Is a UV filter recommended for a 24-105?

Started Oct 16, 2012 | Questions thread
Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Veteran Member • Posts: 6,776
Re: Is a UV filter recommended for a 24-105?

rraghu75 wrote:

Eagerly awaiting the delivery of my 5Diii w/ the 24/105 kit.  I and undecided on getting a UV filter - any thoughts or recommendations?

Recommended for what purpose?   What are your shooting conditions and what is your goal in getting a UV filter?

I would suggest you ignore advice that is given without knowing the specifics of your needs.

If you are concerned about image quality you will find a wide range of opinions on whether or not filters affect image quality.  ignore them all.  None of the opinions are based on your particular shooting circumstances with your equipment.

The truth is that under ideal conditions with an excellent filter, there won't be any noticeable difference in quality.  Under adverse conditions, with a cheap filter, there will be a very noticeable reduction in quality.

You will most likely see something in between.

I suggest you perform a simple experiment.  Put your camera on a tripod and take two images, one with the filter and one without.  Layer them in Photoshop with the top layer in difference mode.  If the filter causes additional flare, it will show up as white areas.  If the filter reduces contrast, you will get some grey areas.  If you get a completely black result, then your filter is not causing a problem in your shooting circumstance.

If you frequently shoot in adverse conditions (at the beach, outdoors, against a bright white background, use a hair/rim light, or have light sources in/near your image) then you want to test in those conditions.

Ignore advice based on film cameras.  The shiny sensors in digital cameras interact with filters very differently then the dull emulsions found on film.

If you are worried about UV, then stop.  Modern digital cameras have builtin UV filters.  There is no benefit to adding additional UV filtering.

If you are worried about protecting the front element of your lens, then you should compare the definite cost of the filter to the possible cost of a front element replacement.  A lens repair from Canon can be surprisingly affordable.

If you are worried about keeping fingerprints off your lens, then you should consider the affect of fingerprints on the filter.  Either affects image quality, and your lens likely has a more durable coating, so you are better off cleaning the lens then a filter.

If you are worried about impact protection, then consider what sorts of impacts you will be protected from.  A small impact wouldn't hurt the lens, and a large impact will pass through the filter and may still damage the lens.  Ignore people who proudly show photos of broken filters on an undamaged lens.  Filters are more fragile, and the impact that broke their expensive filter may not have damaged their lens.

Let us know what your tests tell you.

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