Expensive UV filters.. worth the money?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Cocoamedia, May 23, 2015.

  1. I always buy very expensive UV / Protective filters

    14 vote(s)
  2. I buy mid-price filters UV / Protective filters

    7 vote(s)
  3. Filters shmilters - I have a lens hood, what could go wrong!

    14 vote(s)
  4. I used to buy expensive UV / Protective filters now I buy cheap and see no difference

    0 vote(s)
  5. I used to buy cheap UV / Protective filters now I buy expensive and see a difference

    2 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Cocoamedia

    Cocoamedia Mu-43 Rookie

    May 4, 2015
    Real Name:
    Dave Fowler
    I understand the logic behind putting quality glass filters on to a highly engineered expensive lens.

    Just moved to M43 but always had Hoya pro filters on my Canon L lenses, I have the Oly 12-40 pro and need a 62mm UV / protection filter which got me to thinking, is the glass in a £40 UV filter really any better than in a £10 filter or do we just think it is because of the price?
  2. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    The glass doesn't matter a huge amount however coatings have come a long way.

    Uncoated is really easy to clean.
    Single coating is somewhat harder however the coating itself is durable.
    Normal multicoating attracts fingerprints and is a bitch to clean, scratches easily compared to SC.
    Newer coatings (nano MRC/NXT/HMC/flouride/etc) are all variations on the same theme and are pretty easy to clean... and stay clean (rub your fingers on them without leaving fingerprint marks for example).

    The higher end ones are also going to have glass of an even thickness, however it barely matters really.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Glass and coatings do matter.
  4. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Do you want to know if they are technically better or if they are better in practice? For what usage? Pixel peep, print or web sharing?
    I put filters only on the most expensive lenses and I buy decent filters (around 30/50$).
    For me the advantage of filters is that I can clean the lens without worrying too much: dirt on the lens probably matters more than the quality of the filters.
  5. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    That's the reason I go for the slightly more expensive filters, they're easy to clean and they stay clean... optically they're all basically flawless.

    Pixel peeping won't display any differences, print is even less likely and web you can shoot at ISO 25600 and it still looks better than most camera phones so who cares about a filter?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Since I am not shooting film, I have zero use for a UV filter. Since I use hoods on my lenses since 1972, and never damaged a front lens element, I have zero use for a protective filter. I have yet to see how either type of filter can improve the raw file produced by a sensor.
  7. adamsmt2013

    adamsmt2013 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2013
    I buy the higher priced filters because they have side coating to prevent reflections off of the sensor. Any point light sources hitting the sensor straight on can cause reflections on the image.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  8. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    .... so "green" window glass is as good as Schott glass ....... how about that !!!!!
  9. Mercurio

    Mercurio Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2012
    Bogotá, Colombia
    Real Name:
    Most of the time "you get what you paid for".
    In this case, it isn´t really about UV rays but to protect your lens with a glass that do not degrade their optics with added reflections.
  10. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Real Name:
    No. Neither are cheap ones. Don't use them unless I want to filter UV.
  11. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Real Name:
    IMO, if you're going to bother at all with using UV/Clear filters, buy the best, otherwise don't bother at all. Why get a nice lens only to put subpar glass and coating in front of the quality glass that's inside of the lens (presuming one is buying a nice lens to begin with). Especially with the small filter sizes that m43 lenses use, the cost of buying a nice filter versus generic is paltry compared to the cost of the lens.

    I've been using UV filters from back in the film days because back then, IMO, it was almost necessary when shooting outdoors. However, these days with digital, it's more about protection of the first element as well as for completing the weather sealing on WR lenses.

    FWIW, I use B+W MRC Clear filters on all of my lenses and have been using B+W exclusively for well over 10 years. They don't affect IQ, they're easy to clean and it gives me peace of mind. A small price to pay for those reasons.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Real Name:
    Andrew Lossing
    Nope, I hate UV filters. Waste of time and money. On a film camera they make sense.
  13. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I don't use UV filters or hoods. The camera filters UV already, and it is so rare that I shoot in flare causing situations that I don't want the size penalty of a hood.
  14. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I never use UV filters. They can only degrade image quality and the protection they offer is of arguable benefit. Ask anyone who has dropped a lens and had the filter shatter. Glass shards on the front element WILL cause very bad scratching. Getting a filter off a dented filter thread is next to impossible too.

    As to filter quality - it matters more and more as the focal length increases. Any waviness in the glass will become increasingly problematic as the imaging angle decreases. If you must buy a filter, buy a good one!
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. GnedTheGnome

    GnedTheGnome Mu-43 Regular

    Last edited: May 24, 2015
    • Informative Informative x 1
  16. Cocoamedia

    Cocoamedia Mu-43 Rookie

    May 4, 2015
    Real Name:
    Dave Fowler
    Great find thank you... The filters I have are Hoya Pro1 Digital which the test shows as good. Interesting that they say some of the filters, even expensive ones, are no better than window glass or an old pair of spectacles!
  17. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I would only ever use UV filters if I was planning on using certain legacy lenses or Panasonic lenses on an Olympus body, in order to reduce purple colour aberrations due to Oly's weaker UV-filter stack on their sensor. Other than that, I wouldn't bother.

    If you are worried about scratches on your front element from a resale point of view, that's one thing. But from an image quality point of view, you need serious problems (like giant cracks / broken glass / huge coating voids) on the front element before they become visible in practice.
  18. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 20, 2014
    York, UK
    As with anything in life, the most expensive does not mean the best, but probably does mean better marketing and brand name.

    OTOH the cheapest is rarely the best either.

    Currently I don't use any filters unless I need them. UV filters get used if I'm in a harsh environment, e.g. blowing sand. Vari-ND filters are used when I need to control the light without changing shutter speed or aperture, e.g. shooting video wide open. After that, I can't think of any time I use them.

    When I do use them, frankly I haven't noticed any measurable difference between cheap and expensive. Perhaps the cheaper ones are a little more prone to flare, but without locking it all down on a tripod and comparing them side by side it's hard to know for sure.

    Perhaps that's a test we should be doing ;)
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    For those that do use UV filters for protection, how do you deal with UWA and fisheyes that don't take them?
  20. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 20, 2014
    York, UK
    You don't!