Use of Filters for Protection

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Chazzy, Feb 24, 2009.

Do you generally leave a filter on lenses for the purpose of protection?

  1. Yes, I do.

    53 vote(s)
    51.5%
  2. No, I don't.

    50 vote(s)
    48.5%
  1. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    The topic of the use of filters for protection of lenses came up in another thread, and I thought that it might be interesting to conduct a poll. What is your personal practice?
     
  2. largeformat pat

    largeformat pat Member

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    1a or 1b is so cheap compared to the front element. Colour diff well not much.. 1 vote yes
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There should b a third option - Sometimes.

    In general with modern lenses I never use a filter unless necessary, but I do on some older lenses where the glass is softer like my 50's Summicron.

    Ian
     
  4. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    I agree on the "sometimes" so I didn't vote.
     
  5. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I voted no, but given the option my reply would have been sometimes in conditions that would damage the lens surface.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Generally no, unless there is an obvious hazard like crowds, sand, or sea spray. Otherwise, I use a filter if there is a photographic reason for it.
     
  7. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    NO, a pol at times when needed. The only lens that I would like to have a protective filter does not take it: an ultra-wide.
     
  8. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I do use a filter because I'm a klutz!

    Jeff
     
  9. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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    Sometimes, but I ALWAYS keep the lens glare hood on, I can't tell you how many times it's saved my bacon.
     
  10. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Yes and no (but I voted yes). None of my vintage gear has filters. The three Canon EF lenses I use most often all have filters - two have CPs and one has a UV0 (all 3 are Hoya HMC). I also have a spare UV0 for times when I don't want the CP on one of the lenses. Even with the filters I usually have the hood mounted on the lens - that's saved the filters a bunch of times.

    Dan
     
  11. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Meant to add a realtime example of why my answer is sometimes. I use them occasionally, as others have suggested, if conditions warrant them for real protection.

    I forgot and left one on while taking some pics of my grandson's third birthday. I caught a nice tight close-up of him blowing out the candles on his cake. As soon as the film was developed, a problem was obvious. There were three distinct bright spots perfectly aligned on his forehead. They matched the candle flame spacing perfectly. Apparently, the candle flame image reflected off the front lens surface and bounced off the back of the filter glass. Now if it had been digital, I guess I could have PS'd them out.:smile:
     
  12. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    I only use a filter for protection in areas of blowing sand or salt spray.
    A filter is really no protection against lens damage if the camera is dropped or hits something. A metal lens hood is much better for this purpose as it is not likely to shatter and scratch the lens.
     
  13. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    +1.
     
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  15. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    When I fell, in China, on the cobblestone street, my camera hit the pavement on the edge of the filter. Cracked filter glass and dinged filter ring but no damage to the lens.
    And In our industrial world (Hamilton Ontario) there is always crap in the air. We are either victims or beneficieries of our past experience. Filters for me all the time, which since I always shoot black and white is an easy decision. I always want to make a contrast decision.
     
  16. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I chose "No" because the poll says "generally" - if you sometimes use one, then you generally don't leave it on the lens.

    I've used a UV or clear filter when 1) I'm out in the rain or fog and will have to wipe the lens from time to time to continue shooting; and 2) sometimes I've actually use a UV filter for UV filtration when at high altitudes or the beach - it does seem to help in those situations.

    Otherwise I don't bother with filters at all unless I want a specific effect, like soft-focus, polarizing, etc. If there is one filter I've been known to leave on the lens, it's a yellow (when shooting black-and-white) or an 81a (when shooting slide) outdoors.
     
  17. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I am just waiting for the inevitable wiseguy to post the link to the fellow who smeared a magic marker on a filter and then said, look, you can barely see any effect on the image....
     
  18. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    Exactly my thoughts.
     
  19. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    I only use a filter if there is an aesthetic reason for it, or when I'm at the beach - to protect the lens from sand and spray.
     
  20. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I use one on any camera I carry around my neck. The 35mm an Mamiya 7 both have filters for most of their lenses. The 4x5 is filter free because not much is likely to happen because it is on a tripod. I will put one on the lens if there is sea spray. Given the amount of crap I end up removing from the front filters after a week of walking around I figure it's money well spent.
     
  21. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    I agree.
    I clean filters often enough to be real glad i am cleaning filters, not repolishing the lens.

    I will not propose a magic marker test, Keith, but will be the wise guy who asks the "No"-faction if they have tried to see the amount of image degradation a filter causes?

    And yes, i have.
    So i have no qualms whatsoever about putting a filter on the lens.
     
  22. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have too, and I'm absolutely convinced that an unneeded multicoated filter of excellent quality still adds unneeded flare and potential for ghosting, and a lesser quality filter adds more of the same and worse.
     
  23. Stephen Schoof

    Stephen Schoof Member

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    I treat my UVs as lens caps, removing them when I'm shooting (by screwing them in only a half-turn or so it's no big deal). If conditions are rough, I leave them on. I suspect I could just leave them on most of the time with no noticeable loss of quality, but removing them has become a habit, especially since I'm putting on a Cokin holder for a grad ND half the time anyway. So I don't know whether that's a yes or no vote, but there it is.
     
  24. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I leave a good quality UV or skylight on all the time...I suppose I just feel more comfortable cleaning a filter than the front lens element, but I guess that's just me being me. :smile:

    I don't have any issues with image deterioration thru this "clear" filter use, or use of a suitable colored one for B&W as when appropriate.
     
  25. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    The answer will inevitably be: sometimes it makes a huge difference (overall loss of contrast, multiple ghosting etc.), and sometimes it's totally unnoticeable. I simply don't enjoy having to think about whether there will or won't be ghosting from my filter and wondering I will be able to see it in the viewfinder or on the ground glass. These things have a way of not presenting themselves until you're just about to make a print. :surprised:

    And yes I do have top notch b+w filters for when they're warranted. N.b. if you do need a filter, then you need a hood as well. (I hood almost all the time anyway, but my point is that a filter makes a hood all the more important)

    Any way you slice it, a filter- multicoated or not- introduces two extra reflecting surfaces between yourself and your subject. Also, if you are going to use a filter all the time, then you will want to put a multicoated b+w on each and every lens. You won't want to be screwing the things on and off all the time, sharing between lenses, because sooner or later you will cross threads and have to do a circumcision.

    I don't get the logic that a filter is cheaper than a new lens. So? Being careful doesn't cost anything at all. Just to be annoying, I think I will start saying that every time these discussions pop up. Nah, better not, I am annoying enough already :rolleyes:
     
  26. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Condoms are much better protection than filters.
    Or were you talking about taking pictures...?