UV Filter Lens Protection

Started Feb 18, 2010 | Discussions
geoffmalter
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UV Filter Lens Protection
Feb 18, 2010

For those sitting on the fence regarding using UV filters as lens protection:

Happened this morning............D40 with 35mm f1.8 lens sitting on my desk after cleaning, swiveled my desk chair to get up, and it caught the D40 strap, sending it down to the floor lens pointed down. Fell 30" onto the plastic chair pad over carpet, lens cap flew off, and the filter took the brunt of the impact.

Camera and 35mm lens OK, but the UV did not survive. I going to attempt to post my first pic on this site, but to describe the aftermath.....UV glass shattered, and the threaded portion of the brass ring partially separated from the exterior ring due to the impact. This is B&W's Pro thick brass exterior ring UV/haze 52mm filter, falling only 30".

I will stay with filters with exceptional glass protecting my lenses.

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geoffmalter
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Re: UV Filter Lens Protection
In reply to geoffmalter, Feb 18, 2010

...........and, yes, all glass shards were removed from the lens housing with a rocket blower, as examined with a magnifying loop.

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chuxter
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Re: UV Filter Lens Protection
In reply to geoffmalter, Feb 18, 2010

geoffmalter wrote:

For those sitting on the fence regarding using UV filters as lens protection:

Happened this morning............D40 with 35mm f1.8 lens sitting on my desk after cleaning, swiveled my desk chair to get up, and it caught the D40 strap, sending it down to the floor lens pointed down. Fell 30" onto the plastic chair pad over carpet, lens cap flew off, and the filter took the brunt of the impact.

Camera and 35mm lens OK, but the UV did not survive. I going to attempt to post my first pic on this site, but to describe the aftermath.....UV glass shattered, and the threaded portion of the brass ring partially separated from the exterior ring due to the impact. This is B&W's Pro thick brass exterior ring UV/haze 52mm filter, falling only 30".

I will stay with filters with exceptional glass protecting my lenses.

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Charlie Davis
Nikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D50, Nikon D300
HomePage: http://www.1derful.info
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bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Barrie Davis
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Re: UV Filter Lens Protection
In reply to geoffmalter, Feb 18, 2010

geoffmalter wrote:

For those sitting on the fence regarding using UV filters as lens protection:

Happened this morning............D40 with 35mm f1.8 lens sitting on my desk after cleaning, swiveled my desk chair to get up, and it caught the D40 strap, sending it down to the floor lens pointed down.

I think that is NOT an example of a good reason to use a UV on the lens. I think it is an example of the folly of letting a camera strap overhang the edge of a table. I NEVER DO THAT Indeed, I make a ritual of placing the camera distant from the edge, with the strap folded onto the table such that no way can it fall off or be caught by anything passing by.

Fell 30" onto the plastic chair pad over carpet, lens cap flew off, and the filter took the brunt of the impact.

Camera and 35mm lens OK, but the UV did not survive.

With respect, you do not know that the lens and camera are OK, only that they appear to be OK for the moment.

However, you do know that the UV took sufficient of a shock to smash it, and that a UV filter is flimsier than a camera and lens combination so is quite likely to break under LESS stress than would affect a camera/lens. Furthermore, the filter could not have absorbed ALL the stress in its breaking, and, since there is no shock-absorber between filter and lens the excess of stress had to have been transmitted to the lens and camera, there being nowhere else for it to go.

Conclusion: Since so little is needed to break thin glass, a smashed filter doesn't prove that the camera has been protected from anything very much, and only proves that the lens front element was subjected to broken glass.

Sorry to be so negative, but I am totally unconvinced by the idea of a UV filter as "shock" protection, no matter how effective it might be against sticky fingers or salt spray. Your photograph just makes me more sure than ever.

Naturally, I do hope very much that nothing serious has happened to your camera.
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What is it all about? Well, something relating to a conversation we had in the pub 35 years ago has come to spectacular fruition, and I'd like him to know how right he was.

If you know somebody who could be this man, please put him in touch with me. Thank you.

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chuxter
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Re: UV Filter Lens Protection
In reply to chuxter, Feb 18, 2010

chuxter wrote:

geoffmalter wrote:

For those sitting on the fence regarding using UV filters as lens protection:

Happened this morning............D40 with 35mm f1.8 lens sitting on my desk after cleaning, swiveled my desk chair to get up, and it caught the D40 strap, sending it down to the floor lens pointed down. Fell 30" onto the plastic chair pad over carpet, lens cap flew off, and the filter took the brunt of the impact.

