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07-31-2008, 06:20 AM   #1
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n00b question: Do you use have a UV filter (at minimum) on all your lenses?

I just picked up a Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro lens that takes wicked pictures, but I've been told by others to always put a lens filter on every lens you buy. I don't want to molest my picture quality/colors, but would you recommend putting on a UV filter for the better good of the lens?

The filters are cheap anyway, so that's not an issue.

07-31-2008, 06:45 AM   #2
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Its a basic form of protection cheap protection compared to your glass


cheers
07-31-2008, 07:12 AM   #3
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No, unless you are in a place with sea/water spray or blowing sand/dust, it's not worth buying a filter for every lens you have.
07-31-2008, 07:15 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by innershell Quote
I just picked up a Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro lens that takes wicked pictures, but I've been told by others to always put a lens filter on every lens you buy. I don't want to molest my picture quality/colors, but would you recommend putting on a UV filter for the better good of the lens?

The filters are cheap anyway, so that's not an issue.
Your lens is only as good as the ENTIRE optical system, filter included. A cheap filter will make pictures from the best lenses look like they were taken with the worst kit zoom in the world.
To a certain extent, I can understand paranoia regarding lenses, but.....
In about 35 years of photography with everything from 35mm to 4x5 inch film cameras, I have yet to damage a lens, I have never scratched a front element, and I haven't had a UV filter on a lens for 25 or so years.
Personally, I think UV filters are just one more way to separate people from their money without getting any benefit.
They are, to my mind, the photographic equivalent to the cigarette. You think you are getting something, there is a certain peace of mind to using them, but at the end, they have done more harm than good, and were really just a waste of money.
You will get more protection for your lens, and actually have some positive photographic results from the use of a well fitted lens hood.

07-31-2008, 07:24 AM   #5
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My Tam 90mm is the only lens that I still keep a UV(0) filter on now. The only reason is the front lens element is recessed so far back it is a pain to clean. I've got a Hoya HMC on it right now, but next "trip" to Adorama/B&H I will likely be adding a Hoya 55mm DMC PRO1 Digital Multi-Coated UV to replace it.

I finally got my brain trained to always use a lens hood, unless it blocks camera mounted flash, and to use my eyeballs rather than finger tips to check if the lens cap is off.
07-31-2008, 07:51 AM   #6
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I am with Wheatfield on using filters. My walkaround lens (Sigma 17-70mm) does not have anything attached. I do have filters for some special effects but no UV or other "all the time on the lens" filters.
07-31-2008, 08:10 AM   #7
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Quite simply, a filter is used to filter light, not protect anything. I know the rationale behind protecting your lens with a much cheaper piece of glass. But the fact is it is just that...a much cheaper piece of glass....which means your expensive lens now has a cheap piece of glass included in it's construction, the very thing you wanted to avoid when you bought that expensive new lens.

I used to have a UV filter on all my lenses to protect them. Then one time I was trying to take sunset pictures and I could not figure out why I couldn't get crisp detail out of the tree lines in my pictures. It also just seemed to lack overall image quality. I never thought about the UV filter because that's exactly what I had done....threw it on to protect the lens and forgot about it! Another photog recommened I try it without the UV filter and see what happens. It was like night and day! Who would've thought one silly filter could have that much impact! I certainly didn't!

So I took the UV filters off. I figure that even if it's an expensive lens, the reason I bought the thing to begin with was to take better pictures than with a cheaper lens.

UV filters definately have their place, but use them for what they were intended for. I personally wouldn't recommend leaving it on all the time. If you are still not convinced, would you consider leaving a neutral density filter or a polarizer filter on all the time to protect your lens?

Besides, isn't that what a lens cap is for?
07-31-2008, 10:43 AM   #8
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I certainly won't disagree with you folks that UV filters affect the image quality. Any time you add more glass, regardless of its quality, in front of the lens you affect the captured image. And for the most part I have been completely won over on the No UV argument.
However some perspective needs to be applied in regards to the severity of said affects, I feel. Cheap filters are definitely going to noticeably affect the IQ, but as you slide up the quality scale it tapers off dramatically.

