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10-25-2009, 05:59 AM   #1
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lens protection filter - skylight or UV?

I've been recommended either a UV or Skylight filter for lens protection - apparently in addition to protecting the lens front element, both filters improve images through either reducing haze or adding warmth respectively. What are the pros and cons of one versus the other?

10-25-2009, 06:59 AM   #2
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If you fell you really really need to use a filter on your lenses UV and skylight are mostly the same. I would recommend not using anything in front of your glass unless you know you are going to be in particularly harsh conditions and never at night.

Your DSLR already has a high pass and low pass filter built in so using a UV filter is just going to add extra glass to the lens and have no beneficial effects on your images.
10-25-2009, 07:56 AM   #3
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Use a lens hood instead. Filters suck.
10-25-2009, 09:21 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
I've been recommended either a UV or Skylight filter for lens protection - apparently in addition to protecting the lens front element, both filters improve images through either reducing haze or adding warmth respectively.
Says someone who wants to sell you their product. I think if you browse similar threads on the topic, you'll find far people expressing the opinion that "protective" filters *degrade* IQ, and that's why they don't use them, At best, maybe the most expensive will degrade IQ so little you'd never notice, but no way do they improve it. That's something that might have been true decades ago when lenses had no coatings and the filters did, but it's not true for modern lenses.

10-25-2009, 04:04 PM   #5
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I have a mixer of UV and skylight on all my lenses.The reason I have them on is merely to protect the front lens glass from being accidently scratched or damaged in anyway.It would be a lot cheaper to replace a filter over a front glass.For adding warmth with a UV/Skylight,not really.I would get myself a 81A,B, or C if you want the warm feel to your pics.It's possible that some of the things that Marc has mention could happen,like degrade IQ,but I'm yet to be convinced that the UV,Skylight filter would do that to a point that it's not worth having them on my lenses.Maybe if I pull out the magnifying glass and compare the difference......At the end of the day it's completely your choice.Maybe try one lens,put a UV/Skylight on.Take some pics with and without the filter on.See for yourself.

Last edited by Barnster; 10-25-2009 at 04:10 PM.
10-25-2009, 04:50 PM   #6
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When I'm at work I use protective filters because of the very harsh conditions. Otherwise the only filters I use are polarizers and am now playing with a grad. ND.
As Dom said, UV filter is mute on modern DSLRs and adding more glass in front of your lenses is bound to lessen IQ.
As Wheatfiled said (how many times!?) a hood will protect the front element of your lenses and definitely improve IQ.
As Marc said, filters are money makers more so these days than in the past when they were actually necessary at times.
And I say, if you need to protect your lenses in harsh conditions get clear, MC "protector" filters.
If you want to warm up the in-camera JPEGs just adjust the "Custom Image" settings or shoot RAW and do whatever you want/need in PP.

hth
10-25-2009, 06:27 PM   #7
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As with Barnster, I just want a filter to protect my A28/2 lens - not to improve image quality. I just figured if I was going to fit one it may as well warm the image or whatever. I do have a screw in metal hood but it is shallow and does not allow the lens cap to be fitted.

I am considering fitting either a genuine Asahi Pentax uv filter (bought on ebay and on its way) or a new Hoya Super HMC uv filter. Hopefully the Pentax filter is SMC coated - but if not, the Hoya coating is the next best thing - so image degradation should be negligible.

PS - An old photography book I have states that a UV filter is for B/W film and a Skylight filter is for colour film
PPS - I just did a bit of research and apparently there is no point using Skylight filters on digital as the white balance will automatically adjust.

Last edited by Spock; 10-26-2009 at 12:44 AM.
10-26-2009, 08:36 AM   #8
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I purchased UV filters out of habit for the lenses I got when I went digital. I read a lot of threads about how they really aren't necessary on a DSLR. I tried taking them off for a while and noticed a visible improvement in the IQ in many of my shots and less issues with lens flare. It made a big difference in shots with my Sigma 70-300. I was ready to toss it and get something else to cover that range and without the UV filter it's a completely different lens. I now use the filters as a protective filter only in bad conditions like wind/dust or mist/salt spray where I would rather get the crap off a filter that the lens surface.

