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swoffa
17th July 2009, 01:15 PM
Hi All,
Time to pick at the collective knowledge again.

UV Filters. What are your thoughts on always leaving a UV filter on your pride and joy.
I've been reading the internet a lot again and it seems there is two sides to this question. What I didn't realise was how much light a filter can block, some reports say nearly 2 stops. Wow!


I'm primarily interested in the use of UV filters in this thread, polarising and other filters I'll save for a rainy day(if we ever get another in Melbourne). So back to the question(s).

Do you leave a filter on all the time?
Is that mostly a protection issue? I'd guess yes, but thoughts behind the no answer would be interesting too.
Do you only use one when you think the requirement is there?
Do you just not bother?
What are you using, why that choice?

I'm a bit precious so I like the idea of having something up front to ward off the unexpected. I'm thinking of the hoya HD UV for my new baby when it arrives.

dche5390
17th July 2009, 01:28 PM
I don't use any UV filter. IMO they're useless and the so called "protection" is well ... insignificant. Plus, cheap glass on top of expensive glass does not compute.

I suppose the majority of UV filters used are the cheap ones. But I could be wrong.

forno
17th July 2009, 01:33 PM
I only use a CP & ND filters, and when I am not using one for a shot, there is no filter. I see no point attaching a filter for protection, unless you are unlucky enough to drop your camera square onto the front element over a sharp object, you are more likely to damage the mechanism of the lens rather than the glass

arkenstone
17th July 2009, 04:27 PM
Get a lens hood instead. I agree with the other two :)

canonafficionado
17th July 2009, 05:10 PM
I'd bought a couple of UV filters as well (sold to me mainly as protection...which is a bit inconsistent), and have to say I almost never use them. I just prefer the flexiblity and clarity of running the camera without more stuff on it. As dche5390, said cheap glass on top of expensive glass makes no sense.

And if it is about protecting your baby, i think the idea of a hood also makes sense too.

brawlster
17th July 2009, 06:03 PM
Hi All,

UV Filters. What are your thoughts on always leaving a UV filter on your pride and joy.
I've been reading the internet a lot again and it seems there is two sides to this question. What I didn't realise was how much light a filter can block, some reports say nearly 2 stops. Wow!

Well you're certainly not going to loose 2 stops with a UV filter. I would have thought the light loss is negligible.

As for the arguments about cheap glass on front of a lens..well...if you use a multicoated filter, such as a Hoya, or even better a B+W then you shouldn't have any issues. Of course the b+w's can be as expensive as some entry level zooms. B+W's are made from white crystal glass whereas most regular filters are made from regular window glass that always has a very slight green tinge.

The *protection* that everyone is talking about isn't so much from impact, but just as a buffer to seal against dust settling on the front element and accidental fingerprints for example. It *protects* the font lens element from exposure to dirt and fingerprints.

Remembering the oil from your fingers can actually be very difficult to remove properly (especially when left a while) without alcohol based cleaners, this is much easier to do to a removable filter. Also, many of the lenses made today have plastic surrounds and these can be affected by alcohol based cleaners if they come into contact with the cleaning solution.

That all said, people get VERY precious about the front lens elements when because things are largely out of focus, blemishes usually have to be freakin huge before they will have a noticeable impact on your photos. Yet the back element is MUCH more fragile, usually has no protection and is more likely to accidentally be fingerprinted or palmed. Blemishes and imperfections show up much more readily on the rear elements.

So, yeah I have UV filters on my lenses, mainly because I'm happy to trade off a slight hit in image quality (which most people would NEVER even pick) to keep my lens elements virginal.

jb

n0d3
17th July 2009, 06:29 PM
Would you rather scratch your main lens element or a filter? And less cleaning = less chance of actually scratching/damaging it. Having a GOOD UV filter in front of your lens helps reduce the risk of damage/dirt/smudges blah blah and having a hood also helps with regards to impact related damage.

Invest in a good UV/clear filter, like those from B+W. Some guys were comparing brands the other time and noticed a SLIGHT colour shift when using a filter, not sure what brand it was but B+W is pretty good.

melbmac
17th July 2009, 07:44 PM
A good UV filter is not a bad idea from the protection angle (again, mainly due to finger prints and other stray items), but a lot of people don't bother, and for a lot of people that wont matter. I leave one on 100% of the time.

There is more than one type of UV filter, so drop the cheap glass on expensive glass thing, not everyone buys cheap filters, and while we're here, if your using something like an 18-55 kit lens you don't fall into the "good glass" category anyway.

