Confused about skylight/UV filter for digital

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by fishfry, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. fishfry

    fishfry Guest

    At it says, "So much for theory. In
    practice, these theoretical UV filter benefits simply don't show up on
    the digital side. Under nearly all conditions and for nearly all
    cameras, UV filters are a waste of money and a potential source of flare
    for digital photographers."

    I'll be buying my first digital SLR soon and I was under the impression
    that one should use a skylight or UV filter if for no other reason than
    to protect the front element of the lens.

    Which is right?
    fishfry, Jan 30, 2006
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  2. fishfry

    Dave Guest

    Mine live in the bag, rarely used. The lens hood on the other hand gets used
    all the time.

    Dave, Jan 30, 2006
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  3. fishfry

    Mark² Guest

    UV filters are often used for the secondary purpose of protecting the front
    element from physical damage.
    This is certainly not changed due to digital... :)
    Mark², Jan 30, 2006
  4. fishfry

    Big Bill Guest

    I use a UV filter on my lenses.
    When I spend over $600 on a lens, I want that front element protected,
    especially when I'm shooting in a crowd of people eating BBQ turkey
    legs (Rennaisance Festival, anyone?).
    If flare is a problem, take it off, though.
    Big Bill, Jan 30, 2006
  5. fishfry

    Skip M Guest

    I've found that UV and skylight filters of low to medium grade adversely
    affect image quality on digital images far more than they did on film. I've
    quit using them on any of my lenses, relying, instead, on the lens hoods and
    simple care to protect the front elements.
    Skip M, Jan 30, 2006
  6. fishfry

    Mark² Guest

    Me too...but to my dismay, I discovered I had forgotten to put the cap on my
    pristine 70-200 2.8 IS L...and discovered that it had apparently been
    resting on a single grain of sand in my Orion bag. :( -A nce litle "pit"
    on the front element! -Made me soo mad. -It's enough to drive a guy to use
    UV filters!
    Mark², Jan 30, 2006
  7. : At it says, "So much for theory. In
    : practice, these theoretical UV filter benefits simply don't show up on
    : the digital side. Under nearly all conditions and for nearly all
    : cameras, UV filters are a waste of money and a potential source of flare
    : for digital photographers."

    : I'll be buying my first digital SLR soon and I was under the impression
    : that one should use a skylight or UV filter if for no other reason than
    : to protect the front element of the lens.

    : Which is right?


    The eternal question of "to protect or not to protect" is more a matter of
    personal preference than responding to specific hard evidence. Some (like
    me) prefer to have some form of lens protection on the front to reduce the
    chance that the front element of the lens will be scratched or otherwise
    damaged. And a UV/Haze/Skylight filter tends to be the least expensive
    choice and does not noticeably effect the image. But there are those who
    find that any additional glass surface will add to the chance of lens
    flare from just off edge light sources. And it is also true that with very
    wide angle lenses each filter added to the lens will increase the
    likelyhood of vignetting (darkened corners).

    So which choice you ultimately make, will be more up to your personal
    preferences, frequent uses and experiences. If you need a definate yes or
    no answer I would mention that it is much easier to remove a filter that
    you ultimately decide you don't need than to add a filter you don't have
    when you decide you should have had one. :)


    Randy Berbaum
    Champaign, IL
    Randy Berbaum, Jan 30, 2006
  8. fishfry

    Skip M Guest

    Urg. That hurts! Well, I haven't tried any of the really high grade ones,
    like Heliopan and B+W, they may not degrade things as much, but wow, pricey
    for just what amounts to a backup lenscap...
    Skip M, Jan 30, 2006
  9. fishfry

    Mark² Guest

    I just bought a Heliopan for it... Pricey is right... -Got it up at North
    County Camera a couple weeks ago.
    They are made of brass, though...which means they are far less likely to
    B+Ws are brass too. Aluminum is far more "sticky" which can be a real pain,
    especially with plarizers.
    Mark², Jan 30, 2006
  10. fishfry

    RustY© Guest

    True, but my lenses cost more like $2000 each and there is no way that I am
    going to 'cloud' my images with a filter! For front element protection and
    better pictures buy insurance.
    RustY©, Jan 30, 2006
  11. fishfry

    Bob Salomon Guest

    You can also buy a completely clear glass filter like the heliopan
    Protection filter. This has no effect on UV like a UV filter has and no
    warming properties like a Skylight/Haze filter. It is simply clear glass
    to put a protective glass in a brass mount in front of the lens to
    protect it from smoke, dust, fingerprints, moisture, over zealous
    cleaning, drops and bumps, etc. Naturally it has 16 layer multi coating
    and the top coats on each side repel dust and moisture and are super
    hard to reduce scratches.
    Bob Salomon, Jan 30, 2006
  12. Mark² wrote:
    I suggest that you use a little India Ink on that spot. It will
    eliminate almost all optical effects of the damage. It will still look bad
    and you will hate it, but it will be a good memory device to keep the bag
    clean and lens caps on.
    Joseph Meehan, Jan 30, 2006
  13. All of the above are right.

