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Forums > Photography Talk > Can we talk UV filters, or even clear filters Search   Reply
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Photographer
Untitled Photographer
Posts: 1,179
Dallas, Texas, US


I use UV filters on all my cameras.  I have read that digital cameras are not subject to US problems like film cameras are.  I've also read that US filters can lead to less sharp images.  I have not experimented to see if this holds true on my cameras, I'm not sure if I have the eyesight to tell the difference.

I use a UV filter only because I'm worried about breaking a camera lens.  The truth is I have never even bumped one of my lenses, I'm super cautious.

So I thought I would put this out to the experts:

1) how do we feel about UV filters on digital cameras
2) How do we feel about using any filter in order to protect the lens.

Cheers!
Jan 11 13 07:25 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Caveman Creations
Posts: 580
Fort Worth, Texas, US


No.
Jan 11 13 07:27 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Murvelous
Posts: 54
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom


i would leave the house without a UV filter on all my glass, to protect the coating of the lens

i have never heard any convincing argument about them affecting the quality of the image
Jan 11 13 07:29 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Untitled Photographer
Posts: 1,179
Dallas, Texas, US


Caveman Creations wrote:
No.

Don't make me kick your ass. With a UV filter to boot!

Jan 11 13 07:30 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Untitled Photographer
Posts: 1,179
Dallas, Texas, US


Murvelous wrote:
i would leave the house without a UV filter on all my glass, to protect the coating of the lens

i have never heard any convincing argument about them affecting the quality of the image

Ahhh protecting the actual coating of the lens, and I was only worried about breaking or scratching the lens but this makes perfect sense.

Jan 11 13 07:31 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ACPhotography
Posts: 8,609
Plainview, New York, US


UV filters are a thin piece of plate glass sandwiched in a metal ring. Lens elements are a thick piece of optical glass securely mounted in the lens.

Which do you think will break?

UV filters offer no impact protection and can/will lead to unwanted lens flare.

There are tons of posts on this subject here, you can search and find many on both sides of the fence.

I'm on the no UV filter side, even on the beach or anywhere else...
Jan 11 13 07:31 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Caveman Creations
Posts: 580
Fort Worth, Texas, US


Untitled Photographer wrote:

Don't make me kick your ass. With a UV filter to boot!

wink

Make sure you have a UV filter on yer boot when ya do it! Wouldn't want to get a nice scratch on those pretty kicks! big_smile

Jan 11 13 07:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ACPhotography
Posts: 8,609
Plainview, New York, US


Murvelous wrote:
i would leave the house without a UV filter on all my glass, to protect the coating of the lens

i have never heard any convincing argument about them affecting the quality of the image

I have seen it and when the photographer next to me took the UV filter off the flare went away... Just recently at one of my son's hockey games I was shooting one of the parents asked me for help, we took off his UV filter and the lens flare ceased...

Jan 11 13 07:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Farenell Photography
Posts: 17,870
Albany, New York, US


Untitled Photographer wrote:
1) how do we feel about UV filters on digital cameras
2) How do we feel about using any filter in order to protect the lens.

1. I view the UV filter like my glasses (no pun intended). The filter is so close to the eye that yes, there is less sharpness but its VERY negligible.

Course then again, this issue is kinda like the eternal RAW vs JPG; or to allow an escort or not to allow an escort; Cannon vs Nikon debates. People will have their own views & be adament that their right & insist the other side doesn't know what the heck they're talking about.

2. I use them mainly because A. I'm a klutz, B. I work outdoors a lot, & C. I'd rather have something protecting my lenses than nothing at all even if its there for my own pscyhological reasons.

Jan 11 13 07:34 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Untitled Photographer
Posts: 1,179
Dallas, Texas, US


ACPhotography wrote:
UV filters are a thin piece of plate glass sandwiched in a metal ring. Lens elements are a thick piece of optical glass securely mounted in the lens.

Which do you think will break?

UV filters offer no impact protection and can/will lead to unwanted lens flare.

There are tons of posts on this subject here, you can search and find many on both sides of the fence.

I'm on the no UV filter side, even on the beach or anywhere else...

Noted, and thanks.  What about the notion of protecting the lens coating that was just mentioned?

Jan 11 13 07:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Caveman Creations
Posts: 580
Fort Worth, Texas, US


Ok, fine. You talked me into it. As far as protection is concerned, I've never seen where it would benefit more than a lens hood. The coatings on lenses are quite a bit harder than one might think. The glass is quite a bit thicker than one might think. AND, most of the time, a front element replacement is quite a bit cheaper than one might think.

