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sparks

dispensing with uv,1a filters....on Canon l series lenses

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Good morning all,

 

I am considering purchasing 100-400 L series lenses.....while reading reviews etc I came across the comments that UV, 1a, filters, degrade image from pin point sharpness...

I have always purchased filters to protect front elements....cheaper to replace filter than entire lense ...all my lenses are L series ….I was wondering how many of us use these protective front end filters and on what lenses /focal lengths,  and how many don't....and their reasoning either way..

 

..Thanks for replies.

 

"Sparks"

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I've always got a filter on my 24-105L because it is otherwise quite vulnerable. I'm less concerned about the risk of damaging the glass than I am about damaging the filter ring of the lens itself,  I have occasionally knocked the edge of the filter and I'd rather do that than damage the lens. It's a very sharp lens and I would notice any degradation I think so I'm a little dubious about that advice. I'm sure there is an extra risk of reflections and flare but I haven't noticed that either with this lens. A lens hood can also provide similar protection of course, particularly the deeper hoods with the longer lenses. The good thing is that you can do your own tests.

Edited by Harry Harrison

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35 minutes ago, sparks said:

I have always purchased filters to protect front elements

Use your lens hood

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33 minutes ago, sparks said:

Good morning all,

 

I am considering purchasing 100-400 L series lenses.....while reading reviews etc I came across the comments that UV, 1a, filters, degrade image from pin point sharpness...

I have always purchased filters to protect front elements....cheaper to replace filter than entire lense ...all my lenses are L series ….I was wondering how many of us use these protective front end filters and on what lenses /focal lengths,  and how many don't....and their reasoning either way..

 

..Thanks for replies.

 

"Sparks"

Hi Sparks,

Reading numerous articles, and after seeing various Youtube videos, I have concluded that UV filters are no longer necessary (were necessary for film cameras, not digital), but are mainly to be used for protecting the front element as you say. If you have a really sharp lens, yes, I would expect some minor image degradation. Would it be noticeable is the question...? Just buy the highest quality filter you can I guess. I personally try not to use polarisers so much these days. I keep a UV on my 24-105mm lens that I mostly use, not on my 90mm macro or my 35mm prime.

Steve

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I always use a UV or other neutral protective filter but I use high quality multi-coated ones such as Hoya Revo and similar. I think it is false economy to buy expensive lenses and not use a protective filter. The idea that modern lenses won't get scratched or otherwise deteriorate (coatings) in salty spray, for example, is nonsense I think. Multi-coated, high quality glass filters get scratched so why would lens front elements not get scratched. 

 

I have done tests (on really sharp lenses) to see if I can detect any difference in sharpness with and without a filter and I can see absolutely no difference. Perhaps the one situation where having an extra layer of glass might make a difference is when shooting into the light as it might contribute to flare but again I can see no difference. 

 

Lens hoods give some physical protection against knocks and help against flare but they won't prevent spray or dust from getting on a lens surface.

 

 

Edited by MDM
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1 hour ago, LawrensonPhoto said:

Use your lens hood

 

This.  

 

If using top of the line glass why put a piece of inferior glass over them that might degrade image quality?  Maybe if rolling around in sand and dirt a filter might help keep sand out of filter threads but otherwise don't bother.  Hoods rarely come off my lenses and no filters.  No problems.

 

YouTube videos of guy testing this - jump to about 7:43 in  this one:

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Phil said:

YouTube videos of guy testing this - jump to about 7:43 in  this one:

He says his UV filter is "made of cheap plastic", no one is suggesting a UV filter made of cheap plastic, high quality multi-coated glass always.

Edited by Harry Harrison
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12 minutes ago, Phil said:

 

This.  

 

If using top of the line glass why put a piece of inferior glass over them that might degrade image quality?  Maybe if rolling around in sand and dirt a filter might help keep sand out of filter threads but otherwise don't bother.  Hoods rarely come off my lenses and no filters.  No problems.

 

YouTube videos of guy testing this - jump to about 7:43 in  this one:

 

 

Excellent video, this is primarily why I stopped using polarisers so much.

Edited by Steve F

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So 

14 minutes ago, Phil said:

 

This.  

 

If using top of the line glass why put a piece of inferior glass over them that might degrade image quality?  Maybe if rolling around in sand and dirt a filter might help keep sand out of filter threads but otherwise don't bother.  Hoods rarely come off my lenses and no filters.  No problems.

 

YouTube videos of guy testing this - jump to about 7:43 in  this one:

 

 

 

 

Are you saying that sand can't scratch glass or coatings on lenses? That is definitely not true. Quartz is hard stuff and around the same hardness as glass. I destroyed my very first lens many years ago living by the sea and trying to clean it with a cloth that must have had some tiny amount of sand on it. I live and learn. You don't have to be rolling around in sand for it to cause damage - what about wind? And sea spray (maybe you don't see a lot of that in Central Texas 😀). 

