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Filter to protect lens?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by NkedFatWhiteGuy, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. NkedFatWhiteGuy

    NkedFatWhiteGuy TalkEmount Veteran

    200
    Oct 28, 2013
    Portland, Oregon
    I know that there are various views on whether or not a clear or a UV filter is a good idea to put on a lens as protection. I am personally of the view that if you get a high quality filter, the lens will not be adversely affected by the filter. What are your thoughts?

    I am currently trying to decide between the B+W XS-PRO UV MRC-NANO (010M) and the B+W XS-PRO CLEAR MRC-NANO 007. What are your thoughts on "Clear" versus "UV" filters? On a personal pereference, what brand or particular filter would you use on your best lens to protect it? I am going back and forth between the B+W XS-PRO NANO filter and the Zeiss ZEISS T* UV Filter...

    Thanks!
     
  2. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    I know there are a couple schools of thought on this, but speaking for myself, I've always been of the mind to protect the lens with a filter, and through all the years of film days my lenses wore Hoya Skylight 1B multi-coated filters, and still follow that same thought process today.

    Interesting timing of this thread however...beyond the notion of 'protection' there's the "warming effect" that Skylight filters were known for...yet since getting into the digital line (NEX-7) I've read that a Skylight filter really has no effect on digital like they did on film.

    I ordered a filter to protect the front end of the Canon FDn 200/2.8 I just picked up, and for the first time ever I ordered a Hoya multi-coated 72mm UV PRO-1 filter instead of a Skylight...also looking forward to see if it helps reduce any 'purple fringing' shooting wide open in bright sunlight.
     
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  3. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Regular

    143
    Dec 13, 2013
    Have a few filters that only get used in really harsh conditions (beach, with wind). Otherwise a hood works. Have no lenses with damage to front elements due to this approach. I have had weird flare on shots with eg the 17-40L on a Canon 5DII with a BW multicoated mrc thin filter which went away after removing it.


    Sent from my iPhone using TalkEmount
     
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  4. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Agree they can cause problems for sure...just the other day I was switching off a Skylight to put a Polarizer on a lens, ended up with a spare Skylight...decided to put it on the recent FDn 200.2.8 I'd picked up and never thought about it again.
    Started using that lens again a few days later couldn't get more than 1 out of a dozen photos sharp...it was cloudy / low light so I first thought it was shutter speed...bumped the ISO...no help...spent hours trying this trying that, tripods, etc...then I thought about the filter...took it off...problem solved.
    (the weekly trash cart pick-up is on Friday)
     
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  5. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    The only time I put on a filter (other than a ND or polarizer) is when I'm in an environment where there's a good chance I'll be getting something splashed on the lens, such as shooting near the surf line. Otherwise, never. It just makes sense, even the best piece of glass in front of your lens is going to degrade the image. A little flare can ruin an otherwise great photo.
     
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  6. radimere

    radimere TalkEmount Regular

    71
    Apr 2, 2013
    The biggest weakness of protective filters is their lack of curvature. Makes them prone to flaring since reflections are bigger on a flat surface than on a convex surface (e.g., most front elements).

    That being said, just look for high-quality filters that suppress reflections. Holding them up to bright light should yield minimal reflections (usually green or blue-tinted). I find that the MRC/HMC/T* coated ones have minimal impact on contrast and ghosting/flaring.
     
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  7. NkedFatWhiteGuy

    NkedFatWhiteGuy TalkEmount Veteran

    200
    Oct 28, 2013
    Portland, Oregon
    Thanks everyone!

    I think that what I might do is get a 55mm to fit the 16-70 and get a 49mm to 55mm step up. I would then just use this on an "as needed" bassis. I can always check it out on the 16-70 and see what I'll effects I might see.

    I was going to write a post about how guilty I feel for even suggesting it, but I figured the better move would to be serious ;-)

    Thank you so much for all of you input!

    Is there anyone else out there that goes with the school of thought that it is good to have a filter on every lens just for protection?
     
  8. bartjeej

    bartjeej TalkEmount Rookie

    23
    Oct 8, 2014
    I don't think it's particularly necessary in daily life in most of the sanitized Western world, unless your lens is particularly prone to sucking in dust and the filter arrangement can prevent that. In adverse conditions, I'd definitely go for a filter.

