UV filters, unscientific test

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
s4myd New Member • Posts: 1
UV filters, unscientific test
5

Hi everyone,

I know that UV filters for many photographers are kind of a hot topic with many detractors since sensors are already treated for that but most people are using UV filters for protection purposes, against dust, sea breeze and so on. I'm one of those people that like to protect his gear as much as possible but I always wondered how much a good UV filter may impact the final results. I actually have been quite surprised by the results I got with my Sony A7 III + 85mm 1.8 combo, I honestly think that in 99% of the case nobody could guess which image comes from which filter. Unfortunately, it has been very rainy the past couple of days so I could only realise this test with artificial lighting but it was enough to create some flares. I wanted to test the sharpness as well as the flares.

The tested filters are the following:

  • No filter at all
  • Hoya UV UX
  • B+W F-Pro E 010 uv - haze
  • B+W F-Pro MRC 010 uv - haze
  • B+W Xs-Pro MRC nano

Sharpness test

No filter

Hoya UV UX

B+W F-Pro E 010 uv - haze

B+W F-Pro MRC 010 uv - haze

B+W Xs-Pro MRC nano

Comparaison between no filter and Hoya ux

In terms of sharpness, I can't notice any loss even with the entry-level filter, very surprising.

Flare test

No filter

Hoya UV UX

B+W F-Pro E 010 uv - haze

B+W F-Pro MRC 010 uv - haze

B+W Xs-Pro MRC nano

The B+W Haze E seems to be the worst at flaring due to its basic coating but for the other ones, it looks fairly good in my opinion, a little bit more flare but not that bad.

Comparaison no filter/Hoya-ux/B+W E haze and MRC

The B+W xs-pro seems a bit too pricey for the quality difference but it is a slim filter, like the hoya ux. The quality of the metal itself is also better on the different B+W, brass instead of aluminum.

I hope that it will help a few people in their choice and if you have some suggestions, don't hesitate to tell me.

Sony a7 III Sony FE 85mm F1.8
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
pekored
pekored Regular Member • Posts: 427
Re: UV filters, unscientific test
4

I think you missed this very thorough test by Roger Cicala of Lensrentals. The test methods seem very, very objective and not subjective. Here is the link:

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2017/06/the-comprehensive-ranking-of-the-major-uv-filters-on-the-market/

It helped me select a Clear Filter over a UV.   (B+W Xs-Pro MRC nano)

 pekored's gear list:pekored's gear list
Fujifilm X100V Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm F2.8-4E ED VR Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 (B023) Tamron 70-210mm F4 +1 more
WongRQ Contributing Member • Posts: 647
Re: UV filters, unscientific test
1

s4myd wrote:

Hi everyone,

I know that UV filters for many photographers are kind of a hot topic with many detractors since sensors are already treated for that but most people are using UV filters for protection purposes, against dust, sea breeze and so on. I'm one of those people that like to protect his gear as much as possible but I always wondered how much a good UV filter may impact the final results. I actually have been quite surprised by the results I got with my Sony A7 III + 85mm 1.8 combo, I honestly think that in 99% of the case nobody could guess which image comes from which filter. Unfortunately, it has been very rainy the past couple of days so I could only realise this test with artificial lighting but it was enough to create some flares. I wanted to test the sharpness as well as the flares.

The tested filters are the following:

  • No filter at all
  • Hoya UV UX
  • B+W F-Pro E 010 uv - haze
  • B+W F-Pro MRC 010 uv - haze
  • B+W Xs-Pro MRC nano

Sharpness test

No filter

Hoya UV UX

B+W F-Pro E 010 uv - haze

B+W F-Pro MRC 010 uv - haze

B+W Xs-Pro MRC nano

Comparaison between no filter and Hoya ux

In terms of sharpness, I can't notice any loss even with the entry-level filter, very surprising.

Flare test

No filter

Hoya UV UX

B+W F-Pro E 010 uv - haze

B+W F-Pro MRC 010 uv - haze

B+W Xs-Pro MRC nano

The B+W Haze E seems to be the worst at flaring due to its basic coating but for the other ones, it looks fairly good in my opinion, a little bit more flare but not that bad.

Comparaison no filter/Hoya-ux/B+W E haze and MRC

The B+W xs-pro seems a bit too pricey for the quality difference but it is a slim filter, like the hoya ux. The quality of the metal itself is also better on the different B+W, brass instead of aluminum.

I hope that it will help a few people in their choice and if you have some suggestions, don't hesitate to tell me.

Main reason why people don't use UV Filters because it has made things worse before, not just on the sharpness aspect. More often than not a lens hood is sufficient.

