NC Filters - A necessity?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Shacklebolt, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Having given the manual for my 70-200mm f/2.8 a go-through, it stresses the importance of an NC filter. I haven't done any heavy shooting with it yet, so I have to ask - how important is an NC filter for a lens?
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    I think a filter is required to complete the weather sealing, but not strictly required.
  3. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    Having a filter is important for weather sealing (like robbieduncan said) and for protecting the front element of your lens. That being said, there is a feeling among some photographers (myself included) that feels that when you spend $1200 on a lens of the optical quality of the 70-200, it is a shame to stick a piece of $40 glass in front of it. I tend to use my 70-200 and 24-70 lenses without a filter 95% of the time, but with the hood on for everything except indoor flash photography. For times when I think the front element may be in peril, I got a 77mm B&W uv haze (link). While I agree that it's expensive, I feel that having the lenses that I do, the optical quality is justified.
  4. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I have a filter on every lens I own. I guess in a way I just feel like it's necessary.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Someone asked Ansel Adams about this. He put his answer in one of his books. I can't quote it but the exchange when like this "I want a filter to protect the lens" So Ansel repled "Protect it from what?"

    "Protect it from what?" is a great quote and sums it all up. A filter will not protect the lens from water, or other environmental contaminants. It will not help much if the lens is dropped. What it most does for you is protect against cleaning by the owner. Lenses get dusty and we like to clean them but rubbing it with anything is not good for the optical coating. (The thickness of an optical coating is measured in fractions of a wavelength of light.) So you sacrifice the filter, let it take the brunt of the cleaning cloth or even unscrew it and use water on it.

    The best filters are optically very good. Yes there are cheap ones. I think it is worth it to keep a good filter on an expensive lens but the kit lens no.
    That 18-55 is only worth $100 when it was new why spend $50 for a filter. If the lens gets damaged buy another lens for $70 or so. Likely it will never be damaged but if it does you are only out $20.

    To protect a lens from bumps a hood works well, better then a filter I think
  6. Macerture macrumors member


    Jan 2, 2008
    Dirty Jersey
    I was about to quote Ansel Adams but you beat me to it.. Nice one..

    Anyway, the only time I slap a filter on is if I need polarization, a neutral density or a neutral density graduation.. I never do use UV or Haze or Skylight, etc.. And I have some very expensive glass, and I am somewhat careless as well, and I have never, knock on wood (taps on head) even had so much as a scratch on my front elements.. I've had all kinds of spray hit them though, but that's what a lens cloth is for.

    Do I recommend one? Sure, why not? Just because I don't use them means nothing.
  7. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    I'm rather wishy-washy on the protective filter dilemma; but I'm not sure an Ansel Adams quote is particularly relevant - unless you can show he was specifically referring to lugging around a 35mm camera w/ mounted lens. It's a rather different ballgame than the one he usually played...

    I'm open to learning if that's the case, though.
  8. Macerture macrumors member


    Jan 2, 2008
    Dirty Jersey
    Ansel shot mostly with a view camera, medium format. Try lugging one of those around, usually attached to the tripod, usually slung over your back, and as he did, hiking through parks.. Some would say, if anyone needed a protective filter, he did. Also, he used uncoated lenses so..

    And, by the way, he did shoot with a 35mm as well. He also shot some color film.

Share This Page