To Filter or not. That is the question...

Alanroseman

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Hello All,

I come from the old school and back there, in that very old school, we used filters... and lots of them.

From earlier days with the Mamiya C330, Rapid Omega, Hassleblad 500M, Nikon F etc. we covered our lenses with a filter, many of us did this at all times.

Most often I covered mine for protection using Hoya 1A skylight, or UV haze. I was taught early on that it was a far better fate to replace a filter after experiencing a swift knock on the lens, than to shell out for a new lens..

But perhaps of more import, cleaning.

We're all aware that dirty glass does not make for good images. So I would assume that, like me, you try to keep your lenses as clean as possible at all times.

I was always told that each time you clean your (unfiltered) lens you're wiping away at the very expensive factory lens coatings and in so doing diminishing the quality of same. By keeping it covered with a 1A for example, you're are scrubbing away at a $40. accessory.

When the filter begins to display any sign of wear you toss it, and re-cover your "pristine" factory fresh lens with another disposable filter.

My first accessory purchase, post GF1 acquisition, was a skylight filter for the kit lens. I was so relieved to see it "protected".. Then I began to wonder...

1. Does this practice remain in vogue?

2.Do you feel the use of a 1A skylight or UV haze filter diminishes your images.

3.Do they have negative connotations with digital cameras?

4. Are the new lens coatings more durable than those of old?

5. Do you use an "everyday" filter?

6. Am I worshiping at the alter of an old wives tale?

Opinions are not only welcome, but sought after..

Thoughts from another snowy New England day...

Cheers, Alan
 

Grant

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I am not sure what is in vogue and I really don't care.

I do have and use UV filters to protect my lens from dust I feel less guilty about taking cleaning a filter over a piece of fine optics. If the glass is well made, ie flat glass, no distortion while be added. The only problem with filters and any element in a lens is reflections. If you buy good filters that are multi coated this will be minimized.

As well as UV filters I do have and use a couple of strengths of ND filters and Polarizing filters as they do two things that can't be fully accomplished in Photoshop.

For my Panasonic 20 mm f/1.7 I also have three diopters for close up work and they do add distortion at the edge of the frame.
 

Spuff

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I don't know whether you should or shouldn't have a protector on.
I've read that modern lenses are tougher than ones of old.

I've read Scott Kelby books and he says he keeps a UV filter as a protector on all his lenses.
I've read others who know about photography and they say with modern lenses there is no need to put a cheap bit of plastic in front of you expensive lens.
Others say a solid hood is a better option for protection.

My conclusion from looking at this is that I will put no filter as protection on my lens.
I suppose if you are shooting where there is a lot of mositure spurting about, sea spume or whatever splashing up, then a protector would be desirable for you would feel less reticance to uncarefully wipe it a lot.
 

Alanroseman

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To Grant:

Don't interpret in vogue too literally. As you're aware there have been trends in photography, and photo equipment since its inception. Lord knows I / we have spent liberally on occasion because of them.

In the 70's there wasn't a camera shop around that wasn't pushing filters as the ultimate "lens coating" protection. In retrospect, one wonders if the whole thing was a big sales pitch not unlike undercoating when we bought autos in the 70's and 80's.
 

Cerebus2

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We're Sorry, Borrowlenses (Or: The Gear That Got Us Through CES)

It's funny, the moments in your life that happen in slow motion. Like watching a $5000 camera with a $1700 lens bolted to it tumble onto concrete, followed by an ejaculation of glass.

Fortunately, what you're looking at is just a busted filter. The lens itself, unscathed. Lesson learned: Always wear protection, even when you think you don't need it.
'Nuff said.
 

Alanroseman

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To Spuff

When I speak of the use of filters as protection against damage and excessive cleaning..

I can assure you, plastic never entered my thoughts. I'd never use a cheap plastic or glass filter.

My question is in regard to the use of even high quality 1A or UV haze filters.
 

Luke

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I keep a UV filter on at all times....except when I remove it for cleaning.
 

Streetshooter

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I never did nor ever will use a filter for protection.
Even all my Leica glass after 40 years still look new.
That is the reason I returned my M8's.
I couldn't see using an $89.00 filter on a $3500.00 lens.
The newer coatings are just as good if not better than the old ones.

I tested the LensPen on an old lens for 6 months before I started using it.
It keeps things clean with no wear to the coating.
 

Cerebus2

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I think I may be agreement from the protection standpoint.... that begs the question:
Actually it doesn't, as the thread title is "To Filter or not. That is the question..."

:biggrin:

What is your EVERYDAY choice for a non disruptive filter when shooting?
I use clear (a.k.a. "protection" filters) when I can find them; UV when I can't; and Skylight if nothing else is available. After the initial purchase I generally forget about them.

I use glass only and AR coated (look for deeper-hued reflections off the glass as a *very* rough measure of coating quality). If I want flare I know how to introduce it.

Past that, branding is irrelevant but almost all my filters seem to be Hoyas.

-- T
 

Alanroseman

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Well Streetshooter, I was waiting to hear from you, and I'm glad you chimed in.

How about a link to the LensPen of your choice?
What else have you tried?

I'm think (my) old habits die hard, and since I'm attempting to make the leap to this burgeoning new (4/3) format, now might be the time to break away from the old habit of cover great optics with "fair to middling optics" in an effort to save wear and tear.

I've started to wonder if I'm tossing the baby out with the bathwater... and really started wondering after I ordered a UV filter for the 20mm pancake. Why oh why do I continue to do this, and am I in a vast minority in so doing?
 

GaryAyala

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This debate has been around even in the good old days. I always use a protective filter (sorta like an insurance policy) ... while I recognize that a filter has the capability to diminish one's Image Quality (IQ), that diminishment is not significant with a good filter (the exception being the rare reflective/ghost images when shooting directly into a light source).

I have cashed in on my protective filter insurance policy a number of times (I use hoods on all my lenses as well). Usually and fortunately, I've been able to remove the shattered filter and keep on working.

Gary
 

Streetshooter

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Gary,
I don't use hoods either. I have around 20 Leica hoods laying around that I never used.
I like it raw buddy.....
 

jcurious

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Oct 14, 2010
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Northern Virginia
My 100-300mm lens (with G2) recently fell front first onto pavement. I had a cheap UV filter on it at the time which saved my lens. I had to cut the filter off and the threads on the lens require more effort to screw things on to it now... but the ~$20 fall could have cost me over $500.

I'm using a more expensive Hoya filter now, but I did posted a picture of the broken filter on the amazon gallery:
Customer Image Gallery for Zeikos ZE-FLK67 67mm Multi-Coated 3 Piece Filter Kit (UV-CPL-FLD)

Needless to say, I plan to keep a filter son all my lenses for as long as I can :)
 

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