UV Protector filter vs. Skylight filter?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by john, Jun 26, 2004.

  1. john

    john Guest

    Hi folks,

    I'm trying to find out more information about the filters I should be using,
    but when I try to search on the internet, I usually just keep getting links
    to sites selling filters, not giving information.

    I'm confused as to the difference between UV Protector filters and Skylight
    filters. On the one site where I found information, it said this about UV
    Protector filters:

    UV filters are wise initial investments. They help protect your
    valuable investment from dust, moisture and scratches, which
    can lead to costly repairs. If desired they can be left on the
    lens at all times for protection. UV filters provide additional
    benefits of correction for Ultraviolet (UV) light which can
    register on film and videotape as a bluish cast and can
    obscure distant details. Ultraviolet filters allow you to correct
    for the UV effect to varying degrees.

    And then it said this about Skylight filters:

    Due to its light pink color, the Skylight reduces the bluish cast
    of daylight and produces a pleasing, warmer picture tone.
    Wise initial investments, they help protect your lens from
    dust, moisture and scratches, which can lead to costly repairs.
    If desired they can be left on at all times for protection.
    Skylight filters provide additional benefits of correction for
    Ultraviolet (UV) light which can register on film and videotape
    as a bluish cast and can obscure distant details. Also used to
    reduce the bluish cast common with some electronic flash

    They almost sound exactly the same. Essentially, I'm looking for a good,
    all-purpose filter for both day and indoor/night shooting that will protect
    my lens and provide good quality light and color for those specific
    instances when I'm not using my polarizing filter. I'm not sure if it
    matters, but I have a Nikon D70 and Nikon F60.

    Can someone please explain? Thanks so much.
    john, Jun 26, 2004
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  2. john

    Robertwgross Guest

    As far as visible light goes, the UV filter does nothing at all. All it removes
    is some ultraviolet, and for a film camera, this makes some sense. Most digital
    cameras already have a UV filter at the sensor, so about all you are getting is
    something out in front of your lens for mechanical protection (which is not
    insignificant). A skylight filter has just a touch of pink warming to it, just
    enough to warm an overly blue sky. Some days you might want it. Again, a filter
    of any kind can serve as mechanical protection to an expensive lens. If you
    have a terribly cheap lens, then forget them.

    ---Bob Gross---
    Robertwgross, Jun 26, 2004
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  3. john

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    They are not exactly the same. The skylight warms the image slightly - an
    effect I find annoying. The best use for one is in taking shade portraits to
    counter the blueness of the light which is not particularly a good look on
    human skin. Unless you are at sea or high on a mountain the UV has no effect
    on the picture. Where there is UV haze --- like when you are taking a
    picture of a far away island a UV filter will cut some of it -- which means
    you might want to remove it for such shots.
    Basically the web site you got those statements from is run by someone
    who has either never used the filters or is colourblind.
    Get a GOOD UV filter - it is going to be on your lens most of the time. I
    suggest Hoya Multicoats or SuperMulticoats - they are reasonably priced and
    top quality. Some people claim the German made filters are less likely to
    stick on lenses - I've never had a filter stick on a lens and don't feel
    like spending four times as much for the "extra assurance" they claim the
    brass rings give.
    home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
    The Improved Links Pages are at
    A sample chapter from my novel "Haight-Ashbury" is at
    Tony Spadaro, Jun 26, 2004
  4. john

    Bob Salomon Guest

    Not quite the claim.

    There are filters made with plastic mounts. There are filters made with
    aluminum mounts. There are filters made with brass mounts.

    Plastic and aluminum mounts can be easily cross threaded and may bind.
    Brass mounts can't cross thread and are less likely to bind.

    German filters like Heliopan have brass mounts.
    Bob Salomon, Jun 26, 2004
  5. john

    TP Guest

    They aren't the same. The UV filter has no colour cast.

    The Skylight filter adds a slight pink or straw-coloured cast to your
    shots - in addition to the UV filtering effect that it shares with the
    UV filter.
    The UV filter is the one to go for, because it will not add a colour
    cast to your shots. You can leave it on all the time. In general,
    you should only use a filter that changes colours when you actually
    need one.

    No doubt your post will spark the usual fierce debate on whether it is
    a good idea to use a UV filter all the time. That debate has raged
    for the 30+ years I have been shooting film and I have no doubt it
    will still be raging 30 years from now!

    Personally, I use UV filters because they are easier to keep clean
    than the front element of a lens and a darn sight cheaper to replace
    if scratched or damaged. Your mileage may vary.
    TP, Jun 26, 2004
  6. john

    TP Guest

    Hoya multi-coated filters are almost impossible to keep clean. Avoid.
    Shop around for the best prices, and you have no need to pay four
    times more.
    TP, Jun 26, 2004
  7. john

    Bandicoot Guest

    Apologies for replying via TP's post - I can't see the OP for some reason.

    A similar question has come up several times on the group, and a while back
    I posted a link to a transmission chart that shows how different the
    characteristics of UV and Skylight (1A) filters are:


    A UV filter attenuates actual UV more strongly, and so will be a better bet
    where excess UV is a problem - near the sea, at high altitude, at very low
    latitudes. (This issues arises because film can see UV light, and renders
    it blue, that the human eye can't see: so an excess of UV that is invisible
    to us will make photographs look too blue, and also add haze to distant
    views.) A UV filter should attenuate visible light very little, but it will
    reduce the extreme purple end.

    The Skylight doesn't attenuate UV as much or as sharply, but it does take
    out a little more of the visible light, notably in the blue-green range.
    This means it makes scenes look slightly warmer. It is designed to correct
    for the excess blueness of scenes shot in shade on cloudless days, or
    outside generally when cloud obscurs the sun - ie. when the light is coming
    mostly from the blue sky. Definitely helps (on slide film) if taking
    portraits in shade, but the effect is not _that_ marked otherwise.

    I use UV filters more often than Skylights, but I do sometimes use a
    Skylight in shade. For warming per se I'm more likely to use an 81 series
    or a KR filter.

    Bandicoot, Jun 26, 2004
  8. john

    Don Stauffer Guest

    They ARE almost the same thing. With film, the very subtle color
    shading of skylight may be objectionable to some folks.

    However, in digital world, you can make color changes after the fact, so
    there is little difference between UV and skylight.

    One reason to have both is if you are going to be shooting from an
    aircraft or taking distant landscapes. The skylight cuts haze a bit
    more than UV. Use the UV filter for closeups and normal distances,
    skylight for distant scenes. But, the difference is really quite small.
    Don Stauffer, Jun 26, 2004
  9. john

    JPS Guest

    In message <>,
    If you shoot RAW, there isn't even a change at all, if you do color
    balancing in the RAW converter. You are scaling the RAW data for the
    first time, using your specific scaling as a _sustitute_ for the
    default. The native scaling of the sensor/CFA is not what you get
    without any color adjustments; it would be totally unusable on many
    cameras, except as a special effect. On the 10D, equal scaling of the
    channels would result in a very cyan cast, as the red channel is 0.6
    stops less sensitive than the blue and green channels.
    JPS, Jun 26, 2004
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