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Do you keep a UV filter on all the time?


thewilliam2 4 1.5k United Kingdom
4 May 2021 12:11AM

Quote:I am very surprised that some folk do keep them on - as others have said the lens cap and hood should give the lens all the protection it needs and the filter, no matter how well perfected it has been, is still cheap glass in comparison to the lens which has been so carefully produced to give the best possible images - and yet you put cheap glass in front. To me that really doesn't make any sense.


Surely the best quality filters have been made to the same standard of the marque lenses.
Philh04 Plus
15 2.3k United Kingdom
4 May 2021 7:25AM
As digital sensors are generally insensitive to UV there really is no point in a UV filter, if you do wish to protect your lens then high quality clear protection filter can be used, personally I prefer not to use any filter as they can impact image quality, lens hood and cap work for me but I fully understand why some photographers appreciate the added security.
Philh04 Plus
15 2.3k United Kingdom
4 May 2021 7:27AM

Quote:Surely the best quality filters have been made to the same standard of the marque lenses.

Indeed, but you are still adding extra glass surfaces into the equation.
franken Plus
18 5.2k 4 United Kingdom
4 May 2021 8:22AM
No, I always use a lens hood.
Railcam 14 899 2 Scotland
4 May 2021 8:28AM

Quote:and yet you put cheap glass in front

Quality filters made by good maufacturers from optical glass and coated are anything but cheap.
mervyntattoo 11 953 Wales
4 May 2021 8:53AM
Never have done.
Dave_Canon 14 2.0k United Kingdom
4 May 2021 9:59AM
As Phil suggested it is the surfaces which matter. A small percentage of the light does not pass through the filter but is reflected and scattered. Multiple filters are much worse because each filter adds two more surfaces. The effect of this is flare. Except for extreme situations, it is only visible by lower contrast and slightly softer images which many might miss by just looking at the camera screen. You can minimise this by always using a lens hood and avoiding any strong lights in front of your camera.

Dave
thewilliam2 4 1.5k United Kingdom
4 May 2021 10:29AM

Quote:
Quote:Surely the best quality filters have been made to the same standard of the marque lenses.

Indeed, but you are still adding extra glass surfaces into the equation.



Phil, have you noticed that the element count in modern lenses has all but doubled? The "traditional" Nikon 50mm was a double gauss of 6 or 7 elements, whereas the Z series has a dozen for the modest f1.8 and nearly 20 for the f0.5. I've never heard any complaints about loss of quality so I'd suggest that the number of pieces of glass is irrelevant, provided all that glass is top quality.
LenShepherd 13 4.3k United Kingdom
4 May 2021 11:10AM
Primarily as a colour photographer NEVER

Most UV filters stop Violet and some Blue colours getting to the sensor into the region of low/medium 400nm.

If I shoot in conditions where salt water or blowing sand might be a significant issue (which is rare) I have a clear Nikon filter and a well sealed lens and body. Canon and Hoya make them as well.
This allows photos without preventing some colours being prevented from reaching the sensor as when using most UV.

I use a lens hood all the time as this restricts unwanted light from outside the intended picture area reducing image contrast and apparent sharpness.
As multi coating on front lens elements only reduces stray light very close to 90 degrees to the front element surface; compared to a lens hood they can reduce image contrast.

Going back 50 years to the 1970's when Black and White film was still extensively used B&W light was very sensitive to UV - when it was present.
Photographers recognised filters could do more harm than good when there was no UV light, learned to recognise UV conditions and often kept a UV filter in a little round leather case attached to the camera strap to use when appropriate.

In the 1980's colour film advances stop colour film being sensitive to UV, with B&W film following in the 1990's.

Modern cements joining lens groups and digital sensors are made to stop UV shorter than about 385nm - so no need for a UV that often has the disadvantage of stoping light with shorter wavelengths than about 430nm.

Anybody can use anything they want.
I do not see the point in buying anything likely to reduce image quality Sad
LenShepherd 13 4.3k United Kingdom
4 May 2021 11:17AM

Quote:
Surely the best quality filters have been made to the same standard of the marque lenses.


Generally no.
The lack of a curve and firm mounting means most filters, including expensive, can break and scratch the front lens element.

Ceramic glass filters are far less likely to break - but are not cheap.
pink Plus
17 6.6k 8 United Kingdom
4 May 2021 11:38AM
I don't use UV/Skylight filters.
I find that leaving one on your lens then gives you problems when you want to use a polariser or ND filter, you get vignetting on a wide angle lens, to remove one and replace with another becomes a faff!
In all the years I have never scratched a lens front element, they have much better coatings than UV filters, they will repel water droplets better than a UV filter as well, as others have said use a lens hood and some common sense
LenShepherd 13 4.3k United Kingdom
4 May 2021 1:04PM

Quote:Yes on all my lenses, simply to protect the fron element. I would rather replace a cheap UV filter than the lens


As a former insurer - my experience is yours is a false assumption.

When handling claims it was very, very common to see claims where a filter had broken and scratched a front element, and very rare to see claims where only the front element had been damaged as distinct from other parts of the lens..

Good filters cost a lot more than good insurance for several lenses.

There is one youtube video that shows glass filters can often break more easily than a sheet of white paper held in the equivalent of a filter glass holder.
Philh04 Plus
15 2.3k United Kingdom
4 May 2021 1:13PM

Quote:Phil, have you noticed that the element count in modern lenses has all but doubled? The "traditional" Nikon 50mm was a double gauss of 6 or 7 elements, whereas the Z series has a dozen for the modest f1.8 and nearly 20 for the f0.5. I've never heard any complaints about loss of quality so I'd suggest that the number of pieces of glass is irrelevant, provided all that glass is top quality.


Yes, they are computed to perform to their very best, however placing an extra two surfaces that haven't been included in the equation can lead to a loss of quality as Dave_Canon explained.
MiqsPix 10 44 United Kingdom
4 May 2021 3:05PM
Glad I tossed this topic in! I have always used a UV filter but now accept that I was probably ill advised to do so. If I want quality images then an extra piece of glass is not going to help. However there will always be the alternative point of view as HERE.
Dave_Canon 14 2.0k United Kingdom
4 May 2021 3:39PM
You can experiment yourself by capturing Raw shots in different combinations. A Raw file size depends on the amount of detail so if you deteriorate the IQ, it can be readily detected in a smaller file size. I tried various combinations and an example (the worst) was two filters, no lens hood and the sun just above the field of view. The image size was 13% less than with filters removed and lens hood on. Similarly with a single grad the file size was 5% less. For both cases the different in IQ was clearly visible. I gave a talk on this topic at my club once and several wished to ignore this because the had spent so much on filters, it was too embarrassing to admit that it was all wasted. One guy came to see me a few weeks later and said that he heeded my advice that whatever you decide always use a lens hood. He had noticed a significant jump in his IQ as he now always used a lens hood but had never used one before. You may be interested in the following by Tony Northrup

Dave

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