August 23, 2014, 12:15:08 AM

Author Topic: UV filters (any difference?)  (Read 6536 times)

J.R.

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Re: UV filters (any difference?)
« Reply #45 on: March 05, 2013, 08:19:57 AM »
Whether you decide to use a filter or not, if protection is your goal, you'd be a fool to not use a lens hood.

A hood actually improves image quality, while even the best filters degrade image quality (though, granted, imperceptibly so with the high quality ones). Except for those few lenses where a filter is required to complete environmental sealing, a filter only protects against the types of hazards that come in situations where you yourself should be wearing eye protection -- such as gravel kicked up at a rodeo. A hood, on the other hand, protects against all the common real-world types of hazards photographers face, including impact and fingerprints. More to the point, an impact that would damage a front element will damage the filter in a way that will often transmit the damage on to the lens, such as by jamming the filter threads or scratching the front element with the broken filter. The hood will actually protect the lens against those types of damage. And quality filters generally cost about as much as repairing a lens with a damaged front element.

For most photographers in most situations, the hood provides all the protection one needs. For many (not most) photographers in many (not most) situations, a filter will degrade image quality. For only a few photographers in only a few situations will a filter provide protection not offered by a lens hood.

The key is understanding the actual type of photography you do and, from that, knowing if adding a filter to your hood (which you should always use) will offer physical protection worth the degradation of image quality. Or, if you regularly shoot in environments in which a filter is actually prudent, you should be able to recognize situations where the filter is going to significantly degrade image quality and be able to make the decision to remove the filter for that shot.

(Of course, this all applies only to clear / UV / protection filters. Polarizers, neutral density filters, and other filters for effects are irrelevant to the discussion. And, of course, there are all sorts of other odd exceptions, such as lenses like the 50 compact macro which is its own hood, the fisheye lenses and their bulbous front elements, photojournalists who should be getting combat pay, and the like.)

Cheers,

b&

+1

I use both, a filter as well as the lens hood on my lenses because one must take into account the lens hood. The petal shaped lens hoods of the 17-40 and 24-105 offer protection only if the lens is dropped with the front element pointing down on a flat surface so a filter is very useful here.

I smashed my Hoya filter on the 24-105 when the camera was hanging by my side and I was going through a  doorway, the camera swung around and the lens hit the doorknob flush on the front of the lens - the filter was smashed but took the impact pretty well saving the front element.

A filter is the one of the best insurance against impact on the front element of the lens.
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Rienzphotoz

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Re: UV filters (any difference?)
« Reply #46 on: March 05, 2013, 03:32:22 PM »
Not sure about the writer on this thread who asserts that you can replace a front lens element for the cost of a good filter. My mail is delivered to a different planet. Ditto for the gentleman who claims that a lens hood is all the protection a lens needs. (I agree it's the first and best line of defense for the knocks, bumps and other physical slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, but my world is sure a lot dirtier than his.) Try as I will I can't keep grease smudges, grit, condensation spots, etc., off the front of my lenses. And who hasn't had a lens cap--especially a Canon lens cap--fall off inside the camera bag, a presumed safe haven for lenses?

And that to me is the value of a good filter. Glass has an affinity for dirt. You gave up smoking and surprise, surprise, the inside of your windshield still gets that ugly film on it just from being exposed to the atmosphere. While I'm always amazed at the number of people who tote expensive DSLR bodies with horribly smudged lenses, most folks who are serious about photography want to shoot through clean glass. If you do, some part of the optical system has to get cleaned. And as they say, it's not the fall that kills you, it's the landing. If you can live with the dirt all over the business end of your camera, it won't damage your lens (unless it's caustic or arrives at sandblasting speed). It's the process of removing it that is at least mildly invasive and abrasive. Aside from the grit that's currently on the lens, there's all that residual stuff from previous cleanings. (It didn't just evaporate from your microfiber cloth, you know; in fact that clingy cloth probably picked up some additional material from the inside of your camera bag.) No matter how careful you are, it all gets dragged across the surface of whatever glass you're cleaning, and it all nano-etches. No one is claiming that a UV filter sharpens a lens, but neither would anyone claim that years of cleaning the front element improves a lens's optical performance.

I've had a couple of my lenses for seven years, and in that time I've cleaned the filters more than a hundred times. I plan to keep most of my lenses for the rest of my life, and I can foresee a possible need to replace filters at some point. What I won't ever have to do is worry about degraded performance from the lens elements themselves. The filter in front protects the lens not only from particular kinds of dirt, but almost eliminates general atmospheric contamination. I know that the surfaces beneath the filter are in pristine condition, because except for using a puff brush to remove the occasional mote of dust that sneaks in during a filter change, those elements, after an initial personal inspection, have never been touched, much less cleaned.

And for all you gonzo types who think filters are a collaborative scam of camera salesmen, here's a question to answer honestly: who would you really rather buy a five-year-old lens from: someone (like me) who obsesses a bit about protecting the exposed elements of his lenses, or someone like you?

Finally, it's not as if mounting a filter is an inconvenience, and for me the cost of a top-of-the-line filter is trivial, not because I have an unlimited budget, but because I have a very tight one. When I do take the plunge for a lens, it's for the "expensive as L" variety, and it's a lifetime investment. And if I've spent $1700 for a lens, why wouldn't I spend another $80 to maintain and optimize it's performance?
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Rienzphotoz

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Re: UV filters (any difference?)
« Reply #47 on: March 05, 2013, 03:40:36 PM »
A lens hood cannot stop dust, dirt, grime, oil, grease, finger prints, water etc falling on the lens front element

Actually, a lens hood is superlative at stopping most of those things. Better than a filter, in fact.
No way! ... a lens front element, with a lens hood on, can still easily get scratches, grease, dirt and what not. But a filter on a the lens front element will ensure you don't easily get scratches, grease, dirt, dust grime etc on your front element. I agree that a lens hood provides additional protection (for both lens and the filter) from bumps, hits etc ... if I had to choose between a lens hood and a filter, I'd go with the filter, I can always use my hand or anything else to block light but I can't stop splashing sea water or other elements falling on my lens front elements without a filter.
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Studio1930

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Re: UV filters (any difference?)
« Reply #48 on: March 05, 2013, 04:02:12 PM »
We are getting a bit off subject, but I use both lens hoods and filters for protection.  I was shooting in this past snow storm and the lens hood kept the snow off my 85L (not weather sealed) and my 70-200 f/2.8 IS II.  The inside of the fuzzy hood was white with snow but the lens/filter was dry.




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