have to. And I've gotten so close to objects while composing that I've hit the lens often enough to know I like to have a filter on certain lenses anyway so that that close-up of a rusty nail doesn't cost me my lens.

07-15-2012, 11:31 PM   #9
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Sorry to hear about your lens.

My experience - which I concede may not be universally relevant - is that a good hood can often provide adequate day-to-day lens protection, whilst not impacting image quality like UV filters can.

To cite an example of my own with UV filters, I had an experience some years ago where a bad bump caused fragments of a UV filter to shatter and several bits were driven into the lens front element causing bit lateral scratches, and permanently denting the filter thread of the lens too, after an encounter with an angry car door handle. A deep plastic hood would have probably provided better sacrificial protection in that case, but even a lens hood AND a UV filter may still have seen the lens get damaged.

The problem is that there are so many situations where as a lens protection device a UV filter may do good, or may do more harm than good, or may make no difference at all. Ditto for hoods as well. It's a personal risk assessment one must make.
07-15-2012, 11:43 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoxatnep Quote
Therefore, I concluded that the majority must somehow be right and decided to break with tradition and not put a UV/skylight filter on my new DA* 50-135 a few months ago, but I already have a small nick/scratch on the front element.
Wow, it takes some serious abuse before such tough glass is scratched. Especially in such a short amount of time. Are you sure it's not dirt?

After seeing what a difference in IQ it makes, I took all my UV filters off all my lenses. Except for the 18-135 WR, it's my only WR lens and takes all the abuse for the team. 9 out of 10 times I leave it's filter off though, untill it gets really bad.



QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
And I've gotten so close to objects while composing that I've hit the lens often enough to know I like to have a filter on certain lenses anyway so that that close-up of a rusty nail doesn't cost me my lens.
With the DA 10-17 I sometimes tend to get really very close to my subjects. It's the only lens in my collection that runs a real risk of getting bumped, and the only one that can't use filters.
07-16-2012, 12:45 AM   #11
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The solution to the problem is taking more care and using a hood, not using a filter and degrading the IQ. You could protect your lenses even further by never taking them out of the house or bag, but what would be the point? I think the same applies for shots degraded by a UV filter.

Bear in mind that loss of resolution is not the only impact - there's also decreased contrast and increased chance of flare.
07-16-2012, 01:06 AM   #12
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I'm really sorry to hear about your lens - however no system provides 100% protection for your lens, it just so happens that hoods provide better protection than UV filters due to the increased possibility of the filters themselves (which are no-where near as tough as your front element) causing damage which hoods can't.

I never use UV filters and as a birder am constantly crawling through spiky trees and bushes, down ditches, have fallen over countless times, banged the camera/lens on tree trunks and so on and so on. All remain in pristine condition.

I understand your frustration - but don't see how you can blame it on not using a UV filter. You have a slight nick now - had yo uhad a UV filter on then it is likely it would have shattered (if you can nick the front element that would most likely have had a shattering effect on your filter) possibly causing irreparable damage to your lens. The slight nick won't affect your IQ at all . Maybe you should be considering yourself lucky you didn't have a filter on !

QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
My experience - which I concede may not be universally relevant - is that a good hood can often provide adequate day-to-day lens protection, whilst not impacting image quality like UV filters can.

To cite an example of my own with UV filters, I had an experience some years ago where a bad bump caused fragments of a UV filter to shatter and several bits were driven into the lens front element causing bit lateral scratches, and permanently denting the filter thread of the lens too, after an encounter with an angry car door handle. A deep plastic hood would have probably provided better sacrificial protection in that case, but even a lens hood AND a UV filter may still have seen the lens get damaged.

The problem is that there are so many situations where as a lens protection device a UV filter may do good, or may do more harm than good, or may make no difference at all. Ditto for hoods as well. It's a personal risk assessment one must make.
THIS

QuoteOriginally posted by séamuis Quote
The simple fact is, anything can indeed happen at anytime. Which means filter or no filter your lens can get scratched, broken, etc. Theres no way to say really that its absolutely good or bad to always have a filter. Youre taking a risk either way.
THIS

QuoteOriginally posted by Jonathan Mac Quote
The solution to the problem is taking more care and using a hood, not using a filter and degrading the IQ. You could protect your lenses even further by never taking them out of the house or bag, but what would be the point? I think the same applies for shots degraded by a UV filter.

Bear in mind that loss of resolution is not the only impact - there's also decreased contrast and increased chance of flare.
And THIS.

Last edited by Frogfish; 07-16-2012 at 01:12 AM.
07-16-2012, 02:07 AM   #13
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As much as it pains you to see a knick in the glass I can 100000000% assure you that it does not affect the IQ of your images like a UV filter would. Your lens is tough; it can take it. Don't go all mother-hen helicopter-photo-mom on it.
07-16-2012, 03:22 AM   #14
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OP, dunno about color correction with a UV. But I try to always use a UV so I don't have to keep cleaning the front element. My lenses get dirty as lot. Rather clean the filter.
07-16-2012, 03:24 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by noahpurdy Quote
As much as it pains you to see a knick in the glass I can 100000000% assure you that it does not affect the IQ of your images like a UV filter would. Your lens is tough; it can take it. Don't go all mother-hen helicopter-photo-mom on it.
Depends. I got a 17 with a speck of dark dust in it. Shows up like hell in the sky of each photo. Can't say about knicks though.
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