Do you use a UV filter as protection?

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 6,740
Re: Lens Elements vs. UV filters

Smith-64 wrote:

Every lens element has a specific purpose forming an image, insuring all relevant wavelengths focus at the same point, distortion controlled etc. A UV filter does none of that.

Perfectly true, but irrelevant.  All air/glass surfaces produce reflections which contribute to flare and glare.  That happens with lens elements as well as filters.

kcdogger Senior Member • Posts: 2,645
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?

nosiesta wrote:

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

I guess it depends upon your activity.  I do not use a protective filter.  I did an informal test with some cheap ones and the image was noticibly degraded.  I can't afford the expensive ones - to many lenses.  I currently use either a lens cap (when carrying) or a lens hood (when shooting). So far, so good, but I don't do rock climbing.

Peace.

John

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JaKing
JaKing Senior Member • Posts: 6,236
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?

kcdogger wrote:

nosiesta wrote:

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

I guess it depends upon your activity. I do not use a protective filter. I did an informal test with some cheap ones and the image was noticibly degraded. I can't afford the expensive ones - to many lenses. I currently use either a lens cap (when carrying) or a lens hood (when shooting). So far, so good, but I don't do rock climbing.

Peace.

John

John, cheap filters are terrible things. One should either buy top quality filters, or not at all.

I have top quality filters in all my lenses except two - 14-42 EZ has a JJC auto lens cap ( ) and FTs 7-14 doesn't take filters. Am I careful with the 7-14? ... Lens cap is never off it unless actually taking a photograph.

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Sergey_Green
Sergey_Green Forum Pro • Posts: 12,020
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?

nosiesta wrote:

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

If you use your camera in dusty environments or near the salty reservoirs (ocean, big sea, etc) then to have filter in front of your lens is always a good idea. It is easier to wash filter than clean the lens. If it is against bumps and scratches then probably not, to have a filter in a fact is a very bad idea. If you do not live in a coastal town then I would not bother about the filters. Simply not worth it.

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- sergey

nevada5
nevada5 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,731
Re: Two thoughts
1

Mark Ransom wrote:

  1. The lens is expensive. A filter provides cheap protection.
  2. The lens is expensive. Why would you compromise its performance by adding an extra element?

3. The lens is expensive.  It comes with a lens cap to provide free protection.

Notice that both opposing views are motivated by the same premise.

Ultimately I think it boils down to your personal priorities. I don't use a filter unless I need it for its optical effect. I find caps and hoods to be adequate for protection.

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J4Hug Senior Member • Posts: 1,275
I don't any more think of the cost

5 lenses = about £250 or more if you get the really good quality filters

I am relatively clumsy and I have yet to see any damage to the front element of any lens. Lens caps and hoods are far more useful

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(unknown member) Forum Member • Posts: 83
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
3

I have something around $20k NZ worth of lenses and I have filters on all and lens hoods for most of them.

Really, it depends on the kind of environments in which one operates.  For many people a filter may well be unnecessary.  My gear travels a fair bit and  I do most of my photography in the outdoors and so my gear is potentially subject to salt spray, sand, dirt etc. The hoods go some way to protecting the lens from bumps, but they don't protect a lens when reversed for travel   I had an expensive lens dropped by an inspector while going through security in North America.  The camera was in a holster and fell only about 150mm (6") onto the belt.  Being in a hurry I looked at it when I had boarded the aircraft to discover that the lens cap and filter were both damaged - the filter frame was bent and the glass shattered.  I had to actually saw the thing off the lens, but the front element was fine and it checked out for alignment when I tested it later.  It had a hood attached but that was no protection in this situation.

As I said it depends on the situations in which one uses the gear, and its a cost/jrisk  situation.   I do put good quality filters on the lenses - there is no point in putting inferior glass in front of an expensive lens, but I would rather replace a broken or scratched filter than a front element any day.

To each their own though...

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DaveyB Senior Member • Posts: 1,033
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
3

My PL 100-400 gets hard use in rough conditions, which means I have to clean the objective more often than I’d like. I put a highest quality, clear optical glass filter on from day one and don’t regret it.

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Cheers
David

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s_grins
s_grins Forum Pro • Posts: 13,357
Re: If that were true ..
5

Zvonimir Tosic wrote:

Smith-64 wrote:

Every lens element has a specific purpose forming an image, insuring all relevant wavelengths focus at the same point, distortion controlled etc. A UV filter does none of that.

If that were true, then we would have lenses with ZERO optical issues. No visible haze, no PF, no colour casts, zero aberrations, ghosting, etc.

This is true. Smith-64 only tried to explain to you that been not totally perfect, every lens was made with effort to reduce imperfections to the extend that price allows. Additional elements do not contribute to that purpose, they do quite the opposite job by highlighting negatives.

Unfortunately, it does not work that way.

I suggest you take advice not from backyard photographers and hearsay, but from working professionals who travel extensively and photograph in a wide variety of outdoor applications.

i suggest for you to read your generous  advise and apply it to yourself. You definitely need it.

