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02-02-2020, 01:36 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
why then do even protector filters exist period? How is there a market for them?
Folks like to protect their investment, and some believe putting a physical barrier between their expensive glass and the outside world will provide that protection. Many photography retailers play on this fear and make a point of pushing protective filters to customers buying new lenses, because they're a good source of profit.

A good number of folks - especially the more experienced - believe nothing but bad can come from using UV / protective filters on lenses.

Between those two groups are people like me who prefer not to use such filters when conditions allow, but see a valid use for them in adverse conditions. In my case, it's more a convenience thing... I like to be able clean the front of my lens in the field, and I like to do it quickly with whatever I have to hand, not worrying about any contaminants such as grit or sand. But when I shoot with a filter, I'm on the look-out for strong light sources in or near the frame that might result in unwanted flare, which is definitely more of a potential issue.

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Everyone here who is in support of the idea of using a filter for protection seems to be of the mind to using a UV one...
As I mentioned earlier, I don't think it matters so long as the filter you choose is multi-coated and a quality brand (using good quality glass).


Last edited by BigMackCam; 02-02-2020 at 04:02 PM.
02-02-2020, 01:52 PM - 3 Likes   #17
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I find the whole idea of putting filters in front of exquisitely crafted lenses ludicrous to being with. Stacking filters is close to utter madness. Tossing expensive lenses without a cap into bags full of metal scratchy things is either going to scratch your lens badly (as you already stated) or it's going to scratch (or worse shatter) your expensive filter which in turn will damage everything else in the bag. Lenses have hoods - for protection and flare control and contrast optimization. Lenses have lens caps - for protection. Lenses have front elements - designed to be the first optically refractive air/glass boundary in the light-path.

This is all about sloppiness and easy to fix root causes. The only lenscap in your shirt- or coat pocket should be that of the lens that is currently on your camera. Lens comes off, only one cap to choose from and it takes less than half a second to cap the lens. Lenses do not get "tossed" into anything as they are complex optical electro-mechanical precision items which do not take to being tossed. They have sleeves, dividers or dedicated pockets to go in to.

Lenses get a filter when the filter is supposed to have a photographically intended effect. Increase saturation, reduce reflections, reduce dynamic range, allow slower shutterspeeds or wider apertures.

If you use filters for protection the outcome is binary: either you are not worried to scratch your filter because it is too cheap and therefore will degrade IQ or you are terribly worried about scratching your expensive filter in which case you win nothing. Also the IQ impact of UV or protective filters go one way only: the only certainty is that they will never, ever improve IQ. In a worst-case scenario even an extremely competent (and potentially expensive) filter will cause glare, ghosting or diminished contrast and haze.

Lastly, simple laws of probability and ROI (as used by f.i. insurance companies) - I suppose fitting every single lens in my bag with a good filter would cost me over US$750. In the 13 years I've been shooting DSLRs I have never scratched a front element yet but I've sold and purchased many lenses with a variety of filter thread sizes. I could have probably purchased the most expensive lens I own twice over in all of those years just to account for the cost of those filters i'd have needed over those years. A very decent economic law is that you insure yourself only for unforeseen and unavoidable incidents - anything else is just an expensive and costly investment scheme you will never play even on.
02-02-2020, 02:08 PM   #18
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@newmikey
As has often been said "chacun a son gout" ("each one to his own"!) - you can apparently (afford to?) change your lenses fairly frequently, and you take the chance of damage based on the "laws of probability" (AKA, it will "could" happen, but "when and how badly" will depend on the circumstances - been there, done that, as I was a safety engineer in the electronics and defence sectors!).

I, OTOH, don't want to, and now can't afford to, change cameras or lenses very often, and so I choose mine "very carefully" and thus I try to ensure that I protect my lenses (Pentax cameras are pretty tough to start with ) as well as possible (especially given my earlier comment ) and at the lowest overall cost! Thus protection filters are generally fitted thereto!
Edited to "correct and clarify" what I wrote in the first (and then second) place!

Last edited by jeallen01; 02-02-2020 at 02:19 PM.
02-02-2020, 02:20 PM - 1 Like   #19
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When I must choose between a NC, UV or a skylight filter as protection I usually select the latter because it has an extra function for free (the price of these filters are about the same). Of course this will certainly apply when you are shooting film and digital.

For people who would like to use a protection filter on a lens but afraid to tell anyone, then a useful filter on digital could be a polarizing filter; which is of a type you can easily defend. :-)
However, contrary what you would expect they have a filter factor 3 or 4, so inevitably your ISO value goes up. And they are not cheap.

@newmikey, of course adding a filter can only worsen IQ, no question about that. It depends what kind of photographer you are (your style), what kind of lens is used, or if you want to show the photo on a monitor (shooting JPEG anyways) or use it for a print with maximum quality. Sometimes it doesn't matter if you have a bit less IQ. Depending on the circumstances one can decide to add a filter or not, there is no absolute truth about that.

