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lens filters ? everyday use? always on?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by marc, Jul 30, 2005.

  1. marc

    marc Guest

    i use uv filters on all my lens, all the time

    i have been reading some negative info, regarding this practice.

    i would love to have some of you respond to this practice, your opinions, pros, cons etc.

    if bjorn or iliah are reading this your comments as to the need for filters and what are the negatives
    how do the filters effect picture quality? if at all?
    thankyou in advance
  2. faenix


    Jun 21, 2005
    Bayside, NY
    You have to consider that it's another piece of glass in front of what is already a complex structure and array of glass in a lens. I also have a UV filter on all my lenses.

    It's a matter of what you want to do. Having an extra filter on will yield you worse pictures than without, but it really depends on how much. My 17-55 loves to flare on me, and I suspect its worsened by the Hoya filter on it. (The 17-55 is prone to flaring though)

    For me, the safety of my lens comes first. There's the age old question of does a protective filter really help? Hoods are better, blahblah the list goes on. The peace of mind I get is worth it for me. Is it worth it for you at the possibility of dimished returns? (Albeit not by much?)
  3. marc

    marc Guest

    i already know about the glass on glass, and the protection stuff

    what i really want to know is do they degrade, picture quality, and is it significant enough to do away with the filters?
  4. faenix


    Jun 21, 2005
    Bayside, NY
    Some people swear the picture degradation is serious enough to do away with protective filters. Others say its not so bad. I don't see why you are asking a question where the answer is already known. Whether or not the picture degradation is acceptable for you is a decision you should make. Why don't you go out and test?
  5. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    You'll get "strong opinions" on both sides of the argument.

    The way I see it is if the decision comes down to intense scrutiny of test results, using special procedures, test charts, micro-who-knows-what, etc., I would go with using the filter because as long as it is clean, our EYES can't SEE a difference. And I would rather be safe, protecting the lens.
  6. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I was a "filter always on" guy until I realised how much it contributed to flare - especially on my 12-24 mm. Now, I rely on the hoods to protect the front element.
  7. heiko


    May 15, 2005
    In some cases a filter may add to the flare (shooting in bad lighting conditions with light coming in from the front, etc.).

    In some cases I wouldn't remove the filter (on the beach, dry and windy weather in the desert, lot's of dust around, etc.).

    And for cheap glas (like my 70-300), I don't even bother to get a filter (a good filter costs nearly as much as the lens).

    A UV filter to me is a protection against scratching the expensive lens, mainly when I have to clean it (with the filter on there is no danger harming the lens with sand or so).

    And there are filters like polarizers, ND, etc., that come in useful from time to time.
  8. fks


    Apr 30, 2005
    sf bay area
    hi marc-

    you can read bjorn's opinion on filters in this thread, ]https://www.nikoncafe.com//forums/viewtopic.php?t=7751.

    personally, i have filters on my lenses all the time except when i'm shooting at night. i'm not picky enough to see any difference with or without a filter, so i'd rather have the protection than go without.


    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  9. I used a grad filter on a recent trip. I used this filter and a 24mm lens exclusively. I was doing mostly landscapes and found the grad filter a HUGE advantage in evening out the bright/dark parts of a scene.

  10. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Ask Bjorn !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  11. On... using good quality filters shouldn't affect the picture that much and I sure wouldn't want to be around me if I scratched one of my $2000+ lenses! She'd be really cranky!
  12. JayR


    Jul 6, 2005
    Redmond, WA.
    I use the hood all the time. I don't use filters (unless they serve some specific purpose like the CPL etc.). Generally I just shoot with the hood on and if I am not shooting, the lens cap stays on. I have been pretty religious with this routine and haven't found the need for a protective filter.

    The one exception would be going to beaches/coastal areas where I generally use a 81A filter and leave it on. I would rather clean the filter than the lens element.
  13. saturnine

    saturnine Guest

    I agree very heavily with Thom Hogan's account of the UV/Skylight filter debate. In my opinion they are really only for people who think it makes a difference. Skylight filters might help for those using normal film, as it adds warmth to pale/bluish images in shady and cloudy conditions, but with the very versatile use of white balance in digital cameras, that is easily solved without the extra expense.

    I know that the only way to have a filter on a high quality lens and still retain the exact same image quality would be if the lens was PERFECTLY flat on both sides. There is NO way to have this on a consumer level, as it would cost too much and be much too time consuming for any company. Additionally, because there is an extra glass/air interface, ghosting, flaring, and other distortions can occur very easily.

    Personally, if I'm not using my lenses, caps will be put on them, and I trust the plastic caps more than I trust glass in protecting my lenses.
  14. I always keep a UV or Skylight 1A on all my lens. I don't usually think it gives me anything more than simple protection of the lens, and I haven't really noticed any degradation that would jump at me.

