Should i get a lens filter?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by 88888888, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. 88888888 macrumors 6502a

    May 28, 2008
    I don't have a lens filter to protect my lens. Is it a good investment?
    If so, which lens filter would i need for my 18-55mm VR and 55-200vr nikon lens?

    Also do they affect the quality of the picture in anyway?
  2. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Maybe, maybe not. It just stops anything coming at the lens on-axis, which a hood doesn't protect from, and inhibits particles coming in from the front. The price is money and image quality.

    Check the filter size, it'll be online or next to the weird circle with a slash through it on the front of the lens. Then buy a multi-coated skylight or UV filter, such as a B+W MRC or Hoya HMC.

    Yes. How much? Depends on how good the filter is. You may or may not notice with the better ones. This applies to both image resolution and flare.

    I personally wouldn't bother with filters on primes unless it's for weather sealing. Zooms are inherently more prone to dust and other particles getting inside because of the zooming mechanism. At the same time, zooms are also more prone to flare. So your choice.
  3. dubhe macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Norwich, UK
    Even just a simple UV filter will keep the dust out of your lens, make sure you clean it well before putting on, and it is totally dry. When I used to buy SLRs I always bought and fitted a UV filter in the shop.
  4. Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    Whenever I buy a lens (not very often...), I buy a 'skylight' filter for it straight away. Yes, it protects the lens from accidental knocks, but mostly it's to give me peace of mind when I'm out shooting (being less worried about my gear makes for better pix, I'm sure).

    Of course, you will always have one surface that will attract dust and marks. There's no way around that... ;)
  5. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    i have both clear and uv filters for my 2 lens'.

    peace of mind to protect the glass. maybe $50 if i need to replace a scratched filter, but much more expensive if i don't have one on and scratch the lens.

    as the others have mentioned, price means quality so don't cheap out.
  6. Cliff3 macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    I prefer not to place a piece of glass in front of my otherwise excellent lens unless I need to use it to modify the light in some way. Filters can increase the propensity for flare, and unless you buy the very best filters, they are likely to be optically inferior to your lens. I am careful to avoid banging my lens into things that would damage it. If the lens comes with a lens hood then I use it, and I put the lens cap on if I am just walking around and not actively using the camera.
  7. shady825 macrumors 68000


    Oct 8, 2008
    Area 51
    I'll second this.. All my lenses have filters on them. Mostly for protection. I also have a Polarized filter which REALLY brings out blues in the sky for landscape shots on bright days.
  8. shady825 macrumors 68000


    Oct 8, 2008
    Area 51
  9. DSG macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2008
    I'm in two minds about the whole thing. It is worth bearing in mind that it is in the interest of the photo retail industry for everyone to buy a filter for each lens. The margin on hardware, particularly Canon and Nikon is negligible. Where the money is made is on the accessories - bags, tripods, batteries... and filters. Back when most zooms had no more than 58mm filter rings it wasn't too bad - even a decent Hoya filter would be no more than £15-20. Now that so many lenses have 72 or 77mm rings it's getting a bit crazy.

    I've gone without on my 12-24 but I may give in and get one. Maybe if you add up the cost of all the filters you would have enough to off-set the risk of damaging a lens? I don't know.
  10. SayCheese macrumors 6502a

    Jun 14, 2007
    Thame, Oxfordshire, England
    I don't have filters on the front of any of my lenses. All my kit is insured including insurance for accidental damage. I look after my kit well. If it gets damaged I replace it or get it repaired.

    What's the point of spending £1500 on a lens and then putting a £35 filter in front of it?
  11. localghost macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2002
    it is a lot quicker to remove the filter than to clean the lens
    they are easier to clean (always flat, almost no dusty barrel around, cheaper to replace after you scratched it by cleaning it the wrong way, which btw is more common than you might think)
    protection in the field (insurance does not pay for the pictures you lost)

    expensive (i use b+w)

    it does always degrade the iq on certain lenses (very rare), it sometimes degrades iq on any lens (almost never). i have a couple of very good lenses and tested it in a lot of situations, there was no difference at all*, but it can never hurt to try for yourself.

    *on good monitors @ 100%. technically, there might be one, but if you can’t see any, who cares.
  12. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    There is no point, which is why you'll have to spend a lot more than that for a good filter.

    This study of their effect on image quality is interesting:

    So if you're going to buy a filter, go for one that is multicoated.

    I have UV filters for my zoom lenses, but not my primes. However, I have CPL filters for my primes and use them often, so those lenses aren't always buck naked. ;)
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Protect the lens from what? Being dropped? Rain? A filter ill not help there. It will protect it from blowing salt water spray. You can't clean salt off a lens but you can un-screw a filter and soak it is a glass of water.

    So if you have a special case like that then a filter can help

    But remember a filter with enough optical quality to match even your 18-55 kit lens will cost about 1/2 as much as the lens. You want one of those "super multi-coated" types. They can run you $50.

    A lens hood can provide better protection from bumps and so on.

    A way to test a filter to see if it is good... Stand with your back to a window where daylight is comming in from it. Use the filter as a mirror to look over your shoulder and try and see the window. A good filter is a very poor mirror and you will not see any reflections. A poor filter acts just like the screen on a new iMac, very mirror like.

    Also, note that a good $50 filter can be turned into a poor one if you try and clean it to much or if you leave finger print on it. Both change the effective thickness of the optical coating
  14. localghost macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2002
    the same goes for your lens
  15. mikekelley macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2009
    I get them, and take them on and off depending on what I'm shooting. For sports and anything that could possibly get crap on my lens, on with the filter. Snowboarding, motorsports, anywhere inside with close proximity to other people who are unpredictable (concerts, etc), the filter stays on.

    If I'm shooting a subject where I have ample space and I'm not rushed, I won't use them. E.g. landscapes, controlled studios, and so on.
  16. 103734 Guest

    Apr 10, 2007
    I only use a polarizing filter sometimes, its very rare though, out of all my shots I think I have only used the polarized filter to shoot maybe 10-20 shots.

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