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Old Sep 29, 2006, 7:49 PM   #1
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"you should avoid using a filter , I put a filter only when there is a risk for the lense, a lense hood is a good protection and more usefull."

I read this on another photography forum. I kindly disagree. I use both for different reason obviousl, as one should always use some sort of UV filter, multi-coated better yet, whether it is a clear filter or otherwise, in order to protect your investment. That's my opinion, and shared by many photography enthusiasts. You get what you pay for regarding high quality glass filters.



Your opinions?



Edit: I just wanted to add that I shoot alot of outdoor sports, in all weather conditions (yes, I have a rain hood) and have been involved in "close encounters" when shooting football! Maybe that's why I'm hyped on protection!





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Old Sep 29, 2006, 8:22 PM   #2
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I use one simply for a shield for my front glass. Any film buildup, splash, dust speck accumulate here and you don't rish damaging your front glass when cleaning. I would much rather replace a filter even if its $100 or more.

Some people will buy cheapos UV thinking its just for protection and never realize that it can have a signicant impact on the image. When I had a 100-400 L IS I did just that, I ought a $30 filter and was wondering why my images looks so bad. Replaced it with a nice B+W MRC and fixed that up.

Anyone who does not protect their front glass this way will soon change their mind if the front glass ever gets damaged and they have to replace it.

On my 300 2.8 L IS you don't have the option of a screw on front filter but Canon covered that by putting a protective glass over the front.
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Old Sep 29, 2006, 8:46 PM   #3
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I agree with the statement about not using a UV filter. It certainly adds nothing to the image as digital sensors are less sensitive to UV light. Filters also add to the possibility flare, vignetting (especially at wider angles) and softness. I certainly wouldn't use a cheap filter as these problems can be magnified by cheap, poorly made filters. In terms of protection, small scratches rarely affect image quality...filters affect image quality more. If your unfortunate enough to bang a filter hard enough to break it, the resulting chards will likely gouge your lens anyway.

I used UV filters for protection for many years. After struggling with issues like flare and vignetting on a regular basis and realizing that I had never banged or damaged a lens, even while shooting sports or out in the elements. I took the filter off about 6 years ago and have never even scratched a lens after thousands of shots and using the cameras on a weekly basis. Plus I no longer have lens flare, or vignetting or soft images. I now only use filters in extreme conditions. Even then, I've never even scratched or damaged a filter.

If your clumsy, or if using a filter gives you peace of mind then by all means use filters for protection. Otherwise, I just don't think its necessary. If you decide you need a filter, make sure it is of the highest quality to minimize potential problems.
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Old Sep 29, 2006, 9:45 PM   #4
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I agree with rjseeney, the only time I have a UV or protection filter on is when hiking through wooded areas. I protect all my equipment with insurance, I have an inland marine policy that covers all my equipment. I have quite a few lenses and I change them quite often, shooting sports, auto racing, rodeos, air shows, and even weddings, and have yet to damage a lens.
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 6:16 AM   #5
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It depends somewhat on the lens whether a filter is a good idea.

I can't use the expensive "ultra-thin" & "pro" Hoya filters that I got for my 2 particular lenses because they severely degrade image quality.

On my Canon 17-85 my experience is that it caused severe vignetting at 17mm, and the only time I've ever noticed CA on that lens is when I had the filter on.

On my Canon 70-300 DO the filter causes an incredible degradation in image quality. Turns a £1000 lens into a piece of junk. No doubt something to do with the diffractive optics.

I also use DXO image correction software, and of course the image correction profiles are not performed with a filter on, so if you're going to use that kind of software then you can't use filters.

So those 2x £40 filters were a big waste of money.

My Sigma 12-24 has a curved front element, sousing a filter is out there too.

I thought about whether I had ever scratched or damaged a lens filter in my 15 years of using a 35mm film SLR and I realised I never had.

So I don't use filters now at all, but I always use lens hoods to protect the front element. Since I stopped using filters I haven't damaged the lens either, and frankly don't expect to.
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 7:53 AM   #6
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This wasn't exactly the point being discussed, but its related so I'll mention it.

Ignoring the issue of protection, almost every filter can be emulated within photoshop, so you don't have to use them. The ones that can't are:

polarized - You can't do that within PS (remove the reflection on water in PS and have it uncover what was in the water!)

neutral gradiant filter - You can do this to some extent (darken the sky) but if you've blown the exposure because the sky is too bright then there is nothing you can do. If the darks are too dark and you don't have much detail you can't bring it back.

As to protection for the front element. I did it for a long time, but don't any more. The lens hood on the 100-400 seems to be good enough. Should I? Well, I do go out in the wood and branches could scratch the lens. Difficult choice....

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Old Sep 30, 2006, 8:18 AM   #7
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Maybe I have just been lucky with filters. I have never used Hoya so I can't comment. The only time I saw visible degradation was when I bought a cheap filter. Since then I have only purchased B+W MRC. For that reason the answer is simple for me because there is no visible degradation and I have had no vignetting issues.


Although I have never had an incident my friend did have a rock thrown from a tire that took out his UV filter with no damage to the lens. Maybe it would have damaged the glass, maybe not. All that matters is that there was something there to take the hit so I don't go with the belief that if its enough to break the filter your probably screwed anyway.

I would take some shots with and without a filter and compare. If you see a difference and it concerns you then don't use it.
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 8:49 AM   #8
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Widowmaker wrote:
Quote:
I use one simply for a shield for my front glass. Any film buildup, splash, dust speck accumulate here and you don't rish damaging your front glass when cleaning. I would much rather replace a filter even if its $100 or more.
For me, this is by far the main reason to use a 'protective' filter. If you shoot outdoors, by the ocean, in wind or rain, the filter more than pays for itself in the protection it affords the front element.

Sometimes the grung on the filter is positively thick after a day's shooting. The microabrasions you create on the front element of your lens when you clean this junk off will accumulate and eventually degrade the image quality. Now which would you rather do. Replace an easily obtainable filter or try to have the lens manufacturer replace the front element in your lens.

Penny wise and pound foolish.
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 8:57 AM   #9
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Thanks for the feedback guys, I guess its one of personal choice. I use the B+W filters and have not noticed image degradation. (Shrugs)
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 3:23 PM   #10
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Yes, it's very definately a personal choice.
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