Excellent example of why you should use a protective filter

Started Oct 21, 2010 | Discussions
nathantw
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Excellent example of why you should use a protective filter
Oct 21, 2010

You never know what might happen. I'm a huge proponent of having a protective filter on the front of an expensive lens. Apparently TBS feels the same way. http://gizmodo.com/5669259/this-is-what-happens-when-a-baseball-bat-hits-a-very-expensive-camera

3LX
3LX
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Re: Excellent example of why you should use a protective filter
In reply to nathantw, Oct 21, 2010

Hhhmmm - not sure a protective filter would have made any difference in this case!

I personally do not use protective filters. I just make sure I have my gear adequately insured and then just take care with it.

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Leonard Shepherd
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Re:Crazy logic?
In reply to nathantw, Oct 21, 2010

Once, many years ago, I had a "similar incident" - when a front lens element was damage by an arrow from a longbow.
I was quite pleased in a way - I was standing behind the camera
The repair cost about £70.

Lets do some maths - over the years I have owned over 220 lenses which take front filters - I have also owned about 20 that do not.

220 lenses times an average of around £30 for a decent filter (which despite being decent can degrade images) is £6,600 - all to save £70.

Except it is not quite that simple - because even if I wanted to I cannot protect the front element of my 14-24, 200 f2, 300 f2.8, or 200-400 - UK new street price around £13,000.
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fad
fad
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Confirmation Bias
In reply to nathantw, Oct 21, 2010

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

A few years ago, an expensive zoom fell on the floor, soon after purchase, and only the protective filter shattered. I felt so glad I had it on. I congratulated myself on being both smart and lucky.

Then I stopped using filters. Later on, the same lens had a deep scratch on the front element. I felt awful and stupid and cursed my bad luck. But, to my surprise, it had no effect on my images.

Sent in with all my gear for routine maintenance by Canon, it cost next to nothing to replace the front element, which they did without asking. Front elements seem to be considered almost a sacrificial piece of glass by lens manufacturers.

Knowing what I know now, I feel foolish for using protective filters all those years.

We think because lenses are expensive and because glass can shatter that we must "protect" the front of our lenses.

This makes us careful and responsible custodians of our precious objects. And smarter than others who do not protect them.

But this is primitive thinking, and wrong.

Today's glasses are pretty darn tough. And they're very cheap to replace. Them's the actual facts.

That OP had to post such an unusual occurrence, and such an atypically expensive camera, to confirm his bias, only shows the weakness of his case.

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Joseph O. Holmes
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Re: Excellent example of why you should use a protective filter
In reply to nathantw, Oct 21, 2010

I've been using Nikon lenses for more than 30 years and the few times I put a protective filter on my lenses, I was disappointed in the lower contrast and additional flare I got.

On the other hand, after 30 years without filters on my 15 to 20 lenses, I've never had any damage to any of them.

At least in my case, filters would have been a major sacrifice in image quality without any benefit.

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Telefoto
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Re: Confirmation Bias
In reply to fad, Oct 21, 2010

I agree completely with these responses, and with Thom Hogan on this one. Protective filters are a gimmick of the camera industry to make money for nothing. The equation I see is why would I want to pay $500 to several thousand for a great optic then slap a cheap filter right into the optical path? Nothing comes between my glass and the subject if I can help it.

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emax
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Pros & Cons
In reply to nathantw, Oct 21, 2010

Toss-up.

No definitive answer.

Can't go wrong either way.

Ambivalence.

You decide.

God bless.

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smokeyjoe
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Re: Confirmation Bias
In reply to Telefoto, Oct 21, 2010

Telefoto wrote:

I agree completely with these responses, and with Thom Hogan on this one. Protective filters are a gimmick of the camera industry to make money for nothing. The equation I see is why would I want to pay $500 to several thousand for a great optic then slap a cheap filter right into the optical path? Nothing comes between my glass and the subject if I can help it.

Absolutely!

Filters serve a purpose -I use polarizers when I'm working with a certain light- but not for the purpose of protection.

Why are all the filters sold as 'protection' filters usually UV filters? Why hasn't Nikon made a piece of super high quality glass that does nothing other than protect your lens? Because it degrades image quality.

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Lihkin
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Re: Confirmation Bias
In reply to smokeyjoe, Oct 21, 2010

They do actually have NC filters.

