Simple question, protective preferences.

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by juan_parm_nides, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. Hello everybody, I would like to ask about your filter preferences, I mean,
    the use of UV or Skylight to protect Nikkor lenses. In DSLR, which is
    UV or Skylight? It is known that those filters were designed for film cameras.
    Has this filters some advantage in DSLR? I use UV and ND filters. Thank you
    for your information.
  2. Lenscaps.

    Brad V.
  3. Skylight filters tend to be slightly warming, whereas UV filters are generally neutral. The main purpose is to protect the (expensive) main lens from flying debris and accidental contact. It's not a bad idea to use a lens hood too, for shade and mechanical protection.

    My equipment gets hard use, not careless use. I've suffered many nicks in filters over the years. If they weren't in place, the lens would have been damaged. If you buy high quality filters (B+W, Heliopan or Hoya) with multi-layer coating, there is little adverse optical effect. There is no difference between filters for film or a DSLR except one. You probably don't need special "thin" filters for wide angle lenses on a DSLR because of the reduced field of view.

    Some DSLRs are particularly sensitive to infrared light, much more than film. These include the Nikon D70 and D2h. A hot mirror filter ($$) results in much better color under incandescent light.

    A question for Brad - Do you walk around with a lens cap in place, snatching it off each time you want to snap? Where do you put it then - in your pocket or keep it in one hand? Attach it to the camera with a tether?
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I typically have a UV filter in front of most of my lenses. As long as you keep the filter clean, it will not degrade your image quality (at least not noticable) in most situations. If you shoot into a light source such as the sun or street lights at night, I would remove the filter before you shoot.
  5. Jaun,<br>
    Depending on the skylight filter they are generally magenta
    filters. A Nikon L1Bc is pretty close to a CC 025 M filter. Other
    brands can be stronger, up to CC 05 M. Do you want to add a
    magenta cast to all your images? This could easily be meaningless
    with a DSLR.<br>
    Older UV filters used to be slightly yellow to combat the
    Ektachrome Blues. Nikon L37c filters are colorless and do cut
    some UV light. This is what I recommend.<br>
    UV, v. No filter? Proper technique is more important in daylight.
    Just take the filter off for non-flash night photography. With or
    without a filter always use a lens hood even with lenses that
    have a recessed front element (excepting close-up and macro
    Dave Hartman.<br>
    PS: "CC" means Color Correcting and is a filter suitable for use in
    the optical path, 025 indicates a density of 0.025.
  6. "Nikon L37c filters are colorless and do cut some UV light. This is what I recommend."

    I agree and that is what I use.....BUT, thanks to the marketing wizards at Nikon, you can no longer find them, at least not in 77mm size. Instead - welcome the Nikon NC, the "new", but not necessarily welcome replacement for the L37C. You won't find that Nikon admits to discontinuing the L37C, but I'll be damned if I can find one at any of the usual places like B&H, Adorama, etc.
  7. Now come on Edward. You are being a bit harsh. I actually use the Brad method. But as you point out where does the cap go? This really does drive me crazy as I can never remember exactly where I put it and quite often think that I've lost it.

    Of late though I have been shooting everything with a polariser on just for testing purposes, but also to protect the lens.
  8. I always and only use hood and lens cap. I don't like putting anything in front of my lenses. Call me retentive if you wish.

    To asnwer Edward, the cap goes into the left pocket of my trousers. When I shoot I alwasy keep it free for that purpose. As for when I put the cap on, I do when I switch the camera off. That is, when I foresee a long interval before shooting again.

    In several years I haven't (yet) scratched a lens. I assume there is finite probability I will damage one in the near future, but till now I have been either very lucky or careful enough (e.g. for street shooting I simply keep the camera close to my body and pointed to my feet when not in use and without lens cap).

    I do use a filter when shooting in adverse weather, though. In rain or drizzle or maybe on the beach. It would be plain dumb not to do so.

    Last but not least, I am not one of those who pamper their equipment. I do use it without any holy fear.
  9. Lens caps, metal hoods, and good compartments in the bag are my only lens protection. So far it's been a fine system, but it's only been 30 years.

    I put on a filter only to change the picture. I now have NDx8 to slow the shutter and a polarizer.

    Long ago I carried a selection of strong filters for B&W film. Now I leave that part of picture making until Photoshop.

    I suppose that salt water and desert sand would change my mind.
  10. I have finally given up on lens caps (for a while I was partial to the metal screw-in type, because they provided extra protection to the threads if the lens were dropped), and gone over to filters.

