UV filters

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Badrottie, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. macrumors 68040


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Do you use UV filters? I am not sure if they are worth to use them? :apple:
  2. macrumors regular

    Feb 12, 2013
    I don't but lots of others do, and for some reason people get very passionate about this topic on both sides of the "argument". My advice is use them if you want to, don't if you don't want to. My one bit of advice is that if you choose to use them then consider taking them off for nighttime shooting or when a strong light source is in frame, to avoid ghosting/reflections/flares/whatever.
  3. macrumors 6502


    Jun 4, 2011
    As an amateur, I don't see a huge difference in image quality with or without them. I use them to protect my lens. I have accidently bumped my camera and completely detroyed a filter without a single scratch to the lens, so for me, it's worthwhile.
  4. macrumors 65816


    Jul 7, 2012
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    I must admit, I got caught up in buying them for my lenses initially and then stopped as I acquired more lenses. I don't walk around grinding my lens ends into the ground or against the corners of buildings, so don't feel that they need protection from that sort of thing. I also noticed after buying a calibrator for my iMac screen, that there was a nice orangey/brown ring on some of my pictures, thanks to an expensive ($75) UV filter I had on my 50mm f/1.8 lens. I threw them all out, I wasn't going to give this problem to someone else. Turns out that all modern lenses have UV coatings built in anyway. If you are worried about scratching your glass, buy a lens hood, or use the one that came with your lens.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    I basically use them as lens caps when the lens in mounted. I'm pretty rough on my gear and filters have already saved a couple lenses, I've sacrificed a few hoods too.
  6. macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2013

    I don't think you'll find anyone who will suggest that they improve image quality. But there are many people who look at a UV or neutral-clear (NC) filter as a relatively inexpensive layer of protection for their comparatively expensive lens. I have one on each of my lenses. I am willing to make a minimal sacrifice in day-to-day image quality in order to have a day-to-day layer of protection from fingerprints, etc. But you generally get what you pay for in terms of optics, so you probably want to avoid "cheap."

    If you want the absolute best in terms of image quality, don't use a UV filter. If you are going to use one, try to use a good one.

    As always, others' views may differ.
  7. macrumors 65816

    Jun 18, 2010
    Particularly if they are using a filter. ;)
  8. macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2013
    Or maybe particularly if they aren't. :)
  9. macrumors demi-god


    Jun 5, 2012
    I use them for lens protection only. I do spend a lot of time hiking through brush, bush, forest etc. where a slip or misstep could cause damage to the lens even with the hood attached. I'm not sure how much protectection they provide but I suppose I do feel better with them on.

    I will admit though, after reading iJohn's post, I'm wondering if I'm sacrificing image quality. Since day one, I've had the filters attached and haven't shot a frame without them. So I will be checking. :eek:
  10. Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The only reason why I use a UV filter is to project the lens. My lenses cost a whole lot more then a UV filter - cheap protection against the unknown.
  11. macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2010
    Las Vegas, NV
    I never use filters and my argument is why would I spend 1,200$ on glass when only to put a 40-100$ piece of glass over it.

    In the past when I shot film there was a need for filters but in the digital age, I can do everything in post.

    At 10mins into this video, they use the kit lens to hammer in a nail into wood. It looks horrifying but it has no effect on the images taken with it later.

    (Part 2 if anyone was interested) http://youtu.be/FWzsXeXCwuc
  12. MCH-1138, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

    macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2013
    A completely valid point. Dropping another layer of glass in front of your lens almost certainly will not improve the image quality. Here are a few examples of why someone might consider sacrificing a little bit of image quality for day-to-day shooting: dirt/dust/pollen, ocean salt spray, beach sand, light rain or mist, sunscreen, kids with PB&J fingers. Personally, I'd rather worry about cleaning that stuff off of my filter than the front element of my lens. But this is just a hobby for me at this point, and perhaps I am risk-averse by nature.

