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11-23-2013, 08:56 PM   #1
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Filters

Who here uses a clear filter such as a UV or skylight on the front of their lenses? Why or why not? Reason why I ask is that I see some lenses on sale here and other places, and yet looking at some of the front elements I see smudges, streaks, even scratches, and yet the sellers are asking big money for them. Is it worth the investment on your quality lens to protect it in case unexpected impact or dropping occurs? Or do you have a genuine concern that using a protective filter will adversely impact on image quality?

11-23-2013, 09:19 PM   #2
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Shoot near mist/waterfalls/seashore and you'll why it's helpful. I'd rather clean a front filter than the front element :-)
11-23-2013, 10:30 PM   #3
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I have clear filters on virtually all my lenses for that very reason. I don't want to expose the lens glass to harm. Replacing a filter? That's easy. Filters have saved me several times.
11-23-2013, 10:42 PM   #4
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If you look you will find many threads on this subject with polarized views (pun intended). Personally I never use one. When I buy a lens that comes with one, the first thing I do is take it off and toss it. But that's just me. If you feel safer with a filter on then by all means put one on.

I do use CPLs and ND filters regularly and carry them all the time, but for protection I rely on the lens hoods.

11-23-2013, 10:51 PM   #5
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Like jatrax, I never use protective filters; they can only decrease image quality. Most hoods provide equivalent protection and usually improve IQ.
The front elements of good quality modern lenses are very hardy anyway.
11-24-2013, 01:13 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Like jatrax, I never use protective filters; they can only decrease image quality. Most hoods provide equivalent protection and usually improve IQ.
The front elements of good quality modern lenses are very hardy anyway.
Ah yes, the annual discussion on UV/protection filters. Ok, fun aside, most everyone would agree that extra glass, no matter how good it is, can only decrease quality even if difficult to see. But those of us that shoot surfers, motorcross and (as mentioned above) waterfalls or just during a windy day with blowing grit often find them good insurance. Salt water can be a bitch to get off of glass cleanly and without leaving streaks or marks on the lens coating. As far as UV filters, my understanding is the their purpose died along with film.


Do what makes you feel comfortable.
11-24-2013, 02:05 AM   #7
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If the concept of a UV is to protect the lens, that works on a digital camera every bit as well as a film camera. I have never seen any loss in quality by using a protective filter. Sometimes I might see ghosting if I shoot glass, and that's one of the few times I will take mine off. If I were using a graduated filter system like on Cokin, then that's another time I'd remove it. Other than that, I leave it on and fuggedaboutit.

11-24-2013, 02:14 AM   #8
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When you say you have never seen any loss of quality, do you actually take every shot with a filter, and then repeat it without? If not, your opinion is invalid.
If you have already made your mind up, why ask?

QuoteOriginally posted by LXNights Quote
If the concept of a UV is to protect the lens, that works on a digital camera every bit as well as a film camera. I have never seen any loss in quality by using a protective filter. Sometimes I might see ghosting if I shoot glass, and that's one of the few times I will take mine off. If I were using a graduated filter system like on Cokin, then that's another time I'd remove it. Other than that, I leave it on and fuggedaboutit.
11-24-2013, 02:27 AM   #9
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Am I being criticized for seeking out the experience of others to gain a larger perspective? My impression is that was what the forums are for. Yes, many years ago I did test shots during my film days, on Kodachrome, filters on, filters off. I could not see any appreciative difference for the type of shooting I was doing. I try to stick with UVs since skys have a slight tint to them.
11-24-2013, 02:48 AM   #10
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I run all my lenses naked as filters IMHO do degrade IQ.

But then I do use hoods on all my lenses which gives me back the protection.
11-24-2013, 02:49 AM   #11
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Check the search.

If you haven't already, you'll get the people that completely omit reading your exact question to proactively tell you (everyone) why they don't use filters.
11-24-2013, 03:18 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
people that completely omit reading your exact question to proactively tell you (everyone) why they don't use filters.
The original OP did ask exactly that...

QuoteOriginally posted by LXNights Quote
Who here uses a clear filter such as a UV or skylight on the front of their lenses? Why or why not?
11-24-2013, 03:36 AM   #13
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I'm leaning towards no longer using UV filters - I no longer buy them for new lenses and for lenses that I do have them, I take them off depending on the situation.

A telling part about the optical quality of them was when I tried taking a photo of the moon with one of them on - it ended up producing significant "moon flare" that ended up blotting out all detail in the moon. It wasn't a cheap filter either - one from Hoya's Pro line.

I've also found it easier to clean the front element of a lens than it is a filter. The coatings on lenses are unsurprisingly top-notch
11-24-2013, 03:56 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by LXNights Quote
Am I being criticized for seeking out the experience of others to gain a larger perspective?
No. You are being criticised because you have obviously not already done an experiment, which is easily within your reach, and would have answered your original question already.
11-24-2013, 07:00 AM   #15
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I'm another one who chooses to use lens hoods rather than filters to protect my lenses. I try to use the deepest metal hood I can get by with, then find a lens cap that will cover the end of the hood. I've only had one minor instance where this wasn't sufficient to avoid fingerprints, scratches, etc... That one time was while shooting a sailboat regatta and I got a drop of lake water on my lens. It didn't ruin the lens by any means, but it did leave a very slight ring where the drop had been that would NOT come off. lol The reason I stopped using filters was because they definitely made a difference in the types of pictures I was shooting. I prefer to shoot backlit scenes and will often include the light source in my pic. When I used a filter, I would get ghost images and/or extra flare from the light source. But then again, I also avoided using zooms for the same reason...they seemed to be more prone to flare than Pentax primes. If a person were shooting everything front lit and were also using a good quality filter and hood, I doubt you'd see a great deal of difference with filter or without.
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