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05-09-2012, 12:41 PM   #1
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UV or not to UV that is the??

well i have read that the uv filter can tak away from contrast and light entering the lens but then i like having the filter on for a # of reasons to protect the outer lens element from falls and dirt and dust so the real ? is is the uv filter really doing some purpose or is it just my neurosis of dirt and dust and falls that keeps the filter on my lenses thanks

05-09-2012, 12:55 PM   #2
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I used to put one on every lens I owned. Because I put them on all of my lenses, I bought the cheapest ones I could get. I got a new lens that I didn't have the right size filter for yet, and took some pictures without one, and then ordered one for peace of mind, and took some pictures after, and did notice a little difference. Nothing crazy, just enough that I noticed. I have since stopped using them for most purposes - all of the lenses I use now have pretty sturdy hoods, that should protect in case of fall, and if I am shooting somewhere dusty or dirty, I do always carry a filter to use in those cases. I would rather have very slightly degraded image quality than to have to buy a new lens

My understanding was a UV filter helped prevent UV radiation/light/whatever from getting to film and altering colors/exposure/or something else, because film was sensitive to UV. From what I've read, digital sensors aren't (as) sensitive to UV, so they're not so necessary anymore. I certainly understand wanting to protect investments though

Just my $.02 based on my experience/research. I'm sure many others will have more informed opinions than mine, and will chime in soon.
05-09-2012, 01:03 PM   #3
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Digital sensors have UV/IR filters built in. Some people have removed those filters and replaced them with optically pure glass. They'll have to use UV and IR filters on the lens to prevent the image from recording in all those frequencies and making odd images. There's a thread on here somewhere with someone who was selling a K20 with this modification. It's actually pretty cool.

I noticed some degradation from a UV filter I used to have on a 16-45. As mentioned above, I'd probably use it if I went to a beach or desert or somewhere like that.
05-09-2012, 01:24 PM   #4
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I personally use a UV filter so I don't have to touch the front element when cleaning fingerprints, dust and rain drops.

B&H had a good article recently on the topic. HERE

But also agree that its not always ideal to have one on as there is *very* slight loss in overall IQ. It will depend on what you *need* as to justifying putting one on there.

05-09-2012, 07:01 PM   #5
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This question comes up every so often. Opinion seems to be split pretty evenly. I use one on my 35mm 2.4 lens because it has no hood to protect the lens. I don't use one on my other lenses. I've taken test shots with the filter on and off hand honestly can't see any difference. I do have a multi-coated B+W filter. Cheap filters can reflect and flare.
05-09-2012, 07:22 PM   #6
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If you're in a situation where fluids spurt or particles blow, it's good to have a clear glass (not UV) filter. Otherwise, a UV filter mostly protects the finances of whomever sold it to you.
05-09-2012, 08:00 PM   #7
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My comments
-If you don't use filters, in the long term your lens will suffer damage to outer front element coating which causes flare, maybe loss of IQ, and is incurable.
-cheap new filters cause flare- some really badly to the extent they are unusable.
-expensive filters: some cause almost no flare. Some are as bad as the cheap ones. It is necessary to run test shots when getting new filters- before buying a batch.
-I have experience that filters deteriorate over 10's of years to result in bad flare, whereas old lenses in good condition continue to work ok.
-treat filters like an expensive consumable. I wash mine under running water with soap. This definitely reduces their life , causing marks etc and flare.
-but we need clean filters otherwise they flare anyway.
Filters are like income tax.
05-09-2012, 09:29 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
-If you don't use filters, in the long term your lens will suffer damage to outer front element coating which causes flare, maybe loss of IQ, and is incurable.
Can you cite evidence of this?

