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10-15-2015, 07:09 AM   #1
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One filter to protect them all?

Hi folks!

I have a question regarding filters. I've heard that using cheap uv filters is bad for IQ. Is it really such a big deal for somebody with a little skills and modest equipment?
(Pentax K10D with old manual 50mm/1.8 and 28/2.8 lenses and planning to get the plastic wonders and the 18-135 and maybe upgrading to a K-50 over the next months/years).

Having a limited budget, I wonder what my options are. Here is what I've come up with:

-Buy ONE good (expensive) and BIG UV filter.

-Use step-up filters to use this single filter on all my lenses. (Would apply for any other type of filters too.)

I see two problems:

1) Extra step required when changing lenses ... as I would need to change the lens and then the filter. Don't like it. But it's the only option I see to use a good UV filter. I can't afford to spend 100€ on top of every new lens I buy (can't even afford 50€. Well I could. But it would mean taking that money from future lens investments and just seems exagerate).

2) Problems using hoods I have one rubber hood which I would have to throw away. Besides that, metal hoods with outer filter rings should be usable with step-up rings shouldn't they?

Does anybody work like this? Is it a good system? And as we are at it: What filter size would you recommend for this purpose? (=What would be the biggest but still common filter size?) and can you recommend a specific good filter (preferably a still more or less affordable one)?

Some people say UV filters shouldnt be used at all... I understand that every extra glass brings IQ problems, but I also think I need the protection of a filter... even if it's more psychological then real. So I've ruled the no filter option out for now.

Thanks a lot!

10-15-2015, 07:19 AM   #2
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One protective filter for all your lenses doesn't make a lot of sense. Gear is meant to be used...with a reasonable amount of caution! I'm one of the "lens hoods are better than protective filters" folks, but if I were you and were set on using protective filters, I'd just buy a reasonably priced filter like a Tiffen for each of my lenses and call it good. You're going to miss a LOT of shots trying to change one good filter from lens to lens and I think that will out-weigh any difference in IQ between less expensive filters and really expensive ones.
10-15-2015, 07:54 AM   #3
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I have a pair of cheapie 52mm UV filters and the biggest problem I've noticed (without specifically pixel peeping looking for issues) is the ghosting type of flare with bright lights at night. So frankly, depending on the conditions you shoot in, how cheap the filters are, and how demanding you are, you might not even notice any issues and you always have the option to remove them when the conditions are unfavorable for filter use.

Still, I don't generally bother with them anymore. They occasionally come out if I'm pretty sure I'll be subjected to things like sea-spray or other junk flying at me while shooting (and I'll always use a hood in these situations as well).

There's no right answer that works for everyone, you have to judge $$ vs convenience vs image quality vs perceived level of protection.
10-15-2015, 08:04 AM   #4
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I simply use these to protect my lenses on the camera. When shooting, I never use a filter unless it's a specialized one, like a polarizer, ND. I got them to fit over the end of the hoods on my lenses.

OP/TECH USA Hood Hat

10-15-2015, 08:06 AM   #5
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I will occasionally use a protective filter in really nasty environments but otherwise whats the point?

Use a hood which improves your images and forget the filters.
10-15-2015, 08:10 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies.

I found this about the actual effects of front element scratches and this video about how hard it can be to actually get them https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzOLbMPe0u8 (allthough this might be different with other shapes of front element and a non-flexible surface)... and now I'm considering to use no filter at all. But it still feels "dangerous" every time I do it. Maybe I might get used to it.

I was also pointed towards this list of pentax lenses. I think I'll be enough with 62mm and totally save with 67mm, beeing a 77mm the overkill needed in case I might win the lottery.

---------- Post added 10-15-15 at 08:13 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by csa Quote
I simply use these to protect my lenses on the camera. When shooting, I never use a filter unless it's a specialized one, like a polarizer, ND. I got them to fit over the end of the hoods on my lenses.

OP/TECH USA Hood Hat
Interesting stuff. Is it significantly faster to take away compared to the lens cap? (With the rubber hood I can use that).
10-15-2015, 08:36 AM   #7
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It's extremely fast, simply pull it off! I don't know how well it would work with a rubber hood; my hoods are all metal or plastic. I want to leave the hoods on, and with them on, it's almost impossible to reach in and take off/put on a lens cap; that's why I went this route, works for me quite well.

10-15-2015, 08:37 AM - 1 Like   #8
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Unless it is a polarize or ND filter, I don't use any skylight or UV filter at all on my DLSR. I always use lens hood no matter what (even for old manual focus lenses), it gives better control of stray lights coming from the side and more importantly avoiding accidental touch of front element (greasy and oily smudges). Any dust or small scratch collected on front element does not affect image quality (except perhaps affecting resale value of the lens if you intend to sell it later).
10-15-2015, 08:47 AM   #9
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If you're going to protect your front element, get one for each lens. I'm a big fan of the 'protective filter' theory, since this saved my DA 18-250 from a horrible fate once, but there are those who are happy to take the risk. The other reason I use them is that a lot of my lenses are FA or earlier with aperture rings and often find their way onto film bodies (even the DA50 and DA40 Limited where the body has a program mode), so the UV filtration is justifiable for me.

Also, make sure the K10D is compatible with the 18-135. Looking at the box, I think it's only the K100/110D and *ist-D series that have a problem here, but you don't want to splurge the money on the lens and then find you can't use it.

I wouldn't mess around with step-up rings for standard protective UV filters.
10-15-2015, 10:11 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by csa Quote
I simply use these to protect my lenses on the camera. When shooting, I never use a filter unless it's a specialized one, like a polarizer, ND. I got them to fit over the end of the hoods on my lenses.

OP/TECH USA Hood Hat
I leave hoods on my lenses all the time. For many of them, I was able to find a lens cap that fit the end of the hood, but for several of my most-used lenses (and for the hood I have on my Q), I've been buying the Hood Hats. They're pretty handy!
10-15-2015, 10:15 AM   #11
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@csa I don't see that working out with rubber hoods either, but I would then go for plastic/metal in the long term (as they are more protective anyway, also I allready have one for my 50mm). :-)

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
If you're going to protect your front element, get one for each lens. I'm a big fan of the 'protective filter' theory, since this saved my DA 18-250 from a horrible fate once, but there are those who are happy to take the risk. The other reason I use them is that a lot of my lenses are FA or earlier with aperture rings and often find their way onto film bodies (even the DA50 and DA40 Limited where the body has a program mode), so the UV filtration is justifiable for me.
Out of curiosity, what filters do you use/what investment do you think is needed?
10-15-2015, 11:00 AM   #12
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UV filters of the appropriate size are available right down to the level of Walmart, if you want. I haven't (yet) used any of the really cheap filters being sold by Chinese or Hong Kong vendors online. I've used both Hoya and Polaroid, and the occasional Tiffen or even Pentax that came already attached to lenses I bought used. Pricing depends on where you are - I'm in one of the Canadian island provinces, requiring land or air transport, and I think we suffer a bit compared to the continental US even without the exchange rate issue (CAD$1 is about $0.75 US right now).
10-16-2015, 02:29 AM   #13
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Yep, also get worried about accidentally ruining lenses but haven't gone the UV route, have been fitting the Marumi DHG Super Lens Protect filters instead.
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