    There are just a few times I've knocked the lens into something and the filter took the hit, getting jammed onto the lens front. But in those cases I was very happy I had that filter in place. I can't imagine carrying a 70-200 VR without something on the front, or any lens I had a high stake in for any reason.

    Also, I almost always keep a slight warming filter on nearly all my shots, especially with digital, just because the slight warming is such a nice touch to almost everything, and digital often captures a much cooler image by default.

    On a related thought, I still much prefer to capture everything in camera than to post-process later, if I can help it. Wether a filter degrades image quality is highly dependant on the lens you're using and the filter you're using. There are cheap and then better glass for both. But its a no-brainer that post-processing is sure to contribute to some level of image degradation. Just like a filter, it all depends on how much, if any you can detect.
  15. ckdamascus


    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    I never use a filter unless I have to. I have a lot more confidence in my lens than the average photographer.

    A lens hood and lens cap is far better protection, but slightly less convenient (you can't seem to shoot through plastic too well).

    You are going to find a lot of the hardcore pros never use filters unless they have a specific purpose. i.e. they do not usually use protection filters.


    And/or if they do, they use high quality ones.
  16. Well, to each his own, it's certainly not an arguement. But I do know several pros that use filters regularly. Moose Patterson (sp?) has stated he also likes to keep a warming filter on his lens for everything. But my greatest concern is the thought of having that expensive front glass exposed to the world when I'm shooting (with the cap off!). I've had occassions to shoot in various weather conditions where I wouldn't have done it without a protective filter. Rain, sand, bugs, etc. can too easily land on the glass. In certain environments it becomes even more important; at the beach for example. I don't want the chance of even a single crystal of sand hitting my expensive lens that is too small for me to see the next time I'm cleaning it. With a filter I can clean it much easier, keeping the original glass sealed underneath. There are certain environments that having a protective filter on hand will prove useful, even if you don't plan to keep it on, its good to keep it in the bag.
  17. ckdamascus


    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    Moose doesn't seem as hardcore as the others :)  ... he does seem better than Ken Rockwell who happens to be a big filter fan (why am I not surprised?), but Ken is a fruity fellow to begin with so forget I mentioned him. :) 

    True, the sand has little chance of scratching the len, unless you grind it in when you clean it. Also, most people hate the salt water splash that might get on the front element. As Hogan advised to me "just use a lenspen then".

    I will agree that it probably is prudent to keep one in the bag even if you do not plan on using it most of the time for those more dangerous situations (think little kiddies running around or neanderthals running amok).
  18. Well, actually I could have been more specific about when I think its better to use a filter "always on". My memory always locks onto just 2 times in my life Ive had a filter hit with something and get jammed onto the front of my lens. Two times in maybe 20 years is not often, but it did save me a lot of money from having to replace the lens, and it could always happen.

    But depending on what kind of environment youre shooting in, its a better idea. I do spend a LOT of time shooting at the beach, where there is a lot of sand and wind and also humidity. I also often shoot in extreme weather conditions and it just seems common sense to have the protective filter. I recently shot a series during Songkran, the Thai Water Festival. My camera did get wet several times, but I can clean the filter much easier and with less concern for deliberation than having to clean the lens itself. Pro bodies have pretty good seals, so Im more concerned about the lens than anything else. Whenever I clean the actual lens I feel I must be so careful and deliberate about that. Also if there is high humidity and the glass fogs a lot, cleaning the filter is just easier and much quicker. During rain or snow I can quickly wipe the flat glass and keep shooting as opposed to finding cover and making the deliberate careful moves around the curved glass of the lens. I've also shot in sand-storms, which I would never want to expose my lens element to. Same with shooting around lots of bugs, which inevitably slam into your glass.

    Maybe all that sounds pretty weird to some people, but I guess I end up in some pretty extreme environments. I dont believe a quality filter detracts from the image of a quality lens to begin with, so for me it makes much more sense to just keep something on the front at all times. But if you can shoot in controlled environments and not worry about anything else going on, then all things being equal theres no reason to put anything else between the lens and your subject (except for the slight warming I do like to give almost all my subjects when shooting digital). But I still feel better knowing that nothing will ever have to physically touch my lens itself :) 
  19. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Is there an advantage to doing this, rather than bumping the color temperature a bit? I ask because I have a bunch of warming (81B) filters that I used a lot with film, but I seem to get better results from adjusting the white balance. Most colored filters lead to channels blowing out in my experience.
  20. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    No filters ever

    no LCD cover either. Guess I like to live dangerously! :shock:
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