UV/Skylight Filters

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ray_tatnell, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. Hello All
    I would just like to get peoples opinions on using UV/Skylight filters.I have read a lot lately that they degrade photo's. I know that most people like me only use them to protect the lens. Your thoughts greatly appreciated.
    Ray
     
  2. Ray, in theory, no matter how perfect a piece of glass you put in front of your lens, it will have a degrading effect- however slight it may be- on image quality. That having been said, I've A-B'd my lenses with and without high-quality, coated protection filters for years and have been unable to see quality loss.
    On my Nikon lenses, I use Nikon L37c coated UV filters. I also use lens hoods to prevent flare.
    Then too, I can't afford to have pricey lenses scratched. I just bought a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for $1,800. You bet I'm going to put a $90 protection filter over the lens.
     
  3. The is one I am sort of on the fence about. I think that a lot of this has to do with the type of shooting you do and the quality of the filter. I shoot in a lot of dusty/muddy environment, so a protection filter is really important to me, but I make sure that I have a good one on my lens.
    Some people say that if the lens manufacturer wanted another peice of glass there, then the lens would have come with it. Well my answer to that is that Nikon and Canon both make filters including protection filters. While it is possible that a cheap filter such as a Tiffen will degrade image quality, if you are willing to shell out the dough for a good one, I don't think you'll notice the difference. I have a Hoya HD Digital filter on my 50 f/1.4 and don't notice any difference with or without it. Of course, if you look at this filter you can barely see the glass which has almost no reflection. I have Nikon filters on some of my other lenses, but if I had my way I would switch them all out for Hoya HD filters.
    I honestly don't think everyone needs a protection filter. If you shoot in nice clean environments, and keep a hood on your lens (for protection) there isn't much point to one. Of course you also need to keep in mind that camera salesmen like filters because they have a much better margin than lenses. I bought a used 300 f/4 that had a Skylight filter on the front (88mm) and a skylight filter on the drop in filter. Why anyone would buy a skylight filter for a drop in filter, I have NO idea; other than the salesman must have been on his game the day he sold that lens new. Anyways, I am a proud owner (by accident) of a quarter sized protection filter.
     
  4. I use them when and where appropriate to protect the lens. When the risk is low I remove them. I'm not sure why this topic is so often subject to religious fervor, with cries of "Always!" and "Never!" (Tho' so far this particular thread hasn't gotten to that point.)
    They're just tools. Use 'em when appropriate. Use a good quality protective filter to minimize degradation. Remove 'em when not needed or when the risk of flare outweighs the benefits of protection.
     
  5. Even if they do actually degrade my photo quality, I think the quality I can get out of my lenses is enough for my amateur needs. I always put filters on for two reasons a) Peace of mind and b) You do not want to stick a 70-200vr or 300/4 with no filter up against a rough fence - more or less what I do almost every weekend ;-)
    Alvin
     
  6. Sometimes I need to take and put the camera inside any bag continuosly without using a cap, then I like to use a filter. The same under dusty or spray environments.
    Under "normal" clean conditions I don`t use them.
     
  7. The skylight filters is actually a mild warming filter. The UV is supposed to reduce haze. Both do offer protection for your lenses. Protecting your gear is always a good idea. I personally use neither of them because I so frequently am using a CPL and a ND grad filter and it's just more of a problem juggling everything about. I have never scratched a lens in many years of shooting. I do not know about degrading the photos actually. I think it's possible that a high quality multi coated filter could reduce flare or then maybe not. I think from a protection standpoint if you are concerned about your equipment safety then purchase one and try it out for a while and then purchase more for your other lenses if it still seems like a good idea after your filter trial.
     
  8. I shoot film with Nikon F3HP and F2A bodies. ALL my lenses have either an L37c UV filter or a Y48 yellow filter on it. There is no visible image degradation, unless you use a microscope LOL.
    If you shoot digital, then it's another story. Digital lenses with filters really seem to be prone to flaring. YMMV.
     
  9. Nope, don't use them. For years I didn't even have lens caps. Now with my newer cameras at least I use those. I do use some other filters sometimes though like diffusers or warming, FL etc. but none that stay on the lenses. It's a personal desicion though, if you want them just buy good multi-coated ones and keep everything clean,filters accumulate a film on them then they get foggy, some filters are laminated and lens cleaner can make them have small bubbles. If you use Schott glass filters like B+W or Hasselblad and keep the film off with a chamois they're usually OK.
     
