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01-06-2014, 04:19 AM   #1
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Is it stupid to buy a cheap protection filter?

Hi fellow Pentaxians!
As some might have seen in my previous thread I work as a photographer in a nightclub. Therefore I need some sort of protection for my lens. I thought I would just buy the cheapest filter I could find which is this --> 46mm 49mm 52mm 55mm 58mm 62mm 67mm 72mm 77mm 82mm Ultra Violet UV Lens Filter | eBay

But would a cheap filter like this worsen my image quality?

01-06-2014, 04:29 AM   #2
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All filters will have some impact on image quality. There could be some shift in the way colours are recorded or perhaps some flare or ghosting. As a general rule, cheaper filters are likely to be of lesser quality and will have greater impacts. But for a couple of bucks you may as well see if the impact is enough for you to worry about. There is a lot to be said for trying something when the experiment is not going to break the bank.
01-06-2014, 04:45 AM   #3
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Well I bought it now!
And guess what .. Estimated delivery: Between Friday, Jan. 17 and Monday, Feb. 10
01-06-2014, 04:47 AM   #4
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In a night club the light is low, and cheap filters has very pour antireflection coating, if they has some. Beside degrading the resolution, the light gathering capability will be worse, with even more flare under the club's lights. And, if the filter get dirty, a cheap one is hard and time consuming to clean. In these conditions, a very good, but unfortunately quiet expensive filter, with nano coating, is highly recommended.

01-06-2014, 04:50 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimmyDranox Quote
Beside degrading the resolution, the light gathering capability will be worse, with even more flare under the club's lights.
This. It might soften the image and cause flare and ghosting. But you will only know for certain after some use. For nightclub photography (i assume you send partiers relatively small jpegs) that might not be a huge problem.
But it might still be a better idea to get a rubber lens hood or a higher end filter eventually.
01-06-2014, 04:56 AM   #6
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Shooting in the club I use relatively long shutterspeeds: 1/20 to a full 2 seconds so I have not considered light to be a problem. I bought the filter now and I'll try it out when I get it. I also bought this hood Paresoleil Pare Soleil Pétale Fleur Lens Hood 62 mm Pour Nikon Canon Sony Fuji | eBay
I'll try them out but if it degrades my image quality too much I'll throw them away!
01-06-2014, 05:00 AM   #7
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The reason I suggested a rubber hood is because rubber is soft, so if someone bumps into you, it will just fold and pop right back, taking the stress from the actual lens and camera. But depends on what kind of club this is, what kind of crowd it has and so on

01-06-2014, 05:01 AM   #8
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For what it's worth, I do a lot of live music photography in often very tight and boisterous conditions, both indoors and outdoors in all weather. I never use protective filters (which can only worsen IQ), but I always use an appropriate hood (which can only improve IQ).

I am yet to damage a front element. They are tougher than you might think.
01-06-2014, 05:17 AM   #9
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Na Horuk: It's club manly for young people. Pretty wild crowd and not much respect for how expensive the camera gear actually is. I am quite worried to damage my front element. I constantly have my lens cap on when I'm not shooting.

Sandy Hancock: Thanks I think I'll use the lens hood I posted earlier, but can you recommend any good lens hood for a 62mm lens?
01-06-2014, 10:49 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by krissow Quote
But would a cheap filter like this worsen my image quality?
Yes.

If I am Pentax (or Leitz, or Zeiss, or . . .) and I am careful to design a lens that corrects for all kinds of aberrations, lens flare, etc., and I charge accordingly for that lens, does it make sense for my customer to slap one last (critical) piece of cheap glass on the front of the lens and hope for the best?

I do not even use "protective" filters because of the ghosting I get with them, at least with wide angle lenses. I have found that using a good lens hood (and just being careful) provides for enough protection. But whether to use / not use such a filter seems to be a religious thing for a lot of people. If I made the decision that I just really HAD to have such a filter, I would at least buy a good one, like a B+W MRC -- and only from a reputable dealer like B&H or Adorama (eBay and Amazon are full of counterfeits).
01-06-2014, 11:32 AM   #11
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I think you should use a protective filter only in extreme cases where damage to the lens is very likely and you can afford the loss of image quality.

The one occasion when I still use a clear filter nowadays is when shooting in extreme salt spray conditions. Its not so much that the salt spray would damage the lens but rather the fact that I would be continually wiping the lens dry, so better wipe dry a 'disposable' filter glass rather than risk wearing down the front element coating.


This was shot with a K-r and Tamron 18-250 with a home made WR kit consisting of a plastic bag taped to a clear filter that went on the front of the lens. I had to wipe the filter dry just before each shot.
01-06-2014, 11:45 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by krissow Quote
Hi fellow Pentaxians!
As some might have seen in my previous thread I work as a photographer in a nightclub. Therefore I need some sort of protection for my lens. I thought I would just buy the cheapest filter I could find which is this --> 46mm 49mm 52mm 55mm 58mm 62mm 67mm 72mm 77mm 82mm Ultra Violet UV Lens Filter | eBay

But would a cheap filter like this worsen my image quality?
I think the operative word is cheap. Yes, I agree ANY filter reduces light transmission, but many of the higher end UV filters are in the 99% transmission range. I have taken numerous "test" shots with and without my UV filters to see how much image degradation there is, and with my eyes on my 1920x1080 screen, at 100% I might possibly maybe see a difference. so maybe if I blew up a 100% crop to 20x30 and took an eye loop to the image I could tell the two apart.

But I don't use cheap filters, either.

Either spend the money to do it right and get a high quality filter, or don't use a filter at all. personally I can live with a dent or a gouge in a $70 filter, but I'd be heartbroken by a gouge in my front element.
01-06-2014, 12:01 PM   #13
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After you find the filter is not that great remove the glass and use the filter ring on your lens--many newer lenses have plastic front and can use the extra protection. To test the filter put the camera on a tripod or somehow hold in fixed position and take photo's (w/ and w/o lens) w/ a bare bulb/strong light in the field of view. Frame the light towards a corner.
01-06-2014, 03:33 PM   #14
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Last time I was in a night club, was a lot of smoke. Cigarette smoke. Someone told me that this smoke is acid. I don't know. Maybe he is right, maybe not. And a lot of vapor, from the vapor machine. A very good environment for a lens.
01-06-2014, 04:20 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by krissow Quote
can you recommend any good lens hood for a 62mm lens?
I don't have any lenses of that filter diameter, so I'm no use to you. All my lenses have their own dedicated hood - many of them built-in.
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