I'm a little confused by your description. You seem to be saying that you had the UV filter screwed into the lens and a lens cap (the standard Nikon one that came with your camera?) on top of that...then when the lens cap hit the plastic chair pad, it flew off and the filter subsequently broke. Is this correct? I'll assume that I have it generally right...

You subsequently concluded that the filter had somehow protected the lens.

Camera and 35mm lens OK, but the UV did not survive. I going to attempt to post my first pic on this site, but to describe the aftermath.....UV glass shattered, and the threaded portion of the brass ring partially separated from the exterior ring due to the impact. This is B&W's Pro thick brass exterior ring UV/haze 52mm filter, falling only 30".

It appears from your description and the photo, that the brass edge of the ring hit first (probably on the 2nd hit, after the 1st hit, which popped the lens cap off) and bent. There is little space between the brass ring and the filter glass, so when the brass ring bent, it broke the filter glass.

[note the radial cracks in the glass? They point to where the glass broke. It was at the edge, near where your thumb is holding the filter. If something had hit the center portion of the filter, the radial cracks would all point to that location...but they don't...besides, there should have been nothing on that chair pad that could contact the filter glass.]

The important question is, "What would have happened if you had not had the UV filter on the lens?" You imply that it's obvious the lens would have been damaged. I'm not so sure after doing my long-distance forensic analysis...

I think the lens cap would have still popped off...it might have landed on one of the buttons on the side that release the thread clamps...even if it didn't, it's just a plastic assembly and will bend a lot before being damaged...you didn't say if the lens cap was damaged, but I assume not. I think the front ring of the lens would have contacted the plastic chair pad, in much the same way as the filter did. The filter threads on the lens appear to be plastic...I read the review on dpr and it doesn't specifically state that, but it does say that the body is plastic and the pictures look as though it's plastic. Your lens is one of Nikkors budget lenses and they tend to use plastic where they can to reduce the cost. That plastic is good plastic and it won't break/crack easily...it simply deforms and springs back to it's original shape. In a fall like this (where the lens hits a flat surface) there is zero possibility of hitting the front element, because it's recessed well back from the front of the body. I therefore conclude that you would have suffered no lens damage...well, except for the possibility of a scuff mark on the rim?

The down side of your approach is that you bought a filter that costs $111.50 (at B&H) to protect a lens that costs $200 (at B&H). I assume you will buy another B+W Pro UV Brass filter with Schott glass to protect your lens...it is a great filter, BTW. But I don't think you are very smart if you do this.

First, it makes no sense to put a $111.50 filter on a mere $200 lens and expect it to economically protect it...like would you pay $111.50 for an insurance policy on that $200 lens? That's highway robbery! No way! You can buy real insurance on a $200 lens for about 1.5% / year of the value of the lens...so it would only cost you $2.87 for one year's insurance, which covers everything, like dropping it...it also covers theft, which I'm sure your B+W filter would not cover. That $111.50 would have bought you over 38 years of real protection (actually, it would buy much more than that, because even Nikkor lenses drop in value as they get older).

Yet you bought a wonderful B+W filter and put it on your lens. Does B+W say that it will protect your lens from a fall? Where did you get the idea it would? I looked and they don't seem to say that. As you found out, just a trivial blow to the brass (which is quite soft) rim and the thing bends, which shatters the glass. Anybody with an ounce of sense can predict that! Simply stated, B+W and all the other, lesser filter vendors don't expect their filters to withstand a fall...there is simply not enough metal in the ring to be rigid enough to not break the filter glass. If they put more metal in the ring, it would either vignette or interfere with the lens hood (which you should be using). There is just no way that a skimpy filter can protect a big, heavy lens!

Worse than that, after the filter glass shatters, the shards spray around the vicinity...some can have a substantial velocity and if their trajectory is toward the lens front element, now you have a real possibility of scratching it! Have you carefully examined the front of your lens?

Finally, even that wonderful B+W filter will slightly degrade the IQ. Not too important on a $200 lens, but still...

I will stay with filters with exceptional glass protecting my lenses.

And I will still try to explain why you are silly to do that.