 

The UV filter in that video looks like something that came in a Christmas cracker. You could probably scratch it with a fingernail. I use glass multi-coated filters, clean them very carefully (blower first followed by pac pads) and they still get scratched over time. But better to scratch a £50 filter than an expensive lens. 

 

Finally I see no evidence of image degradation using high quality filters.

Edited by MDM
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A little better filter test video....

 

 

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Yes definitely a better video and the conclusions agree with what I have been saying - there is no visible deterioration in image quality using a decent or half-decent UV filter except perhaps when shooting directly into the light. So why not use one? Obviously the front element is protected and his conclusion that it is not the end of a lens if the front element gets scratched but would I really want to fork out for a repair which would likely take weeks without the lens and would be expensive ($350 or so for a 24-70 Nikkor is I think what he was quoted).

 

His frontal lens smashing kit is neither here nor there - most physical damage to lenses occurs when the camera hits the ground at an angle and messes up the mount end as well as who knows what. I have never yet had something come through the front of a lens. 

 

So I'll stick with my high quality filters thanks.

 

 

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This is a great subject that gets people worked up into a froth, One thing I notice is that the anti-filter argument almost always says " why put cheap/inferior/low quality glass in front of your lens". If you are buying cheap/inferior filters then you might see a difference, but why would anyone who cares about their photography use inferior kit? Photographic equipment is expensive and if you have paid thousands for the camera and lenses, it makes no sense to try and save $50 with cheap filters.

I always use a filter for exactly the reasons that MDM outlines. And it has paid off once - my camera with my 80-200 f2.8 on fell from the top of my rucksack and landed, as if guided by remote control, lens element first onto a big stone that was next to my bag. With no filter the front element would have been nicely wrecked, if not actually cracked. As it had a filter on, it was the filter (and filters are surprisingly tough) that took the impact. The glass of the filter was cracked in about five or six directions with a small hole about 2-3mm across punched out. I can't think what my expensive Nikon lens would have looked like without the filter. 

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9 minutes ago, Colin Woods said:

This is a great subject that gets people worked up into a froth, One thing I notice is that the anti-filter argument almost always says " why put cheap/inferior/low quality glass in front of your lens". If you are buying cheap/inferior filters then you might see a difference, but why would anyone who cares about their photography use inferior kit? Photographic equipment is expensive and if you have paid thousands for the camera and lenses, it makes no sense to try and save $50 with cheap filters.

I always use a filter for exactly the reasons that MDM outlines. And it has paid off once - my camera with my 80-200 f2.8 on fell from the top of my rucksack and landed, as if guided by remote control, lens element first onto a big stone that was next to my bag. With no filter the front element would have been nicely wrecked, if not actually cracked. As it had a filter on, it was the filter (and filters are surprisingly tough) that took the impact. The glass of the filter was cracked in about five or six directions with a small hole about 2-3mm across punched out. I can't think what my expensive Nikon lens would have looked like without the filter. 

 

Exactly. The fact is that almost nobody tests out this idea that filters automatically cause degradation of image quality. It is just a mantra. I expect the degradation due to tiny or micro scratches on a lens that is unprotected and used in hostile environments such as quartz sand beaches near the sea is likely to be a lot more significant but I am not going to test it out. The most noticeable image degradation is likely to be when shooting into the light - I must put this on the list of things to do in the winter. 

 

 

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Proper cleaning technique, lens hood always, proper handling of camera hanging from shoulder, insurance, and not worrying about things that might happen but being careful to not unnecessarily increase their chances of happening . . . and filters used only for very particular purposes (polaroid, ND, others sometimes for monochrome).

 

Has worked for me for a very, very long time, and to be honest, I don't really mind what anyone else does. There is of course no universal right or wrong . . . well, except for the over-hyped miraculous-changing-the-face-of-photography-forever light-field cameras that were going to be the death of all other forms of camera--that was plainly wrong, but you know what I mean . . . 😉

 

DD

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8 hours ago, sparks said:

I was wondering how many of us use these protective front end filters and on what lenses /focal lengths,  and how many don't....and their reasoning either way..

 

..Thanks for replies.

 

"Sparks"

 

It depends on the focal length, more so on lens with shallow lens hood were the chance of "touching" the front element is greater, less on lens with deep lens hoods. Another good reason for a clear protective filter is not having to deal with lens caps while working. B+W has been my standard for quality but recently I have switched to Breakthrough Photography out of San Francisco.

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4 hours ago, Colin Woods said:

but why would anyone who cares about their photography use inferior kit?

Because they can't afford it?

I rarely use it, but my latest polaroid filter cost a few pounds. The idea of spending hundreds, or even tens, is a non-starter.

 

4 hours ago, Colin Woods said:

if you have paid thousands for the camera and lenses,

I've never been able to. See above.

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I bought a clear glass higher end filter for a Batis 18mm lens, not a UV filter.  I have polaroid filters in two sizes for other lenses, and one neutral density filter that I've never used. 

