Lens caps, filters, and me

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Steve Mack, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. Steve Mack

    Steve Mack Member

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    I decided today to remove the 81-A filter I have on my lens, and simply use the lens cap to keep the lens safe, and to keep out most of the dust. Prior to this, I have been very religious about using a glass filter to 'protect' the lens surface from impact. But I prefer to have two fewer glass surfaces in my way when I take a picture, I have not (so far) had a significant impact to my camera which would damage a lens, and I think that if something were to hit the filter hard enough to shatter it, I would suffer lens damage as well.:surprised:

    So I am keeping the lens cap in place at all times to protect the lens (that's what it's there for, right?) except when I want to take a picture. I somehow find the extra filters a nuisance except when I need to use one deliberately to alter the light coming through. YMMV.

    Are there any others out there who work crazy like this?

    With best regards,

    Steve Mack

    PS Also, I save money when I buy a new lens.
     
  2. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    I dont use the filters (I just use a haze/uv filter) for impact protection, but to keep my big clumsy paws off the glass. Especially with my TLRs, I was constantly sticking my finger in the viewing lens for some reason. I don't mind wiping the coating off a filter, but messing up my Rollei glass would be unfortunate. :D
     
  3. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    I haven't used a skylight filter for about six years since someone told me that someone who knows how to take care of a lens doesn't really need one for protection, and little else for that matter.
     
  4. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    "ymmv" is the key here :smile:

    in the past two years my cameras met hard surfaces head-on twice--the cliffs of bretagne, a slab of concrete in hogtown... in both cases the L37c was shattered; in both cases the lens behind it suffered no scratch

    needless to say, i stocked up on L37c
     
  5. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    As I often photograph close to the sea, and there is generally a wind of some kind, I consider a UV filter in conjunction with a lens hood indispensable for protection against salt water droplets and sand grains. Even though I clean the filters regularly and with care, they seem to become unacceptably scratched after 8 or 10 years - I can only conclude the same would apply to my lenses if used without filters. Protection against physical impact is not what filters are about, but they may save a lens from time to time.

    Regards,

    David
     
  6. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    When I began to study photography I listened closely to those who had been in the field for decades.Always best to learn from their,not my,mistakes.While hanging around the local camera shop I was introduced to a chap who was ordering a B&W glass UV filter for his Zeiss Planar 85mm.He explained to me that while rummaging in a closet he accidently pulled a heavy metal tripod off the top shelf and it landed square on his camera bag.
    Shattered the filter ,didn't harm the lens. 'Nuff said.
     
  7. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    I agree with all the examples above, I use top quality filters on all my lenses. Think how many times you have cleaned your filters of dust, grease and sand? You shouldn't be touching the coatings on your lenses at all. Any scratches on your filters would have been on your lens.

    A lot of pros will say that filters are for amateurs...one; they probably don't own the lens and two; I would never consider buying something that a 'pro' had knocked about for years. It's your investment.
     
  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Just one thought. If it's a good idea to always use a skylight filter (and I'm not arguing either way). Why don't lenses come with this coating on the front (or any) element as standard?

    Obviously this is nothing to do with using a filter as protection.


    Steve.
     
  9. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    Because skylight filters have a slight magenta tint to colour correct shadows, so not suitable for all applications.
     
  10. ehparis

    ehparis Member

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    I see no point in throwing away money on "protective" filters. Why put even a quality filter in front of a high priced piece of glass you bought for its contrast, sharpness, etc.? I'm not interested in degrading the resultant image even the least little bit.
     
  11. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    See post #6.
     
  12. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I only use protective filters in particularly risky conditions. A lens hood usually provides adequate protection. When not photographing, screw-in metal lens caps provide better protection than OEM plastic snap-in caps. Not using protective filters means more frequent lens cleaning, sometimes with improvised materials. As a result, I retired a 50mm Summicron because of cleaning marks. This cost a small fraction of the the film shot with that lens.
     
  13. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    You don't need a protective filter until you have an accident with the lens. Just like you don't need to wear a seatbelt unless you plan on having an accident with the motor vehicle.

