filters for lens protection?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by ginge, May 7, 2006.

  1. Gday all

    quick question. If I were to buy a UV filter for a lense protector
    could I leave it on all the time? say even at night, or would it
    dramatically effect results.

    whats the best way to go about protecting the lense up front there?

  2. The best way of protection the front element is to use a lens hood, plastic or metal. Using a high quality multicoated UV will not degrade the image quality in anyway, however, it will be more likely to flare in some situations, that's all. If you must buy one, consider HOYA HMC SUPER UV(0).
  3. A UV filter should not have dramatical effects as it only filters out UV light, but if you have a non-mc filter your system becomes prone to flare. If you want a filter for protection you should buy the best you could get, which is usually expensive. Personally I only use (if at all) protection filters at the beach and this is too seldom :-(
    Under "normal" conditions I'd say you don't need it.

  4. david_henderson


    If you leave a filter on the lens all the time then you increase the risk of vignetting when you add a further effects filter such as a warm-up or a polariser. You may have to take it off when you use one or more other filters.

    Combined with the increased risk of flare, this convinces me not to fit filters as protection but to use cheaper and more durable lens caps instead- albeit that it doesn't protect whilst actually in use.
  5. I did a wedding shoot once with two bodies. Both had UV filters on. My main camera (with my favourite lens on it) slipped off my shoulder as I crouched to pick up something. It fell on gravel. Hard stuff. The UV filter shattered to bits but the lens and cap were in perfect condition (after carefully cleaning the glass fragments)
    After that potential disaster, you'd have to point a gun at my head to make me take the UV filter off the front of my lens. Go figure ;)
  6. A properly designed lens hood will provide FAR BETTER "crash" protection than a filter ever could. The reason is simple. A lens hood will take time to collapse under the forces of the crash, minimizing the peak forces that get transferred to the lens (and thus to the camera, assuming the lens hits first). A filter ring is not compressable, and thus transfers ALL of the force to the lens instantaneously.

    In addition - the better Canon lenses have hoods that mount to the body of the lens, not to the inner workings of the lens. If you do not have a hood mounted, but depend on a filter to absorb crash energy, you are risking MUCH more damage to the lens than if you have the hood mounted.

    Now - as to filters themselves - the ONLY time that a filter for "protection" makes any sense is when you are shooting in a really nasty environment like when sand is blowing all around and would damage any glass surface in its way.
  7. Allow me to clarify here. I have the Canon lens hood on my aforementioned 28-105. On that fateful day, I hadn't yet attached it. It was still 'inverted' for earier storage, and I hadn't yet started shooting.
    Of course from a Physics point of view, a lens hood is far better protection and would have likely saved me having to buy a new UV filter, but I'm just saying OMHO there's really no harm in leaving the UV filter on.
    I'm in Kenya, and it is often dry and dusty, so mine stays on in any case...
  8. A lens hood certainly provides a lot of protection to the lens, but not from flying sand or gravel (I've had kids throw stuff, cars toss gravel, sand flying in the wind, etc). Nor does an hood protect you from spray. Spots from tap water (lawn sprinklers) and salt water are hard to remove. A short hood for a wide-angle lens offers little mechanical protection. It's not always convenient (or you forget) to replace the lens cap when you put the lens in the bag. I've scratched a lot of filters that way, instead of the front element.

    Making a long story short, I keep a clear filter (UV, if you wish) on all my lenses, all the time. If I need to use another filter, like a polarizer, I first remove the clear filter. Likewise if I need to avoid flare, as a night shot with streelights or shooting into the sun. I also use a lens hood, even indoors or at night.
  9. Another vote for using a UV MC filter. I've had too much experience where a lens hood
    has been just worthless in protecting the front element. The lens hood certainly helps, but
    it shouldn't be used as a substitute for a UV filter. There are cases when I take the UV
    filter off, often when doing tripod work in clean environments. But go to the ocean and
    use your lens with that lens hood and when the sea spray has caked your front element
    you'll have wished you'd employed that filter. I mostly shoot travel photography and
    except for the occasions when I remove the filter for certain shots (if I have to shoot contre
    jour for example) the UV filter stays on. When I use another filter such as a polarizer or
    ND grad, I remove the UV. I've thrown away several UV filters over time because they get
    dirty, and each time I discard them examine how dirty they've become, and feel content
    that I used them rather than only a hood. If you're shooting in a studio or a vacuum, you
    probably don't need the filter, but in the real world it's a smart thing to have.
  10. Ah, and one more thing -- a lens hood won't protect your lens from the wet nose of an
    animal or the soiled fingers of a child. I'm all for using lens hoods but they provide only
    partial protection. A hood and UV filter complement each other and using them is just smart.
  11. "If I were to buy a UV filter for a lense protector could I leave it on all the time? say even at night, or would it ..."

    Yes, your fears are very well founded. A lens needs to see clearly, and that is very important mainly when it sleeps at night, so its dream images can come through. Otherwise it will develop a lens-ache and not give you its best during the day.

    To prevent this unnecassary stress on a lens, every night when I have checked the doors around the house, I take off all those pesky UV lens filters and lens caps to give my lenses some needed rest.

    I would suggest you do the same, Nathan, just to be wise.
  12. Try as I might, I've never been able to blame a bad photo on my equipment. Even flare with an uncoated *lens*, much less a filter -- I should have composed better.

    Even the folks at National geographic keep filters on their lenses for protection. Their lenses are more expensive than mine, but so is their lens budget.
  13. Nathan, I`m an old pro PJ (retired). I own six pieces of equally old (in lens years) Canon EOS ``L`` glass. With what that cost me when I bought them, and even now with what they're still worth, I would much rather (then and now) cover my ``L`` glass with a $75 filter than damage or have to replace any one of my old ``L`` glass.<p>For protective purposes, I use HOYA 1b filters on all my glass, digital and analog.<br>I also have and use Polarizers, UV, ``warming``, ``enhancing`` and ND filters for all the obvious reasons.
  14. Dslrs seem to have some added potential for internal highlight reflections as the sensor (or the filter in front) is more reflective than film was(is). I've seen some reflections on some of my images that may be related to this but can't be sure if it's a filter issue until I do controlled - filter on, filter off - type tests. It makes sense to remove unnecessary layers when you can for the best results, especially at night or with scenarios like sun in or near the image which might cause reflection and flare type problems.

    Other than that, I guess you'd have to decide through testing and comparisons if a particular filter and lens were going to be dramatically affected as some situations and equipment are more prone to flare or contrast problems than others.

    OTOH, using them for protection is a trade against your environment and the image impacts (which you have at least some idea about through testing). I tend to use them as I'm often in windy or dusty environments or near the ocean.
  15. I use a UV filter and the lens hood on each lens when shooting and I never use a lens cap. Sometimes, the lens hood is so large that I can't store it (in place) in my bag with other lenses so I take it off and reverse it. That's when the filter does it protection.
  16. Use a best quality UV filter on the lens except when you are in a lighting situation that might cause flare. If you are rushed and forget to remove it you can still get a picture. I don't have much faith in hoods as protection of the lens. I've seen too many lens bezels damaged by a blow to a screw-in hood. I prefer clip-on or push-on hoods that will break free if subjected to a blow. IMMAO the most damage is done to lenses by over-aggressive cleaning with lens tissue. Use Q-tips or microfiber cloth. Use your hood to fight flare.

Share This Page