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Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by bladerunner6, Jul 14, 2012.
I want them to really just protect my lenses.
How much do I need to spend for that?
That depends upon how much image degradation you want. The filter will be part of the lens system, so only good quality filters should be used. UV filters cost about the same as other common filters, and there are many available used. I use B&W, Nikon, Hoya HMC, any good make.
Another advantage of the good quality filters is that they tend to be better mechanically - the threads may fit the lens filters more accurately, and if you are fortunate, may be manufactured of materials (brass?) that are less likely to seize.
That being said, I use both expensive and inexpensive filters - as circumstances dictate. As an example, I would be unlikely to pay for an expensive, new IR filter, as I don't shoot much near-IR work.
I only own one and it comes only when needed (salt spray, mist, flying debris). Don't get Tiffen's, the rings suck. B+W or heliopan.
I use lens caps to protect my lenses.
Well, I agree with E. and Matt.
I have UV filters on all my 35mm lenses, mainly for protection.
The MF and LF lenses get filters less frequently, primarily because of the different environments in which
they're used as compared with the 35mm, which get carried around in all sorts of adverse conditions.
I always buy the best filters I can find; generally those from the camera manufacturer when available, like Nikon or Hasselblad.
For LF filters I always buy B+W, made in Germany. I think they're the best filters made. My second choice would be Heliopan.
UV filters really don't do much for "protection" in my own experience. Use your lenscap when not taking a photo. It's a LOT tougher than flimsy glass. I also use my lenshood and that deflects a lot of crud right there. Now, consider this. The only time I had a lens element damaged, the camera (on tripod) was blown over and the lens smacked into the ground. The filter on the lens immediately broke and scratched the HELL out of my lens. If I had the lens cap on there would have been no damage. I was once out with a friend in downtown Chicago, and he tried to put a lens back into a belt pouch. He missed it and the lens fell "face" down onto the sidewalk. His stupid UV filter broke and scratched the hell out of his lens. If he had been using a lens cap instead, he would have had no damage. I have lenses from 1847, 1854, 1855, 1865....1906, 1922, .....1951 and none of them have ever had a filter on them. They are all perfect. None of my Nikon lenses have filters on them; they are all perfect despite hard use outdooors almost daily. If I were to put a quality UV filter on all four of my best Nikon lenses, the cost would actually be MORE than a repair! Use your lens cap for protection and don't worry about it. If you are relying on a flimsy piece of glass to "protect" you lens, you are putting it more at risk not less.
Kent in SD
If I had a dollar for every old wives' tale about a filter breaking and damaging a lens...
That's certainly a ridiculous reason to avoid using a filter.
If you're that concerned, don't take your lens outdoors in the first place and you won't need to worry.
As to tripods blowing over or missing a lens pouch when you're working... Pay attention to what you're doing.
The lenses were damaged by operator stupidity, not by the presence of a filter.
I only buy multi-coated ones from Hoya or Nikon.
For most of my lenses, I use Nikon NC filter which is multi-coated but not UV. For front element protection, this is perfect. They are reasonably priced also.
Let's not turn this thread into yet another use or not use filters. It's certainly for each individual to decide.
I won't turn it into yet another thread, but you can rest assured that it DID happen to me, and I DID see it happen to another guy. This is direct info, not an old wive's tale. The damage was very clearly done BY the filter in both instances.
Kent in SD
The damage was clearly done by the USER in both instances. Careless work habits and inattention can damge anything.
I've used filters on every 35mm lens I've owned over the last 50+ years, and have NEVER damaged a lens, not even one.
So what's the difference? It's simple... I pay attention to what I'm doing.
To answer OP's question more directly....
Plan to spend 30 to 80 dollars on a filter, depending on size. Obviously, you can get one for 52mm a lot less expensively than one for 77mm. The Nikon NC filters I mentioned belong in this price range.
Any cheaper, you are looking at a plain glass filter with no or poor coating on them. The threads may be made inaccurately or into a poor material which can bind to the thread on lens. You can pay more but I don't know why you'd want to.... Put a quality filter on a quality lens. That's my idea.
Many of us tend to over-clean lenses. More damage is caused by over-cleaning than accidents. Filters are good for that too. If t gets dirty or get scratched as a result of improper and/or poor cleaning method, you remove it and get another. Obviously, there's very little you can do for direct impact type damage.
Absolutely true. Replacement filters are a lot cheaper than replacement lenses.
As to filter material (metal), buy brass filters (like B+W) if available. They're much less likely to bind on a lens than aluminum filters.
First, let me say that I agree that whether to use or not to use full-time protective filters is a personal and subjective choice. It's a never ending debate that's outstayed its welcome by at least a decade.
That said, unless you expose traditional, non-chromogenic black and white film or tungsten balanced slide film through 25+ year old lenses without multicoating, I would recommend against spending any money on UV filters. Other modern films, and even TMax 100, have UV filtration built in. So do modern lenses, thanks to a combination of multicoating and the optical cement used to create element groups.
Instead, should you choose to use a full-time protective filter, I'd suggest buying multicoated clear protectors instead.
P.S. On occasion, I do use a couple of old lenses with B&W film, so I do own B+W 010 MRC filters. I just don't use them full-time.
The recommendation for using UV filters as protection has nothing to do with ultraviolet light.
Until recently those were the only clear filters available. Now there are actually clear protective filters on the market.
I agree that the question of whether or not to use one is a personal choice, and not an appropriate digression for this thread.
If the optical performance is the same as a less expensive filter, I can not justify spending $50-$60 on a lens that cost less than that or a little more.
So let me clarify, how much does a filter that does not diminish my optics but will protect my lens go for?
The filter is most effective for protecting the lens from dust and light touching of the glass which could cause scratches. Heavy impact would ruin both filter and lens and I don't think this would happen often while using the lens.
I normally don't use the UV filter because it's expensive and I won't use cheap one that degrade image. So for my inexpensive but good lenses NO FILTER.
I still have yet to buy into the more expensive filter vs non stuff. From practical experience, a $15 Hoya printed just as sharp and well as a $90 B+W in the darkroom. Visibly nothing different, nada. Yes, light is moving through it, but it's not being focused by it. It's like if you had some crud on your reading glasses. Its out of focus and doesn't really affect your vision minus the smudge you might get. I have had a filter save a lens though, so I can vouch for that. But hey, who am I to speak? I have a lens with a severe spot in it's multi-coating that has taken 100s of pictures to no ill affect. I've even shot a lens that was cracked! But by all means, spend all you want.
Use em for protection and take em off when you're about to snap that moment if you're really concerned.
Degradation is an interesting phenomenon.
You don't know it's there until you find an example where it's absent.
Short answer to the original poster: if you really have to permanently mount a filter on your lens, buy the best you can buy, and don't think it will not degrade the image. The higher the quality, the less the degradation, but degradation is inevitable, you have two more air-glass surfaces and even if it were possible to produce perfect glass (which it is not) you would still degrade the optical performance of your lens by introducing further refraction. Compulsively cleaning the UV filter will result in degradation of the filter coating with further image quality degradation.
My personal idea is that this kind of "protection" makes sense only when you use your camera in "risky" environments: seaside (sand, salted water "spray"), dust of various kind such as in a laboratory, or some sport photography such as rally racing with "clouds" of dust etc.
For walking around in town it makes no sense IMO to degrade the optical quality of your lens, which is never enough for my personal taste, to protect the lens from a not existing menace.
I also tend to clean my lenses quite rarely. When I do I never use the small "photographic" paper, only use paper hankerchiefs after breathing on the lens. Only if very strictly necessary I use some cleaning solution, normally I don't, breathing on the lens works a lot.
Working on the maxim that you never stick a $5.00 bottletop on a $5,000 lens, any of the well-known respected brands such as B+W, Hoya (made by Tokina), Nikon, Canon etc will do it just fine. Any filter though will very slightly upset the way the front element collects and disperses light (filters can introduce a higher risk of flare), particularly aspherical/apochromoatic lenses. An additional point is many front elements protrude out and can be damaged by clumsy filter attachment. Such lenses are best used without any filter; indeed, they probably have provision for a small gel filter at the rear element: not ideal and generally only recommended for critical colour work. Personally I have never put a cheap filter on my lenses and one lens in particular, with a prominent aspheric front element, requires all filters to be used on it to have speciallly engineered clearance to avoid contact with the front element. For you, a UV filter is only good for protection but even so, the best you can afford is the best way to go if you care for the results your lens provides.
Even the best filter will prevent some light in reaching your lens in all cases and can increase the likelihood of flare. In fact, a large, flat air-glass surfaces at the front of the lens is just about a worse-case scenario for adding flare, and a filter adds two such surfaces.
Even with flare an uncoated filter, such as a base model Tiffen, can reflect away 8-10% of the incoming light. A single-coated filter, such as a standard line Hoya, will reflect away about 4%. A high-end multicoated filter can cut that loss to about 1-2%. While it's harder to quantify flare effects, suffice it to say the better the coating, the less increase in the likelihood of flare.
This comment is spot on. I keep a UV filter on all my lenses, both to protect the lens (which they have done on various occassions) as well as to cut thru the UV haze. So over the years I have collected examples from every manufacturer, from Tiffen to Heliopan and B+W, and everything in between. I have never seen any image degradation from any of them, or any difference from the high end to the low end. There can be a difference in thread quality from one brand to the next, but I have not generally had a problem with Tiffen (the most problematic filter for sticking is the 100mm dia. Olympus filter that came with my 600mm Zuiko).
As for lens flare ... really??? If you are so unaware of the sun's position and when a lens hood or shading is required, it would seem that a UV filter would be the least of your worries.
Lens flare can and does occur off-axis more readily with a poorly coated filter attached to the front lens because light is reflecting off the inside surface of that filter and onto the front element of the lens, back and forth. This is why many high-end filters have as much as 10 coatings front and rear to realistically reduce the potential for flare. A UV filter is no different to any other filter: it will exponentially increase the risk of flare. A lens hood in whatever configuration provides additional protection to the front element and/or filter.
I think you got a wrong idea.... Anything you put in front of your lens will change something to some degree. There is no such thing as a filter that does not affect your lens performance. The difference is how much and how badly. I put Nikon NC in front of all of my lenses. I find the protection they afford and reduction in optical quality a worth while trade off.
You never told us how large of a filter you need. If you need 52mm diameter filter, a decent quality UV or NC filter starts around $15 and go up from there. Hoya multi-coated kind are in this price range and they are pretty good. Nikon NC (which is my favorite) is $30ish. I will not put anything less than these in front of any lens, unless I'm shooting in a sand storm or something and it needs to be disposable.
Honestly though, if your lens is worth $50 and you are concerned about not impacting optical quality, I really wouldn't put any. If you damage your lens to a degree it's useless, you are out $50. I had several lenses in $100 range before. I didn't put $70 Nikon NC in front of it. It made no sense to me.
Tell us more about what you have.... that'll make it easier for us to give advise.
I use filters on ALL my lenses. You should see the filters: scratched, dirty, funny patterns in them...
This teached me 2 things: A filter is invaluable if I want to keep (protect) the lens' front element clean (new). Also, there is no degradation to Image quality despite all the scratches. Well, if there is a degradation, my customers never saw any. And that's what counts.
People can complain about the loss of IQ but frankly, if there's a room for improvement in their photography, it has to be in the picture making department, not in the sharpness department.