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Does a UV filter really matter??
I just purchased the Nikon 18-200mm lens. Great lens!! Does a UV filter really matter?? Does the lens not have a coating already on it? If you are very careful with your equipment, is a filter really going to protect the lens. Thanks...

Comments (26)

The main reason for a UV filter is to counter the haze you get when shooting on a sunny day..

So, if you always have a UV filter on your lens you may very occaisionally (UV light is mostly inivisible) get some colour shifts when you shoot during other circumstances, especially when you are using a stronger UV filter..

A benefit is that a strong UV filter can actually reduce purple fringing on some digital cameras..

If you only want it for protection, you can also buy completely clear filters ("Optically flat') just to protect the lens..

Of course adding another 'element' to your lens can cause added reflections/ghosting under certain circumstances, so sometimes you may not want to use it..

Think of them as 'insurance'. You will probably never need them (to protect the lens), but the one time you do, you'll be very glad you have it. You could be shooting by the road side and a car could kick up a tiny bit of gravel. I'd rather have that hit my filter than my front element any day...

Comment #1

This question is a continuing source of endless arguments (er, discussions). There is no one correct answer. Do whatever you prefer..

Myself, I'm in the "No filters" camp. I use a rigid lens hood to protect the front of my lens. In 25 years of SLR photography, I've never had a problem where a filter would have been preferable protection. Besides, even if the unthinkable happens, the front element of a modern lens costs about the same to replace as a decent filter does. That makes the filter be very expensive insurance. Mainly you're insuring against the inconvenience of having to send the lens off for repairs...

Comment #2

I never thought of that. Thanks. I'll go and look into a filter. Any suggestions on brands? They seem to range from $10.00 to over $100.00...

Comment #3

I'm with Doug on this. The only camera I use a UV filter on is my old Kodak DC5000 and it was supplied by Kodak as part of the weatherproof sealing system of the camera. In 35 years of photography I've never had a scratched lens...

Comment #4

Wow thanks guys. This helps a lot. I've been doing some basic photography for about 6 years now and I finally invested in a descent camera and lens. There is so much to learn still but it's awesome what you can do these days. The guys at the photo store were suggesting filters and I thought I better come on here and ask you guys who are the real pros, before I dish out $100.00 plus.Thanks again...

Comment #5

I'm in the other camp and have put a UV or Skylight on every new lens I've owned for the last thirty years as soon as I opened the lens box. I have never had ghost reflections or been away of any reductuion in quality. We use a D2x in the studio which has a Skylight on it and pictures are great. It's not a case of 'if' something gets on the lens, it's 'when' something does..

And when it does you have to clean your lens. In my view any sort of wiping or brushing leaves your delicate lens surface just waiting for a nice scratch. Continued 'polishing' of a lens even with special wipes will leave your lens with millions of tiny scratches.If you use your camera outdoors you will get stuff on your lens..

A good filter by someone such a Hoya does not cost an arm and a leg. Your lens does.But the decision is yours.Jules.

Why can't you blow bubbles with chewing gum?..

Comment #6

I've seem some descent UV filters for around the $25.00 range. I guess the best thing to do is to just try one. Nothing wrong for around $25.00 but to spend around $150.00 I think it's a little bit pricey. But thanks for everyones support. This has really helped...

Comment #7

Some of Canons L lenses state that in order to be fully weather proofed they need a front filter. Like the 17-40 & 16-35..

If you buy a filter for any lens get a decent brand and make sure it's multi coated.When I use a filterBright outdoorsDusty or windy locationsPlaces where kids like to put their finger on the lens..

I dont use a filterIndoors, at night, long exposures.Sparky_caGo take photos ..

Comment #8

The guys at the camera store may have been pushing filters because they get paid an extra incentive on accessory sales. Snake oil..

A UV filter is called for at high altitudes (>8000 feet). Otherwise, they potentially compromise every picture you take..

So, to answer your question, they do matter...they're generally counterproductive...

Comment #9

Sal Jiwani wrote:.

