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Old May 22, 2006, 9:41 AM   #1
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Does putting on a UV filter to protect the lens reduce image quality? If so how much? Should I worry about even trying to protect the lens? Does the brand of UV filter make a difference? Thanks.
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Old May 22, 2006, 10:09 AM   #2
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Here are some answers:

Any filter you put on the lens will degrade image quality to some degree - it's one more piece of material light has to go through. How much it degrades the IQ is up for debate.

Should you use a UV filter to protect the lens? You'll find people who say to always use one and others that say don't ever use one. My personal theory is this: There are some lenses in my bag that I ALWAYS use a lens hood with. For those lenses I don't use a filter. There are other lenses where I sometimes use a hood but not always (or never). In those cases I DO use a filter for protection. I would rather clean a filter or scratch a filter than scratch a lens. I figure if you're using a lens hood, the filter adds no additional protection. But without a hood there is still the potential to scratch a lens.

Does the brand matter? Yes it will - again, how much is open to debate. But, in general, if you want the best possible results then use a multi-coated filter (Hoya Super HMC or B+W equivelent). The theory being that every filter will degrade image quality to some degree - so why put a cheap filter (which will result in the most reduction in IQ) on a great lens. The optical quality is only as good as the weekest link.

So, it's up to you. But I would suggest if you do use one - use a good one.
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Old May 22, 2006, 10:27 AM   #3
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To add to JohnG excellent comment, I'll like to add this:

A filter is like shooting through a window (and you can observe this phenomenom) - It depends on how clear the glass is and how well the internal reflection is controlled by the various anti-glare coatings

Now it also depends on the environments you shoot in - Moist and salty seaside or fine sand from tropical countries will guarantee to scatch (I change a few filters already to swear by it) - So IMO it's a neccessary evil ! :?
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Old May 22, 2006, 10:49 AM   #4
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I generally shoot with a UV filter on, but there are certain times such as night where I will remove the filter due to glares caused by that UV filter. I second John's post; either use a lens hood or a UV filter.
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