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Thread: Do you use filters on your lens?

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    Do you use filters on your lens?

    Hi everyone!
    These have been slow days down here so I've had enough time to test some things and I came up with this, may be I will sound silly but the fact is that this issue is now answering some questions.
    I use a Canon 35-350mm most of the time and I use a UV Haze filter to protect the from element, well, today I remove it just for fun and see how it affects an image, and man, it really affects the image!
    I want to know if some of you guys that are reading this, use filters stack on your lens, and if you do, why? protection? or something else.
    Thank you all for your input.:D

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    I never put a haze, skylight, or any type of protective filter on the front of any lens and recommend that nobody else do so.

    On several occasions I have seen lenses that could not focus on anything until the filter was removed. Salespersons are trained to take your money by selling them to you... Yikes! Good question.
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    Another reason why I don't use any type of protective filter, and Artie, correct me if I'm wrong because
    I think I learned this from you is, lets say you drop your lens and the filter breaks. There's always
    that chance that the glass from the filter can scratch the lens.

    Doug

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Hey Doug, I do not remember saying that :) but that does not prove anthing...

    I do know that the front element in the lens is the least expenisve component, thus the "I am protecting my valuable front element" arguement does not hold water.
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    Artie,

    I'm trying to find where you mentioned that, but I'm coming up empty. I'm 99.999% sure it was you
    because that would be the only explanation on why I don't do it. And if it wasn't? Yikes.

    Maybe it was Art of Bird Photography I. All I have to do is find the book.

    I searched all of your bulletins and came up with zip on that.

    Doug

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    Artie and Doug, thank you so much for helping me with this issue!
    From today I will not use a filter in front of my lens!

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    Life Time Member Doug Brown's Avatar
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    I don't use filters either Juan.
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    My dad had a camera store my entire childhood and most of my adulthood. I worked in camera stores while in college. My father is retired, his shop is no more, and I now have nothing to do professionally with the photo industry, but yes - I DO put a UV filter on my lenses. In fact I just purchased 2 for some new lenses.

    I do this because of all of the lenses I've seen saved by the filter - including one of my own that I stupidly dropped from a top shelf (don't keep your lenses on a top shelf). Ok - the filter might break and scratch the coating on the lens - but it might not, AND - imagine what would have happened to the lens if it hadn't been there.... That would have been your lens.

    It's more likely that your lens might get scratched by sand, twigs, the "stuff" at the bottom of your camera bag that you forgot was there....

    There are good filters with good optics/coatings that are fine to keep on your lens. It's possible to get information on the refractive qualities of filters to get the ones that block as little of the spectrum as possible.

    It's hard to buy consumer grade lenses, and then worry about what difference a UV filter makes.... If my photography gets to the point where a UV filter makes a critical difference, it's not the filter I will change - it would be the lens itself.

    Amy D.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amy DeStefanis View Post
    [snip]
    I do this because of all of the lenses I've seen saved by the filter - including one of my own that I stupidly dropped from a top shelf (don't keep your lenses on a top shelf). Ok - the filter might break and scratch the coating on the lens - but it might not, AND - imagine what would have happened to the lens if it hadn't been there.... That would have been your lens.

    It's more likely that your lens might get scratched by sand, twigs, the "stuff" at the bottom of your camera bag that you forgot was there....

    There are good filters with good optics/coatings that are fine to keep on your lens. It's possible to get information on the refractive qualities of filters to get the ones that block as little of the spectrum as possible.

    It's hard to buy consumer grade lenses, and then worry about what difference a UV filter makes.... If my photography gets to the point where a UV filter makes a critical difference, it's not the filter I will change - it would be the lens itself.

    Amy D.
    I use filters for protection purposes, too. Some say the filters will degrade your image. Maybe. At least in theory I'd agree it would be so. But, so far I can't tell the difference. I do know I don't want anything happens to the front elements of my lenses, although they may be the cheapest part of the lens. Don't know if the front element would be cheaper than a UV filters, though. My guess is it isn't.

    Incidentally, those prime tele come with internal filters. Any of you take it off?

    The Nikon 200-400 f4 VR comes with a protective lens. Any of you use the lens without it? I think the menu says keep it on unless perhaps shooting directly at light source, but not sure without checking it.

    I've seen quite a few discussions on whether to use filter or not. And I don't think it will end anytime soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Desmond Chan View Post
    Incidentally, those prime tele come with internal filters. Any of you take it off?
    You need a filter for the lens to work properly. Removing the filter shifts the focus position slightly. That is why the lens comes with a clear glass filter.

