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Why You Should Always Have a Filter on your lens!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Carole, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. Carole


    Jun 15, 2008
    Bellingham, WA
    Well, the inevitable happened today. I was shooting and inadvertently dropped my 70-300mm lens on to the pavement :frown: Thankfully, I had a filter on the lens which bore the brunt of the fall. I have to replace the filter, but the lens is fine :smile::smile:


  2. latazyo


    Apr 23, 2008
    the lens is fine? or the front glass is fine?

    better check 'er out
  3. Carole


    Jun 15, 2008
    Bellingham, WA
    I did. After I got the filter off, I took a few photos with the lens, and everything is working fine :)  If I hadn't had that filter on the front though, I have a feeling the result would have been a LOT different!

  4. latazyo


    Apr 23, 2008
    great news!
  5. I'm also a user of protective filters. I recently used my 14-24mm (which cannot take a filter) on a 12 day trip daily and I now need to clean the lens.....very nervous to try.
  6. Lurker


    Jul 21, 2007
    Carole, I'm glad your lens survived. Keep in mind though that the filter is only a little piece of glass and its capacity to absorb shocks is limited. Your lens hood is a far, far better protection... I used to be in the "always a protective filter camp" until one of my lenses (borrowed by a coworker) fell the same way. It took me two evenings to remove the glass shards from the front element and ever since I'm not so in love with protective filters anymore.

    Peter, don't worry too much about cleaning your front element. Use a dust blower to get rid of grime and dust and keep in mind "the image (and thus, nicks and scratches) is nowhere as much out of focus as inside the optical system". In general you will not spot scratches on the front element in your picture (but it doesn't hurt to prevent them in the first place).

    If your fear is that you scrub the coating away from the front element, keep in mind that the primary task of coatings is to minimize reflections that cause ghosting and flares. And the outside surface of the front element is not exactly a big source of internal reflections...
  7. Ruff Draft

    Ruff Draft

    Sep 2, 2007
    I choose hoods over filters, but every lens deserves protection.
  8. Carole


    Jun 15, 2008
    Bellingham, WA
    The thing was that I had changed lenses and was putting the 70-300 back in the bag when it fell. So the hood was on there, but attached so that the lens will fit in my bag. Next time I'll put the lens back in the bag over grass :) )

  9. Filters for protection are a very controversial topic. It is unlikely this actually provided any protection at all. There have been many threads in other forums about this topic, examples include- http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1030&thread=29123018&page=1
    Thom Hogan writes in that forum: "This subject sure seems to come up a lot, but the answer remains the same. If you spend ANY time arguing that you need more DR, more megapixels, better sharpness, less noise, or any other image quality improvement, then the simple fact of the matter is that you shouldn't be using a UV or Skylight filter on your lens. Period. The vast majority of the ones people use produce lower contrast, ghosting, and lower overall acuity. Even the very best such filters are going to have a minor impact. Some of you arguing that you should use a filter for protection would be shocked at what some of those filters do to a lens on MTF tests.

    Essentially, the argument "it's for protection" means that you value keeping your equipment in pristine shape more than you do taking a top quality picture. It's sort of like arguing to put quieter tires on your 4x4. Yep, it's quieter on the highway, but it sure doesn't give you the best traction in the dirt. Oh, you don't drive your 4x4 offroad? And you don't care if you get the best quality image? Okay, put the softer tread tires and the protective filter on, then."
    Make your own decision- but like everything in photography there are compromises- you are likely compromising your images to at least some slight degree by putting an extra piece of glass in front of your lens. If you are going to use one, at least get a decent one.
    Glad your lens wasn't damaged.
  10. I keep filters on mine. It maks me feel better when shooting in the heavy cover. Theres always a stray branch or stick that can poke up inside the lens hood. If I'm running and gunning in heavy cover the filter stays on through the shoot. If I am set up in a blind or other protected place I remove it. As was said it just make me feel better to have it on sometimes.
  11. fks


    Apr 30, 2005
    sf bay area
    hi carole-

    i had almost the same thing happen with my 105mm f/2.5. the filter bent and the filter glass broke, instead of the filter mount on the lens or the lens glass.

    i'll take safety over a little image degredation since i don't make a living off my photos!

