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10-05-2008, 02:07 AM   #1
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To Filter Or Not To Filter?

Just curious: how many of you suggest using a UV filter as a constant attachment on a lens? Are there any benefits, IQ wise, to shooting without filters? And is it a big enough difference to offset the risk? I don't want to endanger my lenses if it's not worth it, especially once I get something beyond the kit lens, but at the same time, I'm a bit of a pixel-peeper and am VERY adamant about the reproduction of color tones. If canning the filters will improve things, then I'd be willing to try it out, especially while I still have a (relatively) cheap lens.

Thanks!

10-05-2008, 03:51 AM   #2
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Why not just decide for yourself? Opinions are cheap. Get off the computer and go take some pictures with and without a filter. Forget about pixel-peeping. Print the results, display them on you monitor, do whatever you do with pictures. Decide which you like the best. If you perceive NO difference the use the filter for the additional protection.

For the record, I do NOT use filters. My two oldest lenses are 38 years old and except for some yellowing on my 50mm (which can be corrected) they would both grade 95+. Just a few internal dust particles. Maybe I'll send them to Eric someday for an internal cleaning.
10-05-2008, 04:50 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
Just curious: how many of you suggest using a UV filter as a constant attachment on a lens?
You're going to find that there's an equal number of folks on either side of this question. It really depends on what type of pictures you like to shoot. If you mostly shoot with side light or with the sun at your back, they you probably won't notice any difference when using a filter. But if you like to include light sources in your pics (the sun, street lights, etc...), then you may find that using a filter causes a little more glare. Personally, I prefer to go with no filter and use the very deepest lens hood that I can get by with.
10-05-2008, 07:04 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
You're going to find that there's an equal number of folks on either side of this question.

Indeed so.
A good filter won't degrade quality much, but "Scientifically" speaking, you are adding another layer of glass in front of your expensively engineered lens, and that definitely makes a difference. If you can notice it or not, will be the thing.

On my 18-50, the uv filter (a cheap kenko) makes no difference, and my tests have shown it to be of no consequence.
However, on my 70-300 apo, the more expensive sky light im using, definitely affects my quality (tested twice)... strange, I know. Either way, for the little IQ I lose, I leave it on for _most_ purposes, and since the filter saved my front element at an offroad biking event once, I like having it there.

And yes, stop pixel peeping, it's a sin.

10-05-2008, 07:12 AM   #5
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I have UV filters on every lens that will take a filter. I'd rather clean a relatively inexpensive filter than the surface of my lens.
10-05-2008, 07:45 AM   #6
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I wasted money on filters

Don't do what I did. I bought filters for all my lenses, then decided I didn't need them.

I read that digital cameras don't need UV protection, so I was using the filters for mechanical protection. Then I read about potential vignetting at wide angle being impacted by a filter. I stopped using them when one of them trapped condensation in between the filter and lens and I messed up several shots before I noticed. In theory I would use them for hazy shots, in practice I've never bothered.

Last edited by audiobomber; 10-05-2008 at 07:50 AM.
10-05-2008, 08:19 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
I have UV filters on every lens that will take a filter. I'd rather clean a relatively inexpensive filter than the surface of my lens.

Ditto on that.
I think if I were taking a shot that I felt needed the removel then thats easily done.
10-05-2008, 10:28 AM   #8
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Hmm, interesting results. I guess I kinda expected there to be a divide. I was pixel-peeping yesterday because the power was out, there was torrential rain outside, and my laptop was the only thing I had for company. I got bored, what can I say.

Today looks like a good day for some tests, so I suppose I'll head on out there. Perhaps I could have phrased the question a little more directly. Two things come to mind: one, how durable are the surfaces of SMC lenses? Will they stand up to being cleaned with microfiber every time I want to go out shooting, or will I wear it down? And secondly, obviously you can remove the filter if you want, but when would be a general rule for when this is necessary? Only when direct light sources find their way into the picture?

10-05-2008, 11:30 AM   #9
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This question has arised several times in the past.

