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07-24-2017, 05:01 PM   #1
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How durable are filter threads on polycarbonate lenses

Hello All

I have been wondering how durable are the filter threads on lenses with plastic inner barrels. In my case, I have three lenses where I would be concerned about surviving a bump or a cross threaded filter; DFA 100 Macro WR, HD DA 16-85 and DA 55-300 PLM. The lenses all seem very well built but I worry about the plastic filter threads. Is it a good Idea to put on something like a ultra clear filter which I would presume would not only protect the lens and the filter threads but also provide a durable metal threaded option for adding and removing filters such as a circular polarizing filter which I would not be using all of the time.
I never was concerned with metal lenses such as the limiteds which also include attached hoods that stay on most or all of the time but larger heavier polycarbonate lenses are my concern.
Any thoughts appreciated

07-24-2017, 05:22 PM   #2
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I have a DFA 100 Macro and the plastic filter ring is getting somewhat worn after 10 years of use but hasn't been damaged. So if you are frequent filter user and worried, then your idea is a good one. As a side benefit, the added filter might reduce the chance of damage to the plastic filter ring if you drop the lens. Note that most filters are very easy to deglass if you don't want the filter to affect IQ -- the glass being retained either by a screw-in ring on the front or a circular retaining clip on the back.

If you think there might be any vignetting from stacking filters (especially on the 16-85 @ 16), then consider getting a step-up ring although that will forestall using a hood.
07-24-2017, 05:46 PM   #3
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Or you could use a step-up ring and go 1-size larger. Of course if you've already invested in the appropriate size filters and hood, maybe not. As stated above, de-glassing a UV filter would likely work, as well.
07-25-2017, 09:17 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ripper2860 Quote
Or you could use a step-up ring and go 1-size larger. Of course if you've already invested in the appropriate size filters and hood, maybe not.
Or a step-up ring plus a step-down ring!

07-26-2017, 11:52 PM   #5
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I also have a DFA100, but I'm not worried about plastic filter threads than if it had been of metal.
Plastic can crack and metal deforms, so a filter does not work on any of them.
I'm using a cpl filter almost instantly, but not as protection.
A modern filter is very thin, so the glass breaks easily and the sharp pieces of glass may scratch the front lens on an SMC lens. For 8-9 years, the glass was broken in the UV filter on my Sigma 18-50 / 2.8, it became bits that squeezed out the filter against the filter threads. It was very difficult to remove and I was worried about scratches in the front lens element.
I have not bought UV filters since then, i use hood and lens cap instead.
08-24-2017, 06:58 AM   #6
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Imho, ymmv

my dad taught me two things ( actually more than two but who is counting )

always use a strap/sling on a camera and don't pick the camera up without putting the strap/sling around your neck

always use a uv ( ultra clear would also be ok) filter on your lenses

_________________________

well I took off my filter on my HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR and some how managed to damage the filter ring

It may have occurred with the lens hood properly installed or when the lens hood was reversed I have no idea.

When using the lens, I use the lens hood properly installed but when I am not actively using the lens, the hood is reversed

[ there is a thread about my situation ]

end of the story, a long term salesman at my local brick and mortar photo store found a tool to push the damaged section of the filter ring back into position - no charge

and I quickly installed a ultra clear filter

yes I am aware of the differing opinions on having filters on all the time

I use both the filter and lens hood protection system myself

a step up/down ring might provide some protection to the filter ring but won't protect the glass of your lens like a filter will

Last edited by aslyfox; 08-24-2017 at 07:11 AM.
08-24-2017, 06:31 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aslyfox Quote
my dad taught me two things ( actually more than two but who is counting )

always use a strap/sling on a camera and don't pick the camera up without putting the strap/sling around your neck

always use a uv ( ultra clear would also be ok) filter on your lenses

_________________________

well I took off my filter on my HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR and some how managed to damage the filter ring

It may have occurred with the lens hood properly installed or when the lens hood was reversed I have no idea.

