Does anyone use UV filters on their lenses? I've always used one mainly to protect my lens, but it seems a bit pointless putting a clear glass filter over an expensive lens. Isn't it just an extra layer of glass for the light to travel through, or doesn't it make any difference? I'd be interested to hear your opinions.
Also, I suspect that those cheap £5 - £10 UV filters from ebay may only be plain clear glass. Or am I wrong?
Why put a $5-10 piece of glass in front of a $1000 lens? If you want to "protect the front element", use a metal lens hood.
I understand why people use these to protect the lens, but as an integrity nutcase I don't like the idea of this extra bit of glass and so don't use one.
I use one occasionally/sporadically. If I'm changing lenses often (because I did drop one on concrete once), or climbing in a hilly wooded area where I may slip and hit the camera on something, I usually put one on.
Here's something to consider:
I prefer a lens hood to a UV filter.
I used to use them, until a UV filter shattered and then caused about $200 damage to a very expensive Nikon lens. There are a lot of problems with thinking a filter is really going to protect anything. First, it is flimsy glass. When it breaks, it's going to scratch up your lens WORSE than it would have been. Few things are as good at scratching glass as another piece of jagged glass. This has happened to one of my friends as well. Second, using a flimsy piece of glass generally seems to make people a bit more careless. REAL protection comes from using the very tough plastic lens cap. It's not going to break, and even if it did it's not going to scratch your lens up. I also always use a lens HOOD. These protect my lenses in several ways. First, it deflects a lot of crud from ever getting near my front element. Second if I accidentally drop the lens it keeps the front element away from the ground. The plastic flexes a bit and takes some of the shock. I like to photo trains, and I often have a lot of trouble with flare from even the very best multicoated filters. I've had a lot of great shots ruined by flare caused by using filters*. Finally, I've figured out that for me to place QUALITY filters on each of my best lenses, it would cost me MORE than a repair! What's the sense of that? I've been shooting outdoors pretty much daily, in the worst conditions the Dakotas can come up with. I've used my lenses in wild places such as Iceland, Baffin Island, Hawaii, Artic Canada, and shooting from a sea kayak in Florida. I've been doing this for 20+ years now. The ONLY time I've damaged a lens was when a stupid filter broke and scratched up an expensive lens. I see filters as more RISK than they are "protection." No thanks--I use the lens caps.
Kent in SD
* yes dessertrat, filters have very
DEFINITELY caused me problems.
Thanks very much for that link to the lensrentals.com article. That was really interesting reading, and a unique experiment, because who else could have all those filters available for the study? One thing to learn from all the feedback on this subject; opinions vary.
A long time ago, in the time before computers, my Nikkormat swung and bumped a rock on a trail in Hawaii (Kauai, where the road ends), and I was dumbfounded to see the filter all dented and smashed, broken glass all over, and the lens not affected. That taught me to not bump rocks. Don't remember exactly, but I probably went without a filter after that (since my filter was broke).
As far as paying more for the best filters, some things just have to be taken on faith, and not that it matters, but I think there's a whole lot of ways of melting stuff down and calling it "glass".
Originally Posted by jstout
Yes, one lesson is don't bump rocks. But the other lesson is what I was getting at: people tend to be more careless when they think a filter is "protecting" their lens. Here's how I look at it. If you had been using the lens cap, or even just the lens hood, nothing would have been broken at all. If it was a 77mm B+W mrc filter you hit, not only would you be VERY lucky it didn't scratch the lens, but you are certainly out $77 (plus shipping) for the filter. That's still a pretty big hit. This is why I just use the lens cap and don't mess with flimsy filters.
Kent in SD
I took the opposite view. I fell on cobblestones and the edge of my filter hit the stone and cracked. No damage to the lens at all. I decided the filter was a must. We are what our history makes of us.