    The first time I took my Rodenstock UV filter out of the box, I thought they'd given me just a metal ring with nothing in it, so clear and reflection-free is the glass. But still, if there's a bright light source in an otherwise dark frame, I sometimes get a green double image of that light source, which I'm not very happy about. But it doesn't happen often enough for me to really worry about; I only ever got one picture where it really ruined the image. Focusing, sharpness, contrast etc are all unaffected.
     
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  9. chrid

    chrid Super Noob

    807
    May 5, 2014
    australia
    Chris
    I have filters on all my good lenses, simply for protection because I know how unlucky and clumsy I can be. its true they degrade image quality but it is minimal. Unless your planning on printing big I wouldn't worry about the quality loss.

    http://youtu.be/-e9TUIC-Dtk
     
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  10. ChangshaNotes

    ChangshaNotes Super Moderator

    Aug 15, 2012
    China
    Colin
    Like roundball, I use filters to protect the lens. I'm more comfortable cleaning them too. I don't carry lens caps out shooting. I find them annoying and their losability rate close to 100%. But I don't want to stuff my camera back into my bag forgetting I dropped my keys in there too and scratch the lens, so filter it is.

    Losability ©ChangshaNotes 2014 :cool:
     
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  11. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Similar approach...or tripping walking through the woods (not on a smooth trail) and planting the lens into the leaves or something...easy to blow off / wipe off, etc...don't have the money to just casually replace lenses.
     
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  12. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Regular

    143
    Dec 13, 2013
    That's what a plastic hood is for. And I always replace the lens cap and have yet to lose a single one in the 11 years I've been semi serious about photography.



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  13. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    I'm glad you haven't had a front lens element damaged.
    Speaking for myself, my photography is mainly one of outdoors nature / wildlife treks through rough surroundings and while a hood certainly offers some degree of protection it in no way provides a seal against foreign objects accidentally hitting the front element. In addition, I also use lens hoods...for their intended purpose, and then whatever additional protection they also provide.
    One only has to walk through natural woods to know that the occasional unseen sharp branch hits you in the face...,or an eye which is why it's always a good idea to wear some kind of glasses...same principle as a lens filter. The good news is everybody can use whatever they want.
     
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  14. Gandalf

    Gandalf TalkEmount Regular

    59
    Sep 5, 2013
    This is a subject that almost always turns into a writhing can of worms!

    I'm not a huge fan of keeping a filter on for "protection" when no protection is warranted. I've always been of the mindset that, if a person is inattentive and does something klutzy then they deserve the result. So I almost never use clear or UV filters, with the exception of the seacoast, where salt spray and blowing sand are a given.

    That said, my 300mm f/2.8 lens came with its own protective clear filter, a huge 112mm windowpane of a thing. And I admit I've never felt the need to remove it and probably never will. It's easier to clean than the front element, too.

    The facts are these:
    1) people who insist on keeping filters on all of their lenses are essentially being victimized by the filter manufacturers who push this to sell their wares.
    2) decent quality filters are not going to adversely impact your photos, so if you want to keep one on your lens the only victim will be your wallet.

    Go with what feels right!
     
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  15. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    I had one issue in 8 years of shooting digital when I accidentally scratched a lens. The scratch was on the edge of the front element and there was no impact on IQ that I could notice. When I sold the $450 lens I subtracted $50 for scratch. The cost to replace the front element by Canon was at the time $160.

    A really good filter will run anywhere between $40-60. If you have 3-5 lenses to protect, these filters add up to the cost of a decent lens. Even the best filters can cause flare and loss of contrast in certain situations. The $15 filters by Hoya, still decent, will definitely cause lost of contrast and flare in some situations. Green ghosting with sun in photo is also fairly common, in my experience.

    Modern lenses are not delicate. A bit of rain spray on the front element is not going to ruin it. Even a bit of salt water mist will not ruin it as long as you promptly wipe it off. After all you are using alcohol soaked wipes on these lenses to clean them.

    Older lenses may have more delicate coatings, so a filter may help limit the number of cleaning cycles. It's up to you if you want to take a risk of damaging coating vs risk of filter degrading the IQ (these lenses are going to be more sensitive to flaring/ghosting including the filter caused flaring / ghosting).

    I have a couple of $15 Hoya filters which I put on my old Minoltas in bad conditions. Typically I leave them off. The modern lenses have no filters on them.