 

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I use UV filters for protection on all my lenses. I've had images captured through scratched and dirty plexiglass windows pass QC with no problems, so I'm not too worried about shooting through multi-coated optical glass. Currently I use Hoya HMC and B+W UV filters. Lens hoods are also a wise idea, of course.

 

P.S. Something I discovered the hard way is that UV filters can fall off if you don't tighten them regularly. I looked at one of my lenses recently and discovered that a nice B+W UV filter had disappeared without my noticing.

Edited by John Mitchell

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I shoot at the beach a lot. I have all kinds of filters - ND, Polarizers - and some UV and some just glass protective. These days, I buy only high quality ones. In fact, I was disappointed that I couldn't seem to get a sharp image with my 200mm Olympus lens from my film days (circa 1979) on my mirrorless camera. Then I thought to take off the UV filter - what a revelation. Night and day. Worth the money to buy high end filters for what I shoot. I'm very careful with my equipment but I've seen some of the older ones get scratched up over time. Sand, wind and salt water are not a lens' friend. Occasionally, I won't use one on some lenses that have deep lens hoods but it always makes me nervous. 

 

I remember a job where I had to shoot glass doors with a client's logo on them - very reflective glass doors. The polarizer was a life saver. They can really come in handy indoors sometimes. I had stopped using mine as much for a while figuring I could enhance blue skies in post, and it meant a lot more work in post. I was actually thinking about buying one of those didymium glass filters to enhance fall colors, but our leaves are mostly going from green to brown this year. Anyone use one? Worth it?

 

But I think you are focusing more on the protection issue. For what I do, it just makes sense. But they can get to be pricey when your lens has a large front element. I finally stopped buying one for every lens and now just buy them for the different filter sizes. if I'm out with two lenses that have the same filter size, I'll put the UV on one and the polarizer on the other and just switch them as needed. 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, MDM said:

 - there is no visible deterioration in image quality using a decent or half-decent UV filter except perhaps when shooting directly into the light.

 

 

In some situations the possibility of flare is increased by using a UV or clear protection filter. I have previously encountered this. Anticipating this, if I have a filter fitted and circumstances permit, I will temporally remove it. 

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In the film era, I owned many many high-quality filters. Now days, with digital PP and the fact that I only shoot with Sony mirrorless cameras for stock, I don't have or use them. I don't plan on climbing mountains or going out in a sandstorm. (And I hate the look a polarizer gives the sky.)

 

Most of the pros and cons have been covered here. I fail to see how a filter will protect the lens from damage; it may or it may not, depending on the nature of the accident. A proper lens hood provides more protection. That and carrying a DSLR on your shoulder with the lens pointed towards your body, not away. 

 

Edo

 

 

Edited by Ed Rooney
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1 hour ago, Ed Rooney said:

In the film era, I owned many many high-quality filters. Now days, with digital PP and the fact that I only shoot with Sony mirrorless cameras for stock, I don't have them use them. I don't plan on climbing mountains or going out in a sandstorm. (And I hate the look a polarizer gives the sky.)

 

Most of the pros and cons have been covered here. I fail to see how a filter will protect the lens from damage; it may or it may not, depending on the nature of the accident. A proper lens hood provides more protection. That and carrying a DSLR on your shoulder with the lens pointed towards your body, not away. 

 

Edo

 

 

 

Additional to its intended use and protection, a lens hood is useful is to protect the front element or filter from rain. Rain can be a pain when it causes defocused blobs on images. They aren't much use when used on wide lenses using 82mm or 77mm filter threads as they are quite shallow. I only carry polarising filters if shooting stock and may want to cut down on glare or reflections. Polarised wide lenses can cause horrible uneven blue skies, I never bother. I feel a protection filter is a must if shooting anywhere near wild seas. Even some distance inland the camera and lens can pick up a salty sticky deposit. Easier to clean a filter than the front element.

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You may find that the Canon 100-400 and others are not totally weather sealed without filter protection. As I shoot in all sorts of weather conditions a Hoya UV Pro-1 is fitted to most of my lenses. The only QC failure I have experienced recently was due to the crap Panasonic kit 12-32mm lens and that was without a filter, no problems with the Olympus 12mm f2 with filter. Obviously there is no right or wrong in whether to filter or not to filter just different levels of paranoia, and I'm pretty high on the paranoia scale.

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4 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

That and carrying a DSLR on your shoulder with the lens pointed towards your body, not away. 

 

Edo

 

 

 

Edo,  I totally agree, that is exactly what I meant when I said "proper handling of camera hanging from shoulder".

 

The number of folk I see carrying their camera with the lens pointing _away_ from their body (and therefore swinging horizontally as they turn their body even slightly) honestly amazes me . . . in fact, I see this more often than I see folk with their lens hood on backwards! Talk about asking for trouble . . . 

 

DD

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+1, Dusty

 

Oh, yes -- I see all that same nonsense everyday. The other night, this "photographer" was using a popup flash to light an enormous blacked-out scene. Eh?

 

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