"Filters or no filters" is not the question. The question is - "Filters 24/7, or filters only when the extra protection is needed" (like wet, dusty environments, with dirt, sand and other stuff flying around). In most ordinary everyday situations, a lens hood can protect the front element from damage perfectly well.
Once again, this is totally subjective.
First, If I feel the UV filter has no effect on MY pictures (I have more of an effect, and I can't remove myself from the equation unfortunately), why would I bother putting it on and off?
Second, in the environment you describe I would cover my whole lens in plastic because sand getting between the rings is a bigger issue. In real world situation, I see a lot of dust in the air, or the occasional spray if I am shooting close to the water or in the rain. The UV filter is just easier to clean off.
In my case, it is filters 24/7 except when I am using the Lee system. I don't obsess over whether I need a filter or not, it is just convenient to have it on all the time rather than consciously putting it on and off.
I have seen many, many professionals who just put a filter on their lenses and no lens cap when they put them in their shooting bag for quick access.
To cite your own example: barrier contraceptives are useful for more than preventing diseases.
It is unwise to assume what works for one works for every one.
Well, you do shoot in environments where the extra protection is needed. Some people actually live in such environments (good reason for getting a waterproof case or gear insurance, which may be much more reasonable investment than filters). However, many people, don't. So my statement stands.
I agree about the cleaning, because we just don't care that much about filters and what we clean them with. I remember using my Sigma 150Macro for two weeks every day and I didn't bother putting the lens cap on. No filters were attached, I just kept the hood on and the front element stayed pretty clean all the time. Actually, I don't remember it getting dirty (so it would require to clean it immediately) at all. That hood is a deep one, so this trick may not work that well for UWA. Outdoors, I only used a microcloth to clean off some fingerprints from my hoodless primes (ohh greedy canon
) after someone grabs the camera to see pictures and they come off easily (if the cloth is clean of course). You just need to wash the cloth from time to time.
There are professionals who not only use filters instead of caps, they generally don't care much about keeping those filter clean + they never use hoods and shoot JPG
. Like you said, it just works for them. For me, I'd get an extra lens rather than putting a filter on each one of them. Everything is subjective. UV filter has no effect on pictures until it does
and it is OK if you can ignore those rare occasions. I mean it may noticeably affect pictures in some specific circumstances, not all the time (and not in filter promoting lab test results
). It happens, please stop denying that.