Lastly, they do diddly squat in terms of reducing UV and I highly doubt you would lose two stops with a UV filter.

mc cool
17th July 2009, 09:46 PM
I use a Hoya UV filter which i leave on all my lens all the time. I don't see any of the aforementioned colour tints. But then again, im just using kit lens. For now...

hangdog
17th July 2009, 10:00 PM
I'm in the pro-filter camp. It's a significant level of lens protection and peace of mind versus an immeasurable to negligible difference in optical purity.

Echo63
18th July 2009, 11:30 AM
A UV Filter wont rob you of too much light, the amount is measurable, with the right gear, but will be some stupidly small amount like 1/10 of a stop (or less)
while filters are a good idea for lens protection, i dont use them except for when im shooting either drifting or rallying, to keep the dust/rubber/etc of the front element of the lens.

I always use a Hood, with all my lenses. it offers protection from fingers, and light impacts, it also stops lens flare when shooting towards the sun (not straight at the sun, but at a slight angle)


A Polarizing Filter can rob up to two stops of light, its main uses are to turn the sky blue, and to kill reflections a bit. i use one frequently.

Neutral Density Filters are basically a dimmer switch for the light, they can generally block 3,6,9 or more stops of light, and are used to extend daytime exposure length (generally to show motion, with rig shots, running water etc)
Neutral density Grads are used as a dimmer switch on sections of the frame, for example, a landscape, with a dark shadowed valley, and a bright blue sky, the nd grad is used to keep the sky from blowing out, while allowing the valley to be made brighter so you can see in it,
basically they are used for compressing the dynamic range of the scene, to fit the dynamic range of the imaging sensor.
they are generally square, and look like a half tinted piece of glass.

hope this helps

canonafficionado
18th July 2009, 06:17 PM
Well you're certainly not going to loose 2 stops with a UV filter.


jb


Thanks for your post JB, I learnt a few things. Thanks mate.

Edit: And I just saw the other posts too on filter uses and types. I'm learning from all of you! Thanks everyone :)

swoffa
18th July 2009, 08:14 PM
As usual very good forthright answers from you lot. Good mix of thoughts once again to ponder. Thanks all very much.
Looks like the the lean at MT is towards using them, and as I'm one to err on the side of caution, I'll be getting one. Most likely the Hoya HD I mentioned in the first post. I'm not going to bother getting anything but quality, and from what I read this is a reasonably good one.

Those that are using them, which brand-model are you using?

brawlster
18th July 2009, 08:18 PM
Those that are using them, which brand-model are you using?

Hoya are probably the best of the Japanese. Hoya also make a lot of the glass for the other lens companies as well.

Otherwise it's B+W (aka Schneider)

jb

kevinnugent
18th July 2009, 09:05 PM
Hoya are probably the best of the Japanese. Hoya also make a lot of the glass for the other lens companies as well.

Otherwise it's B+W (aka Schneider)

jb

+1 for Hoya. Worth the money imo.

canonafficionado
21st July 2009, 12:40 AM
Also using Hoya here as well.

swoffa
21st July 2009, 08:02 AM
Hello Hoya user's.

What's you preference between the HD and the pro1's, or do you prefer another model(?)

bartron
21st July 2009, 09:40 AM
I used UV filters while I was coming to grips with how the cameras worked. As mentioned it's a level of protection for dust, fingerprints etc.

I now don't use UV filters. Firstly it can introduce flare and slightly degrades image quality for little benefit, and secondly all my lenses are of different thread sizes now and I haven't been arsed to get filters for them all yet. It just means I have to be a bit more careful and I keep the lens cap on when I'm not shooting.

mjankor
21st July 2009, 10:20 AM
I use them, mostly for protection. As people have mentioned, they won't stop a serious impact.

What they will stop is random bits of cruft, fingerprints, any loose bits of kit, sticks, etc from poking your main lens.

wickee
24th July 2009, 03:15 AM
Ok I guess the consensus is that the UV although useless, will provide physical protection with very slight loss in IQ if noticeable at all.

My question is, how do you bloody clean the lens and these filters. I tried tonight and I still get streak marks wiping with a glass cleaning cloth / microfibre cloth and using alcohol spray. Anyone recommend any kits or things that can clean these surfaces without scratching?

chrome
24th July 2009, 07:29 AM
i wouldn't think alcohol would be nice to many of the coatings on lenses. Not sure whats in my cleaner, but its not alcohol.

swoffa
24th July 2009, 11:16 AM
Here we go, I found that site (http://www.kenrockwell.com/hoya/hd-filters.htm#intro) again where it mentions 2 stop loss of light. Seems while I was reading it I missed the word polarizing. I was only thinking of UV and must have been mesmerized by the statement.

Here's the extracted line.
Most polarizers lose two stops of light.