    Regarding a clear "protective" filter, the practice started in film days because many films were/are sensitive to UV, which could change contrast in B&W and color balance on color film. Digital sensors are less sensitive to UV than film, so that need is no longer an issue.

    As for reduction in quality, there are two issues. First, many lens designs have a relatively flat front element. So when you put on a filter, reflections between the front of the lens and the back of the filter happen and that reduces contrast and if you have a bright object in the scene, you get a reflection, for example, night city images, a landscape in twilight with the moon, or lightning. So when shooting these scenes, if you use a filter, it is best to remove it.

    In general, with the flat front element lens design, there is one reasonably good solution: the multicoated filters that greatly reduce reflections. Removing the filter may reduce focus accuracy.

    I use multicoated filters, such as Hoya HMC super multicoated UV(0) filters on all my lenses with 77 mm filter threads and smaller. On the large telephoto lenses (e.g. 500 f/.4), the lens hood does an impressive job of keeping the front element clean. I find that for the lenses I do have a UV(0) filter on, the filter gest dirty and grungy often for the imaging I do (from rain to spray from waterfalls, ocean salt spray, dusty environments, etc). The combination of water and dust can be permanently destructive by cementing dust to the optical surface (a reaction of the coating, the dust, and water). So if you work in difficult conditions, I feel it is best to use a filter, and clean it and change it often. I buy new filters every year or so to keep performance in top shape.

    Then there was the time I was changing lenses, dropped a lens onto a rock and the front filter shattered, but the lens was perfect. But then there was the time I dropped a large format lens and the back lens hit a rock. Oh well, at least I've only had 3 incidents that I recall in about 20 years, and two of those saved my lens.

    Roger

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    Lifetime Member Jay Gould's Avatar
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    There is so much wonderful educational information in the depths of BPN that I find myself continually bringing old posts to the forefront. Thanks all you "older" (refers to the age of the thread and not the person posting! :D) teachers.

    I use multicoated filters, such as Hoya HMC super multicoated UV(0) filters on all my lenses with 77 mm filter threads and smaller. On the large telephoto lenses (e.g. 500 f/.4), the lens hood does an impressive job of keeping the front element clean. I find that for the lenses I do have a UV(0) filter on, the filter gest dirty and grungy often for the imaging I do (from rain to spray from waterfalls, ocean salt spray, dusty environments, etc). The combination of water and dust can be permanently destructive by cementing dust to the optical surface (a reaction of the coating, the dust, and water). So if you work in difficult conditions, I feel it is best to use a filter, and clean it and change it often. I buy new filters every year or so to keep performance in top shape.
    Roger, and others in the "I use a UV filter for protection" group, do you remove the UV filter whenever you use a different filter, e.g., polarizer or warming?

    Also, in addition to the 52mm drop-in filter size for the 300, I have four other lenses all with different filter sizes: 82, 77, 72, and 67.

    Various books including Tim Fitzharris' Landscape tome suggest the use of step up rings. Are "you" buying single high quality polarizers and other filters for your largest filter thread and using step up rings?

    Interestingly, B&W make a step up from 77 - 82 (24-105), 72 - 82 (180 Macro), BUT they do not make/I haven't found a 67 - 82 (70-200 f/4).

    For the 70-200 f/4 I will have to use two step-up rings: 67 - 72 and then 72-82.

    Are BPN members using the rings or carrying thread specific filters for each lens; carrying four expensive polarizers doesn't make sense to me.

    Thanks for your input.

    Jay

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Gould View Post
    Roger, and others in the "I use a UV filter for protection" group, do you remove the UV filter whenever you use a different filter, e.g., polarizer or warming?

    Also, in addition to the 52mm drop-in filter size for the 300, I have four other lenses all with different filter sizes: 82, 77, 72, and 67.
    Hi Jay.
    I don't have an 82 mm lens, but 77, 72, 67, etc. I keep the 77 (300 f/4) as is and a filter for it. The others I step up to 72mm. This does have side effects. For example, on the 70-200 f/4 you can no longer use the lens hood that came with it once you add a step up ring. I generally do not remove the UV filter when I add a polarizer, except on my 20mm on the 5DII. If I don't remove the filter, I get some vignetting. I generally only carry polarizing filters, so only 3: a 72mm, 77mm (if I'm carrying the 300 f/4) and the internal polarizer for the super telephotos.

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