  10. My photography professor thought I was crazy putting a one hundred dollar filter over a 2,500 piece of glass. I on the other hand, thought it was crazy not to put an additional layer of protection over the 2,500 piece of glass! And, don't forget that each filter has its' own significant purpuse. I like UV filters! I hate haze. And always buy the best filter you can afford.
    good luck,
    michael.
     
  11. My first photography teacher in college, an assistant professor, was purist who thought protection filters were blasphemy. I might have come around to his way of thinking, but a few weeks into the semester, the front element of his 35mm f/2.0 Summicron M lens was destroyed by paint overspray on a construction site- the lens was off at Leica for months on end having the front element either cleaned and recoated or replaced- I forget which. Since then, I've viewed expensive protection filters as a necessary evil.
     
  12. Personally I see no need for them other than when you are working at a racetrack to name but one example. Even if you would get a little scratch it would most likely be out of focus and wouldn't affect overall sharpness.
    The degrading effect they are supposed to have is, if real, also very dependent on your needs. I mean when you're not going to print anything larger than 8x10 it won't be a problem will it?
    My photography professor thought I was crazy putting a one hundred dollar filter over a 2,500 piece of glass.​
    Frankly I think he has a point Michael
     
  13. I figure the only people who need filters are those with skin oil on their finger tips.
     
  14. They are a contemptible waste of time and money for all but a handful of photographers. The coating on modern lenses is incredibly tough and will easily deal with sand and rain. If you want to protect your lens against physical blows then a lens hood is what you should have on and indeed lens hoods have saved my bacon on a few occasions over the years (tripods blowing over in a gale etc).
    The only people who really need them are photographers who spend a lot of time shooting in windy, salt spray conditions such as off yachts and so forth and who constantly have to rub their front elements dry. I have shot in plenty of nasty conditions and have never found myself bemoaning the absence of a protection filter.
     
  15. UV filter? Sure; if you are working above 10,000 feet.
    Protection? Make your own risk asscessment based on the shooting environment.
    Image degradation? Noticeable? Yes. Then take it off. No. Leave it on.
    What's the issue here?
    Do what works for YOU.
     
  16. I agree with this post by Thom:
    http://www.bythom.com/filters.htm
    As said, if shooting is salt water or construction sites (!) or other hazardous places, then a good UV filter can protect your investment. But true story, I have a friend who shoots ball games with some very nice glass. At times the images are tack sharp, other times there is random softness. The lenses have even been sent in for testing calibration but the inconsistencies continued. I suggested taking the UV filter off the lenses. No more issues since doing that.
     
  17. "They are a contemptible waste of time and money for all but a handful of photographers"
    Why get get so strident about other people's decisions?
     
  18. Try shooting downwind of thermal features in Yellowstone Park during high winds and you will use filters. My experience ruined an expensive polarizer, not a lens before I realized what was happening. As mentioned above use according to conditions or not, whatever works for you.
     
  19. I have used these filters occasionally while shooting in in HARSH conditions (example: blowing sand) *AND* I'm not using any other filter (CPL, grad ND, etc.) at the time. At any other time, it's a waste to have these on my lenses. I use ND grads frequently, and I don't want to have to unscrew a UV filter in order to attach an adapter ring.
    That said, if you're concerned that you're going to damage a lens element, then by all means, use a UV filter. Better safe than sorry. I figure that even if I do damage an element, I can probably have it replaced. But if you don't want to take the risk, that's a legitimate concern.
     
  20. Try shooting downwind of thermal features in Yellowstone Park during high winds and you will use filters.​
    Try shooting a food fight in a college frat house dining room. :)
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
  21. It's surprising how little effect on picture quality a few scratches in the front element will have. Two of my best lenses (based on recent photos) have ugly scratches on the front element, one courtesy of the TSA and the other (as I've heard the story from the former owner) a granite rock. If there's any effect on image quality I can't see it. I wonder what would have happened in either case if shards of broken UV filter were added to the incidents.
    OTOH I have seen weaker color saturation from the added reflections from the two surfaces of my Nikon UV filters. Except for situations where the probability of abrasion or flying gunk is high, I don't use them any more. YMMV.
     