Anyways, I picked up the Hoya HD UV. Call me paranoid/clumsy/whatever, but I feel more comfortable with it on. Especially as the front lens is oh so close to the edge of the casing.

SilverJ
24th July 2009, 03:48 PM
I would never have a lens without a decent filter on the front of it.
Always cheaper to replace a filter than glass.
I've seen photos and heard stories of people breaking their filters and the lens glass still being ok. Personally I use a good quality filter like the Hoya UV Pro1D and use it from day 1 with every lens I've got.

BLINDER
25th July 2009, 04:33 PM
Can't believe I've missed this thread.
I've been shooting for 25 years or so.
Until recently I did have filters on every lens bar a couple (about twenty lenses in total).
I've never had a single incident in that time.
So with that at the back of my mind I've been removing filters for the last couple of years. I've had less issues with the filters off than on and the photos are cleaner imo.
If I was a clumsy oaf I might reconsider but I look after my gear.
The filter you put on is two more surfaces to keep clear! The cheap filter you put on degrades the image. If the filter breaks (which is more likely than the element of a lens) you've got broken shards to consider!
I cap all my lenses after use of course.
They're as clean now, with filters off, as they were when I had them on!
No fingerprints, barely any dust, no other bits and pieces crudding them and no scratches on any of them anywhere!
What the heck are the rest of you doing that that becomes a possibility??

scottgrot
25th July 2009, 07:08 PM
Anyways, I picked up the Hoya HD UV. Call me paranoid/clumsy/whatever, but I feel more comfortable with it on. Especially as the front lens is oh so close to the edge of the casing.

I am in the same dilemma. I still don't have a filter for my L, or 10-22, but bought one immediately with my 50 1.4. I think that I got the filter because I don't have a lens hood for the 50.

swoffa
25th July 2009, 10:57 PM
I've been shooting for 25 years or so.

25 years, Well that squarely puts me in perspective. 12 for me, that's how long I've had mine. 12 months that is. :)

Maybe in about 20 odd years I'll be comfortable enough too, but at the moment everything is still shiny. My learning curve and understanding is still in its infancy. I still recall when I first bought the body and noticed a glowing pixel, I was at my wits end. Someone kindly mentioned I shouldn't worry so much about it and move on. :) I didn't understand back then and now think to myself, was I really that precious. This my be the same in a few years time, but till then I'll keep my pants on. :)

chris
26th July 2009, 12:31 AM
I am also a pro shooter and don't bother with filters. Lens hoods are far better protection and have saved my lenses on several occasions when I have dropped a body or fallen over on a glacier.

Aladdin
26th July 2009, 02:53 PM
I am pro-filter.

I have B+W multi-coated UV filters - I did a test when I got it and couldn't tell the photos apart with/without filter.

Apart from protecting front lens element against dust/oil/scratches etc, an UV filter reduces the number of times the lens filter thread is used to put other filters on - thus reducing the risk (or wear and tear) of damaging the lens filter thread.

The only issue is with really wide-angle lenses, where multiple filters used can result in the edges of the outermost filter encroaching on the corners of the photo.

soulman
1st August 2009, 04:53 PM
I just started using protective filters again, after not using them for some years. I never damaged any lenses while not using them, but the front elements do inevitably get a bit grubby over time and I would rather risk (and clean) a filter than the front element of an expensive lens. I don't notice any image quality issues with the filters - Hoya Pro 1 Digital - that I use. Also, some of my lenses are weather-sealed only with filters attached.

I think that lens hoods are probably a better way to protect lenses, but I just cannot get into using them due to their bulk and, to some extent, their "look at me, I have an expensive camera" factor. I travel a bit and there are few things less desirable than drawing attention to your expensive possessions in a poor country. One day I may come up with a carrying system that allows me to leave them on, but at the moment I have an extremely compact bag that is perfect except that it doesn't allow me to carry lenses with hoods attached.

There is a very thorough discussion of the pros & cons of filters here on the POTN forums (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=368177).