    UV filters filter UV light and that feature has little or no relevance
    to digital camera use.

    Most UV filters have been sold, not to filter UV light but to "protect"
    the lens. Back in the days when I sold cameras we typically made more money
    from the add-ons than the camera. Sell a filter or two and a camera bag,
    and the profit went way up. People shop for the price on the camera so you
    could not make money on them, but once you were selling the camera you could
    add on a filter or two, a camera bag lens cleaning cloths etc. No one
    bothered to shop out the price on that stuff so that was the profit area.

    Today people still remember all the horror stores told to them by overly
    zealous sales staff and automatically buy the UV filters. In all fairness,
    back then lens were not as durable as today's lenses.

    What the salesman never bothered to tell the customer (known as sucker
    in some shops) was that every piece of glass you put into the image system
    will mean more chances for flare and dust.

    A scratch or chip out of a lens sounds like it is the end of the useful
    life of the lens. In reality chips and scratches look a lot worse than they
    are and are far less likely that most people think. A little non-reflective
    ink will take care of the problem. A lens repaired that way is likely to
    perform better than a pristine lens with a nice new UV filter on it. Either
    way it is unlikely anyone is going to notice the difference in the results.

    I suggest you just make sure you use the lens cap (Usually free with the
    lens) and don't worry.

    One exception to the above would be a windy sandy beach. That can be
    hard on a lens. It also is bad on the other parts of a camera so care needs
    to be taken to protect the whole camera.
    Joseph Meehan, Jan 30, 2006
  14. fishfry

    John Fryatt Guest


    My feeling is that I don't want to routinely put another piece of glass
    in the light path, where it can cause flare etc.
    For general use I find the normal lens cap and use of a lens hood
    adequate. You can always have a UV filter available for times when extra
    protection might be needed - - someone mentioned flying barbecue sauce,
    for instance. ;-)
    John Fryatt, Jan 30, 2006
  15. If you're clumsy, I guess you might want to stick a filter on the
    front. I've never been one to bang my equipment around. As for serving
    a useful purpose in creating an image, you don't need either filter.
    Randall Ainsworth, Jan 30, 2006
  16. Here:
    is a photo taken with a Kodak C330, and, except for the sky, all the
    blue areas are supposed to be brown. Would a UV filter have made them
    larry moe 'n curly, Jan 30, 2006
  17. Got any of your Ren Faire pictures online anywhere? I had some good
    success with a few shots at the Bristol Faire on the WI/IL border here
    last summer, and am enthused about the subject. I'd love to see what
    you found.
    Eric Schreiber, Jan 30, 2006
  18. fishfry

    Big Bill Guest

    Your insurance must be *VERY* fast! :)
    And, as I wrote (but you snipped), if you're getting flare, remove the
    Point is, as always, your mileage may vary. While you shoot such that
    insurance can handle mishaps, I don't. While at, for example, a
    Rennaisance Festival, I will be much more willing to risk (as an
    example) turkey fat on a filter than on the front element. Easier to
    clean, with far less chance of damaging the coating on the lens. And
    if a child swings his sword in a fashion that it hits the filter, no
    great loss, and insurance certainly can't replace the lens while I'm
    Obviously, advice on somkethig like this should be evaluated; that's
    why the question is asked in the first place: there's no one
    definitive answer.
    Big Bill, Jan 30, 2006
  19. fishfry

    Big Bill Guest

    Unfortunately, not now. The next oneis in Februaryhere in Phoenix, so
    I'll probably have some up then.
    I have my photos here:
    These aren't anything but documentary photos; the "I was here" type.
    Big Bill, Jan 30, 2006
  20. fishfry

    Pat Guest

    What made them blue? What are they made out of? Is the color shift
    just in those strong and vivid lines?

    If they are metal flashing, then it is likely the blue is from the sky
    (I wouldn't know, I live in western New York that doesn't every have
    blue skies). If that is the case, you need a polarizing filter to cut
    out the glare.
    Pat, Jan 30, 2006
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