  22. For me:
    The best lens protection I know of is a lens cap. The best fall protection is a camera strap. The best bang protection is a camera bag.
    I bought into the UV thing, and when I got crazy and took the lens filters off there was a dramatic improvement in the images. As a result, I will not use inexpensive filters again. I now only use polarizers, and neutral density filters. Nikon grade filters, for me. If i need a filter for effect, then I go to the Cokin stuff. That pretty much is it
    I also read an article from Thom Hogan about lens filters. And I agree with it.
    That's just me.
     
  23. I recently dropped a lens which resulted in a cracked filter. I'm glad i didn't damage the front element. When conditions are clean (eg not raining) I will remove the filter with the lens cap.
     
  24. Hugh--
    Once, my Nikon 80-400mm VR on tripod was blown over by a wind gust and landed "face" down. It had a B+W polarizer on it. The filter broke and the broken shards scratched the heck out of my front element. I sent the lens in for repairs (even the mount was broken off.) The cost to replace the entire front element was $80. The cost of the B+W filter was $120. So how about that--If I had no filter on it would have actually save me $120! If I had the lens cap on there likely would have been no damage at all. Same for having the lens hood on to cushion the blow. I think UV filters are a waste of time 99% of the time. I've had many photos ruined because of them, basically because of flare/ghosting. I have Nikon's best pro zooms and do not use any filters on them other than polarizers when needed. I photo almost daily, in the toughest conditions the Dakota can dish out. My lenses are perfect. I do use the lens cap as its very tough plastic is designed to protect the lens. A lens hood is great protection too. A UV filter is flimsy and no real protection at all. One of the Nikon gurus (Thom Hogan?) recently had on his blog a shot he made of motocross bikes in the mud. He put his Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 a few feet from the dirt track and remote fired the motorcycle. The lens was caked in mud that was flung by the rear wheel of the powerful motorcycle. He had no "protection" filter on. He said he cleaned the lens up and it was perfect. Modern coatings are actually harder than the glass under them. My more expensive lenses already have a "protection" element built in that's cheaper to replace than what a quality filter would cost. So no, I don't take a chance on UV filters ruining my shots. When I buy used lenses on e Bay and they come with a filter on it, first thing I do is take it off and throw it away. They aren't worth the trouble they can cause. Again, I have over $6,000 worth of lenses, don't use filters, photo i TOUGH conditions, and all my lenses are perfect. As for using a skylight filter, totally forget that. They will color snow and everything else that's white as pink. Waste of money.
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/sm-feb-05.shtml
    Kent in SD
     
  25. To answer the question, yes, UV-Skylight filters will degrade the image. You will not notice the image degradation. However, poor quality filters will noticeably degrade the image. Use the high quality brand name filters.
    When using uncoated filters, you will likely get ghosting or flare when photographing against the light, eg. sunsets, full moon, silhouettes. Expensive multicoated filters will substantially reduce or eliminate ghosting or flare phenomenon.
    I use high quality coated and multicoated filters for Color and Black&White photographs when I need them. But, in case I photograph a bright light in the frame, I take off all unnecessary glass surfaces.
    Remember, every time a ray of light passes through glass it is changed forever.
     
  26. I don't want to have to take the time to clean my lens in the field. If something gets on the filter, I can pop it off and keep shooting. Usually, the something that gets on it is my finger... with a big front optic, like with my Sigma 50 1.4, my fingers are like a glass magnet when fumbling to get the lens cap on and off. I have never found filters to degrade images to any visible degree.
     
  27. And speaking of filters, it amazes me how much people are willing to pay for the "quality" of them (not a bad thing in itself of course), but when was a single piece of coated "optical glass" worth more than say the humble 50mm 1.8 lenses which have no fewer than 6 pieces of optical glass of two or more types, barrels, AF motors etc?
     
  28. Keith, regarding the drop-in filter in your 300mm. I've read that some long lenses with filter drawers are designed with the filter in mind and don't perform as well without one. My old 600mm f/5.6 ED (the one with the separate focusing unit) is noticeably sharper with a filter in its drawer. Could that be the case with your lens too?
     
  29. They are a contemptible waste of time and money for all but a handful of photographers.​
    Thanks for confirming my religious fervor theory, James. That's even better than my "Always!" and "Never!" examples. "Contemptible" ... I'd never have thought of that one.
     
  30. I was feeling the urge to use 'contemptible' all day at work and the opportunity came courtesy of UV filters. 'Evisceration' will be today's word if only someone will start a thread on keeping a polariser permanently mounted on one's lens.