 WongRQ's gear list:WongRQ's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 600D Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 | C
Joe Bagadonuts Contributing Member • Posts: 516
Re: UV filters, unscientific test
1

You have got some free time.

Greg7579
Greg7579 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,041
Re: UV filters, unscientific test
2

One of the most repeated threads on all DPR Boards.  One was running two weeks ago on the Medium Format Board. and I think it is active today if you guys want to read it.

Three of my favorite GFX photographers use them, but I think most don't use clear or UV filters on their expensive GF lenses.

I don't use them and I believe they are unnecessary these days.  But not everyone agrees with me.

-- hide signature --
 Greg7579's gear list:Greg7579's gear list
Leica Q2 Fujifilm GFX 50R Fujifilm GFX 100 Fujifilm GF 32-64mm F4 Fujifilm 120mm F4 Macro +8 more
EduardoP2021
EduardoP2021 Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: UV filters, unscientific test

Main reason why people don't use UV Filters because it has made things worse before

scrup Contributing Member • Posts: 526
Re: UV filters, unscientific test
3

I have done my own tests and see the hit to IQ so I don't use them.

There are certain scenarios that it would make sense to use it, like in very dusty conditions and where there is flying debris and you need to clean often.

What i find strange is people using them all the time for protection. The most important lens is on your head, do these same people walk around with eye protection all the time? If there is a risk of your lens getting damaged surely there is an equal chance that your eyes could suffer the same fate.

 scrup's gear list:scrup's gear list
Canon EOS M Canon EOS M3 Canon EOS M6 Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM +2 more
mcsk Regular Member • Posts: 111
Re: UV filters, unscientific test
8

So all your camera lenses are self-cleaning, can instantly put their own caps on, and are capable of healing?

Also, glasses are a thing.

Futax Senior Member • Posts: 1,260
Re: UV filters, unscientific test
4

Greg7579 wrote:

I don't use them and I believe they are unnecessary these days. But not everyone agrees with me.

Why?  Because salt spray and dust storms don't exist any more? 

-- hide signature --

- Keith.

 Futax's gear list:Futax's gear list
Sigma DP1 Fujifilm FinePix F70EXR Sigma DP2 Merrill Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 +5 more
Futax Senior Member • Posts: 1,260
Re: UV filters, unscientific test
7

scrup wrote:

I have done my own tests and see the hit to IQ so I don't use them.

There are certain scenarios that it would make sense to use it, like in very dusty conditions and where there is flying debris and you need to clean often.

What i find strange is people using them all the time for protection. The most important lens is on your head, do these same people walk around with eye protection all the time? If there is a risk of your lens getting damaged surely there is an equal chance that your eyes could suffer the same fate.

You'll be amazed at how eyelids and tear glands protect our eyes.

The loss of IQ is so negligible with a half-decent filter nowadays that it's only really necessary to remove them for night shots with flare-causing highlights.  As the article implies.

-- hide signature --

- Keith.

 Futax's gear list:Futax's gear list
Sigma DP1 Fujifilm FinePix F70EXR Sigma DP2 Merrill Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 +5 more
Futax Senior Member • Posts: 1,260
An oldie but goodie
1
 Futax's gear list:Futax's gear list
Sigma DP1 Fujifilm FinePix F70EXR Sigma DP2 Merrill Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 +5 more
Phil A Martin
Phil A Martin Veteran Member • Posts: 6,698
Re: UV filters, unscientific test
2

scrup wrote:

I have done my own tests and see the hit to IQ so I don't use them.

There are certain scenarios that it would make sense to use it, like in very dusty conditions and where there is flying debris and you need to clean often.

What i find strange is people using them all the time for protection. The most important lens is on your head, do these same people walk around with eye protection all the time? If there is a risk of your lens getting damaged surely there is an equal chance that your eyes could suffer the same fate.

The eye has eyelashes to prevent larger dust particles from entering the eye and constantly washes the eye with tears through blinking.

Glen Barrington
Glen Barrington Forum Pro • Posts: 22,067
You've convinced me
8

that I still don't need a UV filter.

 Glen Barrington's gear list:Glen Barrington's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Olympus E-M5 III Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4.0-5.6 +11 more
Bill K. Regular Member • Posts: 197
Re: You've convinced me
2

I find the discussions on this topic endlessly fascinating!  There are many good points for and against the use of UV/clear filters, and of course, everyone should do what makes them happy with their results.

I especially enjoyed the Lens Rentals eval, as it reads like an even-handed look at these filters.  The Lens Tip eval was good as well.

I've always used UV filters going back to the mid-70's.  My recent move to Sony Alpha series had me instinctively looking for filters when I bought new lenses.  Old habits die hard I guess.  Good to see via these tests that the worst case scenario for me is not bad at all - much better than I thought actually.  Luckily, I choose Hoya HMC's, which seemed to fair well in these tests.