    Speaking of which, I need to get back to my home remodeling project now. Has anyone seen my 70-200mm f/2.8? :)
  13. macrumors 65816

    Jun 18, 2010
    Yes the LPS (Lens Protection Services) took it to a nice, safe home.
  14. macrumors member

    Mar 1, 2012
    I only use them when shooting on the beach or on locations where I expect a lot of dust/sand/water. For me they decrease the picture quality a bit(I'm not a pixelpeeper), but they most certainly cause ugly(!) flares in certain conditions. Also shooting against the light(which I like) becomes difficult. I use hoods on my lenses for protection.

    Edit: I would like to add this: If you feel safer with filters, then in my opinion there's nothing wrong with using them. Better use them and take pictures than leaving the camera at home, because you think you might scratch the lens. I also used to use filters when I started, but stopped using them for the reasons above(when I was more 'confident' with my gear).
  15. thread starter macrumors 68040


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Thank you all for interesting informations. I will use UV filter to protect len glass. And I am sorry for not checking this thread for so long I almost forgot about this. :apple:
  16. macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Actually use a Neutral Clear filter if you just want if for lens protection.
  17. macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    I used to have them on all the time for protection.

    However, after taking more care with my pictures I discovered that the filters I have generate some dodgy flaring especially when using my 50mm which is recessed quite a way into the barrel.

    Walking around I leave the filter on, if there is a bright light source or I am doing more of a planned shoot then I will take it off and put it in my pocket.

    I haven't broken or dropped anything yet but sod's law states that as soon as I scrap using them something will happen.

    I do a lot of video work, especially at parties and I feel a little better knowing peoples glasses are clinking into a UV filter instead of the front of the lens.
  18. macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2012
  19. macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    As Canon states in the lens manuals for some of their L lenses, a filter is necessary to complete the weather sealing (e.g. the 17-40mm f/4L). A filter can also help with lenses that aren't weather sealed but tend to collect dust under the front element, such as the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.
  20. macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2008
    I always keep one handy in case I am shooting in dirty or wet environments but otherwise don't see a need for them. In a lifetime I have never damaged a lens element or filter and when the inevitable happens all my gear is well insured.
  21. macrumors 6502


    Jul 22, 2010
    United Kingdom
    As many have already said, I use them on my lenses to offer protection from dust, sand and knocks. I also use the lens hood 90% of the time. That said I live pretty much on the beach so it's often dusty!

    I do remove them for low light work tho as I find they often add lens flare. Doesn't seem as apparent in brighter shots although I am certain it still exists!
  22. macrumors 6502


    Jun 6, 2005
    Universe 0 Timeline
    I've been using cheap (less than $5) filters to protect my lenses and they do the job.
  23. macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2012
    Winwick, UK
    I just bought a Hoya HD 77mm filter for my new 24-105mm L lens mainly for peace of mind. Sure, it might not offer much if you drop it, but if it stops me worrying about it at least that means I can just focus on getting the shot.
  24. ChrisA, Apr 19, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013

    macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Some people think they "protect" the lens. They might keep dust and maybe if you are on a boat keep saltwater spray of the front element. But if you have a 18-55mm kit lens the lens only costs $100 and a high end filter might cost $50. So it's maybe not worth it. But on a $1,000 lens maybe a different answer.

    A lens hood offers better protection from bumps

    Filters are easier to clean because you can unscrew then and soak them in water or alcohol. But on the other hand yu never see a need to clean the filter then there would never have been a need to clean the lens.

    The only lenses I've damaged or seen damaged would not have need saved by a filter. Both where dropped, on into water.

    Also even if you have a $1,200 lens, the front element is not worth $1,200

    In the end it might not matter much either way. I shot some photos the other way for some one and in the end she asks my to "make them smaller" so they will display on a smart phone. no one cares about image quality any more because thy only look at the phis on a phone or at best a computer screen.
  25. macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    San Jose (CA)
    I only buy multicoated clear filters now.

    Even though the loss in transmission associated with a UV filter is very smaller it's still higher than a clear filter.

Share This Page