Here are a couple 1:1 crops for pixel peeping purpose from the K20D and the Tamron AF 90mm 1:2.8 SP Di Macro lens (same lens the OP is speaking of). Both shots done in 14.6MP, Four star, JPEG, Natural settings. Ambient light on a cloudy day. f/2.8, 1/15s, 400ISO @ approx. 12" range (1:3). Camera was sitting on my desk w/ SR off and using AF.S. One pic with bare lens, the other with Hoya HMC UV(0)...





For my money, and this is me only I'm speaking of, having a quality UV(0) on this lens to help keep me from having to clear out a fleck of pollen or dust stuck on the front element 1.5" inside the 1" wide barrel opening is worth the tiny bit of IQ reduction. YMMV of course.

07-31-2008, 10:53 AM   #9
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The top photo has the filter on?
07-31-2008, 11:05 AM   #10
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by sewebster Quote
The top photo has the filter on?
I hope so because the bottom photo has better image quality/colors to my eyes.

The UV filter I was going to buy, which is the only 55mm filter available locally, was a Kenko 55mm UV Pro 1 Digital for $30. I have no comparison on other filters and prices to know whether this is a cheap or expensive filter.
07-31-2008, 11:07 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by sewebster Quote
The top photo has the filter on?
Is that your final answer?
07-31-2008, 11:22 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by innershell Quote
I hope so because the bottom photo has better image quality/colors to my eyes.

The UV filter I was going to buy, which is the only 55mm filter available locally, was a Kenko 55mm UV Pro 1 Digital for $30. I have no comparison on other filters and prices to know whether this is a cheap or expensive filter.
Top photo does have the UV filter on it, yes.
This one: A55UVGB Hoya 55mm UV (Ultra Violet) Multi Coated Glass Filter . This is the mid-level UV on the Hoya line.

XD55UV Hoya 55mm DMC PRO1 Digital Multi-Coated UV (Ultra Violet) Filter. would be the top-level; I do not know if the Kenko you are looking at is a re-branded or how the glass and coating quality matches up to the Hoya.

If you're buying to physically protect the lens then I agree with Wheatfield and NavCom: don't bother. With the the lens hood attached you've got at least 3" of protection from the front element.
I only chose to keep a UV on this particular lens because the front element is so far back inside the barrel and it is a royal pain to clear debris that inevitably will float down in there, especially doing flora/bug macros. And I will be soon popping the $45 to Adorama for the Hoya PRO-1 version to further minimize any interference.
07-31-2008, 12:08 PM   #13
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if you'll be near dirt/dust/sand/spray, etc. I'd use it. I have one on all my lenses because I'd prefer cleaning dirt off an easily replaceable filter instead of a lens.
BTW, the B&W filters are *much* easier to clean than Hoya ones...the Hoya ones also show dust faster... (top end filters...MRC and Pro1 respectively)...
08-01-2008, 04:31 PM   #14
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I'm in the pro-filter club myself. I'd rather replace the filter than the lens. As to which one to buy, buy the best you can afford. I will eventually have Hoya Pro1D filters on all my zooms and Hoya HMC filters on my primes, which are all 49mm (would've gone with Pro1Ds, but they don't make them that small). If you want to get your UV filters cheaper than the traditional camera stores, check out Camera Filters The Filter Connection 2filter.com for Hoya HD filters, Hoya Pro 1, Tiffen HT, Tiffen 4x4 Camera Filters, B+W filters and Canon Inks.

HTH,
Heather
08-01-2008, 06:59 PM   #15
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I've asked this question in a few of these threads but have never been answered...

If a "really good" filter costs, say $100-150, and is essentially a single multi-coated optically-flat piece of glass, why oh why are lenses so comparatively cheap? They may have 8 or more elements that are ground to some precision, plus focus/zoom/aperture mechanisms as well. Certainly a 16-50 or 50-135 is more than 5x complicated than a filter.
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