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Quote: This is a perennial discussion with two very firmly entrenched camps.
You do get the ultimate quality when a lens is used without any filter at all but the difference is tiny and can only be seen when you have a real top-end lens.
We use UV filters to protect the front element because its cheaper to buy another filter than spend a small fortune on a new front element. Lenses can cost almost as much to repair as to replace! The long Nikon lenses have an easily replaced, zero-power glass, front element fitted in the factory for the same reason. I wouldn't want a repair bill for a 600mm f4!
If you want to use a filter, get the very best.
I agree this is a much discussed topic, but your reply seems to contain some misinformation
Whether the difference is tiny depends on the shooting conditions and the filter
A good clear filter which often costs very little if made by Canon compared to decent UV filters still costs more than several years insurance for an amateur for most Canon lenses.
To the best of my knowledge a filter cannot be fitted to a Canon or Nikon 600 mm. What is fitted is a curved meniscus glass to avoid one of the defects of a flat front filter
While an 18-55 may cost more to replace than repair, replacing the front element on many lenses can cost less than twice the cost of a good front filter - for most amateurs a damaged front element occurs less frequently than once in a blue moon.
It is also common for the front of the lens to be damaged when there is damage to the front glass. A filter does not help with a repair bill if the front of the lens is also damaged - insurance usually does.
Whether to filter or go bare is personal choice (well over 75% seem to go bare) but there is no justification for unfounded "horror stories" about the common cost of replacing many front elements.
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I don't think I could live with myself if I 'went bare' - I just wouldn't relax and enjoy my photography in the same way! And if your lens has to go for repair, you can't use it till it comes back - which could also be a consideration. I'm also not completely convinced rock bottom priced filters will be as good, though admittedly the one I fell foul of was a polariser which produces an annoying colour cast. I am going to be replacing that with something better!
It's not difficult to spend over £1000 on a lens these days so it makes sense to spend £40 ish for a decent Hoya filter to protect the front element.
You can always remove it under conditions you feel that feel that it degrades the image.... having said that, mine remain on the lens at all times.
Quote: It's not difficult to spend over £1000 on a lens these days so it makes sense to spend £40 ish for a decent Hoya filter to protect the front element.
It is not difficult to spend more than you need to.
A top grade Hoya HD is close to £60 in 72mm size - a Canon clear 72mm Protector is under £50.
When I use a lens costing over £1,000 with a filter I think it wise to use a top grade coating filter
£50 - £60 can buy many amateurs several years insurance for any accidental damage and theft on a £1,000 lens - for several years.
Len, the exposed "front element" of a Nikon 600mm f4 is actually plain glass but curved just like the Pentax "ghostless" filters that I had in the late 1960s. It's fitted for precisely the same reason that I generally fit a UV filter: cheaper replace than a refractive element when the front glass gets scratched.
Quote: Len, the exposed "front element" of a Nikon 600mm f4 is actually plain glass but curved just like the Pentax "ghostless" filters that I had in the late 1960s. It's fitted for precisely the same reason that I generally fit a UV filter:
First things first - it is not good photographic practice to buy UV new except for BV&W silver based film - because they restrict the blue end of the spectrum gamut.
Repeating what has been said earlier Nikon have not made UV filters for several years, and it is about a decade since Canon advised not using UV except for B&W film.
Camera makers generally know what they are talking about, and they want you to get the best colour and contrast when using their equipment
Camera retailers who stock UV either do not know they are the wrong product in a digital era, or choose not to give customers good advice.
Turning to glass, do you mean ordinary glass as in a jam jar?
Perhaps you do not know most multi coating is more about light transmission (a point Pentax made when they were a photographic front runner) than reflection control, because most MC only works well with light close to 90 degrees to the glass surface. Potential flare light reflected off the sensor or generated elsewhere within the lens tends to get reflected back instead of passing harmlessly out of the front of the lens unless a front filter is meniscus.
This is why Nikon and Canon switched to meniscus where the front optical element within the lens is easily scratched relatively soft ED glass or an even more easily damaged fluorite element.
On a detail Nikon's recent nano coating (and the Canon equivalent) control reflections well over a very wide surface angle but as yet (similar to ED and fluorite) there is no way off safely using it on the front of a lens or on a detachable filter.
Back to the early Pentax "ghost filters" they worked quite well with the limited range of front element curves available before I owned an SLR, but being "one shape fits all" could not equal the specific shaped meniscus in each Nikon or Canon which has one.
The Nikon 200-400 meniscus is removable - to help reduced flare in high flare situations
It also has a very fine thread pitch to achieve better parallism than is possible with most filters.
There are no filters for the 4 current Nikon lenses with a bulbous front element.
I have no objection to anybody using front filters if they wish, anymore than I have any objection to my wife wearing fashionable shoes when she wishes. On the other hand on balance front filters for "protection" do more harm than good and fashiion shoes can get uncomfortable after a couple of hours wear.
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