Now, I've done shoots and the lens itself just wasn't giving me the flare I wanted! (Those damned coatings!) Slap a UV on the front, and BAM! Fine art, hipster, something or another. Get great flare in the shot. It would be beneficial to state, that the only reason I have a UV filter period, is because it came free with the CP! big_smile I do not in anyway treat them like a piece of jewelry, I have smeared Vaseline on them, stuck glitter to them, sprayed them with water, and use Dawn dish soap and Windex to clean them. I fully intend on taking one to the shop and sanding around the outside edges of the glass on one, and cracking another one, just to see what happens, what it may do for a shot. Thank goodness, they're cheap. If someone wants to use it for protection, by all means, go right ahead. If it clears up the UV haze in your landscapes, go for it! Me personally, it just gives me a piece of glass to mess up, and not cost me 300+ dollars to do so! big_smile
Jan 11 13 07:55 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
TheScarletLetterSeries
Posts: 3,438
Carmel, California, US


Farenell Photography wrote:
....
2. I use them mainly because A. I'm a klutz, B. I work outdoors a lot, & C. I'd rather have something protecting my lenses than nothing at all even if its there for my own pscyhological reasons.

This is probably the best reason, imho. And if you're a klutz, I'd add keep the lens hood on as well at all times.

I don't use a filter on my lenses unless there is a specific purpose/effect in mind, ND, ND grad, Reverse ND grad, Polarizer, etc.  Otherwise, go naked and be free.

: )

Jan 11 13 07:55 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bill Sylvester
Posts: 1,463
Cincinnati, Ohio, US


I'm horrible about losing things, so around half my lenses don't have caps.  I've seen what small children and dogs can do to a lens while you're not paying attention.

With a UV filter, I'll have something protecting the lens.

But I only use multi coated optical glass filters. (Hoya  S-HMC). No cheapies.
Jan 11 13 07:55 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hero Foto
Posts: 878
Phoenix, Arizona, US


no glove, no love ...
Jan 11 13 07:59 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Untitled Photographer
Posts: 1,179
Dallas, Texas, US


fascinating responses. You guys scare me with your brilliance sometimes.  I'm going to experiment with the filter off and on and see what kind of results I get.  I'm also going to check the brand and quality of the filters I have, not doubt a cheapie is in my kit somewhere. 

Might be worth noting I don't generally use a lens hood.  Perhaps I should do that and leave the filters at home, or like my fellow Texan spray them with wet concrete for that modern, edgy look.
Jan 11 13 08:04 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Erik Ballew
Posts: 712
Westminster, Colorado, US


IMO if the lenses needed all this protection, the manufacturers would have put one on before you bought the lens.  It's just another way for camera salesmen to make another buck.
Jan 11 13 08:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ian Brooks Photography
Posts: 574
Kincardine, Ontario, Canada


If they provided any benefit at all, the engineers at your manufacturer of choice would design them into every lens.

They are a high markup accessory.

Try a lens hood instead.  Prevents lens flare rather than creating it.  Shields your glass against bumping.  Will even keep a certain amount of rain drops off your lens.



Edit:  see also above.  I was typing while he was posting.
Jan 11 13 08:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Untitled Photographer
Posts: 1,179
Dallas, Texas, US


Very good points made in this thread.  Thanks very much.
Jan 11 13 08:35 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
sammyspade
Posts: 98
Portland, Oregon, US


That extra piece of glass has some impact on the image quality.  There's no point in spending hundreds or thousands on a lens and putting a cheap UV filter on it.

It is a great way to protect your expensive lens, but now I just go with a lens hood and trust it to be the first thing that hits if I swing my camera into something.
Jan 11 13 08:49 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
VsN
Posts: 14
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


I mainly use filters to complete weather seals or for lenses that have an interesting front design such that cleaning it directly is more annoying than just leaving a filter.  An example for me is the canon 50mm f/1.2 .

Hoods offer more protection against physical impacts.  Especially the tele lenses.  So if all you care about is scratches and whatnot I think using a lens hood is better.
Jan 11 13 08:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,217
Salem, Oregon, US


i have one lens that is naked and it's the one with a scratch. i use b&w MRCs.

if you are shooting wide with on-camera flash you may not want to use a hood. and some lenses don't come with hoods.
Jan 11 13 09:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shane Noir
Posts: 2,332
Los Angeles, California, US


Caveman Creations wrote:
I fully intend on taking one to the shop and sanding around the outside edges of the glass on one, and cracking another one, just to see what happens, what it may do for a shot. Thank goodness, they're cheap. If someone wants to use it for protection, by all means, go right ahead. If it clears up the UV haze in your landscapes, go for it! Me personally, it just gives me a piece of glass to mess up, and not cost me 300+ dollars to do so! big_smile

