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11-11-2012, 11:57 AM   #16
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I'm just getting back into photography. With my recent purchase of a K-x I've been able to acquire a smc pentax-m f1.7, smc pentax-a f2.0, smc pentax-a 35-70 f4, at the local goodwill for the right price.
Coming from my old film days I always had a skylight 1a filter on my lenses because I was told you needed it for protection? Now I'm reading that they may not be needed that it will just degrade the lens? I've also been reading a lens hood should give you all the protection you need?
Now there are so many different hoods available which one?
Is there a guide to match a hood to the lens you have or do you just buy a generic petal screw in hood and keep it on at all times instead of a skylight filter?
I'm so confused so any clarification would be great.
Thank you.

11-11-2012, 03:03 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by malcolm40 Quote
... it will just degrade the lens?...
Absolutely not true! A filter will not harm the lens in any way. The argument is over whether a filter may degrade the image.

If you are more comfortable with a protective filter - whether a 1A Skylight, UV or clear "protection" filter, go for it. Especially if you have no hoods for your used lenses. Just be sure to invest in high quality, multi-coated filters. Cheap filters definitely WILL affect image quality and increase lens flare.

My own opinion is that the idea that a beginning photographer, using lower-end, amateur cameras and lenses and shooting in less than optimal conditions with less than optimal technique will experience noticeable image degradation from a high quality clear protective filter is poppycock. To each his own, but you really won't notice any problems until you get into expensive, high quality glass. Even then, you probably won't see a difference.

As for lens hoods, they are not really optional, particularly outside. The best hood is the one designed for the lens. If your lenses did not come with hoods, I'd suggest checking on the Pentax site to see if replacements are available. Adorama and B&H offer some replacement hoods as well. For older lenses, you may need to experiment to find what will be effective without creating vignetting. I recommend rigid plastic or metal hoods rather than the flimsy rubber fold-up hoods that don't really offer much protection to the lens.
11-12-2012, 03:22 AM   #18
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I normally use uv/protection filters for protection purposes. Reason is cos i do not want my lenses front elements to get marks and scratches. There was time (almoust one year) that i did take all my protection filters away (IQ reason) and did get many marks on front glasses. Lesson learned...
11-12-2012, 04:13 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by malcolm40 Quote
I'm so confused so any clarification would be great.
Hi Malcolm, Welcome to the Forum!
Hoods are pretty easy to come by, and the Chinese (eBay) metal ones for $5.00 or so, work fine.
With Pentax lenses especially, there's only a few basic hood/filter sizes, 49mm being the most common. So I picked up 1 each- 49mm "Wide Angle", "Normal" and "Telephoto" metal hoods for less than $20.00, shipped. The wide hood works on my 28mm and 35mm. The normal fits all my fifties and the tele version works on the M 85, 100mm, etc.
Since then I've added a couple 52mm hoods, Wide for the 24mm (Sigma and Miranda), and Tele for the telephoto zooms. Just take the correct hood for whatever lens you're bringing along. Lens cap comes off, hood goes on.
Also, a filter pouch that goes with the camera EVERYWHERE; Polarizers in 49mm, 52mm, 58mm and 67mm. Don't leave home without it!
Ron

11-12-2012, 05:28 AM   #20
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I keep a UV filter on my lenses, and the ones I use don't degrade the image to a degree that I can see, even when viewed at 100%. I've used filters from Tiffen, B+W, Toshiba, Hoya, Sunpak, Massa & Zeikos. Surprisingly, the Zeikos filters are among the ones that tested the best, and they're dirt cheap. Tiffen tested the worst, actually significantly degrading the image. With the Zeikos filters, I couldn't tell which photos had the filter on the lens. My photos turn out razor sharp with good contrast and no visible glare, so I'm not too worried about the Zeikos filters screwing up my images.

So the cheap Zeikos filters are the ones I use. (Massa & Sun-L filters are also super cheap and ok.) In my experience, the brand stamped on the filter ring doesn't mean much. A good simple test is to hold the filter up and look through it. A bad filter will have a slight haze, and you'll see a difference between looking through the filter and looking directly at the object. If it looks totally clear and you can't tell you're looking through a filter, it's probably ok.

My advice is to buy one of the Zeikos filters & try it. Worst case scenario, if you don't like it, you'll be out $2.

I also always use a hood, by the way.

A long-time lens designer from Zeiss (his name escapes me) wrote a piece about lens care that's lurking around on the internet. One of his pieces of advice was to use a UV filter at all times for protection.

Cheers,
Bobbo :-)

Last edited by GibbyTheMole; 11-12-2012 at 05:34 AM.
11-12-2012, 08:29 AM   #21
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Honestly, I don't think most people will notice a difference in IQ from using a UV filter (a decent one, of course). I mean, take 5 pictures with a filter and 5 without (of course, real keeper pictures with the same lens)...and have somebody else try to identify which are the 5 with filter.

I read or heard somewhere that having a UV filter is a requirement to complete the weather sealing (most likely, from Canon). For me, I use the UV filter for protection and convenience, it's a lot easier to safely clean a filter than a front element, specially those that are recessed.
11-12-2012, 11:15 AM   #22
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A filter, no matter how good, will always degrade your image quality to some extent. The main issue will be lens flare. Lens designers spend a lot of effort keeping the number of glass surfaces to a minimum and even getting the geometry right to minimise reflection between surfaces. Adding an extra piece of glass in front of all of this will inevitably void some of that effort.

On the other hand any filter, no matter how bad, will always protect the very fragile front element of your lens. Sometimes even a twig can permanently scratch the coating on your lens whereas with a filter attached your lens is safe from anything short of an impact with a hard object.

All in all it is about what matters most to you, the safety of your lens or the quality of the pictures.

That said, as TomB_tx pointed out, a deep lens hood will offer almost as much protection as a filter, and in some circumstances better.
11-13-2012, 02:58 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by lister6520 Quote

On the other hand any filter, no matter how bad, will always protect the very fragile front element of your lens. Sometimes even a twig can permanently scratch the coating on your lens whereas with a filter attached your lens is safe from anything short of an impact with a hard object.
The front element is surprisingly hard to scratch (at least on the SMC-coated Pentax lenses). Once I tried (on a non functional lens) to scratch it using fine steel wool. I could not see any scratches even under magnification.

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