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Smith-64 Regular Member • Posts: 310
Re: Lens Elements vs. UV filters

Absolutely true, a 14 element lens transmits less light than a 4 element given equal anti reflection coating,  The improvements in modern multi-layer coating internally and externally make our modern lenses (along with computer aided design) feasable.  This in no way invalidates point that adding two useless air-glass interfaces at best adds minimal degradation and at worst significant degradation.  Even in the days of Kodachrome II I never took a photo that I felt was improved by a UV filter.

A. C.

Added note: Not every internal element necessarily adds two air-glass interfaces.  Cemented elements don't.

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Adielle
Adielle Senior Member • Posts: 1,754
Re: Lens Elements vs. UV filters
2

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. Only BETTER performance due to less purple fringing, clearer image. Haven't "tested" the Marumi Exus nearly as much, but I've yet to see anything unusual. There's no reason it would have any SERIOUS negative effect in any case.

Looking at those filters causes a strange sensation - they're SO CLEAR, you just can't see ****! No reflections like you'd expect from all kinds of stuff in daily life.

Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 6,740
Re: Lens Elements vs. UV filters
2

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.

Adielle
Adielle Senior Member • Posts: 1,754
Re: Lens Elements vs. UV filters
1

Tom Axford wrote:

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. Only BETTER performance due to less purple fringing, clearer image. Haven't "tested" the Marumi Exus nearly as much, but I've yet to see anything unusual. There's no reason it would have any SERIOUS negative effect in any 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.

Use a better filter. I haven't had a problem like that at f/1.4 nor f/1.7.

Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 6,740
Re: Lens Elements vs. UV filters

Adielle wrote:

Use a better filter. I haven't had a problem like that at f/1.4 nor f/1.7.

Any filter will give the problem if the conditions are extreme.  No anti-reflection coating is perfect.

You give me the filter and I will find circumstances where it will give ghost images.  The filter must be mounted fairly close to the front element of the lens - the exact conditions depend on the lens design.

Adielle
Adielle Senior Member • Posts: 1,754
Re: Lens Elements vs. UV filters
1

Tom Axford wrote:

Adielle wrote:

Use a better filter. I haven't had a problem like that at f/1.4 nor f/1.7.

Any filter will give the problem if the conditions are extreme. No anti-reflection coating is perfect.

No, a very good filter will not give a problem like that. Yes, there's always a chance for some flare or ghosting or something, the point is that the very good filters have a very low chance of causing any significant artifact, and the filter you used has a very high chance of causing it.

You give me the filter and I will find circumstances where it will give ghost images.

Let me know when you get a QuartzLine or Exus or a UV filter of similar quality to show that kind of horrible performance. Filters are not "all made equal", there's a huge quality spectrum, starting from extremely poor and ending in way beyond reasonable specs.

The filter must be mounted fairly close to the front element of the lens - the exact conditions depend on the lens design.

R Liewenberger Contributing Member • Posts: 614
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
2

nosiesta wrote:

Hello

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

Just what it was in the days of Phil Askey and dpr still based in London: 50% pro, 50 % contra. And all the arguments pro or contra are still the same. Nothing new.

I use them on most of my lenses, at least on the ones I am using more than only maybe once or twice a year. B+W UV MRC F-Pro.

Liewenberger

Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 6,740
Re: Lens Elements vs. UV filters

Adielle wrote:

Let me know when you get a QuartzLine or Exus or a UV filter of similar quality to show that kind of horrible performance. Filters are not "all made equal", there's a huge quality spectrum, starting from extremely poor and ending in way beyond reasonable specs.

Now you are talking nonsense.  The reflections from different filters will vary, but none are so low as to give no noticeable effects.

Wu Jiaqiu
Wu Jiaqiu Forum Pro • Posts: 25,665
Re: Lens Elements vs. UV filters

Adielle wrote:

Tom Axford wrote:

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. Only BETTER performance due to less purple fringing, clearer image. Haven't "tested" the Marumi Exus nearly as much, but I've yet to see anything unusual. There's no reason it would have any SERIOUS negative effect in any 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.

Use a better filter. I haven't had a problem like that at f/1.4 nor f/1.7.

i've had it with a Hoya filter a couple of years back, it was the only filter i use and i stopped using it immediately afterwards

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Adielle
Adielle Senior Member • Posts: 1,754
Re: Lens Elements vs. UV filters
1

Tom Axford wrote:

Adielle wrote:

Let me know when you get a QuartzLine or Exus or a UV filter of similar quality to show that kind of horrible performance. Filters are not "all made equal", there's a huge quality spectrum, starting from extremely poor and ending in way beyond reasonable specs.

Now you are talking nonsense. The reflections from different filters will vary, but none are so low as to give no noticeable effects.

No, I haven't "talked nonsense", learn to read. Like I said, there's always a chance for noticeable negative effects and the point is that this chance greatly decreases with very high quality filters which have extremely low refraction and reflectivity. You just used a very low quality filter to demonstrate a point. Try demonstrating it with a high quality filter, next time, instead of scaring people with such a terrible picture. The problem is that you won't be able to get something like that, so you won't be demonstrating anything, but I'm sure you'll keep talking about how a single piece of glass with extremely low reflectivity and refraction and multiple essential coatings has a high chance of ruining your pictures.

Martin.au
Martin.au Forum Pro • Posts: 13,869
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?

nosiesta wrote:

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

Only on my macro lens. There's always a good chance of face planting it into something at 1:1.

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