05-09-2012, 10:00 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
-treat filters like an expensive consumable. I wash mine under running water with soap. This definitely reduces their life , causing marks etc and flare.
Why would you do this, knowing that it reduces their life, when there are solutions and tools specific for cleaning lenses/filters?
05-10-2012, 04:07 AM   #10
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Filters are sold for several reasons, not all of which are valid today. Yes they do protect the front element, but the purpose of a skylight or UV filter is largely lost with digital as the sensor has a UV filter in front of it already

Filters also are a real pain in the &$$ when it comes to flare. I ran some tests using some rather interesting filters on my super tak 50/1.4. The best filter I had, and even it added flare and reflections off the aperture was a SMC Pentax filter. Others from hoya, Nikon, canon, and a few store branded cheapies added increasing amounts of flare. I first noticed the issue when doing night shots.

Presently I am struggling with flare on my Tamron 200-500/5.6 lens, where of there is a bright highlight in the frame I get a series of hexagonal spots throughout the image. I think it is largely one of the two filters, either the 95mm front one or the 38 mm rear one, both of which are Tamron original supplied filters.

The problem is, with an older legacy lens if I am out in bad weather, I would rather use a filter than risk the front element, but for most shooting now days, the filters are gone of my lenses
05-10-2012, 05:08 AM   #11
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A good UV filter should be image neutral (pass pretty much all visible light), do what it says on the tin (pass almost no UV light) and be coated to avoid internal reflections that may induce flare.

Lenstip did a comprehensive UV filter test a while ago and found that Hoya UV(0) filters were best for a combination of the above characteristics and low cost. These have been superseded, I believe, by the UV(C) range, which are also quite cheap.

I personally feel more comfortable having something tough and cheap in front of something very expensive. It's a low-cost insurance policy, if you like.
05-10-2012, 05:37 AM   #12
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Good Morning Rio
Well I can't cite a direct comparison of a scratched front end to a good same lens.

I previously have posts here showing comparisons of an unusable new cheap off brand filter compared to a Hoya.
Last week I put up a comparison showing flare off an uncoated Takumar Bayonet compared to an SMC.

Current project, adapting an old NASA cine lens (Kodak Ekton 1:2.0 9~27mm) to M4/3
https://www.box.com/s/de12b7d6ffc983d748de
Now this lens great to use and is interesting for its extreme DOF.
However it flares badly, also the front coating is quite chipped - maybe it spent its days in a toolbox with no filter on!
I might ask SurplusShed if thay have another copy with less damage on the front coating.
I am thinking to make a front adaptor for attaching an old 58mm ND filter I have here and a kit lens hood to the Ekton.
05-10-2012, 05:40 AM   #13
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I used to put them on all my lenses too... Untill I noticed the IQ difference (improvement) when shooting without.

In my opinion if the IQ difference is actually noticable with the naked eye and without pixelpeeping, then you can't really talk about a "slight IQ decrease" anymore. And why invest so much money in high quality Super Multi Coated glass and then end up shooting through a piece of 20 dollar glass?

My workhorse, the DA 18-135, takes all the abuse when I want to shoot in conditions, to which I don't want to expose my primes. That workhorse is the only one with a UV filter. The rest just never gets to experience dust, moist, rain, children, animals, big crowds, etc...
05-10-2012, 05:43 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
I used to put them on all my lenses too... Untill I noticed the IQ difference (improvement) when shooting without.

In my opinion if the IQ difference is actually noticable with the naked eye and without pixelpeeping, then you can't really talk about a "slight IQ decrease" anymore. And why invest so much money in high quality Super Multi Coated glass and then end up shooting through a piece of 20 dollar glass?

My workhorse, the DA 18-135, takes all the abuse when I want to shoot in conditions, to which I don't want to expose my primes. That workhorse is the only one with a UV filter. The rest just never gets to experience dust, moist, rain, children, animals, big crowds, etc...
you have to consider that the newest coatings are designed to even offer non beading properties to eliminate water spots etc. this is a far cry from older glass which can spot very badly, and cleaning the front element always introduces micro scratches,
05-10-2012, 06:58 AM   #15
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I've basically removed filters from all my lenses after I noticed reflections during night shots. I will probably put them back in a blistering sand storm or so.
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