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Joseph S Wisniewski
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Large blunt impact...
In reply to nathantw, Oct 21, 2010

nathantw wrote:

You never know what might happen. I'm a huge proponent of having a protective filter on the front of an expensive lens. Apparently TBS feels the same way. http://gizmodo.com/5669259/this-is-what-happens-when-a-baseball-bat-hits-a-very-expensive-camera

Baseball?

A large, blunt impact might scuff a lens front element. It will shatter a "protective" filter, driving sharp edged glass shards into the front element.

A good example of a protective filter massively increasing the damage done to a lens.

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Windancer
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Couldn't Agree More.....
In reply to 3LX, Oct 21, 2010

3LX wrote:

Hhhmmm - not sure a protective filter would have made any difference in this case!

Personally I don't think it would of helped......;-)

I personally do not use protective filters. I just make sure I have my gear adequately insured and then just take care with it.

You are not alone in this thinking My 'thing" rightly or wrongly is why spend all your hard earned money on a lens and then put a "cheap" fillter on it for some so called protection. Don't get me wrong I AM NOT saying everyone does that.

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Anthony Cheh
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A Good Lens Hood
In reply to nathantw, Oct 21, 2010

A good lens hood will decrease flare and residual ghosting, and provide some level of physical "buffer" against damage and dust accumulation.

A "protective filter" will increase your flare and ghosting levels, slightly diminish sharpness and contrast, and provide an additional basis for damage upoon impact shock if the resulting sharp glass shards are driven into the front element, or if the metal frame is warped and distorts the filter threads.

Have you noticed how stores love to push "protective filters" and no-name extended warranties? Those provide the highest profit margins to retailers.

And, yes, we're ALL guilty of confirmation bias in this thread : )

Tony

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S_Leeper
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Re: A Good Lens Hood
In reply to Anthony Cheh, Oct 22, 2010

First I think that filter was a lot thicker & stronger than most of the filters any of us would use.

Second, I understand the lenses used for the tv cameras at the sporting events go from $50k-$200k, which is understandable when one considers the sharpness & the range in moderate lighting, often being so big they are mounted special stands.

I wonder if that filter was permanently mounted?
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Motorcycleboy1991
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$20,000 filter over $90,000 lens
In reply to nathantw, Oct 22, 2010

OK, I'm anti-filter, but maybe one that expensive is worth it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/21/sports/baseball/21camera.html?_r=1

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Anthony Cheh
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That's More Than Entire Photo Budget for the Next 10 Years...
In reply to Motorcycleboy1991, Oct 22, 2010

Thanks for the link...was a good read : )

Tony

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ExposureMeter
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Re: Excellent example of why you should use a protective filter
In reply to nathantw, Oct 22, 2010

They should make filters from bullet proof material.
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zebra328
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Re: Excellent example of why you should use a protective filter
In reply to ExposureMeter, Oct 22, 2010

I'd be interested to see at least one example (a photo) demonstrating that a protective filter really deteriorates the picture!

Those who say the filter has impact on sharpness, contrast, introduces flare are simply theorizing, making conjectures that are not confirmed by facts. Let them try and shoot one and the same scene with a protective filter and without it, under various lighting conditions, and then look at the results.

They won't see any difference!
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Joseph O. Holmes
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Re: Excellent example of why you should use a protective filter
In reply to zebra328, Oct 22, 2010

zebra328 wrote:

Those who say the filter has impact on sharpness, contrast, introduces flare are simply theorizing, making conjectures that are not confirmed by facts. Let them try and shoot one and the same scene with a protective filter and without it, under various lighting conditions, and then look at the results.

I've done that test several times, all the way back to my film days, after buying a new filter and taking it out for a test run. Sometimes the problem was subtle, sometimes the flare across the filter, and the ghosting, was bad enough to ruin the image.

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sd40
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Re: Excellent example of why you should use a protective filter
In reply to nathantw, Oct 22, 2010

I'm walking through brush all the time to find the right place to take the picture. Sure, I could leave the lens cap on, but it gets to be in the way when you're repeatedly checking composition through the viewfinder, perhaps while grasping a branch to keep from sliding down the bank.

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Boris
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Re: Excellent example of why you should use a protective filter
In reply to sd40, Oct 22, 2010

Use a lens hood.
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