If you are very careful with your equipment, is a filter reallygoing to protect the lens..

- Well, I aways thought that I'm very careful with my equipment - until I tripped on something and fell one fine day, with the camera in my hands in front of me. The UV filter broke to pieces, but the lens wasn't even scratched..

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/..

Comment #10

Is for protection. And I regularly ask the forum for examples where a UV filter protected their lens from impact damage in a way that a lens hood would not have protected it. I'm still waiting for an answer..

Sal Jiwani wrote:.

I just purchased the Nikon 18-200mm lens. Great lens!! Does a UVfilter really matter?? Does the lens not have a coating already onit? If you are very careful with your equipment, is a filter reallygoing to protect the lens. Thanks..

Some cool cats that can use your helphttp://www.wildlife-sanctuary.org.

Even if you can't donate, please help spread the word...

Comment #11

My uv filter comes in handy when I attempt to remove the lens cap and it's already off. I feel a little better about cleaning my fingerprints off the filter than off the lens itself..

Concerning actual photography, I would love to see some comparison shots that actually show a (positive) difference with a uv filter vs without...

Comment #12

When taking images in rural Tanzania I turned my camera over to let the kids see the images. One curious kid rubbed the front UV filter with his dirt-clodded hands and scratches the UV filter. Lense was in place. Shot with the filter for the rest of the trip (as needed) and replaced it when I got home. Cost me pennies on the dollar - had the lense been scratches it would have cost much more.Tim'Be the change you wish to see in the world.' -Mahatma Gandhihttp://www.flickr.com/photos/timskis6/..

Comment #13

IMac, therefore iAm wrote:.

Is for protection. And I regularly ask the forum for examples where aUV filter protected their lens from impact damage in a way that alens hood would not have protected it. I'm still waiting for ananswer..

1. I have carried a filter on the front of my 18-200 since day 1. The filter showed fine scratches after about 6 months. I always use the hood (except with flash)They do not seem to affect IQ but I'm glad they're on the filter and not the lens..

2. I cannot give you an example of where the locks on my house have prevented a burglar breaking in. Does that mean locking my house is a waste of time?.

3. What the other poster said (about kids with grubby hands) - I've had a similar experience..

But I'm not going to say everyone should use a filter all the time, to each their own. Sometimes, when I've taken the filter off to replace with the polariser, I will leave the filter off after removing the polariser, just to minimise the fiddle and effort in the field. I'm not that paranoid .

What I would advise people to do, is do what I have done - every now and then, take some test shots (identical subject and lighting) with filter on and off. If you can see no difference in IQ (and I never have) then put the filter back on and keep shooting. Filters degrade IQ - in theory, yes. But a difference you can't see in real life is a difference that doesn't exist..

I will repeat this test every time I acquire a new lens - especially my planned (dream) 105 macro. I am sure I may find a time/lens/purpose when I will want to avoid the filter..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #14

An ebay seller (litephoto) is having a sale on Hoya filters at great prices. I just ordered two via buy-it-now. One was $20 and the other $25. There's a wide selection of types and sizes. Here's a link to this seller's store. Others might find it handy as well..

Http://stores.ebay.ca/PHOTO-lite.

I have a UV filter on one lens and a flower hood on the other. But I also have more than one camera and several assorted lenses so I wanted an extra UV and also a ND4 filter..

Brenda..

Comment #15

Digitalnoise wrote:.

Concerning actual photography, I would love to see some comparisonshots that actually show a (positive) difference with a uv filter vswithout..

Here you go:.

No filter:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

With UV only:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

With circular polarizer only:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

With UV and circular polarizer:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

And.for those who say that a filter won't protect a lens:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

When the camera got bashed by someone opening a car door, the lens survived.and you can see what happened to the filter..

And, earlier in this topic it was mentioned that the front element of a lens doesn't cost much more than a filter.well, obviouly they haven't paid for a lens repair lately!.

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

Remember.always keep the box and everything that came in it!..