10-26-2009, 10:49 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
As with Barnster, I just want a filter to protect my A28/2 lens - not to improve image quality. I just figured if I was going to fit one it may as well warm the image or whatever. I do have a screw in metal hood but it is shallow and does not allow the lens cap to be fitted.

I am considering fitting either a genuine Asahi Pentax uv filter (bought on ebay and on its way) or a new Hoya Super HMC uv filter. Hopefully the Pentax filter is SMC coated - but if not, the Hoya coating is the next best thing - so image degradation should be negligible.

PS - An old photography book I have states that a UV filter is for B/W film and a Skylight filter is for colour film
PPS - I just did a bit of research and apparently there is no point using Skylight filters on digital as the white balance will automatically adjust.
This is correct, skylight filters are best for colour slides. UV are best for other types of film.
Filters on film are still necessary and are not just to protect your lenses.

Phil
11-01-2009, 08:28 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dom Quote
Your DSLR already has a high pass and low pass filter built in so using a UV filter is just going to add extra glass to the lens and have no beneficial effects on your images.
I think there are certain conditions, such as shooting over water, where a UV filter can help. However, I no longer keep one on my lens at all times.
11-01-2009, 04:07 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
As with Barnster, I just want a filter to protect my A28/2 lens - not to improve image quality. I just figured if I was going to fit one it may as well warm the image or whatever. I do have a screw in metal hood but it is shallow and does not allow the lens cap to be fitted.

I am considering fitting either a genuine Asahi Pentax uv filter (bought on ebay and on its way) or a new Hoya Super HMC uv filter. Hopefully the Pentax filter is SMC coated - but if not, the Hoya coating is the next best thing - so image degradation should be negligible.

PS - An old photography book I have states that a UV filter is for B/W film and a Skylight filter is for colour film
PPS - I just did a bit of research and apparently there is no point using Skylight filters on digital as the white balance will automatically adjust.
I've gotten a couple of Kenko Pro1 Digital Protector (clear) filters off ebay. The price is pretty good, but they ship from Asia usually. The quality seems very good and I don't see any blatant IQ degradation, but I still remove them when I don't really need the protection.

GL
12-21-2009, 12:37 AM   #12
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if you want a protection filter, why not go with a clear one? uv filters can be used for protection, but are made more for outdoor shots.
12-21-2009, 01:46 AM   #13
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Clear or UV filters should be mostly the same. Even window glass absorbs a great amount of UV.

A cheap filter should not be used at all (you are better off buying a Holga for the effect) while expensive filters are much better. There are, of course, situations that require some protection. I would suggest a filter if you need to wipe off the front lens while there is a lot of e.g. sand in the air, but in most cases, you are better off without one.

The general protection offered by a filter could be of use, but it has yet to been proved scientifically how much energy the filter absorbs in order to reduce the impact on the front element, and if the shards of the broken filter are able to scratch the element at impact. Remember, front elements are tougher than you think, and few situations make you grind sand all over your front element.



Some test pictures can be found here:
Billigfilter fra eBay; kan det være så farlig da? - Forum - Akam.no

(Norwegian, but the pictures speak for themselves. "Billigfilter" means "cheap filter", as in a Green-L-filter bought on eBay.)

An interesting review can be found here:
UV filters test - Introduction - Lenstip.com
12-21-2009, 01:59 AM   #14
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Oh yay... this debate again.

A skylight filter will warm your photos slightly, a UV filter will have no impact on color.

Filters are great ways to protect the front element of an expensive lens. Hoods will not do this.

Filters slightly degrade sharpness in a way that is 100% imperceptible in all photos taken with them. Filters also slightly decrease flare resistance, in a way that can be noticeable, but is still incredibly slight and only in some shooting conditions (like shooting into the sun).

An even half-decent filter will not ruin your images. Filters will protect your lenses. UV and Skylight filters will not have much, if any impact on your final image.

Period.

Last edited by wallyb; 12-21-2009 at 02:06 AM.
12-21-2009, 02:02 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by KjetilH Quote
Remember, front elements are tougher than you think, and few situations make you grind sand all over your front element.
Front elements may be tough, but the coating on them is not. Coating damage seriously impacts lens value and can build up to impact image quality.

And if you think any filter that isn't made out of jello makes images look like the one in your link, you have never used a filter. That 'test' is clearly flawed in some way. I don't read or speak Norsk.
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