Do you use a UV filter as protection?

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
nosiesta
nosiesta Forum Member • Posts: 50
Do you use a UV filter as protection?

Hello

What's the current thinking on using a decent UV filter to protect the lens outer element?

I always have in the past but just picked up a new lens and am debating it now. Obviously the quality of the lens is only going to be as good as the filter glass it's shooting through.

I do a lot of rock climbing so the chance of a scratch is higher than normal.

In the past I've always gone for a B+W UV (never a Skylight). Hoods add bulk and are faff (yep, I know they held with contrast and flare etc)

Thanks

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Paul De Bra
Paul De Bra Forum Pro • Posts: 12,670
No, I use the lens cap for that.
14

The lens cap offers better protection than a filter. I take the cap off to take a picture and then put it back on. I also always leave the lens hood on (not reversed), as it is good protection against accidental bumps.

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jimkahnw
jimkahnw Regular Member • Posts: 263
Re: No, I use the lens cap for that.
1

I do the same as the previous post.

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Adielle
Adielle Senior Member • Posts: 1,754
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
1

I always use it for protection as well as for reducing purple fringing. Sometimes the reduction is slight, sometimes it's significant, depends on the lens and the filter (got the biggest improvement with the 25mm f/1.4 which has very poor CA handling). I highly recommend Marumi Exus and PolarPro QuartzLine UV filters, the QuartzLine cleans up especially easily. Very expensive filters, though.

Check out this nice UV and clear filter spectrograms page at lensrentals. Basically, the further it is from 100 in the visible light spectrum, means more chance of reflections, which means worse image quality. Zeiss T* and Tiffen Digital HT for example are the only UV filters in that comparison that are really effective at reduction in the UV spectrum, but they do have significantly higher chance of reflections than some other filters, and I have seen comments about this problem in Zeiss T* user reviews, and I assume that the Tiffen filter would be much worse based on the spectrogram. I would use something like the T* UV filter with a zoom lens that has massive purple fringing in some cases, but not with a prime lens.

katastrofa Senior Member • Posts: 1,015
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
1

I keep it on my 12-100 F/4 lens, since it gets taken everywhere, and I usually use it for shots where AF speed is not an issue.

I put it on the PL 100-400 before taking it on a ferry trip, to protect the front element from seawater spray. For birding in safe places I'll take it off because it does affect the AF performance (I have a good filter, but still).

I use the Oly 300 F/4 without a UV filter, since I tend not to take it into risky places anyway, and the hood protects the front element from bumps. But I do have a UV filter for it, and if I ever take it on a boat trip (unlikely: on the sea light is usually plentiful but reach is crucial, so I prefer PL 100-400 then), I'll use the filter.

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jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 9,738
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
1

nosiesta wrote:

What's the current thinking on using a decent UV filter to protect the lens outer element?

Always. Inevitably I get fingerprints on the filter instead of the lens. Dust, mist and whatnot is easy to clean off.

I always have in the past but just picked up a new lens and am debating it now. Obviously the quality of the lens is only going to be as good as the filter glass it's shooting through.

I do a lot of rock climbing so the chance of a scratch is higher than normal.

In the past I've always gone for a B+W UV (never a Skylight). Hoods add bulk and are faff (yep, I know they held with contrast and flare etc)

I use these: B+W XS-Pro UV Haze MRC-Nano 010M Filter

B+W #900 Folding Rubber Lens Hoods work well (open and close easily) and add a nice rubber bumper for extra protection.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/11153-REG/B_W_65069607_58mm_Screw_In_Folding_Rubber.html/mode/edu

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drj3 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,658
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
3

Why would you want to use a UV filter?  If you want protection a clear filter is all that is necessary.  If you use one, get a good quality filter.

I tend to keep B+W clear pro nano filters on my 300mm f4 and 12-100 f4, but take them off if I want to be certain I get the best IQ.

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techie takes pics Contributing Member • Posts: 821
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?

Yes. On all my lenses.

I use cheap but multi-coated filters from AliExpress (perhaps Amazon or eBay in the US).  Brandname "Knight-X".   They fit well, they are thin and I can simply check they are not uncoated glass: they hardly reflect any light.

