do you use UV protective filters?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by William Saens, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. Do you always use a UV protective filter on your SLR lenses or do you
    prefer not to use them? I'm somewhat new to SLR photography and I have UV
    filters for all my lenses but I've decided to just be extra careful and use
    a hood to physically protect the lens. As far as UV haze.......... i'm not
    that convinced. I think an extra piece of glass in front of my lens can
    only keep some light from coming through.

    Do you use them? What's your feeling of my belief that less light coming

    William Saens, Feb 6, 2006
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  2. William Saens

    UC Guest

    Bingo.We have a winner!

    This is the 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000th time this question has
    been asked.

    UC, Feb 6, 2006
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  3. William Saens

    Pat Guest

    Yes, it cuts down on the light and the more glass you have to shoot
    through, the worse the image.

    However, you have to weigh this against what you are doing with the
    camera. If you treat is like the delicate piece of electronics that it
    is, you are okay without a filter. If the you abuse the living s__t
    out of it, then it might not be a bad idea.

    Some of my lenses have filters and other don't, depending on what I do
    with them. My walkaround lense has a filter. My 300mm f2 doesn't.
    For example, I've been hit in the lense by a football during a rainy
    game. I was glad I had the filter and sunscreen on. But at night with
    the f2, I would't dream of it.
    Pat, Feb 6, 2006
  4. No, no...for the frickin' thousanth time - NO. Never used 'em with
    film, don't use 'em with digital. I see no need for such things.
    Randall Ainsworth, Feb 6, 2006
    William Saens, Feb 6, 2006
  6. William Saens

    Chris Down Guest

    OK so this question has been asked before, but it may just be that Willie
    hasn't seen the answers. So here is my two penny worth.

    I was talking to pro (working pro and teacher for my photography college
    course) about this only last week and his advice was that where possible you
    should use a filter of some sort on all your lenses. UVA or UVB are the
    normal choice due to their minimal effect on visible light wavelengths.
    The purpose of the filter is not prevent mechanical damage and impact so
    much as to prevent dirt and particularly greasy dirt like finger prints
    getting on the lens. As any spectacle wearer will tell you the biggest
    source of scratching on lenses isn't impact damage or other mechanical
    damage during wearing but scratching during cleaning.
    Greasy dirt can need chemical cleaners to remove and you would not want
    these getting inside the body of your lens. Ig you put a liquid chemical
    on the convex surface of a lens it will run down to the edge and immediately
    start trying to find a way inside.
    If you use a filter on your lens then you only have to clean ther filter,
    and if you scratch it then you can just get a new one.

    A lens hood isn't intended to give physical protection to the lens, it is
    there to prevent light falling onto the front element of the lens from
    outside the field of view causing unwanted effects such as internal
    reflections which will ruin your shot. It could be suggested that the extra
    size of the lens/hood combo over just the lens could in fact increase the
    risk of accidental impacts.

    If you are worried about the effects of a filter take a few shots with and
    the same shots without and see if you can see the difference. If you can,
    or think you can, then don't use the filter.

    Personally I use a filter on all my lenses.

    Chris Down, Feb 6, 2006
  7. As a former professional, let me say that I never used UV/Skylight
    filters. I am careful with my equipment and see no need to put a piece
    of glass in front of my lenses to degrade the image quality.
    Randall Ainsworth, Feb 6, 2006
  8. William Saens

    Whiskers Guest

    It should make no discernible difference to the amount of visible light
    getting through, but every piece of glass (or plastic) the light has to go
    through can introduce its own problems.

    However, an expensive filter is a lot cheaper than an expensive lens, and
    a good lens hood will protect against some of the internal reflections and
    flare that a filter can introduce.

    The effect if any on the 'UV haze' will depend on how much UV light the
    lens itself lets through and on how sensitive the film or image sensor is
    to UV wavelengths. And of course on how much UV is around to create a

    Apart from the haze that can appear in a photograph from UV 'scatter' in
    the atmosphere, there is also a possible 'loss of sharpness' due to the
    lens not being able to focus the UV in the same plane as the visible

    Another possibility is that some exposure meters can be fooled by the UV
    light into indicating too little exposure (that shouldn't be a problem
    with recent kit).

    These effects don't happen to the human eye as we can't see UV, but
    photographic film and some electronic sensors can 'see' it. You probably
    won't see any effect in the viewfinder, but it may be visible in the final

    There are slightly coloured 'haze' filters that can have a more noticeable
    effect on the image than the usual 'clear' UV filters.
    Whiskers, Feb 6, 2006
  9. William Saens

    Chris Down Guest


    I think we are agreeing here in a roundabout sort of way... that is to say
    that it is entirely up to the individual, and it is a decision to be made
    based on personal circumstance and preference. I have never notice any
    image degradation from the filters, and if I saw any I would stop using
    I take care of my equipment too, but accidents happen and I prefer to clean
    filters rather than lenses.