02-02-2020, 02:20 PM - 1 Like   #20
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I just thought it would be worth showing one example of what can happen when shooting through a UV or protective filter...

In this instance, I'd forgotten to remove the filter before shooting indoors (where it simply wasn't necessary). It wouldn't have been a keeper shot anyway, but that's besides the point for this example. Note the purple flare around and next to the light source. Difficult to repair, if it's even worth trying.

Not long after this shoot, I stopped leaving the filters on my lenses by default and began carrying them in my bag separately, in case conditions warranted fitting them (based on my use cases and personal preferences)...
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02-02-2020, 02:24 PM   #21
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'Protect Filters' are a relatively recent pitch for money. Those that I have seen, e.g. by Tiffen, are uncoated; not the sort of thing you'd slap on a $6,000 lens. UV filters are a better choice (particularly on hazy "blue" days or at altitude), despite some hip pocket objections. I have either a UV(0) or SKYLIGHT1B on all of my lenses.
02-02-2020, 02:28 PM - 1 Like   #22
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@BMC (AKA Mike)

So would you really have expected that shot to really have shown less flare around the light source if you had not had that filter fitted, and if so, by "how much"?
PS: and what filter was actually fitted on that occasion?
PPS: a little post-processing work could probably have removed most of that flaring, given that it was closely associated with a very localised light source.

---------- Post added 02-02-20 at 09:40 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
'Protect Filters' are a relatively recent pitch for money. Those that I have seen, e.g. by Tiffen, are uncoated; not the sort of thing you'd slap on a $6,000 lens. UV filters are a better choice (particularly on hazy "blue" days or at altitude), despite some hip pocket objections. I have either a UV(0) or SKYLIGHT1B on all of my lenses.
Tiffen "protectors" may be uncoated, but the "better" versions from mfrs like B&W and Hoya etc., are sold as definitely having some form of multicoating applied (Otherwise I would not have bought them).

02-02-2020, 02:40 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeallen01 Quote
... you can apparently (afford to?) change your lenses fairly frequently...
No idea how you came to that conclusion but if that's your logic I don't feel compelled to share my books here. suffice it to say I've spent less than a few hundred bucks a year slowly building up and improving my lens collection and upgrading through various Pentax bodies.

QuoteQuote:
...I choose mine "very carefully"
All the more reason to do them justice and use them the way they were intended to. If optical engineers would have meant for you to put a front glass element in front of the front glass element they would have not made the front element the front element. Even if, you would have put yet another front glass in fornt of your filter to protect it in turn...ad infinitum.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kobayashi.K Quote
When I must choose between a NC, UV or a skylight filter as protection I usually select the latter because it has an extra function for free (the price of these filters are about the same).
And what might that function be in your opinion? Skylight filters on digital?

QuoteQuote:
Of course this will certainly apply when you are shooting film and digital.
What else could you shoot besides those two?

QuoteQuote:
For people who would like to use a protection filter on a lens but afraid to tell anyone, then a useful filter on digital could be a polarizing filter; which is of a type you can easily defend. :-)
Sorry, but really not...

QuoteQuote:
@newmikey, of course adding a filter can only worsen IQ, no question about that. It depends what kind of photographer you are (your style), what kind of lens is used, or if you want to show the photo on a monitor (shooting JPEG anyways) or use it for a print with maximum quality. Sometimes it doesn't matter if you have a bit less IQ. Depending on the circumstances one can decide to add a filter or not, there is no absolute truth about that.
So wait, you buy an expensive lens and justify a "protection" filter might degrade IQ but it doesn't matter. Would it make sense to NOT buy that expensive lens and buy a cheaper one instead, using it without the filter anyway? Chances are a cheap lens without may perform better than an expensive one with such a filter. Also, if you do not print with maximum quality or only show the photo on a low-grade monitor, why buy that expensive lens to begin with?

All of these arguments go around and around in circles and they make absolutely no sense whatsoever unless you are engaged to shoot camel races in a sandstorm 6 months a year. And let's face it, none of us seem to be.
02-02-2020, 02:41 PM   #24
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In theory, I would prefer not to fit uv or CPL filters to my lenses. In practice, I leave one or the other on my lenses most of the time because I take a lot of images close to beaches and the sea. Reason being blown salt spray/sand plus the improved colour saturation a CPL filter provides.
02-02-2020, 02:49 PM - 1 Like   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeallen01 Quote
So would you really have expected that shot to really have shown less flare around the light source if you had not had that filter fitted, and if so, by "how much"?
Yes, absolutely. About 10% of my shots on that museum visit suffered from this and similar reflection-induced flare artefacts. I've since shot at the same location, with the same camera and lens (Pentax Q7 + 02 standard zoom) but no filter, without any obvious problems whatsoever, including those shots containing strong point light sources as in this example.

QuoteOriginally posted by jeallen01 Quote
PS: and what filter was actually fitted on that occasion?
It was an inexpensive but well-respected Hoya HMC Slim UV(C). This filter did well in the much-referenced LensTip UV filter comparison. Actually, I like the Hoya HMC filters a lot, having tried many different brands. Most of the time, they have imperceptible impact on image quality. They're my go-to protective filters. But they're not entirely immune to the same risks associated with any other piece of glass in front of the lens. Hence, I don't use them unless I feel I need to.