    :)
     
  31. Since I always use lens hoods, I've tried a few times over the years to leave the UV filters off my lenses and consistently cap the lenses when bagging or setting down the camera. Within a day or two, however, I re-attached the filters, as I have a bad habit of putting my fingers on the lens' front element. A clumsy habit I cannot seem to break! But I do remove the filter briefly when shooting directly into a light source.
     
  32. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    To see the effect of how UV filters degrade the lens' optical quality, I did a quick A/B test, but to exaggerate the effect, I stacked three Nikon L37C filters on my 17-35mm/f2.8 AF-S. I used that lens at 35mm to avoid any vignetting.
    The test images were both captured with the 17-35mm at 35mm, f8 on the D700 at ISO 200. The D700 was mounted on a sturdy Gitzo tripod and I used the 1-second delay to avoid any camera shake. Again, one with three L37C filters on and the other with no filter. The two images were captured about 70 seconds apart so that you can see the shadows moved a little.
    Can you tell any loss of sharpness?
    00UNo5-169425784.jpg
     
  33. Hi Shun,

    Shoot that lot towards the sun or with the sun glancing off your filters at a shallow angle - that is the real test. Sharpness should not be affected by good quality filters.
     
  34. Shun Cheung wrote: "Can you tell any loss of sharpness?"
    I see a loss of shadow detail.
     
  35. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Here are different crops from those two exact same images, this time from the lower left side.
    When I stacked three UV filters, I did lose a bit of light so that I used slightly different shutter speeds, 1/100 for no filter and 1/80 for using three filters. If you see any difference in shadow details, it is likely due to my raw processing. I have tried to get the exposure as identical as possible, but it is not completely the same.
    I recall back in the 1960's when photocopiers were fairly new, there was a Xerox commercial where a father asked his little daughter to make a copy of a document. When the little girl brought them back, her father asked, "Which one is the original?"
    So can you tell which is which?
    P.S. The 17-35mm shows a bit of chromatic aberration. See the left edge of the tree. There is an obvious red line running down it.
    00UNt6-169455684.jpg
     
  36. The lower crop shows more shadow detail and more highlight detail (in the tree trunk). This might be in your processing.
     
  37. Terrific examples, Shun. To my mind they support my personal opinion that a UV filter should always be mounted on my lenses except while shooting in the studio. Filters provide protection that has proved invaluable to me over the years while shooting in salt spray or wind blown dust of an abrasive nature such as volcanic dust or even the crushed rock used on many pathways in European parks. Cleaning dirt from your lenses over time will eventually abrade your front element coating, no matter how hard you think it is. I think Shun's test points out that a quality filter has minimal to no visible degrading effect on images. This has been my own observation throughout my career as well. Filter quality today is extraordinary.
     
  38. My 105/2.5 AI Nikkor, bought used around 2002, came with the L37c filter so I just left it on. I don't think I've ever removed it. I can't even recall testing it without the filter.
    And judging from the looks of things, it's about time I cleaned it.
    00UNwP-169477584.jpg
     
  39. James Symington wrote in part:

    "'Evisceration' will be today's word if only someone will start a thread on keeping a polariser permanently mounted on one's lens."


    Well, I'll go along with you there, LOL.


    Had to look that one up: perfectly appropriate ;)
     
  40. Robert Hooper wrote: "Terrific examples, Shun. To my mind they support my personal opinion that a UV filter should always be mounted on my lenses except while shooting in the studio"
    I was thinking the opposite. Perhaps I'm looking for more in my photos than you are.
     