    Chris Down, Feb 6, 2006
  10. William Saens

    Pat Guest

    I agree wholeheartedly with this line of thought.

    If you are a professional and are shooting high-end portraits in a
    studio, a filter might not be needed.

    If you are an amateur or sem-pro who is exposing a camera to a lot more
    "interesting" environments, I think they are a good idea. Do you
    really want to clear grease from a pepperoni pizza off of your lense
    after you 4-year-old attacks you?

    As for me, I live in the "real world" of cameras and kids and weather,
    so I use filter on most lenses. If I kept my camera in a studio, I
    might not. On the other hand, the 300mm f2 is such a big lense, I
    don't use a filter. But I use it only under limited cirumstances and
    put it away in bad weather. On the other hand, I generally have one of
    my Canons rattling around in my car. I also tend to be in places I
    shouldn't be with a camera.
    Pat, Feb 6, 2006
  11. William Saens

    Kernix Guest

    I either have the cap on the lens or I'm using some kind of filter-
    circ polarizer, warming, ND, etc. I'm not an anl person, so I tend to
    throw my lens into my bag and hike to the next spot, over and over. I
    like to have something protecting my lens. There are times I do not use
    a filter for a shot - I take off say the circ polarizer, shoot, then
    return the CP to the lens. And there are times when it's too bright and
    I'm looking for a slow exposure - I'll stop down as far as I need to
    get the shot I want.

    So - protect your lens and only use various filters when they add to
    your composition.

    Kernix, Feb 6, 2006
  12. William Saens

    UC Guest

    If you use one, do NOT use a cheap one or Tiffen. Use a Nikon or Leica
    or Canon filter on your Nikon or Leica or Canon lens. It is better to
    keep a lens clean than to clean it, and atmospheric smog and dust are
    the real problem.
    UC, Feb 6, 2006
  13. I just want the absolute best quality - and that means nothing between
    the front of my lens and the subject.
    Randall Ainsworth, Feb 7, 2006
  14. William Saens

    UC Guest

    UC, Feb 7, 2006
  15. Randall Ainsworth, Feb 7, 2006
  16. William Saens

    Pat Guest

    As a Hasselblad kinda guy, your position makes sense. I doubt you
    throw the Hasselblad in the back seat of the pickup and drive down dirt
    roads with your windows open. You also don't stand on the sidelines of
    football games in the rain or get anywhere near a kid at a birthday

    But others of us do all of those silly things. So for us, we need a
    level of protection for our cameras because we have them with us
    instead of having them tucked safely away in a protective case.

    As the OP stated, he is new to SLR photography. If he's used to a P/S,
    I am sure he will not have the camera well protected at all times, so a
    little protection isn't a bad idea. When he moves up to the
    Hasselblad, he can take the filters off.
    Pat, Feb 7, 2006
  17. I haven't used either of my Hasselblads in a few years. But regardless
    of which camera I've ever used/owned, I've never seen the need for UV
    I live in the real world too. Still don't use 'em.
    Randall Ainsworth, Feb 7, 2006
  18. William Saens

    Kernix Guest

    Well lucky you that you've never used a filter for protection. You're
    either lucky or rich.

    To the original poster: Use something to prevent the lens from getting
    scratched unless you're a trust fund baby. So "use something" means:
    use a creative effects filter OR use a UV filter during transport and
    while not shooting. Take whatever filter you have on, off if it does
    not add to the composition. Then replace it after the shot.

    Some people don't seem to understand the creative uses of filters.

    The answer to your question is Yes & NO. I don't use UV filters, but I
    do use creative effects filters that double as "protective" filters for
    the lens. The only time I do not have a filter over my lens is when I'm
    cleaning the lens surface, taking a shot without any filters, or
    changing/removing a filter. And if I'm not doing any of those things
    AND I do not have a filter over my lens, then I have the lens cap on.

    Kernix, Feb 7, 2006
  19. Neither...just conscious of what's going on around me and not careless.
    Creative use of filters I have no problem with. I have no use for the
    dual color jobs that give you fake sunsets/sunrises though.
    Randall Ainsworth, Feb 7, 2006
  20. William Saens

    Kernix Guest

    I've never created fake sunsets, but I have enhanced them, just as I've
    enhanced shadows or other scenes. But doesn't "creative use of filters"
    imply the creative of something that is not there in the 1st place, aka
    "fake"? Blurred/circular star patters, zoom effects, OOF shots, etc?
    What about deliberate over-underexposure - they're fake, right?

    "Neither...just conscious of what's going on around me and not

    Knock on wood buddy - it's only a matter of time now until you or
    someone near you does in one of your lenses.
    Kernix, Feb 7, 2006
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