Neutral Clear Protection Filter

Started Mar 18, 2013 | Questions thread
Michael Harvey Contributing Member • Posts: 639
Re: Neutral Clear Protection Filter

Protection advocates often claim filters will protect against all sort of things which are dubious, or rare. Impacts. Really? Sand at the beach. Hmm. Salt spray - I love that one, as it just means salt spray gets on the filter instead of the lens and still detracts from the shot. Cleaning marks - you use sandpaper to clean your lenses?

OK...I've already admitted that I put a Nikon Clear Glass Filter on most of my lenses. Even with the D800 (at 100%), I've yet to see any loss of image quality when compared to a totally uncovered lens. I mean, let's face it - if I DID see degradation, I wouldn't USE it!

And I'd rather be wiping fingerprints and other assorted 'schmutz' (scientific term) off the glass filter than the actual lens glass.                                                                                      BUT, I also confessed that there are times when I will still take the filter it superstition.

I DIGRESS...what I actually jumped back in to comment on was the "salt spray" issue.

Amateur astronomy has been my hobby since I was 10 years old and, for the past 20 years or so, I've attended the Winter Star Party in the Florida Keys. This is a week-long event that draws serious amateurs from (literally) all over the world. WE ALL BRING OUR BIGGEST AND BEST TELESCOPES AND LEAVE THEM OUTSIDE (but certainly with a 'breathable' cover) THE ENTIRE TIME!

Some of the scopes, set up right on the beach at the water's edge, are worth ten times the amount of $$$ you (or I) have invested in all our photo gear COMBINED!                                         There are refractors there that make Nikon or Canon's absolute top of the line lenses look like something you bought on sale at Wal-Mart!                                                                           A good friend of mine has a 'scope that cost over $200,000 (and, yes, he'll leave it sitting on the beach 24/7 for a whole week)! AFTER that, the lens gets a good cleaning. But that's ONLY ONCE A YEAR...I wouldn't want to do that very often!

*I (and most others) have reflector 'scopes (mirrors, not lenses) and you want to clean these EVEN LESS (the coatings can be damaged or removed from the mirror surface way too easily).            So I set up as far away from the water as possible. Still, there is a lot of 'salt schmutz' on the mirrors after a few days.

My reflector is a 28-incher (that's the DIAMETER, the aperture of the mirror) and I use FOUR GALLONS (!) of distilled water and a whole box of surgical cotton to clean it after the week in the Keys! I live at the beach. But I sure won't keep my big scope there.

I can see salt spray buildup on my Clear Glass CAMERA filters even when I'm not actually ON the beach. Over the course of a day, I may clean that filter several times.I WOULD NOT SUBJECT THE ACTUAL LENS ELEMENTS TO SUCH CONSTANT "ATTENTION".

Salt spray is not going to KILL your lens...but continual cleaning can, and will, gradually, degrade the optical coatings and, eventually, the glass itself.

Sorry...I didn't mean to go on for so long.

CONCLUSION (mine, at least) filters necessary if you are a careful individual. If you're a klutz (like me), or if you spend a LOT of time in a salty-air location (again, like me), use the highest quality clear glass filter available (if you can afford the lens, you can afford the filter).               Do NOT use inexpensive filters on expensive lenses. And finally (thank God), a UV filter is useless for digital photography!

Whooo! Holy crap! Where's the Tylenol?

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Mike Harvey

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