-- hide signature --

Bill K.

scrup Contributing Member • Posts: 526
Re: UV filters, unscientific test
1

mcsk wrote:

So all your camera lenses are self-cleaning, can instantly put their own caps on, and are capable of healing?

Are you for real?

I know people love their gear, but you have one set of eyes, that are pretty much irreplaceable. A lens is replaceable and if it isn't, it should be in a museum or you should not be using it.

Also, glasses are a thing.

I wear sunglasses when the need arises, I don't wear them 247, people would think I am an idiot unless I was Stevie.

 scrup's gear list:scrup's gear list
Canon EOS M Canon EOS M3 Canon EOS M6 Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM +2 more
sybersitizen Forum Pro • Posts: 21,326
Try it with a much longer lens

s4myd wrote:

... I actually have been quite surprised by the results I got with my Sony A7 III + 85mm 1.8 combo ... In terms of sharpness, I can't notice any loss even with the entry-level filter, very surprising.

85mm is one data point. Do you have longer lenses, say in the 300mm range? Test those. If sharpness is still unimpaired even then, you know you have a good filter.

Here's a recent test I did with a low quality front filter on a decent 55-300mm lens. The degradation caused by the filter is so bad that I took three shots to confirm it wasn't caused by camera shake even though the camera and lens were secured and I used the self-timer:

No filter

With filter (1)

With filter (2)

With filter (3)

There isn't that much visible degradation using the same filter at around 55mm, though.

Phil A Martin
Phil A Martin Veteran Member • Posts: 6,698
Re: Try it with a much longer lens

sybersitizen wrote:

s4myd wrote:

... I actually have been quite surprised by the results I got with my Sony A7 III + 85mm 1.8 combo ... In terms of sharpness, I can't notice any loss even with the entry-level filter, very surprising.

85mm is one data point. Do you have longer lenses, say in the 300mm range? Test those. If sharpness is still unimpaired even then, you know you have a good filter.

Here's a recent test I did with a low quality front filter on a decent 55-300mm lens. The degradation caused by the filter is so bad that I took three shots to confirm it wasn't caused by camera shake even though the camera and lens were secured and I used the self-timer:

No filter

With filter (1)

With filter (2)

With filter (3)

There isn't that much visible degradation using the same filter at around 55mm, though.

Can you be sure that there wasn't at least some breeze? A target fixed to a wall would have been a better test.

sybersitizen Forum Pro • Posts: 21,326
Re: Try it with a much longer lens
1

Phil A Martin wrote:

Can you be sure that there wasn't at least some breeze?

Of course there was a slight breeze ... but If you think the breeze completely stopped during the first shot without the filter, I assure you it didn't.

A target fixed to a wall would have been a better test.

That's the test I happened to conduct, using an optically poor filter, as I said. A better test of that filter is not required.

This is a test of a much better filter with a slight breeze still present:

With filter

No filter

Regardless, the point I wish to make here is that any sharpness degradation caused by a filter will be most apparent at much longer focal lengths. I wasn't convinced that focal length mattered in that regard until I did my own testing with some poor filters.

Phil A Martin
Phil A Martin Veteran Member • Posts: 6,698
Re: Try it with a much longer lens

sybersitizen wrote:

Phil A Martin wrote:

Can you be sure that there wasn't at least some breeze?

Of course there was a slight breeze ... but If you think the breeze completely stopped during the first shot without the filter, I assure you it didn't.

A target fixed to a wall would have been a better test.

That's the test I happened to conduct, using an optically poor filter, as I said. A better test of that filter is not required.

This is a test of a much better filter with a slight breeze still present:

With filter

No filter

Regardless, the point I wish to make here is that any sharpness degradation caused by a filter will be most apparent at much longer focal lengths. I wasn't convinced that focal length mattered in that regard until I did my own testing with some poor filters.

Why do you think that is?

Bing Chow Senior Member • Posts: 2,523
Re: Try it with a much longer lens
3

sybersitizen wrote:

With filterRegardless, the point I wish to make here is that any sharpness degradation caused by a filter will be most apparent at much longer focal lengths. I wasn't convinced that focal length mattered in that regard until I did my own testing with some poor filters.

I would have guessed it's the other way around: less apparent at longer focal lengths. Kind of like the transition zone of a hard-edged grad filter.

In my own tests of static, flat subjects, filters do not degrade sharpness to any visible degree, even if stacked. And I pixel-peep. A lot.

My own reason for using a modern filter with coatings is because it is so much easier to wipe off than the front elements that haven't been Fluorine coated (or Canon's equivalent of that)

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads