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Old Aug 5, 2010, 7:25 PM   #11
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I've used a digital point and shoot camera for several years, but now have a digital SLR (a hand-me-down Olympus E500 body). After purchasing a new Zuiko ED 40-150mm lens, I decided to get a UV filter (mostly just to protect the lens). I ended up with a Kenko skylight 1B that the salesperson sold me when I asked for a UV filter and assumed it was the same thing. Now that I've done some research, I've discovered UV, 1A and 1B filters are, indeed, somewhat different.

Questions:
1) Do digital SLR sensors and/or the newer coated lenses make a UV filter unnecessary? If so, a clear filter would be all I need to protect the lens.
2) Are skylight 1A and 1B used only with film cameras or do they have a place in digital photography?

Any help much appreciated.
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Old Aug 7, 2010, 11:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newtodigital View Post
Questions:
1) Do digital SLR sensors and/or the newer coated lenses make a UV filter unnecessary? If so, a clear filter would be all I need to protect the lens.
2) Are skylight 1A and 1B used only with film cameras or do they have a place in digital photography?
1) Yes.
2) Film.

Digital sensors don't see UV light; layers atop the sensors block UV. (A built-in 'hot-filter' blocks IR, but that's another story.) With digital, all that a UV filter protects is the paycheck of whomever sold it to you. Skylight filters are slightly pinkish, the 1B more so, to lend a 'warm' cast to an image, ie they muck with the WB. Skylights are for film.

The best protection for your lens is a stiff lens hood. A clear glass filter is good if you're in an environment of airborne sand, dust, spray, of swirling mud and blood and beer. It's good to have a filter on the lens when you sell it, to dupe unsophisticated buyers into thinking the lens is protected. Leaving a filter on a lens for years can breed glass-eating fungi.
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What are good filters to have? First, a CPL reduces glare and unwanted reflections. Two CPL's function as a variable-ND filter. ND filters limit the light reaching the sensor, like if you want a slow-shutter, wide-open shot on a bright day. A graduated-ND filter lets you shoot bright skies with a dark landscape. And a clear glass filter provides physical protection in nasty environments.

Beyond that, we get to spectrum-slicing, which is using IR-pass or colored filters to control the frequency of light reaching the sensor. Those are advanced applications; don't worry about them now. But it is handy to have a Yellow filter. Use it to shoot glaring neon lights at night, for vivid effects. And you generally won't need ANY OTHER FILTERS, since they can be applied digitally in PP.
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Last edited by RioRico; Aug 7, 2010 at 11:58 PM.
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