I have cracked and painted up UV filters (hooray bargain bin of used filters at my camera store!)
The effects are cool.  Insta-hipster.  Only works if you shoot in small JPG only wink

Jan 11 13 09:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Erik Ballew
Posts: 712
Westminster, Colorado, US


I've always been more afraid if I did do something that at UV filter would hit, I'd just end up with sharp pieces of shitty glass flying into my good glass and damaging it all the same, or worse.
Jan 11 13 09:35 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DougBPhoto
Posts: 37,635
Portland, Oregon, US


I encourage aspiring photographers to use UV filters.

Us professional photographers need all the advantage we can get in this dog eat dog world.

Please use them and encourage others to do so.
Jan 11 13 09:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,195
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


always use a lens hood, unless you want flare.

keep your lenses capped as much as possible.

if you've got sea spray, mud, sand, gravel, paint, sparks, etc. coming at you, use a decent protective filter, unless you've already got a polarizer or nd or something on there.
Jan 11 13 10:16 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Untitled Photographer
Posts: 1,179
Dallas, Texas, US


DougBPhoto wrote:
I encourage aspiring photographers to use UV filters.

Us professional photographers need all the advantage we can get in this dog eat dog world.

Please use them and encourage others to do so.

tricky guy, you.

Jan 11 13 10:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
-Ira
Posts: 2,179
New York, New York, US


TheScarletLetterSeries wrote:
I don't use a filter on my lenses unless there is a specific purpose/effect in mind, ND, ND grad, Reverse ND grad, Polarizer, etc.

Yep.  Same here.

Jan 11 13 11:07 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gaze at Photography
Posts: 4,371
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, US


There is absolutely no logical reason to put a POS $20 piece of glass in front of a lens that cost $2000. (unless for effect)

Every piece of glass you shoot through degrades an image.  Believe it or not.  Glass is not pure, not even the costly glass in the best lenses in the world.

Masters of the art of making a lens, back in the old days they were considered tools of the trade, and had to be perfect.  I love older lenses and use them often.

Today, greed and profits run the market.

BUT, No, don't use a UV filter.  IT helps NOT.
Jan 11 13 11:09 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ChanStudio - OtherSide
Posts: 5,312
Alpharetta, Georgia, US


Untitled Photographer wrote:
I use UV filters on all my cameras.  I have read that digital cameras are not subject to US problems like film cameras are.  I've also read that US filters can lead to less sharp images.  I have not experimented to see if this holds true on my cameras, I'm not sure if I have the eyesight to tell the difference.

I use a UV filter only because I'm worried about breaking a camera lens.  The truth is I have never even bumped one of my lenses, I'm super cautious.

So I thought I would put this out to the experts:

1) how do we feel about UV filters on digital cameras
2) How do we feel about using any filter in order to protect the lens.

Cheers!

I have B+W UV MRC filter on all my lenses.. Shooting outdoor where high wind, on top of mountain, at the beach, etc can cause issues with front elements.  Also it is easier for me to clean the filter and not have to worry about sand/dirt, etc getting the front element scratch.  Lens hood won't do much (except for blocking the other light source) for me because of the way I abuse some of the lenses.. smile

In terms of degrading IQ with filter, I don't see much from B+W UV filter.  Probably 1% or 2%?.  I am more worried about AF accuracy, lights, composition, lens sharpness, etc.

The only other filter I have is B+W Circular Polarizer MRC filter, which I use to darken the sky, remove reflection etc.

Jan 11 13 11:12 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Caveman Creations
Posts: 580
Fort Worth, Texas, US


Shane Noir wrote:

I have cracked and painted up UV filters (hooray bargain bin of used filters at my camera store!)
The effects are cool.  Insta-hipster.  Only works if you shoot in small JPG only wink

Prove it! I want to see! I suppose, I'll have to do it myself, then. big_smile

Jan 11 13 12:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
me voy
Posts: 984
Amherst, Massachusetts, US


Gaze at Photography wrote:
There is absolutely no logical reason to put a POS $20 piece of glass in front of a lens that cost $2000. (unless for effect)

Every piece of glass you shoot through degrades an image.  Believe it or not.  Glass is not pure, not even the costly glass in the best lenses in the world.

Masters of the art of making a lens, back in the old days they were considered tools of the trade, and had to be perfect.  I love older lenses and use them often.

Today, greed and profits run the market.