Echo63
1st August 2009, 05:09 PM
i wouldn't think alcohol would be nice to many of the coatings on lenses. Not sure whats in my cleaner, but its not alcohol.

the Eclipse cleaning fluid that is used for cleaning Sensors is just really pure Methanol (a form of alcohol *dont drink it*)
I work at a Camera Repair place, and we use Lab grade Methanol for cleaning lenses,filters,ccd/cmos sensors.

just keep products containing Ammonia (windex etc - glass cleaners) away from your filters, lenses, sensor, it will damage the coatings on them

SilverJ
2nd August 2009, 05:18 PM
Interesting reviews on filter brand comparisons..
UV filters test - Introduction - Lenstip.com (http://www.lenstip.com/113.1-article-UV_filters_test.html)

Even more interesting is that a Hoya filter won. UV filters test - Hoya 72 mm HMC UV-0 - Lenstip.com (http://www.lenstip.com/113.15-article-UV_filters_test_Hoya_72_mm_HMC_UV-0.html)

I use that filter on a couple of my lenses, and I was thinking that I might have to replace them for B+W filters, but now I probably won't bother. My most expensive lens has the Pro1D filter on it too which would score even better than the HMC that they reviewed above. I also use lens hoods and was considering ditching filters and just using a hood. We'll see how things pan out I suppose.

vivid2
3rd August 2009, 06:01 PM
Dropped my Pentax with 16-45 lens about a year ago, onto the lens. It was saved by the UV filter—I threw away the filter, not the lens.

joshm
5th August 2009, 03:26 PM
One thing that I haven't seen mentioned in this thread so far: Most of the Canon L zoom lenses are weather-sealed, but ONLY once you put a filter on.

Optically, UV filters can only degrade the image. So that's bad.
For protecting your lens, hoods are the bees knees. However, they only really start to provide protection once you're above 50mm or equivalent, and almost none at all below 24mm.
If you're in hostile conditions (beach, wind, rain, dust, etc) you really do want to have a filter on to protect your front element.

So, my method:
- Hostile conditions: UV filters on. Hoods as well.
- Normal conditions: UV filters on wide-angles, hoods & no filters on the rest.

Geoff3DMN
5th August 2009, 03:32 PM
barely any dust <SNIP> What the heck are the rest of you doing that that becomes a possibility??

Riding around on trail bikes on dusty dirty dirt tracks and carrying an SLR in a soft pack.

I wouldn't be game NOT to use a filter to be honest, it's hard keeping the dust out of the camera body also.

dotnet
5th August 2009, 04:14 PM
Apart from protecting front lens element against dust/oil/scratches etc, an UV filter reduces the number of times the lens filter thread is used to put other filters on - thus reducing the risk (or wear and tear) of damaging the lens filter thread.

Do you mean to say that you put the filter you use for filtering on top of the filter you use for protection??

Cheers
Steffen.

mjankor
5th August 2009, 06:19 PM
Do you mean to say that you put the filter you use for filtering on top of the filter you use for protection??

Cheers
Steffen.

I do, unless I'm shooting wide angle and the extra filter will cause a vignette.

Aladdin
5th August 2009, 09:42 PM
Do you mean to say that you put the filter you use for filtering on top of the filter you use for protection??

Cheers
Steffen.

Yes - that's what I do. Optical purists may disagree with this practice, though. :D

SilverJ
6th August 2009, 10:04 AM
Agreed with joshm, I think I'll be using my filters only in situations where protection is paramount. (sea spray, rain etc) Having said that, most of the time I shoot in fine weather conditions with a lens hood. But I'll gladly throw on a filter and head out in adverse conditions if it means getting a great shot.

MarkW
6th August 2009, 03:35 PM
...

mjankor
7th August 2009, 08:57 PM
scratched 12-60 today: Olympus SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1022&thread=32613557)

This is a perfect example of why I like filters.

BLINDER
8th August 2009, 08:20 AM
scratched 12-60 today: Olympus SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1022&thread=32613557)

This is a perfect example of why I like filters.

And did you read post 2??

mjankor
10th August 2009, 09:33 AM
And did you read post 2??

In this thread and in the Oly forum thread. Anything in particular you wanted to point out? If it's the article you are pointing out then presumably by the same effects, whacking a UV filter on the front also has no negligible effect on an image and it would stop the scratch and the $269 front element replacement fee.

BLINDER
10th August 2009, 01:56 PM
In this thread and in the Oly forum thread. Anything in particular you wanted to point out? If it's the article you are pointing out then presumably by the same effects, whacking a UV filter on the front also has no negligible effect on an image and it would stop the scratch and the $269 front element replacement fee.

I still dispute that the filter has a negligible effect in the right/ wrong lighting conditions! I have shots that were harmed by the use of filters cause I tended to operate like most of us do - use it all the time!

A scratch on a lens most probably will have NO performance issue on the lens itself.
A lens that smashes to the ground w/ a UV filter may suffer damage as a result of the filter glass breaking! Or it may not.
It's all personal. Use a filter or don't. Your choice. My decision says I'll save the money for other gear now.

My only reason for pointing out the 2nd post from dpreview in your example was the fact that the damage was potentially irrelevant to the person with the damaged lens so it wasn't necessarily a perfect example (in my opinion). Not having a go @ you!