May as well get this question out of the way ;)

Started Sep 12, 2012 | Discussions thread
maiaibing
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Canon's advice is to use a filter
In reply to Apewithacamera, Sep 15, 2012

A good place to begin is with Canon that advises that their optical glass is soft and prone to damage and therefore recommend front filters which can also help complete the weather seal of certain of their "L"-lenses.

For me its all about the resale value and peace of mind, of which the latter is an aspect that fails the often cited "insurance" premium argument, which can be made equally for your house, car, travel etc. Thus I mostly use filters on my lenses for the added protection and convenience. If I suspect they could lead to problems at night or shooting into the sun I just remove them. A standard zoom will probably also see a lot of diverse use - something that makes the investment more worth while.

Many also tend to ignore that while there are lots of confirmed stories about filters saving front lenses - as well as front lens threads/barrel fronts - I have yet to see any evidence of even a single incidence of the opposite (as in documented evidence of a filter shattering and damaging the original lens beneath more than it would have been without). I have often asked for this - but so far nada, ziltch, zero. [So once again all filter opponents - please prove me wrong!]. A quick search here at dpreview will on the other hand find you lots of documented incidents of filters having protected the front element or barrel from various kinds of impact damage.

Another aspect which gets ignored is that people with filters probably take just a little more risk while both handling and using their gear. The pro side of less worry is of course easier and more relaxed handling every time you use your lens. The downside is that you are probably taking more small risks along the way and that those risks may not only play themselves out on the front element/filter you invested in. Like standing a little further out into the water's edge at the beach were a filter will not save your gear from that unexpected large wave/splash. I know for sure that I press the limits more on the beach when using a filter than without.

Finally, what works for one person who may be very careful and shooting in a controlled environment may not be the answer for someone working under harsh conditions. I certainly would never shot in Afghanistan without a filter on all my lenses at all times.

So as so often. A filter may or may not be the right answer for you. Is an extra 3% on top worth a little more peace of mind and a little less fuss every time you handle your gear?

If you decide for a filter I would not get a UV-filter but a slim threaded clear glass filter for digital use. I have used HOYA for many years and it has served me well. Just remember to get one of their high end multi-coated digital filters - its worth the extra money.

Good luck with your choice!

(As for the "use a hood in stead" argument. I can only say; use both. A filter is only added protection and never an exclusive solution.)

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