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Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 6,628
Division of opinion

As you can see, people are divided about this and some have rather strong opinions on the subject. This thread found that over one third of those answering use protective filters on their lenses.

mring1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,295
I use a B+W clear lens protection
1

But I live in the desert Southwest (Arizona). Front elements are abraded by the sandblasting that never stops. In 5 years, even the really good lens protection looks slightly clouded.

Best protection is a lens shade. Otherwise, use what works for you.

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JosephScha Veteran Member • Posts: 6,118
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?

I do, on my 14-140 lens that is on my camera when I'm outdoors, almost all the time.

But I do not have one on my 42.5mm f/1.7 or the 25mm f/1.4.  Or the 15mm f/1.7.  I use those indoors, and I am careful.

On the third hand, I also have the 100-300mm zoom and I don't think I have a filter on that, but then again I rarely use it.  It's not going to get ruined by blown sand.

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brentbrent Veteran Member • Posts: 4,227
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?

No, except, except for my 12-100, which I bought used, and the seller threw in a high quality UV filter and high-quality polarizing filter. I would not have separately purchased that UV filter. I do use lens hoods and the lens cap.

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Brent

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JaKing
JaKing Senior Member • Posts: 6,141
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
5

Yes, on all my lenses. I've done A/B tests, and no perceptible difference in IQ, even with 75-300 at 300mm.

It's far cheaper to replace a filter than to replace a front element/group or a lens ...

My filters are almost all Hoya HMC.

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alcelc
alcelc Forum Pro • Posts: 12,425
Yes I do

... but use clear protective filer mostly.

Never investigate into the quality of these clear filters from Panasonic but as per my 1.5 decade experience with them they have no negative effect, nearly no flare issue at all, to my output.

I am happy to keep on using them.

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s_grins
s_grins Forum Pro • Posts: 13,308
NO, I do not n/t
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Velocity of Sound
Velocity of Sound Contributing Member • Posts: 891
Agree on clear filters over UV
1

Modern cameras reportedly have a UV-blocking filter installed at the sensor level, so you don't need a UV-blocking filter. A multi-coated clear filter is all that you need, and reportedly might do less to degrade the image or block light transmission. I favor the B+W nano clear filters, but of course there are other brands that are just fine, too.

In general filters have no noticeable effect on image quality, but I had two instances where that wasn't the case:

1) With the old Sigma 50-500mm. Images were improved pretty noticeably without the filter on. It was already considered somewhat finicky for image quality at the 500mm end, so I figure it was just more sensitive. I never tested to see if a different filter would have been better.

2) With a Hoya alpha filter that came with a used lens that I bought. Images were almost never sharp and always appeared out of focus with that filter on; taking the filter off, and then replacing it with another, rectified the situation. I'm still not sure what happened with that filter...

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itguy08 Contributing Member • Posts: 671
Nope. Not needed
1

I used to use them all the time but for the past 10 years have gone naked.

Especially after seeing articles like this that show that even the biggest damage has little effect on IQ: https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2008/10/front-element-scratches/

Smaller scratches: https://www.shutterbug.com/content/torture-test-do-small-scratches-prevent-sharp-images

https://petapixel.com/2015/07/02/how-much-does-a-scratch-affect-the-quality-of-a-lens/

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nevada5
nevada5 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,557
Nope. And I don't shoot through windows either.
2

Put a piece of glass in front of my expensive lens?  Hmmmm.  Nah.

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Adielle
Adielle Senior Member • Posts: 1,754
Re: Nope. And I don't shoot through windows either.
4

nevada5 wrote:

Put a piece of glass in front of my expensive lens? Hmmmm. Nah.

You think that exposing your lens's front element to the elements of nature is better? A good "piece of glass" will have no negative visible effect whatsoever on your images in almost any case, and in the very rare case where it is visible, it's slight enough to not matter too much.

Smaug01
Smaug01 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,057
I used to...
1

...But someone once told me: "Why put cheap glass in front of expensive glass?"

I thought about it, and it makes a lot of sense, since every time light passes through a glass surface, some contrast is lost. This is why aspherical optics are so great. One lens surface with a compound curve can replace several old-school elements stacked together.

In all the years I did the UV or skylight filter, I never scratched one.

So now, I use hood or a lens cap.

For you, while climbing. You don't believe in hoods. (your loss)

But how about just keeping the lens cap on until you want to take a shot? The lens cap would be tethered to the camera, of course. Or could even be a collapsible, automatic lens cap, like on point & shoot cameras.

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