    Most of the time I use UV filters for protection of the lens but sometimes I don't.

    "So I am keeping the lens cap in place at all times to protect the lens (that's what it's there for, right?) except when I want to take a picture."

    I consider lens caps as protective storage devices, not something to use while taking pictures. But if it works for you, it works.
     
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  15. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    My feelings, exactly.
     
  16. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    Once had my 28mm AIs Nikkor roll off a lectern on a stage - while I watched helpless from 30 feet away - thence off the stage and into the orchestra pit. Tiffen UV haze filter - shattered, Tiffen filter ring - crushed, lens front element - pristine, lens filter threads - pristine. Still using it today.
     
  17. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    Ah, the memories. The stories I could tell of the times UV filters have saved my lenses due to falls, drops, debris and champagne spray.
     
  18. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I guess I am crazy because I also work like this. I decided that I didn't need so many UV filters around the house and also the fact that dust tends to accumulate on the inside of the filter meant that I was constantly having to remove said filter to clean it. I also got tired of spending money on the UV filters. If I want to use a filter in my shooting, I'll use one. Otherwise, the lens caps go on the lens.
     
  19. BobbyR

    BobbyR Member

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    I go with the view of those here who use it for protection, the only lens I ever scratched did not have a filterf.
    Once done it is to damn late to say woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    To those who say-" I have never...", I used to brag that way too, to bad I let arrogance get in the way of caution.
    Bobby
     
  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Some of my best photographs were taken with the lens cap on.:surprised:

    Steve
     
  21. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    The times you all ended up with damaged filters. How do you know the lens would have been damaged?

    Did the filter protect the lens? Or would nothing have happened without the filter?

    If I tape an egg to my bumper will the egg protect the car?

    Of course if your filters come with built in shock absorbers.
     
  22. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I would say - because a filter is of similar material and dimensions to the filter mount on the front of a lens, which leads me to suspect that any given impact would cause the same damage to a filter or lens mount. I think it would be highly optimistic to think you can drop a lens without filter 4 or 5 feet or more onto a hard surface and have it sustain no damage! Filters don't have shock absorbers but they do make handy deformation zones!
     
  23. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    So what do you do when your lens has no filter threads or has already been dinged on the filter threads by the time you get it? :confused:
     
  24. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I can think of two occasions off hand.

    I was changing lenses and put one of them on the roof of my vehicle and immediately knocked it off. It smashed onto the concrete parking lot, glass went everywhere and it rolled under the car. I crawled under, expecting the worst and only discovered the filter was broken. Needle-nose pliers removed the filter ring and I went on with my pictures. No damage other than the broken filter.

    On another occasion, same circumstances. I placed a lens on a countertop while changing lenses and knocked it off. It hit on the lens shade, bending it and shattering the filter. No other damage. I bent the hood back into shape, removed the broken filter and continued with my pictures.

    Maybe the lenses would have survived unscathed without the filters in place. Maybe the egg saved the bumper. Was the bumper made of eggshell?

    But the main point is that I have thrown away a few dozen UV filters over the years that had become scratched. The scratches came from overly aggressive cleaning on my part to dings of unknown etiology. If the filter hadn't been there, I'm sure the lens would have become scratched instead.

    Most of the time, I use a filter on my lenses but sometimes I don't. I have a couple of telephotos that have long, securely attached lens hoods and I very seldom find a filter necessary to protect these lenses. I'm just really careful with cleaning the front elements. I also have several lenses I bought used that already had scratches or damaged filter threads (or both). They were cheap to buy and already damaged so I don't take as much care of them.
     
  25. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    The way you rationalize is strange. When I see a ding on one of my filters I'm glad it's on the filter ring and not the lens - when I see a ding on one of my lenses, I wonder about it's optical integrity.
     
  26. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I fully expect a filter ring to be softer then my wimpiest lens. If it isn't then normal use of the filter will damage the lens.

    Just because the filter was damaged doesn't mean the lens would have been. It's possible the filter could even have made things worse.