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Charlie Davis
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chuxter
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Re: UV Filter Lens Protection
In reply to chuxter, Feb 18, 2010

Sorry about above post...an aberrant finger got loose and decided to do that.
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Charlie Davis
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“We have always known that heedless self-interest was
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chuxter
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Re: UV Filter Lens Protection
In reply to Barrie Davis, Feb 18, 2010

OK, Cuz...we're on the same team again!
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Charlie Davis
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geoffmalter
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Re: UV Filter Lens Protection
In reply to chuxter, Feb 19, 2010

I would agree with you that it looks like edge damage. As to the cost, I may have given an incorrect filter description, but read from the filter writing itself. BTW it's cost is $19 from B&H (free shipping) and other online merchants.

As to the appropriateness of protective filters, you know as well as I there will always be two schools of thought. I "sleep better" with them, and you obviously sleep well without them.

RE optical degradation having even good glass over the lens: at some point, as I get acclimated to my new hobby, I may forgo the filter when I use the sunshade, but this happened when the sunshade was reversed on the lens for storage.

Would the 35mm have been damaged without the UV attached? The answer is moot because it was attached.

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chuxter
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Re: UV Filter Lens Protection
In reply to geoffmalter, Feb 19, 2010

geoffmalter wrote:

I would agree with you that it looks like edge damage. As to the cost, I may have given an incorrect filter description, but read from the filter writing itself. BTW it's cost is $19 from B&H (free shipping) and other online merchants.

OK, I saw that cheap B+W filter on B&H, but doubted that was the one you had, as you used the word "Pro"...

As to the appropriateness of protective filters, you know as well as I there will always be two schools of thought. I "sleep better" with them, and you obviously sleep well without them.

Actually, I stay awake at night just knowing that there are people like you.

RE optical degradation having even good glass over the lens: at some point, as I get acclimated to my new hobby, I may forgo the filter when I use the sunshade, but this happened when the sunshade was reversed on the lens for storage.

I suggest strongly that you not reverse the lens hood. Why? Well, it's really good protection! It doesn't attach to the filter threads, but instead clamps onto the outside of the lens body. I leave mine on the lens, in the extended orientation...better protection...faster to get a different lens attached. Yes, I know the lens + hood is bigger that way, but I got a bag that would hold all my lenses with the hoods in the operating position. The hood will stay on better than that lens cap and/or filter too. You may break/crack a lens hood, but they are cheap to replace. And in case you have been following the other current thread about UV protection filters, I have never seen a cat with a tongue long enough to reach the front element of your 35mm lens with the hood sticking out the front!

Would the 35mm have been damaged without the UV attached? The answer is moot because it was attached.

Yes, but I explained why it was in more danger because it was attached...not less danger. Did you skip over that part?

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Charlie Davis
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geoffmalter
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Re: UV Filter Lens Protection
In reply to Barrie Davis, Feb 19, 2010

No offense taken, unless someone is deliberately trying to be a wise-ass, this is the purpose of forums....debating points-of-view, sharing experiences,educating, etc.

I too hope my camera/lens are fine. After carefully removing the damaged filter and cleaning up the shards from the lens using a magnifying loupe, I took a series of shots, making various camera adjustments, and all seemed fine.

I did take out an accidential damage policy on the camera when I purchased it last month. Minimal cost for, again, IMO peace-of-mind.

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geoffmalter
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Re: UV Filter Lens Protection
In reply to chuxter, Feb 19, 2010

Not to beat a dead horse (or UV filter :-)):

1. The outside edge of the filter reads "F-Pro". Did I get a better one at a wrong, bargin price?

2. Sorry I keep you awake, but think of all the photo ops you'd miss by sleeping!

3. I do need a larger bag, which is why the shade is stored reversed on the lens.

4. Got and agree with your "danger" comments, as I did check with a loupe immediately afterward and removed a couple of tiny shards with my bulb blower.

In all seriousness, I appreciate the comments and concern from you and other responders.

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chuxter
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Re: UV Filter Lens Protection
In reply to geoffmalter, Feb 19, 2010

geoffmalter wrote:

No offense taken, unless someone is deliberately trying to be a wise-ass, this is the purpose of forums....debating points-of-view, sharing experiences,educating, etc.

I too hope my camera/lens are fine. After carefully removing the damaged filter and cleaning up the shards from the lens using a magnifying loupe, I took a series of shots, making various camera adjustments, and all seemed fine.

I did take out an accidential damage policy on the camera when I purchased it last month. Minimal cost for, again, IMO peace-of-mind.

Good golly, Geoff...if you already have insurance, don't bother to replace that $19 filter! What's the point?

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Charlie Davis
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Franklin D. Roosevelt

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