Do you use a UV filter as protection?

Started 7 months ago | Discussions thread
Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 6,619
Re: Lens Elements vs. UV filters

Adielle wrote:

Again, a very high quality filter has an extremely low chance to cause a visible negative effect in any condition. Those filters are flat, with excellent refraction values, and with all kinds of coatings that minimize the chance for anything. I've tried to test for negative effects with the PolarPro QuartzLine filters in real world conditions (I'm obsessive about this stuff), sun in the frame and almost in the frame, annoying LEDs in the frame, multiple angles, etc. and haven't managed to get a single visible case.

Don't go overboard!  There are some circumstances where a filter can seriously degrade the image.  Many photographers never encounter such circumstances, but others may need to worry about them.

The circumstances are:  (i) using a fast lens at or near full aperture, and (ii) having very bright lights visible in the central portion of the frame.

Here is an example:

No filter on lens

The same scene with a UV filter on the lens

The faint green lights in the centre of the image are reflections of several of the very bright floodlights off the sensor itself and then reflected again off the back surface of the filter.  For each of the faint green lights, if you draw a straight line from it through the exact centre of the frame and extend it an equal distance beyond the centre point, it will arrive at the light whose reflection it is.

These ghost images caused by the filter are clearly visible because the lights were extremely bright and I have overexposed these shots so that the ghosts stand out against the dark sky.  For most photos any ghost images are so faint that they go unnoticed.

I use filters for protection almost all the time, but I may take them off in extreme situations such as illustrated above.

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