  41. My experience of keeping UV filters on is that under normal circumstances it makes no difference - so long as you come from the 'only photograph subjects when the sun is behind you' school of photography. We all graduate from that school eventually - or should do. When you start shooting into the light - or heaven forbid even have the sun in your photograph - then that wretched piece of glass will often treat you badly with ghosts here and there.
    What I find silly is the insistence on some people buying very expensive optics that are high-contrast and resistant to flare and then shoving some crap on the front for eternity and effectively rendering their fancy investment into a kit zoom under some pretty common circumstances.
    Of course it is easy, and sometimes fun, to make sweeping generalisations about this surprisingly thorny issue. There are plainly instances where putting some protective filter in front of your lens is completely appropriate and sensible and indeed I own a few UVs although I honesly can't remember the last time I put one on - I think it was Iceland in 2003 for photographing a waterfall close up.
    What it really boils down to - in my opinion - is how seriously you take your craft. If you are a casual photographer then by all means stack all the filters you want on your lens and I may even spare you evisceration :) If you are a photojournalist in the midst of a dusty battle then of course it is appropriate to take precautions. Street photography - a bit of flare often adds character etc etc etc
    But as a landscaper I go to extraordinary efforts and expense to get to beautiful locations, get up at unearthly hours, struggle up mountains with a large tripod and heavy expensive equipment and all of the other things I do to myself to try and get the pictures I want. Having done all that the very last thing I want to do is to compromise image quality even in the most minute way if I don't absolutely have to (as a landscaper you have to use grads often of course). That is why people who claim to pursue fine art/landscape photography but who leave UV filters on permanently sell themselves short. To me it betrays a lack of technical rigour, a lack of pride and thought about what you are trying to achieve and believe it or not, at least in my eyes, a lack of reverence to the hopefully wonderful scene in front of you. Lex's prescient comment about religion is not totally off the mark I find. Although a staunch atheist I get very, very immersed when I am shooting somewhere beautiful and my whole world condenses wonderfully down to the landscape in which I find myself. Does that ring a bell in anyone? Well, I feel strongly compelled to do the utmost justice to that particular moment in my life and to that place and a tiny part of that is tipping my cap to the lens designer at Zeiss or Nikon who has gone to a lot of trouble to allow me to record that instant unsullied by superfluous junk. I don't understand photographers who would knowingly cut corners in such a situation.
    Of course there is no link between the actual quality of the photograph and how you achieve it. For all I know the best landscape photographs ever taken were shot using a camera festooned with useless filters and taken handheld whereas almost all my photographs, which are at best OK, have been taken with scrupulous attention to detail. But at least when I am taking photographs I know I am doing it as well as I know how whereas the security blanket UV filter landscaper really, really isn't. Irrespective of the final results.
    Worried about your lens? Use a lens hood. Still worried? Get insurance. Still worried? Lock yourself in your bathroom and photograph the taps - just don't turn them on :)
     
  42. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I wonder which image Douglas actually prefers; it could well be the version with three L37c stacked on the lens. I have been very careful not to point out which image is which.
    Yesterday I took additional images under different conditions, and I have to admit that I cannot tell any image degradation from stacking three UV filters on the lens. Of course, nobody with the right mind would do that in actual shooting situations, but I think it is safe to say adding one high-quality clear filter should be just fine. Occasionally if I need to shoot into a light source, as I probably do in 1% of my images, I wouldn't put a filter in front, nor would I use the 24mm/f2.8 AF-D in those situations as I demonstrated in this thread: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00UKN6
    In the other 99% of my images, I think I am going to use a protection filter a lot more often, and the 24mm AF-D is still a decent lens to use. However, if you mainly shoot at night into artifical lights as Kent Staubus does, your consideration should be quite different.
    My experience is a bit similar to Eric Friedemann's: when I was a teenager and using Minolta, once I was changing lenses with one lens in each hand; a friend accidentally bumped into my elbow and I dropped a 135mm/f2.8 lens on concrete. That lens had a "telescope" type sliding lens hood (similar to the one on the 300mm/f4 AF-S), so the hood was no help. The aluminum lens cap was smashed and so was the Hoya skylight filter under it. The filter ring was so badly damaged that I had to take the lens back to Minolta to get it off, but otherwise there was not even a scratch on the lens or on the front element.
    A lens hood is good for protecting your lens in some ways, but it doesn't help much with any salt spray, mist, blowing sand or children's fingers. A lens cap is helpful but you cannot shoot through it, and occasionally that 0.5 second it takes to remove the cap means you miss a shot. I would rather be as ready as I can all the time. I also wouldn't hesitate to clean a filter in the field with my shirt. Therefore, using a filter helps me keep everything clean and improve my images.
    If you still have doubts, try an A/B test yourself and see whether putting one high-quality clear filter will really degrade your images under your typical shooting conditions.
    The following image is to emphasis the tests I did. Normally don't shoot with three L37c filters.
    00UOM5-169641684.jpg
     
  43. Your expeiment is noteworthy Shun, but if you were using uncoated laminated filters like the regular old Tiffen Sky-A or similar, your results are going down the toilet. They'll be full of that nasty pink cast that shows up with even one. So it's necessary to qualify you're using high quality original Nikon coated filters. Like I mentioned in my first response, the premium schott glass filters will be at least that good. In fact if you use the B+W K1.5 sky filter on one of the older S series Bronica lenses it actually improves their performance. It bumps up the contrast and gives more tonal separation. This could probabl hold true with some of the older Nikon E series lenses and similar "kit" lenses where corners are somewhat cut for cost effectiveness. But again, why put an $80 filter on a $60 lens. Also, is your c amera on auto WB or set to a particular Kelvin, because with many Sky filters the cast is going pink on anything white, yellow, once you use a UV-B or stronger, providing you're in neutral light of course, not open shade etc.
     