As for me, I do have UV filters on all my glass, but that is after my wife wanted to get involved and found plenty of fingerprints after her day's shooting. When I use the lenses, I will remove the filters unless harsh weather wind(dusty) conditions are present.

As many here, I discovered that filters produce ghosting when used on digital bodies. The degree of ghosting is related to the filters coatings, but even the most expensive multicoated filters still ghost.

See this thread:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-pentax-photography/29938-filter-g...got-proof.html

Robert B
10-05-2008, 11:45 AM   #10
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I started out using UV filters on all my lenses but have sinced decided it isn't necessary in normal conditions - I now only use them if taking coastal shots where sea salt doesn't do wonders for lens coatings !!

simon
10-05-2008, 11:53 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
Two things come to mind: one, how durable are the surfaces of SMC lenses? Will they stand up to being cleaned with microfiber every time I want to go out shooting, or will I wear it down?
They're very durable. However, I wouldn't recommend cleaning them with a cloth every time you go out to shoot. 90% of the time, all they're going to need is a little dusting, anyway. Get yourself some sort of air blower (not canned air) and use that on the lens first. If there are some stubborn pieces left, then use a soft brush to remove them. With a little care, I think you'll find that you'll rarely have to go beyond those first two steps.

QuoteQuote:
And secondly, obviously you can remove the filter if you want, but when would be a general rule for when this is necessary? Only when direct light sources find their way into the picture?
I'm not sure there are any instances where you'd ALWAYS want to remove your filter. You can certainly minimize how often you'd need to remove the filter if you use good lens hoods. It's not the filter itself that degrades an image, IMO. It's usually glare.
10-05-2008, 12:27 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
Two things come to mind: one, how durable are the surfaces of SMC lenses? Will they stand up to being cleaned with microfiber every time I want to go out shooting, or will I wear it down? And secondly, obviously you can remove the filter if you want, but when would be a general rule for when this is necessary? Only when direct light sources find their way into the picture?
(1) It's wise to avoid cleaning lens surfaces frequently; the problem is not so much gradual wear of the lens coatings but the small chance that something abrasive will get between the glass and the cloth/lens pen/whatever.


(2) It's also good to avoid filters when

-- sun or other bright light sources shine on the lens, but aren't in the frame; with or without filters, it's beneficial to use a lens hood or block the sun with your hand

-- scene is dark but contains light sources (e.g. streetlights or buildings at night)
10-05-2008, 12:34 PM   #13
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Am I correct in assuming that UV filters do nothing useful with regards to actually filtering UV light when used on a digital camera? I ask because I'm always high up in the mountains where I think traditionally a UV filter was nice for film...

I sortof ended up in the filter-less camp recently when I bought a 16-45 used for $275 and then looked up how much a decent filter would cost and it was a sizeable fraction of the lens cost... not worth it. Might as well take the chance of busting the lens (relatively low) and replace the lens if necessary.
10-05-2008, 08:51 PM   #14
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The only lens I keep a UV on now is my Tam SP 90 and only on that one because the front element is recessed 1.5" back from the front of the barrel making it a real pain in the ass to clean.
I used to put UVs on every lens but came to the realization that putting a cheap $15-30 piece of glass in front of $400-700 or more of lens kind of defeated the purpose of buying those nice lenses. And since nearly all of my lenses now are sized at least 62mm the cost of a couple high grade filters put a really nice down payment on another lens.
10-06-2008, 12:02 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
They're very durable. However, I wouldn't recommend cleaning them with a cloth every time you go out to shoot. 90% of the time, all they're going to need is a little dusting, anyway. Get yourself some sort of air blower (not canned air) and use that on the lens first. If there are some stubborn pieces left, then use a soft brush to remove them. With a little care, I think you'll find that you'll rarely have to go beyond those first two steps.
Just curious, why not compressed air? Thats actually what I have been using, in conjunction with a microfiber cloth, for keeping the glass clean. I've only used microfiber on them once (I somehow got a fingerprint dead center on my filter) and the rest of the time I just check for dust, and use the air can, albeit VERY lightly.
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