  12. As I've said elsewhere, wearing latex gloves and a surgical mask when out in public is probably safe, but it cuts down on the experience. "Protective" filters are a high-margin profit item for a store, and that's why salesmen push them.
  13. I agree with the comment about lens hoods, I believe they do more to protect the lens then a filter, the glass shards from a filter could invert and scratch the front element.
  14. I tend to have a filter on to protect my lens front element from my 18 month old niece's sticky fingers ! :eek: :eek: 

  15. I keep a filter on all my lenses, not so much for protection from falls like this, but for protection from other things that can poke up into the lens hood while the camera is on my shoulder. You would be surprised at how many waist-level things can poke in there and scratch the front element without you knowing it, especially when you're working with two cameras. Plus, when you live in the south, you deal with humid, sticky air. I much prefer to clean my filter element than I do my actual front element. Does it cause some image degradation? Maybe, but I can't see it in my prints, and that's all that matters, right? BTW, I use high quality double side multi-coated UV filters. It's funny how folks knock these, citing image quality issues, yet their quick to throw on a CPL or split ND filter whenever they're warranted. As for the OP's lens, I'm really surprised the broken glass didn't scratch your front element.
  16. As a long time photographer (40+ years) I have used UV/Haze filters for most of them. I now use the Nikon NC and have never noticed a difference in IQ. I also have never, in all that time, dropped a lens. How much money have I spent buying all those different size filters for every lens???? It was much easier back when almost all the lens used 52mm filters.

    Now, saying that, I also don't subscribe to the theory that using a lens hood will save the lens in the case of a drop. That might have been true when you have a nice screw in hood. Those clip on or the newer quarter turn hoods, just come off at a touch. Drop one of those babies and it probably wouldn't help much. In cases where the photographer goes through a lot of brush a hood might help, if it didn't come off first. I was recently shooting with my 70-200mm and looked down at the ground for something. Guess what - the hood was laying in the dirt. Didn't even know it came off. Forget the little gizmo button that is suppose to lock it on.

    Finally, have you ever noticed that when packing a lens with the hood reversed, that it takes up a lot more space in the bag??? When ever I fly somewhere I use a ThinkTank Security roll on bag that fits overhead and I take a lot of equipment. If I want to take lens hoods for every lens I have to put them in a 2nd bag of some kind because I just can't fit them in the case without setting aside an area just for hoods. Then I have to leave a lens at home.

    Also, did you ever notice that in all the ads for camera bags where they include sample lens arrangements, the lens are almost always shown without a hood? It is because they take up too much room and the manufacturers want it to appear their bags will hold a lot of bodies and lens.

    So, what is a person suppose to do?? Whatever makes you comfortable - filters, hoods, or insurance. Your personal choice works for you but not unnecessarily for others.
  17. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    While I agree that filters may degrade picture quality and provide little protection, I'm really nervous with a lens like the 24-70 where the front glass is almost even with the front lens housing! :eek:  :eek:  :eek: 

    It's all to easy to touch the glass, even when putting the lens cover on carefully. And when using it as a walk-around lens, no telling what could bump the glass. So I think a lens filter in this situation makes sense.
  18. Amarok


    Aug 25, 2008
    Prairie City OR
    I do have UV filters for most of my lenses that are there for some form of protection to the front element of the lenses. However this is mostly do to one of my normal shooting situations. I shoot a lot from moving vehicles and being that most of the roads are old 2 lane roads up in the mountains there is loads of debris.

    We also get loads of dust devils that pop up out of no where. In fact just last night I was driving across the mountain and 20 feet in front of the truck I see one forming on the side of the road, it hit the truck hard enough (with my window down) to push the truck over about 5 feet. I was kind of wishing I had the camera out so I could have taken pictures of it, but then again there were some good size stones in there. Needless to say I felt like I have been sand blasted after being hit by that.
  19. The 14-24mm f2.8 sems to be very vulnerable with the front element bulging out so much, despite the fixed hood. I tend to keep on the lens cap for protection or as on my recent travels, kept my Tilley hat hanging over the lens while on a crowded bus or train.
    I do use Nikon NC filters on those that can take a filter and I don't see any negative effects from them.
  20. Sorry I can't buy that arguement......someone please show me a picture with and without a good filter (UV or clear) that shows a degradation in IQ.
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