Comment #16

Good examples, especially that last one !.

I think the general view of filters now is that you can get away with without MOST of them if you are prepared to do some post processing. The big exception to that is polarizing filters - you cannot replace the effect of these..

The objection to putting filters on is that they reduce the amount of light entering the lens. In any given shot a CP take as much as 2 stops away..

The advantage of using filters is that you can apply the "expose to the right" principle to best effect. I think if you know e.g. a landscape is going to be affected by haze and a filter will help reduce the amount of PP needed then it only makes sense to use one. Likewise if you know you're going to apply a warm-up effect in PP then why not simply use a filter when shooting ? The less PP the less work and the less likelihood of noise and artifacts affecting an image..

UV filters seem to be the preferred "lens protection" of choice. I prefer to get into the habit of replacing the lens cap. It's worked out so far..

Famous last words. .

What I don't understand is people not using lens hoods. That's an essential piece of equipment and it can also help avoid damage to the lens as well as improve shots..

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #17

You know if they are decent by buying a make that is well known and has it's history to vouch for it's products.jules.

Why can't you blow bubbles with chewing gum?..

Comment #18

JulesJ wrote:.

Iin the studio.

You mean, inside a studio, or where you work, and sometimes outside ? Because it it is the former, it's really useless...

Comment #19

I always use one in these circumstances, better sea salt on the filter than the lens !!.

Simon.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Http://www.landscapephotographyuk.com/.

North Wales photographs - Snowdonia & Anglesey..

Comment #20

Hey I just wanted to thank eveyone for their input. I purchased a Hoya UV filter for $25.00. It was 50% off. Not a bad investment for a $800.00 lens. Thanks again...

Comment #21

A UV filter (or skylight) on a lens is NEVER useless. It may not be really necessary, but it is never useless. One can still get stuff on a lens, even in the studio. What about that kid that reaches out to the camera and touches the lens?.

As for replacing the front element on your lens for less than the cost of a filter. What are you smoking? It would probably cost MORE than the lens to have the front element replaced. So the cost of the filter is cheap insurance..

I keep UV filters on all my lenses and you would not believe the c*rap that gets deposited on them after a day of shooting, especially outdoors in the wind. At the end of the day, I clean my filter and when it gets so bad that the filter is too difficult to clean, I toss the old filter and put on a new one. All the while the front element of my rather expensive lens remains pristine..

So, yes, using a UV filter gets my vote. But it is your lens and your money so do as you see fit..

The greatest of mankind's criminals are those who delude themselves into thinking they have done 'the right thing.'- Rayna Butler..

Comment #22

If you really want cheap..some stores sell open box filter got mine for $5-7 sunpak w/o a scratch on them, seems to work just fine (IQ same as w/ or w/o it).and never need to put the lens cap on. orig price is 15..

Comment #23

Sal Jiwani wrote:.

Hey I just wanted to thank eveyone for their input. I purchased aHoya UV filter for $25.00. It was 50% off. Not a bad investment fora $800.00 lens. Thanks again..

What you needed to get was a multi-coated filter. These coatings reduce the reflections to almost zero. With the one you have, if you point the camera at a bright, high contrast scene, you will probably see strange reflections of the bright parts. Unfortunately, these multi-coated filters are expensive. They can cost > $100 in small sizes. It doesn't make sense to put them on an $85 kit lens, but might be justified with an expensive lens..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #24

Have it your own way Sizegear, but it works for us. One speck of abrasive dust wiped across a 500 lens and ruining it can happen anywhere. You don't have to be out in the wild.Jules.

Sigezar wrote:.

JulesJ wrote:.

Iin the studio.

You mean, inside a studio, or where you work, and sometimes outside ?Because it it is the former, it's really useless..

Why can't you blow bubbles with chewing gum?..

Comment #25

Here's your answer..

I own a 18-200mm Lens and I put a 72mm-77mm step-up ring on it so that I don't have to buy 2 sets of filters. Now the lens hood won't fit so I don't have that protection...

Comment #26

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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