BUT, No, don't use a UV filter.  IT helps NOT.

+1

Jan 11 13 01:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
PhotoSeven
Posts: 1,187
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US


Erik Ballew wrote:
IMO if the lenses needed all this protection, the manufacturers would have put one on before you bought the lens.  It's just another way for camera salesmen to make another buck.

Why would they put one in?  This way when you scratch the front element you need to pay the manufacturer for a repair!

Jan 11 13 01:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bob Freund
Posts: 884
Prescott, Arizona, US


Skip the filters unless you are planning to go into a dust storm or to sea spray.
If you are shooting in the rain, look for one of those that shed water to keep you from wiping the front as often.
Other than that, forget them unless you are shooting a Leica M8 which needs an IR cut filter.
If you use high value ND filters which often block almost nothing in the IR range and are planning long exposures, then get the type that has ir filtration included such as some of the Tiffens.
ok, so you drop your camera and it falls face down.  you might ding the filter thread on your lens or you might shred the whole damn thing depending on how far you drop it.  Before a filter, if you are concerned with "protection" use a hood.
Jan 11 13 01:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jim McSmith
Posts: 755
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom


It's up to the individual. The movie industry routinely use filters in front of camera for colour balancing when shooting multi-million dollar movies. I know landscape photographers who use a polariser, neutral density and grey grad filter at the same time and get pin sharp results.

A UV filter wont make or break an image the composition will. If you accept the position that a UV filter will noticeably degrade your image then there would be no reason to use any filter, polariser, grey grad or anything else.

So I understand those who reject UV filters wont use any filter on grounds of quality issues.
Jan 11 13 01:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Raoul Isidro Images
Posts: 5,994
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


There is no clear YES or NO answer.

There are times when the UV filter is highly recommended to be attached.

There are times when the UV filter is highly recommended to be off.

Only by experience, and not from internet advice, should you decide when to use or not use the filters.

Ask yourself why you should do it.

You have to discover yourself why so.

If you have not, then keep it permanently on or off, according to your persuasion.

People who argue to keep it just on or off only see the one side of the pizza pie.

...or the apple pecan with whipped cream on top.

.
Jan 11 13 01:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hero Foto
Posts: 878
Phoenix, Arizona, US


yeah, if your sitting your rump in a cushy studio ... leave it off

get out in the world and shoot sports or events outdoors ...

see how much protection you want on the front of that glass ...
Jan 11 13 02:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DougBPhoto
Posts: 37,635
Portland, Oregon, US


Hero Foto wrote:
yeah, if your sitting your rump in a cushy studio ... leave it off

get out in the world and shoot sports or events outdoors ...

see how much protection you want on the front of that glass ...

I've shot sports for 20 years, including cars spitting gravel at my lens element.

You won't catch me with a UV filter, no way*.

*perhaps at altitude or something if there is a stronger UV component to the light, or some other need to remove UV light to get better results.

Though, as I said above, I would not want to talk anyone out of using one, they are the best thing evar!! wink

Jan 11 13 02:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ACPhotography
Posts: 8,609
Plainview, New York, US


DougBPhoto wrote:

I've shot sports for 20 years, including cars spitting gravel at my lens element.

You won't catch me with a UV filter, no way*.

*perhaps at altitude or something if there is a stronger UV component to the light, or some other need to remove UV light to get better results.

Though, as I said above, I would not want to talk anyone out of using one, they are the best thing evar!! wink

I've had those little rubber balls and other crap on the sides of the tracks hit me and both my 70-200 and 400mm have taken direct hits...

Like Doug said you wont catch him with UV filters and the majority of sports photographers share the same view. Many times you're shooting into the sun or under lights and the filters just cause lens flare...

Jan 11 13 02:16 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Horwitz
Posts: 2,585
Raleigh, North Carolina, US


turn your back for a moment and some knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing neanderthal/llama herder/boyfriend/idiot will put a taco stain - fingerprint on the front of your "L" glass...IF you are smart you will have an answer to two questions
Jan 11 13 02:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hero Foto
Posts: 878
Phoenix, Arizona, US


DougBPhoto wrote:
I've shot sports for 20 years, including cars spitting gravel at my lens element.

You won't catch me with a UV filter, no way*.

*perhaps at altitude or something if there is a stronger UV component to the light, or some other need to remove UV light to get better results.

Though, as I said above, I would not want to talk anyone out of using one, they are the best thing evar!! wink

going bareback is a little foolish ... guess that separates the pro from the gwc's

wink

what about my IR filters? or those soft focus filters?

Jan 11 13 02:20 pm  Link  Quote 
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