    My photos look sharp with or without them, my lens - and its threads - are protected and I don't have to worry about where I put the lens cap. In fact, I don't need a lens cap anymore, and I don't have to remove my UV filters (except to use a polarizer).
  11. Hi Edward,

    I've been over this before on these forums but here goes anyway. Now for the disclaimer -
    The following is what works for me and is based upon my experience of many years as
    well as listening to experts. Who are these experts? Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Fred
    Picker, and many more. These three, as well as others, knew that adding a glass filter to a
    lens added two more glass surfaces to the lens thereby increasing the chance of chromatic
    aberration, lens flare, and a degradation in image quality. This is why these great artists
    used Kodak-Wratten Gel filters for B + W film. They were well aware of what more glass
    surfaces could do to their images. Granted they were using film media but being from the
    old school I don't take the chance that the same will happen to digital images. My advice?
    Try it. Take 2 shots - one with a UV or Skylight filter and one with no filter on a tripod with
    cable release, mirror locked up, etc. and then compare them under magnification in PS or
    some other program. Or better yet, make a large print of each and show them to your
    experts. Perhaps they (and you) won't see any difference. On the other hand......

    The only filters I use (and these sparingly) are a polarizer and a Singh-Ray variable ND. For
    my 4 x 5 camera I use Kodak Gel filters when using B+W film.

    For lens protection I use the lens cap and/or a lens shade. I've never nicked or scratched a
    lens since I bought my first Photomic fTn many years ago. That's not to say that it won't
    happen in the future. I will use a camera in less than ideal conditions but won't purposely
    go out shooting during hurricanes, tornadoes, dust storms, hail storms, on battlefields,
    during riots, or alien invasions. If my journey takes me through some underbrush or a
    place more dusty than usual, I'll put on the lens cap until I'm ready to shoot. Common
    sense should prevail here. I keep the lens cap in my left front shirt or pants pocket. The
    rare doggy snot or curious child's fingerprint is easily and safely removed with a lens pen
    or some other equally fine lens cleaning method. For the occasional klutz or the accident
    prone (and I'm not accusing anyone here of being these) perhaps some sort of constant
    lens protection is advised but so far I've not needed it. Also, knowing that I have no filter
    "protecting" my lens makes me constantly aware that I must be careful.

    To me, a salesperson's insistence that I buy a UV or Skylight filter to protect my lens is a
    borderline scam trying to coerce me, through fear, to buy something I don't need. If I
    believed all their horror stories, I'd be afraid to take a camera outside at all.

    Like Roberto and Andy, I use my equipment without pampering it and have no fear or
    regret or problem using same without the "protection" of a UV or Skylight filter. BTW, I've
    lost only one lens cap in 40+ years.

    This is simply my way of doing things and may not work for everyone. I encourage
    everyone to do what works best for them. Don't be afraid to try different things.

  12. Why would the NC filter not be welcome? It is precisely what one needs for protecting the front element from adverse external conditions. I've done side-by-side testing in outdoor conditions and could not detect any difference between no filter and the UV filter on in terms of the color of the final slide. Other manufacturers still make UV filters.
  13. "Why would the NC filter not be welcome?"

    Because it adds two more glass surfaces to the lens.

    "It is precisely what one needs for protecting the front element from adverse external

    Perhaps it is, if you're out in adverse conditions similar to those I mentioned above. I think
    it's safe to say the vast majority of photographers don't shoot under adverse conditions.

    "I've done side-by-side testing in outdoor conditions and could not detect any difference
    between no filter and the UV filter on in terms of the color of the final slide."

    So have I and I can see some problems with the use of a "protective" filter on some prints.
    It is unlikely you will see major color differences or even minor ones. What to look for is
    CA, flare, and loss of some sharpness. Take a photo of a tree with a lot of branches that
    have no leaves against a clear sky with and without a UV filter. Enlarge a section with the
    branches against the sky on each one and print out the sections as an 8 x 10 print and tell
    me what you see.
  14. Guys, let's not forget that not all filters are born equal. There are very good ones, very bad ones and all the spectrum inbetween.

    That said, I still prefer to keep them off from my lenses, at least for protective functions. A polariser is often a godsend: you simply can't simulate its effect in post-processing and the effect is sometimes spectacular (others kitch, but that's another issue). A couple of ND (Neutral Density) filters might come handy from time to time. And a clear protection filter for, as I mentioned above, for when the weather or the conditions require it (think of a safari, or shooting on a beach with strong wind).

    They simply are not glued to my lenses: they come off as soon as they are no longer required.

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