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09-21-2009, 05:37 AM   #1
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Which filters? (for lens protection)

I've got a bunch of pretty nice lenses (LIKE 31mm ltd, FA* 300mm, Tammy 17-50mm and 50mm f1.2) and would like to keep them (or at least their optics) in mint condition.

So which filters should I go for? (I don't want to degrade the image quality obviously)

Cheers!

Daniel

09-21-2009, 05:53 AM   #2
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I use Kenko Pro1D for mine, same as Hoya Pro1D but cheaper.
09-21-2009, 06:15 AM   #3
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If you are jumping beyond the threads arguing the point of protective filters you may enjoy this read on comparative quality of a number of cheap to expensive filters available. The most expensive do not come out on top.

UV filters test - Introduction - Lenstip.com
09-21-2009, 07:02 AM   #4
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I just wrote this in another thread

A filter will not protect your lens. Anything that would shatter or damage the front element will do the same to a filter, possibly cementing the thread forever to your lens, possibly sending shards of filter glass at your front element, possibly just smashing your lens anyway.

Best protection is a lens hood or lens cap when you are not using the lens.

Why compromise every shot on the off chance of an accident?

The only filter you need for digital is a polariser and possibly some NDs if you shoot water. Film is another matter.

09-21-2009, 09:07 AM   #5
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There are lots of opinions on this issue. I have always used a UV or skylight filter on my lenses because going back 40 years that was what everyone seemed to do and the camera store owner and pro photographer where I bought my first SLR highly recommended one. When I bought my K10D, I bought UV filters for both lenses along with circular polorisers. It was a few months after joining the forum here that I began to see the threads concerning UV filters and some of the problems others claimed they caused such as auto focus issues and lens flare. I began removing the filters for shots in some of the conditions I was having problems with and BINGO, it seemed to solve it. The improvement with the Sigma 70-300, not known as the finest piece of glass to begin with, was dramatic. The AF doesn't hunt as much and the softness I was getting at the long end also improved. The flare I was getting with the kit lens from time to time that looked like the invasion of little green UFO's have all but disappeared. So now I'm leaning towards the camp that says leave them off, based mostly on the results. I am refering to UV filters or skylight filters that we would screw on the lens the day we bought it and left them there permanantly, not polarisers, ND or other filters used for certain effects or conditions. And in certain conditions like blowing dust, salt spray, etc the I would probably want a filter on the front. It may just be that I bought a couple of crappy filters but many others have had issues and with some very high end filters.
09-21-2009, 10:27 AM   #6
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I've seen one case firsthand, and seen documented proof of another, where a filter *did* protect the lens. I've seen one documented proof of another where the filter clearly caused damage that would have been prevented without the filter. And I've seen dozens where a lens was damaged in a way a filter could not have possibly helped with.

But mostly, none of this happens. The majorty of lenses simply don't get damaged if you're even remotely careful. Especially if you use a hood, which actually *improves* image quality as well as providing some amount of protection. Take out an insurance policy if you're considered about extra protection - I pay $40/year for a policy that covers not only damage, but also theft, dropping off a cliff, etc. Let's see a filter protect against *that*...

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 09-21-2009 at 08:40 PM.
09-21-2009, 02:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
I have always used a UV or skylight filter on my lenses because going back 40 years that was what everyone seemed to do and the camera store owner and pro photographer where I bought my first SLR highly recommended one.
That's because stores make more off filters than anything else they sell. It's a gold mine.
09-21-2009, 07:02 PM   #8
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Now I'm curious...

I'll have to search for the threads here and do a little research with my gear as well. I've always used a UV filter - have one on every lens. The way I remember it - it was just convential wisdom when I first started out.

I've tossed a filter or two when a scratch appeared and I like that I never have to clean the front element of the lens, just the filter. I do remove the UV filter when using a polarizer to minimize flare issues. But I guess it's time to re-examine this issue.

09-21-2009, 08:51 PM   #9
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Can someone suggest the best filter to use when taking photos at the beach?

Thanks in advance! Susan
09-22-2009, 03:05 AM   #10
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Susan, if you are using digital there are only two filters you need to consider. A circular polariser can be used to change the effect light has on a scene, particularly reflected light from vegetation or water. Its effectiveness depends on the angle of shooting relative to the angle and quality of light. A polariser is effective at cutting through reflections from the surface of water (or glass).

The second type of filter is the neutral density (ND). This is used to reduce the light that gets to the camera. As such, they come in different strengths depending on if you want to reduce 1, 2, 3 or more stops of light. This is done for two main reasons.

First, you might want to use large apertures to reduce depth of field, like maybe if you are shooting a portrait. A surplus of light will mean the camera will not be able to pick a fast enough shutter speed to match the large aperture. An ND will help.

Second, you may wish to take a long exposure in order to smooth out water movement, for that nice glassy look. An ND will permit longer exposure times (on the order of seconds) where otherwise the shutter speed might be too fast. This scenario requires a tripod.

A polariser also reduces light, effectively acting as an ND of 1 or 2 stops. The only filter I carry is a polariser.

Film is another issue entirely.
09-22-2009, 12:27 PM   #11
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Thank you so much for your help!
09-22-2009, 02:34 PM   #12
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You asked about Buying A Polarizing Filter and as it happens I have written an article on that very topic!
09-23-2009, 04:00 PM   #13
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The only time I ever damaged a lens beyond repair was when a 'protection' filter shattered and scratched the lens coating. That was over 40 years ago and I've never used one since. My cameras have been used in steel works, down coal mines and loads of other hazardous places and I'm still using some lenses from that time.

There may be an argument for them with wind blown sand, otherwise use them as an expensive coaster, then you will avoid the front focussing and/or rear focussing issues they can cause, not to mention their detrimental effect on image quality.

Chris
09-23-2009, 06:03 PM   #14
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I like the Kenko's too, high quality and great price.
09-23-2009, 06:34 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by DanielT74 Quote
I've got a bunch of pretty nice lenses (LIKE 31mm ltd, FA* 300mm, Tammy 17-50mm and 50mm f1.2) and would like to keep them (or at least their optics) in mint condition.

So which filters should I go for? (I don't want to degrade the image quality obviously)

Cheers!

Daniel
FWIW, I've got some pretty expensive glass (A50/1.2, A*85/1.4, FA*200/4 Macro, A*600/5.6) as well as some more mundane glass (half a dozen Limiteds), a couple of DA* lenses (55/1.4, 60-250) as probably a couple of dozen others.
I don't have a single UV filter, or any other "protective" filter.
Why would I?
I bought good lenses to take advantage of their optical properties, not to degrade them with unnecessary glass in front.
In 4 decades of shooting, I have yet to damage a lens element by dropping it (though I did destroy a Nikkor 58/1.2 when it fell off my F3 one day, I wrecked the focusing helicoid).
Get some good lens hoods instead. They'll do a lot more for protecting your lenses than any filter, and actually do some good from a picture taking point of view.
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