QuoteOriginally posted by jeallen01 Quote
PPS: a little post-processing work could probably have removed most of that flaring, given that it was closely associated with a very localised light source.
In this instance, since the surrounding image elements were grey, it may have been possible to disguise most of the flaring. Had there been any colour in those surrounding elements, it would have been extremely difficult and even more time consuming. Of course, without the filter, it wouldn't have been necessary to even try. For one photo, it doesn't really matter - but, as I said, around 10% of my shots on that original museum shoot were affected...

For clarity, I'm not trying to convince anyone that they shouldn't use protective filters. I do, however, advocate awareness of the potential risks in certain situations, which are real and demonstrable (actually, the LensTip comparison review shows some great examples of filter-induced flare). After that, it's entirely up to the individual whether they choose to fit filters or not. I only use them for the convenience of cleaning in the field when conditions dictate. That's my choice, and I really don't mind whether anyone agrees or disagrees with this approach; it works for me, and that's all that matters. But when I do use them, I keep in mind the possible image quality risks and either mitigate or accept them.

EDIT: The best advice I could give anyone would echo and extend that of @photoptimist - which is, if you're going to use any filters (clear protective, UV, CPL, ND or other), test them thoroughly on the target lenses before using them for any shoot that matters. Do so in a wide range of conditions with a wide variety of light sources and positions (and, for zoom lenses, at a variety of available focal lengths). View test images at 100% reproduction and look for anything untoward. Know the performance and limitations of your lens with the filter attached - because it's a different instrument once additional glass is placed in front of it...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 02-02-2020 at 04:15 PM.
02-02-2020, 03:04 PM   #26
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The function of a skylight filter for digital would be that of a protection filter, but when it is used on a film camera it's main function is blocking UV and a little bit of blue. So that are two functions combined in one filter and it would be an efficient purchase.

My most expensive lens I often use is a Pentax DA 21, for the rest I mainly use legacy glass of type Pentax-M and Pentax-A.

I can totally appreciate your opinion, but as I said, it sometimes doesn't make much difference.

p.s. As an example, I think I can safely use a protection filter on my Tamron SP 17mm F/3.5, Cosina 20mm f/3.8 MC, or Takumar-A 28mm F2.8 without anybody complaining about my habits. But yes, mounting a filter inside the DA 21 hood, that would be on the limit LOL.

Last edited by Kobayashi.K; 02-02-2020 at 03:38 PM.
02-02-2020, 03:31 PM   #27
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Mike

Very good "points" and, as you said, "... it's entirely up the individual.. "
02-02-2020, 04:02 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeallen01 Quote
@BMC (AKA Mike)

So would you really have expected that shot to really have shown less flare around the light source if you had not had that filter fitted, and if so, by "how much"?
PS: and what filter was actually fitted on that occasion?
PPS: a little post-processing work could probably have removed most of that flaring, given that it was closely associated with a very localised light source.

---------- Post added 02-02-20 at 09:40 PM ----------


Tiffen "protectors" may be uncoated, but the "better" versions from mfrs like B&W and Hoya etc., are sold as definitely having some form of multicoating applied (Otherwise I would not have bought them).

All of my filters are both B+W (SKY1B, KSM C-POL) and Hoya (UV[0]). I do not use Tiffen. I do not suffer "problems" of flare or ghosting because I have sufficient experience to know when, how and why that occurs, and how to avoid it. This is the problem with beginners who get their knickers in a knot thinking that the most expensive filter will be a cure-all and be-all for common and easily avoidable faults -- it will not.
02-02-2020, 04:58 PM   #29
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@Kobayashi.K
You could indeed "safely use a protection filter on my Tamron SP 17mm F/3.5, Cosina 20mm f/3.8 MC, or Takumar-A 28mm F2.8 without anybody complaining about my habits" but why in heaven's name would you want to use any protection on lenses which can be replaced for a minor cost of est. $150, $175 and $75 respectively (for the three you mentioned). What are you afraid of that you need to "protect" these lenses and how much would you spend on the filters (49mm, 72mm and 82mm respectively)? About half of the online value of the lenses?

It's like mounting a $500 fender on a $1000 second-hand car because you're afraid you might scratch the paint-job. But never mind the answer, I would simply not understand and that admittedly is my bad.
02-02-2020, 07:19 PM - 1 Like   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I think, the difference between UV filter and protection filter is that the protection filter doesn't filter out UV. Adding protection filter, unless it is an expensive one, usually results in lower contrast due to reflections between the filter and the front element of the lens, worst case added flare in backlit exposures.
My understanding is that all glass filters UV to some extent. I suspect about the only difference between a UV filter and a protective filter is the printing on the trim ring, and perhaps a bit more UV filtering on the UV filter. Any decent filter these days will have some sort of anti reflection coating.
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