  44. "(I)f you were using uncoated laminated filters like the regular old Tiffen Sky-A or similar, your results are going down the toilet."
    Old Vaudville joke: I told my doctor I broke my leg in two places and asked what I should do. The doctor said, "stop going to those places."
    As I noted in my first entry, I use premium Nikon coated protection filters on my lenses. There are customers at my store who buy $1,500 plus lenses, then insist on putting the cheapest possible uncoated protection filter on the lens, insisting the quality of the filter is irrelevant. Then, they're not thrilled with their results- go figure.
     
  45. I just did some checking with Nikon repair center APS in Chicago. I asked how much it would cost to do a simple front element replacement on Nikon lenses 17-55mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8 VR, 80-400mm VR. It was running about $325 for each. Next, I looked up the cost of a B+W UV MRC 77mm filter (could not find listing for L37c.) B&H lists them for $112 plus shipping. SO, if I were to place a quality multicoated UV filter on each of my four most used lenses*, it would cost me about $430. (I have three other lenses I use regularly too!) That's quite a bit more than the price of a repair. Thus, I conclude that for me it's more economical to continue NOT using UV filters. Another angle is maybe eventually I will mess up a front element. Then, I will have to pay ~$325 for repair. If I buy the filters it is CERTAIN I'll be spending $430, and as I've experienced there is NO guarantee the flimsy glass is going to stop damage to the element, making my total loss even bigger. I'm very tough on camera gear, and every year I manage to damage or destroy at least a camera or a lens. I'm not careless, it's just that I like to photo in very risky situations such as around heavy machinery, large unpredictible animals, and in violent weather etc. Even taking that into account, I've never once had any damage to a lens element because it didn't have a filter on it. In fact the only damage I did have was when a filter was on it. I do use lens hoods and lens caps for protection and have had zero problems. I have had problems with images being ruined by filters. Anyway, it makes no economic sense for me to use UV filters when a repair is clearly cheaper than the filters.
    Kent in SD
    *Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, Nikons 17-55mm f2.8 &
    70-200mm f2.8 VR, Sigma 30mm f1.4
     
  46. A couple of things:
    1. Because digital sensors are supposedly less suseptable to the effects of UV light than, say, Ektachrome, Nikon has apparently stopped making L37c filters. Though, like Shun, I still have extra L37c filters lying around.
    The more current Nikon protection filter is the colorless NC. A Nikon 77mm NC filter runs $90 at B&H photo:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=77mm+nc&N=0&InitialSearch=yes
    2. APS in Chicago is a "Nikon Authorized" repair service. Nothing against APS in Chicago, but when my lenses need out-of-warranty repairs they are sent to Nikon in New York or California.
    While I can't follow some of Kent's logic, using or not using filters isn't a religious issue, its a personal choice. Over the years, I've had several protection filters ruined- the last one by candle wax at a wedding. So, I'm a believer in protection filters.
     
  47. This debate about whether or not to use protective glass over the front element of our lenses is one which can never be won by either side. Reasonable people can disagree on the efficacy of covering or not covering, Photographers have different tolerances for lens coating degradation, dirt accumulation, or the perceived negative effect of a high quality filter on their images. One must ultimately make up their own minds regarding this matter based on experience, shooting style, and personal preference.
    My recommendation is that if you decide to use a filter as protection for your lenses, you purchase a quality product with multi coatings on both front and rear surfaces. Time and experience is the the only way you will eventually be able to decide what is best for yourself, Ray.
     
