How hard is it to scratch a lens?

Started Sep 1, 2014 | Questions thread
Dan_168 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,306
Not that easy to scratch it and the repair is cheap.

diness wrote:

I don't want to start the endless "to filter or not to filter" debate... but I have recently been filterless with my 70-200 f4L and it always makes me nervous. I'm not worried about dropping it and breaking it necessarily, but how hard is it to scratch the lens surface? Anyone ever scratch it with the lens cap or anything? I've always been curious about this. Thanks!

I don't normally use filter for protection, and I have been shooting for over 20 years and so far so good, while I don't kick and throw my camera gears around, but I don't baby it either.

My 1D2 and 1DS2 has been dropped many times in the field with different lenses, accident and/or my careless mistake.... and other than some cosmetic scratches, they all function fine, the latest 3 accident happened not long ago. I was shooting at a Sand dune in Death Valley, my D3+ Zeiss 21 rolled off from the top of the camera bag and hit the sand dune while was switch camera, lens faced down, no real damage other than I had t spend some time to clean the damn thing and afraid to swap lens on the spot afraid some sand may get inside the body. and my 70-200 F2.8 fell down with the tripod while I was setting up my second camera set up at Tunnel View, Yosemite, my friend's kids was playing around and knocked down , both lens and camera was fine, other than a small crack on the lens hood, may be if I didn't have a hood on the front element would hit the ground that may be a different story, and the latest accident was on my Sigma 35mm, it felt out of the bag and hit the cement from about 5 feet height, and as you can see from the scratch from the picture, it was not a light impact, but again it didn't land on the front of the lens and I have the lens cap on and lens still function just fine. in my opinion, the lens is nowhere as fragile as some people made it sounded like. I clean my sensor and lenses all the time and I don't worry about it getting scratched, just use a little caution and you will be fine.

And by the way, even if you actually scratched the front element, it's a pretty cheap repair anyway so nothing to worry about. I would take the risk for the potential $200 to $300 front element repair (which not yet happened), than spending few thousand $$$ on protective filter for all my lenses, I got quite a few lenses, mostly 82 and 77mm,  decent quality filter such as those B+W for example are not cheap., so it make more sense to me not to "protect" the lens with filter, we are not even talking about the image degradation issue here yet. LOL.

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