When using the lens, I use the lens hood properly installed but when I am not actively using the lens, the hood is reversed

[ there is a thread about my situation ]

end of the story, a long term salesman at my local brick and mortar photo store found a tool to push the damaged section of the filter ring back into position - no charge

and I quickly installed a ultra clear filter

yes I am aware of the differing opinions on having filters on all the time

I use both the filter and lens hood protection system myself

a step up/down ring might provide some protection to the filter ring but won't protect the glass of your lens like a filter will
I recall your thread about your 16-85. I think I also pitched getting Tiffen Digital Ultra Clear filters to fix your damaged 16-85 filter threads. I followed my own advice and bought 4 of them for the four lenses I have with Plastic Filter threads: FA 50 f1.7, DFA 100 Macro WR, DA 16-85 and DA 55-300 PLM. The ultraclears will stay on all the time and I feel the lenses are much more durable with the filters on. You are correct an ultra clear or UV filter protects both the lens and the filter threads, also keeps dust off the lens.

08-24-2017, 06:57 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jddwoods Quote
I recall your thread about your 16-85. I think I also pitched getting Tiffen Digital Ultra Clear filters to fix your damaged 16-85 filter threads. I followed my own advice and bought 4 of them for the four lenses I have with Plastic Filter threads: FA 50 f1.7, DFA 100 Macro WR, DA 16-85 and DA 55-300 PLM. The ultraclears will stay on all the time and I feel the lenses are much more durable with the filters on. You are correct an ultra clear or UV filter protects both the lens and the filter threads, also keeps dust off the lens.

that is the thread

I use such filters on all lenses, whether plastic or metal

thanks for the advice
08-24-2017, 10:01 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jddwoods Quote
You are correct an ultra clear or UV filter protects both the lens and the filter threads, also keeps dust off the lens.
As does a lens cap, Jddwoods, without affecting image quality!
08-24-2017, 11:48 PM   #10
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The hood will protect the lens so a clear filter is not really necessary. For the filter threads, I use any cheap filter of appropriate size from the 'Bay with the glass removed, attach that fairly firmly and attach any additional filter gently; with only one extra sheet of glass instead of two, there should be fewer surface-to-surface reflections to degrade the image.
08-25-2017, 08:51 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
As does a lens cap, Jddwoods, without affecting image quality!
+1. Taking the time to be careful when using your equipment works for me.
08-25-2017, 09:03 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
As does a lens cap, Jddwoods, without affecting image quality!
I can't see any thing if I have the cap for my lens on

No problem I quickly lose them

" That's a joke son "
08-25-2017, 05:31 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
As does a lens cap, Jddwoods, without affecting image quality!
It does not protect the filter threads or lens when you are taking pictures! Walking around with a heavy lens with a lot of extension when zoomed means the lens end area is vulnerable to bumps especially on hiking or backwoods nature photography. For me it is worth it to have a clear filter on the end of my lens as added protection. I do not use any other filters so I have no concern about stacking filters and degrading picture quality. To each their own. Also, I do not use filters on my lenses with more durable metal filter threads such as the DA limiteds which also have built in hoods.
08-26-2017, 02:09 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jddwoods Quote
It does not protect the filter threads or lens when you are taking pictures! Walking around with a heavy lens with a lot of extension when zoomed means the lens end area is vulnerable to bumps especially on hiking or backwoods nature photography.
I must be doing this wrong, JD.

I walk through woods or crowded markets with the lens hood and lens caps on - way more protection than a brittle filter, which is not designed for physical protection.

I put the cap in my pocket during the ten seconds I shoot, put it back on again and keep walking.

Never had a problem!

I guess you could also unscrew and remove the filter every time you took a shot but that'd be tedious.

Last edited by clackers; 08-26-2017 at 02:21 AM.
08-26-2017, 05:19 AM   #15
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As has been written previously, the hood should always be on when the camera is out for use and, as it extends way beyond the lens and the filter threads, it will help to protect both (even without the lens cap!).
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