UV Filers for lens protection Yes or No?

demiro

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Someone published a comparison showing the amount of distortion introduced by using a UV filter as compared to not using one. After that I stopped using them. However, more recently, I was able to acquire some of the more high priced lenses, such as the PL 50-200 f2.8-4, the O 45mm f1.2, the Oly 25mm f1.2 etc. and I decided to protect these using UV filters.

I did some research and found that the Amazon Basics UV filters are highly rated, and they are reasonably priced, so I have been using those.

https://www.hqreview.com/top-10-best-camera-uv-filters/
https://improvephotography.com/2523/do-clear-uv-filters-hurt-image-quality-of-photos/
https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2017/06/the-comprehensive-ranking-of-the-major-uv-filters-on-the-market/
Are you saying that you believe filters cause distortion, but you use them anyway, but only on expensive lenses?
 

Bushboy

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I don't see the way, just a window. Do filters remove walls?
[
I don't see the way, just a window. Do filters remove walls?
i see it’s now, It’s a window, not a wall. Duh!
First thing in the morning, before my coffee, I thought Scott’s window was wallpaper... duh
But anyway, that’s not a fair test. Because his balls of bokeh are hanging out, which I didn’t notice until Acheopterex pointed it out...
 
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If you care about resale value, they are a must. My favorites were Mefoto since they are good quality and are cheap however it seems they are being phased out. Before Mefoto, I used Hoya since they don't affect image quality and are the next cheapest option.

If you go the uv filter route, avoid no name brands and avoid the low price Tiffen filters, as those will affect image quality and make your images soft.

Also don't listen to some who say all filters, even the good ones affect image quality. If you think about how many lens elements are in many lenses, you quickly realize more glass doesn't equal poor image quality. Crappy filters will affect image quality, good ones don't.
 

Bushboy

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Archaeopteryx can find no meaningful degradation with using these filters. that should be end of story for 99.9% of everyone here.
That’s it, use them to protect your lens coating if you need.
Luckily, all three I have, tested fine in Wijiang’s link. :)
 
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Archaeopteryx can find no meaningful degradation with using these filters. that should be end of story for 99.9% of everyone here.
That’s it, use them to protect your lens coating if you need.
Luckily, all three I have, tested fine in Wijiang’s link. :)
Archaeopteryx is a dinosaur.
.
.
.
.
.
(only joking!)
 

archaeopteryx

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that should be end of story for 99.9% of everyone here
Well, thank you, though I think that's an overstatement of the claim I made up thread. It would probably be more valuable to say my results are consistent with Roger Cicala's for the subset of the filters he's tested which I happen to own. Which is why I cited him (others, like @wjiang, have since posted some of the same links). My current standard is Marumi Exus but I also have a B+W MRC Clear, a Hoya HD Protector, and used to use Hoya HMCs. That's a shortlist of the filters Lens Rentals/Olaf Optical Testing found to be both reasonably noninvasive and cost effective. I've had good results with earlier coating iterations from the same manufacturers such as Hoya S-HMC and Marumi DHG.

I've also replicated the problems reported with some filters. For example, the first 100-400 type lens I purchased came with an uncoated Tiffen which produced the doubled lines sometimes reported from low quality filters on long telephotos. I've binned a couple others over the years as well.

I'd caution, however, that I don't have a high resolution capable body and therefore have no direct experience with filter effects on entry-level superresolution imaging. This is an area which, like the super telephoto interactions @wjiang mentioned, I would expect to be effective at exposing protection filter limitations.

Olympus sells clear protective filters. So they aren’t a no-go from the OEM.
In addition to the Sigmas already mentioned, Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Panasonic, and Sony also sell protectors. Canon also made the first element of some of their super telephotos a flat protector, though I think they've dropped that from current designs. Among all the multicoatings I've used Fujinon EBC is probably the best, so I'd anticipate Fuji's Super EBC protectors to do well in their price class. They're more than I can justify spending, though, so I haven't tested one. Nikon's smaller NC Clears are price competitive but I haven't tried one. Either Nikon hasn't made the size I've needed or I've found better pricing on something else.

I am sure I could concoct one that would show little to no difference. But it does demonstrate that if you want the best out of your lens, ditch the filter (especially when light sources are in front of you).
Well, best optical quality---in a conventional sense of maximizing contrasts---for a particular image. Other considerations, such as resale value, may motivate different choices. For example, on two occasions I've incurred sufficiently deep scratches in protection filters to produce obvious image degradation.

I don't usually measure as much of a difference as in the example you posted but some of my indoor results replicate the blacks being not quite as deep and the minor changes at edges. This is consistent with the five and 50 filter examples Roger's posted. In outdoor tests I usually find intrinsic variables like subject motion, natural changes in lighting, or exact placement of AF points contribute larger differences between images than a good protection filter. For example, I had to arrange to collect the 100% moon crops below when the atmosphere was stable and the moon high enough that changes in refraction during the sequence didn't shift its shape substantially. Tripod, OIS off, 10 second self timer with three image sequence, manual exposure, electronic shutter, light wind, aligned and differenced using the same method as for your plant and curtains, all with the Panasonic 100-300 II at 250mm f/5.6 1/400 ISO 200. Two sequences of images, one with a Marumi Exus protection filter fitted and one without, and two of the images on the top row from each. Two of the difference images on the bottom row are therefore controls comparing like images and the third difference compares filtered and unfiltered.
Scott Moon Exus comparison.jpg
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Pushing the differences by four stops makes it more visible what they are. The controls on the ends indicate the dominant differences are base ISO chroma noise and sub-pixel residuals left over from the alignment process. The filtered to unfiltered comparison in the middle shows the main effect of the filter in this test is a slight colour cast to blue, which is unsurprising as no optical glass or multicoating is truly neutral. If one's going to be fussy about such things, I think what this indicates is you'd apply a colour profile for a lens plus its filter rather than just the lens.
Scott Moon Exus comparison 4 stop difference push.jpg
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To be fully rigorous I'd repeat this exercise with this kit 10 times like Roger Cicala does to quantify image to image variability. However it doesn't tell me anything I didn't already know from similar tests over many years, lenses, filters, and bodies. To go back to the OP's question, I would say no to UV filters as protection filters and yes to clear protectors. My motivation for this is it's pretty much impossible to make a UV filter which doesn't reduce purples, which is something only @jhawk1000 has touched on so far in this thread. Whilst a colour profile can mostly compensate for a UV filter I find it's simpler just to not buy the kind of filters which cause the trouble.

Archaeopteryx is a dinosaur.
Probably the rest of class Aves is too, in that sense, though there's some ambiguity between @archaeopteryx and Archaeopteryx here. ;) I don't particularly follow follow the genus but it's my impression a lot of the details are still getting sorted as the sample size is around a dozen specimens (Foth 2014, Mayr 2007). Taxonomically there's often some back and forth about what exactly classifies as what while evolutionary sequences and distinctions get worked out (Lee 2011, Xu 2011, Erickson 2009, Mayr 2005, Alonso 2004).
 
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Meditabundo

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Generally I just use a lens hood for protection. Good filters are pricey and unless the lens came with it (when bought secondhand, for example), I don't tend to spend money on them.
 

Shawn_D

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I'm a "no filter." I keep a high quality one around in case I get into a situation where I will experience water spray or sand spray or the like. When I was in my 20s I shot a whole concert with a high quality uv filter and had some wicked weird reflections in a few shots.
 
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