  48. Well yes, Robert, I do agree it's a personal choice. I'm just pointing out that the economics of filters don't pan out. If I were to put a quality filter on all my eight lenses, I could easily afford TWO front element repairs. Or even another nice lens. I also sent out a repair inquiry to KEH repair service and they charge about the same as APS. Since I've never ever had an element damaged, I can't justify spending ~$800 for filters to "protect" against a -possible- $300 repair. Recently I've begun using the Nikons 18-55mm & 55-200mm VR lenses as my compact travel pair, on my D80. B+W mrc UV filters for them would cost about $45 each, shipped. I paid $250 for the pair of lenses, so it makes little sense to pay an additional $90 for low level protection against a theoretical repair. My strategy is to simply sell a damaged lens (from whatever cause) for parts on ebay and buy another of these cheap lenses. It comes down to economics for me. I'd rather spend ~$800 on another lens than on UV filters.
    Kent in SD
     
  49. Hi Kent,
    I have to respectfully disagree with you. Since I live in Hawaii, I am surrounded by volcanic dust. Volcanic dust is extremely abrasive and is actually "pumice". When wind blown pumice or even the fine volcanic dust kicked up from trekking gets on my protective filters, it would ruin them if I used traditional methods to clean them. I have to actually remove my filters after an outing and rinse them in warm soapy water followed by a fresh water rinse. Then I can clean them in a traditional manner by wiping them with a cotton bud moistened with alcohol followed by a microfiber wipe. I clean my cameras with compressed air and a damp cloth. If I did not use a filter to protect the front elements of my lenses, they would be ruined very quickly. I realize my particular situation is not like your's or even that common, but my point is that your philosophy is not for everyone.
    00UPGN-170005584.jpg
     
  50. Kent Staubus wrote:
    I asked how much it would cost to do a simple front element replacement on Nikon lenses17-55mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8 VR, 80-400mm VR. It was running about $325 for each. Next, I looked up the cost of a B+W UV MRC 77mm filter (could not find listing for L37c.) B&H lists them for $112 plus shipping. SO, if I were to place a quality multicoated UV filter on each of my four most used lenses, it would cost me about $430. That's quite a bit more than the price of a repair.​
    Excuse me Kent but as an engineer your calculation seems wrong to me!
    You are comparing the cost of *all four* filters against the repair cost of *one* lens!
    To my book it's like that: one filter to protect one lens costs ~$112.00, the repair of the front element of one lens costs ~$325.
    I think that from an economical POV it's more than worth to use filters than paying to repair your lens' front element.
    rgrds
     
  51. I only buy insurance to cover risks of loss that I can't easily afford. I can afford to repair or replace a $325 appliance or radio, so I don't buy the extended warranties or service plans that are offered. In the same way, I can afford a $325 repair on a lens so I won't pay $112 up-front as insurance to protect me from a possible $325 loss. It is purely a personal decision -- there is no right or wrong answer.
    I bought UV filters for all of my lenses for many years. Everyone else seemed to also. It was expected. Then one day I woke up and realized that I had been paying a lot of money over the years to cover a small-ish risk that I had never encountered. All the filters really did was make it more difficult to attach the lens shades and sometimes to de-grade the images. Now, without the filters I am probably even more careful about how I pick-up and hold each lens (I get a lot fewer fingerprints on lenses than I used to get on filters) and I always use the lens shades when carrying the camera. Maybe I'll scratch a lens tomorrow, but it is a risk I've considered and am willing to take.
     
  52. Gogu--
    If you're plan is to buy only ONE filter and use it on all your lenses, you would be correct. However, if you are going to do that, why not just use the lens cap? In reality if you believe a filter will actually do something, you put one on each lens? Thus, if you have four or five lenses, you will buy the same number of filters? The cost then exceeds the cost of any potential repair. Or, do you think it's likely that ALL your lenses you don't have filters on will need repair? Highly unlikely. I haven't had a single lens damaged in a quarter century of hard use.
    Robert--
    There are some extreme situations, and yours may be one. I have photo'd quite a bit on Big Island, and also the crater on Maui. I did see some dust, but carefully cleaned lenses with a blower. I'll agree that pumice is very problematic though.
    Kent in SD
     
  53. quite a long time since the last comment.
    General agreement seems to be that using filters is a personal choice. You all seem to have experience. So, IF one decides to use a filter, which one?
    I would like to buy a filter for my Nikon 18-200 VR. It is only to keep it in case I engage myself in a risky situation of dirt/scratching. I am inclined for B&W brand. When I search for the MRC filter, the option I get says also "Haze". Is this something I need or am I supposed to look for something else?
     
  54. Apologies.
    Just found this post that seems to deal with my question:
    http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00Py04
     

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