Protection Filters - Controlled Test

Started May 18, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Photo Pete Veteran Member • Posts: 4,237
Protection Filters - Controlled Test

Having noticed a recent rush of threads about whether protection filters actually work I decided to definitively answer the question with a controlled test.

Aim of Test

In order for the test to be of practical use for DP Review readers it was important to establish a clear goal for what the results were to show and eliminate other factors which could be seen to influence the results. The aim of the test was to establish whether the presence of a protection filter would protect the front element of a lens from damage should it be exposed to impact which is commonly likely to occur during regular usage.


To eliminate variance in the test methodology or equipment used it was important to use two identical lenses and cameras, mounted in exactly the same manner, both with lens hoods in place (a typical shooting configuration).


Two identical copies of the Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 afs lens were used, mounted on Nikon d2x bodies. The lens was chosen as a commonly used, high quality standard zoom.


Both cameras and lenses were mounted on a Gitzo tripod with Arca Swiss head. The choice of tripod mounting enabled variations in camera position, angle and post impact movement to be eliminated from the test results.

The Filter

One copy of the lens was fitted with a B&W UV filter, which represents a standard of quality commensurate with the lens used. The other copy of the lens remained unprotected.

Test Methodology

Once mounted in place, both lenses were subjected to impact from a full swing of a 2lb lump hammer.

Both lenses were completely shattered.


Despite the quality of the filter used, the tests have proven categorically that a protection filter offers little actual protection to the lens front element when struck with a 2lb lump hammer.

Post testing note:-

Despite several posters advocating that insurance is a better and more economical form of protection, this tester can confirm that none of the mainstream insurance brokers offered to cover photographic equipment against such common and frequently occuring risks.

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Have Fun
Photo Pete

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