Olympus OM-D E-M5 Background in Focus

Started May 17, 2012 | Discussions thread
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,894Gear list
Using protective filters : pro and counter arguments
In reply to MDean, May 21, 2012

MDean wrote:

... What is a filter, and which one do you recommend for my lens?

Thank you all again--can't wait to get my camera and put your advice to good use.

He is speaking of a protective filter (often named P filter). Those are usually neutral, they add a piece of white glass in front of your lens. This protects the lens from accidental scratch, dust, rains, water sprinkle, etc.

Personnally I don't favor the use of filter, unless you need one for a purpose (like a grey density filter allowing you to use wider apertures on sunny days, or a polarizing filter allowing you to shoot without reflections). Here are what the anti-protective filters folk thinks :

1) Any piece of glass will cause some problem with the lens, enhancing flare, adding chromatic aberration, etc.. especially if you get a cheap one.

2) Using a hood will also protect the lens from getting scratched because most objects would strike against the hood rather than the lens. Plus a hood will help increasing the local contrast and protect your pictures from flare.

3) Your lens is not as well protected as with a protective filter, but if you are careful with your gear and keep the caps on when the lens is not in use, you don't need one.

4) You can always keep one in your bag and add it if you are caught in a desert sandstorm, or in heavy rains, etc..

The pro filters answers :

1) Your lens is always protected against both scratches and elements (winds, rains, sands etc..)
2) But you have to buy a good multicoated one, if you want to avoid flare etc..
3) It cost more to replace a scratched lens than a filter.

Personnally I think that good glass need to be used without possibly faulty filters to reveal all their potential and that on cheap lenses, it is not worth the price of the filter and the filter will cause even more problem.

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