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Old 08-04-2007, 19:56   #1 (permalink)
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Lens protection a con? (UV filters etc)

I'm soon about to buy my first dslr and some pretty good quality lenses for it I was about to also get filters to protect the front (e.g. a UV) - the 'well known' argument being it's cheaper to replace the filter - but I recently read on another board that someone thought they were a con:

"I never use UV or skylight filters. They're the biggest con going, a nice little earner for the shop keepers 'to protect your lens'. If I've got a couple grand of kit in my hands I'm not going to be particularly clumsy - believe me. So, here's the reason I don't use them... placing more glass in front of your lens does the following: it reduces contrast, and introduces flare. So why bother? Modern coatings (on filters) reduce these phenomena, but they do not eradicate it."

I also read someone else saying modern lenses are scratch resistant anyway!?

Would welcome experienced views on this. Thanks! And if you do recommend filters then which type/make would you recommend? I'm (maybe) looking at a nikon 18-200 vr, nikon f1.8 50mm, and a sigma 10-20 for a new d80.
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Old 08-04-2007, 21:29   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Lens protection a con? (UV filters etc)

I used to always buy a UV filter for each new lens. With film, the UV or skylight filter was needed in many photographs anyway so it made sense to leave it on the camera to provide physical protection to the lens. I always bought good quality multicoated Hoya glass filters. It is very doubtful that such filters would reduce contrast or introduce flare that could be measured outside a laboratory. Remember the filters are plain glass and not curved.

Having said that I have bought two new lenses in the past 2 years both 77mm filter size which is very expensive. There is now no need for UV filtering as my DSLR already does that. One of the lenses is very wide angle so adding any filter can cause vignetting. So far I have not purchased any new filters to protect these lenses. In the 30+ years I have been using SLR's I have not yet scratched the front of a filter or lens; I always put the lens cap on other than when actually shooting. The only damage to a lens was when my then 7 year old son knocked one onto the floor which cracked the case etc. but did not scratch the lens; the filter was irrelevant in this case.

I have therefore concluded that using such filters is no longer essential but in the nice to have (if they do not cause vignetting) category. In the very unlikley event one of my lenses is accidently damaged, I will claim from my All risks insurance policy. I am not suggesting that you do or do not buy filters but that it is not a s clear cut as it used to be.
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Old 08-04-2007, 22:17   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Lens protection a con? (UV filters etc)

I'd agree with Dave. It is certainly not so clear cut as it used to be. I always used skylight 1b filters, mainly for photgraphic reasons, but second as lens protection. I also (touch wood) have never scratched a lens or filter over the years. Some people, like Nicklovick, who shoot moto cross, often get showered with muck and debris, so it would make sense to use a filter for the lens protection aspect. Also, if you were going into an environment where you were going to put on some protective clothing, even if it was only a raincoat, it might be sensible to protect the lens (and camera) too.

There is always, of course the unforseen event, the 10,000 to 1 chance of something stricking the front of the lens, be it a solid object or liquid. Only the individual can make that decision. I guess if you have been unlucky enough to suffer an accident, however rare, you would be inclined to use a filter for lens protection.

The last time this was discussed there was a pretty even split of filters for lens protection users to no filter unless it was for a purpose.
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Old 08-04-2007, 22:23   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Lens protection a con? (UV filters etc)

UV Filter for protection every time for me......Slim B+W ones.
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Old 09-04-2007, 17:43   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Lens protection a con? (UV filters etc)

Thanks for all the help - it's clarified things a lot for me.
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Old 09-04-2007, 19:37   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Lens protection a con? (UV filters etc)

So is it a UV filter or not Ian
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Old 09-04-2007, 20:18   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Lens protection a con? (UV filters etc)

This is a hoary old chestnut with two camps. I don't use any filter except if I need it for the shot eg CP, ND etc. But it is your choice
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Old 09-04-2007, 20:44   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Lens protection a con? (UV filters etc)

All im going to say on the subject is...... Try going and photographing speedway without a filter on front of your £1000.00 lens. you will soon change your mind when the gravel starts to fly
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Old 09-04-2007, 23:02   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Lens protection a con? (UV filters etc)

Some months ago, I travelled down to Wales to stay with my family. First morning there was a glorious sunrise so I got out the camera, to be greeted with a shower of glass as I took it out of the case. I have no idea what happened to it as it was stored safely in the car for the journey and neither do I have any idea whether the lens would have shattered if I hadn't had the filter on it. I'm just glad I had a filter on and didn't have to find out.
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:19   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Lens protection a con? (UV filters etc)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angela View Post
Some months ago, I travelled down to Wales to stay with my family. First morning there was a glorious sunrise so I got out the camera, to be greeted with a shower of glass as I took it out of the case.
We're encouraging the local lads to throw glass at visitors - weaning them off TWOCing!
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I always have some sort of filter stuck to the front of my lenses but then I tend to go out in all weathers/conditions and when a shot presents itself am not overly concerned about what I use to wipe the mud/water/mist off the front of the lens!
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Old 12-04-2007, 19:41   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Lens protection a con? (UV filters etc)

I've experienced enough to have a split opinion on this one. I enjoy shooting sports, and the UV filter can actually make a pretty big difference when shooting in the direction that the sun is setting. The haze is actually much more evident without the filter. On that same note, certain lighting conditions will produce lens flare with the UV filter on, so it's best to shoot w/ bare glass.

As Gary said, once you get yourself into conditions where the elements can damage your glass, it's silly not to have a filter on there. Better to suffer through potential shortfalls of having it on than to deal with damaged glass.

Once you get to shooting enough, you'll get more comfortable with the idea that you're not going to scratch your glass, and that's because you'll have grown accustomed to being neurotic about protecting it. I still tend to leave my lenses covered all the time, but have certainly become quicker with taking the filters off when I know they hurt more than they could help.
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Old 12-04-2007, 20:01   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Lens protection a con? (UV filters etc)

Speaking as I can from the experience of actively trying to break a lens (story of that another day), I now dispense with all UV/protection only filters. They only degrade image quality. People say modern ones let through 99.99% of light but photos take with just always look worse with me. Maybe its a psychological effect I don't know.

Lenses are quite tough. A lens hood is a perfectly adequate piece of protection. Don't drop your lens straight down and don't run into any corners with your camera outstretched and you'll be grand
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Old 15-04-2007, 21:36   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Lens protection a con? (UV filters etc)

Hi All,

M B It's psychological with me alright, inbred from my 35mm slr days. Still think that I would favour a skylight or uv fitted though, cheaper to buy a new filter that a new front element.

Take care
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