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Lens Filters (For protection, not Effects)

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hi guys, I've recently invested on a startup DSLR kit (D3100+lens kit, and a 35mm f1.8) and I wanted to know what you guys' opinions are on using protective lens filters. I haven't read much of them except for some very minor mentions on some reviews.

-Do you use them or don't use them?
-Do they degrade picture quality?
-How "tough" exactly is the coating on the front of camera lenses for when you wipe dust from it (and will having a protective filter save you from ruining this coating since you clean the filter instead of the lens)?

I would consider myself very careful with handling expensive equipment so i'm not too worried about bumps or scratches; I can see dust being a problem though so I thought these might help.

This kind of filter is what I'm talking about: Link
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post #2 of 36
Anything you put in front of the lens will somewhat degrade photo quality
post #3 of 36
I use a UV filter as lens protection on all my lens's... Here's my thoughts on it, lets say you spend 400 dollars for a starter lens, and you scratch the glass accidently.. you just made a 400 lens worthless.. if your buying a starter dslr kit your probably not selling photos for very much money, so the photo being of slightly less quality, which you would never be able to tell, is not worth risking your glass...
Edited by blkdoutgsxr - 1/25/11 at 10:08pm
post #4 of 36
I'm assuming you mean UV filters.

The jury is out on them. Some people are for them, some people are against them.

The people who are for UV filters claim that it protects the front element from scratches and the internal elements from hazing. It's cheaper to replace a $10 filter than to replace a $500 lens.

The people who are against UV filters claim that UV filters hurt image quality and actually puts the lens at harm . They claim that UV filters are an additional transparent element that light passes through before reaching the sensor that, when not made to the highest standard, degrade image quality. They also claim that when the UV filter is damaged, it could shatter and the pieces could scratch the front element.

Personally, I am against UV filters. I used to be for them, but after taking them off I've realized that UV filters disrupted some of my AF and lead to images becoming a bit softer than without a filter. It's not easily noticeable, but it's there when I zoom in close enough.

I use a lens hood myself to protect my lens, and keep my cap on whenever I'm not shooting. The only exception is the Hoya filter on my 50mm f/1.4. It's a high end filter and I haven't noticed an IQ drop with it. The only reason I have it is because it came with the lens. Beyond that, I don't actually buy UV filters for my lenses.

Just an FYI: UV filters won't protect against dust. If you put the UV filter on, dust will get on that instead, and you'd still have dust floating around in front of your lens. Personally I just use a rocket blower every time I have dust on my lenses.
Edited by r31ncarnat3d - 1/25/11 at 10:12pm
post #5 of 36
It depends. I bought a nice Hoya UV filter for my 70-300 VR, and I don't notice a loss in sharpness, so I don't worry about it. However, I don't generally see the utility.
post #6 of 36
R31ncarn3ed brings up a good point with the focusing, I have had some problems with focusing on some of my lower quality filters... One filter esp that gave me problems was a polarizing filter, I know that is not what this thread is about specifically, but circular polarizing filters work better with auto focus then linear...
post #7 of 36
1. I use UV filters sometimes, like if I am just taking 'family snapshots' and other casual stuff. Mostly though I roll naked.

2. If you start pixel peeping then you could probably find some degradation in IQ, but start doing that and you will probably find a bunch of other stuff too.....

3. It's tough enough I suppose. If you do get it dirty / dusty just give it a few pumps with the Giotto's blower and that is usually good. Should you happen to get a smudge then a few pumps and a slight wipe with a microfiber cloth do the trick.
Edited by Hamburglar - 1/25/11 at 10:25pm
    
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post #8 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by blkdoutgsxr View Post
R31ncarn3ed brings up a good point with the focusing, I have had some problems with focusing on some of my lower quality filters... One filter esp that gave me problems was a polarizing filter, I know that is not what this thread is about specifically, but circular polarizing filters work better with auto focus then linear...
I'm not an expert with polarizers, but I recall reading somewhere that CPL=digital, and linear = film?

Anyways, the AF problem I had was with low end UV filters. Those $10 filters that they like to give away always give me problems. The only high-end filter I have, my Hoya 58mm, I've never had an issue with.

Still though, I'd rather not go out and buy $60 filters for each of my lenses so I usually just get a hood instead.
post #9 of 36
Thread Starter 
by protection from dust i guess i kinda misspoke there. I meant if i had to wipe the dust from the lens, its better to wipe the filter with a cloth instead of the lens itself? (since the dust would be on the filter isntead of the actual lens)

so far im leaning towards not using them for performance i guess.
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post #10 of 36
I run naked myself when I'm shooting anything I'm charging for, I'm extremely anal about my gear and being careful with it. However that being said depending on where I'm at shooting for personal use I will occasionally throw a UV on if I feel that I could "bump" into something with the lense (or rather something could bump into me) however I'm also good about having my lense cap readily accessable and always cap when I'm not taking a shot.
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