Do you use a UV filter?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by SMaturin, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    I came across an interesting blog post today: - Good Times with Bad Filters

    I have always used a UV filter to protect my lenses (I can be pretty rough on my gear), but I usually buy a cheap one. I had expensive ones on my film cameras years ago, but I have become more of a curmudgeon over the years.

    This blog post stacked a bunch of cheap filters and a bunch of expensive ones, and took pictures of them and through them. Now I am wondering whether to upgrade some of my cheap ones.

    • Like Like x 2
  2. BAKatz

    BAKatz Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 9, 2010
    Riverdale, NY
    are there expensive uv filters? aren't they usually around $10 - $15.......i always buy one with the camera or the lens....mainly because i thought you were supposed to.........
  3. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    Hey neighbor (I'm just down the road in Millwood).

    Yes, there are very good filters, of higher grade optical glass with optical multicoatings to improve light transmission. They obviously cost much more. The $10-15 filter you get at Walmart is not going to compare well.

    The article on the blog makes it pretty clear that there is a meaningful difference between the best and the worst. But they were showing the effects of compounding the flaws of the cheap filters by stacking up five and comparing them to a stack of five top-end filters. Does a single filter matter as much?
  4. Opinions on this topic are often polarized (no pun intended), but thankfully not as impassioned as r*w vs jp*g (I DON'T want to make the phrase searchable!).

    I have definitely noticed that some UV filters are more susceptible to flare and reflection from light sources than others. All of my filters have come from buying and (eventually) selling second hand lenses - I keep the good, sell the not so good. The ones that I still have left are a couple of B+Ws, some Hoya Pro1s, and a few regular Hoyas as well.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    Thanks for not using the R word or J word. I dare not bring that can of worms to this thread!

    I have B+W and Hoya for my old film kit, but went with cheaper ones for my digital cameras.

    It makes me less nervous about shooting from a moving motorcycle to have cheap glass in front of the lens. (Don't try this at home, kids! I is a trained profeshunnal!)
    • Like Like x 1
  6. I remember coming home one night with a fairly expensive new (but used) lens from the post office, and taking a few shots inside my apartment that had some horrible flare spots from the lights. After considering an indignant message to the seller, I eventually removed the UV filter it came with and voila! No problem anymore. The filter was a cheapy. I think if you are going to have a problem with filters it will be from strong point light sources, otherwise I don't really notice a difference between brands.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I used to keep my filters on all the time, until I got a few night-time pictures with some unfortunate flaring from lights.

    So now I only keep the filters on during the day, and take them off during night-time shooting. I figure they won't need as much protection at night, when I'm mostly taking people shots. Daytime is different - it's mainly outdoors for me, where there are more things that can fly into the lens...
    • Like Like x 1
  8. JohnMetsn

    JohnMetsn Mu-43 Veteran

    Time to show off my collection of 46mm UV filters for 20mm :biggrin:


    But my weapon of choice is B+W UV MRC. But even with this relatively expensive filter I already noticed some I'm thinking about using some hood as well. But where did my compact camera go?

    • Like Like x 4
  9. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    Aye, there's the rub!

    Love the stack! Have you shot anything through the whole stack? Try the trick did and show us what you get!
  10. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I use a B+W Clear MRC filter. Not all the time, though. I use it at the beach and when I go hiking. The only time I've seen any real problems is with strong reflections or directly at the sun sort of shots.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    • Like Like x 1
  12. JohnMetsn

    JohnMetsn Mu-43 Veteran

    I'll try to take a picture tomorrow. It's 3h50 in the morning here, so not really ideal light :wink:
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Unlike Pringles, I can stop with just one.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    Actually, it was Lay's.

    But they don't stack so nicely.

    Which one do you stop with?
  15. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    Thanks, Alan.

    In my search for previous posts that might address this question I missed your thread.

    I would urge readers to take a look at it, as the questions you raised there are the same I have been thinking about.

    I, too, followed the old school thinking that a filter is essential protection of the precious coatings on a lens. But like others in today's thread, I have seen unwanted flare and artifacts that were due to the extra piece of glass in some of my shots, so I am wondering about my choices.
  16. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    The shorter the lens, the more negative influence from clear filters, even the most expensive.
    The longer the lens, the least it needs a protection because it already has a long lens hood...

    It all started for me around 1980, when the National Geo started admitting 35mm, with a seminar advising:
    - Kodachrome 25
    - selected Leitz lenses
    and strongly disadvising:
    - UV, 1a, "protection" filters.

    Considering all the money I saved in 35 years by following these advices and not buying UV filters, I could afford ruining a couple expensive lenses.
    This said, I did spend a lot on the best possible Polarizers...
    • Like Like x 1
  17. linkedit

    linkedit Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2010
    New Jersey, USA
    I use the B&W UV MRC filters on all of my lenses. Do they make a difference? Who knows. Do I get that nice warm fuzzy feeling knowing that they are there? You betcha.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I did my own testing once, and found bad filters are bad. Tiffen is terrible. At least Hoya HMC if not B+W is the way to go. I generally don't use UV filters anymore, though, but I do use CPs from time to time
    • Like Like x 1
  19. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 17, 2010
    Lenses are designed without taking filters into consideration. Each transition from air to glass and from glass to air impacts image quality. Things get worse with bad filters. I have used filters until some weeks ago. Since I always used high quality filters, the impact on image quality was not that bad, but I have never experienced any case in which I needed that extra protection. Thus I decided not to buy filters any more and to remove all filters from my lenses. If I really need a filter for protection, I will use one of the filters I already own, but I prefer to have that little bit extra image quality otherwise.

    BTW, all filters I own have cost me more than the sum I would have needed for repairing (or even replacing) a lens which was damaged because of a missing filter.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Usually Hoya HMC or B+W.
    • Like Like x 1
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