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Author Topic: Protective filter or not?  (Read 4851 times)

HCHeyerdahl

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Protective filter or not?
« on: May 23, 2017, 02:52:03 pm »

When the D2x launched I decided to upgrade my photogear and bought the body, 70-200 vrI and the 24-70 and decided to put a protective filter (B&W top quality) on both to protect the front element and preserve their second hand value.

I tend to ceep the sun shade on at all times, and from what I can see the filters on my old lenses are almost free of scratches and of course the front element of the lens itself looks more or less like new. Furthermore, when trying to sell them second hand potential buyers tend to be more concerned with other things than the front element.

I have just upgraded to the 70-200 vr III and the 24-70 VR and wonder if a protective filter is a good idea or not? For selling second hand it appears pointless. For the very unfortunate incident it is probably a good idea - but it never happend for the last 7 years. Do they degrade image quality?

What do you do?

Chris



« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 05:01:57 pm by HCHeyerdahl »
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kers

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2017, 03:36:49 pm »

i always like to protect the front element. I go to rough places.
Also when i sell my gear second hand i can say the front lens has always been protected by a filter and never was touched.
If i buy second hand i like to hear that.
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NancyP

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2017, 03:47:07 pm »

Roger Cicala on his Lens Rental blog has done a test of protective filters. Yes, there can be some image resolution degradation. I use just the lens hood in most cases. If I anticipate dust or particulate-containing splashes, on goes the filter. Also, weather resistance of some lenses only applies if there is a filter on. It all depends on the conditions that you encounter.
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Telecaster

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2017, 04:32:37 pm »

I always use lens hoods. In sandy or dusty conditions I'll pop a filter on. If it's raining or snowing hard enough for a protective sleeve I'll use a filter then too.

-Dave-
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pegelli

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2017, 05:05:06 pm »

My own rule is that I put a filter on in case I can explain to myself why. And "just in case" is not a valid explanation.

so the "why" is either to influence the image (eg with a colour or pola filter) or to protect the front lens from sand, water, ice etc. But it's not always on there, only when the conditions meet the criteria described.

I also do the same as Telecaster, the hood is always on there and turned the right way as soon as the lens leaves the bag. It's a great bump protection and improves IQ and I haven't found any major downside of using one.
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MattBurt

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2017, 06:06:39 pm »

I just rely on the hood unless I need a polarizer, nd, or similar. So far so good and my gear goes to some rough places.
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-MattB

TonyVentourisPhotography

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2017, 08:06:38 pm »

Lens hood always on.  Lens hood reversed is strictly for storage or intentionally creating light flare in my book. 

Filters, highest quality multi-coated are always on, especially outdoors, is another preference of fine.  Good filters should have virtually no perceptible change on image quality. 

If you are a studio only shooter, ide be less concerned.  I've had both forms of protection save a lens on numerous occasions.  I've broken filters and found the lens element saved. 

Maybe people aren't asking about front elements on the second hand market...but if you show pictures of a marked up one I bet you get less money or a bunch of potential buyers moving on to other listings.
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2017, 05:12:06 am »

Protect against what? I have used filters when shooting in the desert of Arabia, but that was to protect against wind blown sand.

Other than such situations, I do not use them. Even when shooting by the sea. Coatings in modern lenses are very good.

francois

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2017, 05:30:06 am »

Protect against what? I have used filters when shooting in the desert of Arabia, but that was to protect against wind blown sand.

Other than such situations, I do not use them. Even when shooting by the sea. Coatings in modern lenses are very good.

Same here. I only protect front elements when shooting conditions are really bad.
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Francois

Otto Phocus

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2017, 05:48:14 am »

It really depends on how you use your lenses and the operating environment.  There is no absolute answer whether protective filters are a good or bad idea.  It is an individual decision.

There is a simple way to answer this question.

Put a good quality protective filter on your lens.

Use your lens the way you normally use it, in your normal photography environment.

Use the lens with the protective filter for a few months depending on how often you use it

After that time, remove the protective filter and examine the filter's condition

If the filter is pristine, you probably don't need to use a protective filter
If the filter shows some damage, you probably do need a protective filter

I use protective filters, but I try to buy good ones.  I personally prefer Marumi, but there are other good brands out that.  I honestly don't think that a filter in front of my lens is the weakest link in my photographic system.  That weakest link is behind the viewfinder.  ;)
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Dave Gurtcheff

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2017, 01:07:24 pm »

I live on a barrier island off the coast of NJ. My prime interests are seascapes. There is blowing very very fine sand and constant salt air atmosphere. I leave UV filters on all my lenses. If the wind is really blowing hard (often does) it stings your skin with the fine sand. Filters can build up a salt deposit in short order and need cleaning throughout a shooting session if it is really windy.
Good luck
Dave
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stever

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2017, 02:18:17 pm »

lenrentals.com has recently done a filter test - worth reading
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JeanMichel

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2017, 05:34:39 pm »

It really depends on how you use your lenses and the operating environment.  There is no absolute answer whether protective filters are a good or bad idea.  It is an individual decision.

There is a simple way to answer this question.

Put a good quality protective filter on your lens.

Use your lens the way you normally use it, in your normal photography environment.

Use the lens with the protective filter for a few months depending on how often you use it



After that time, remove the protective filter and examine the filter's condition

If the filter is pristine, you probably don't need to use a protective filter
If the filter shows some damage, you probably do need a protective filter

I use protective filters, but I try to buy good ones.  I personally prefer Marumi, but there are other good brands out that.  I honestly don't think that a filter in front of my lens is the weakest link in my photographic system.  That weakest link is behind the viewfinder.  ;)





Yes to that advice. I have always used UV or Skylight, or coloured filters in B&W film days. All the filters eventually accumulate tiny specks caused by whatever hits them over time. Replacing the filters after a few years of use is inexpensive, and the front element remains as new. On one occasion, my spouse dropped her camera and shattered the filter on her lens, I carefully removed the filter and there was no damage whatsoever to the lens.
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David Eichler

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2017, 08:00:17 pm »

Even if top quality filters do not have any appreciable affect on sharpness, they still result in an increased risk of flare and ghosting in some situations. Your call.
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ripgriffith

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2017, 01:03:51 am »

The two horns of the dilemma:  Why buy a $2000 lens only to put a $50 piece of glass in front of it or, wouldn't you rather damage a $50 piece of glass than a $2000 lens?
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2017, 08:29:33 am »

No protective filters here. Never had a lens front element scratched as far as I recall.

The increase of flare is just too high.

Cheers,
Bernard

hogloff

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2017, 10:02:12 am »

I use protective filters in harsh environments like blowing sand and along the oceans with blowing salt spray. A few weeks ago I was taking images on the west coast of Vancouver Island and used a set of UV filters to protect my lens. After 5 minutes of shooting the UV filter had a coat of salt spray on it. I just popped the filter off and put a clean one back on and my wife proceeded to clean the dirty filter. I kept switching filters every 5 minutes or so.

Much, much easier to clean a filter than the front element of a lens...especially if there is fine sand embedded on your lens along with the salt.
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Rob C

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2017, 11:17:42 am »

I keep UV filters permanently on all my lenses, both Nikon, Hassy, Rolleiflex, Pentax 6x7 and everything else I've forgotten I had at some stage; filters are ordered with the lenses. I can see no valid reason not to, and every reason for doing so. I have seldom been victim of flare, and I put it down to lens design rather than anything else when I have been, the only lens I can remember being guilty was the 4/150 Sonnar for the 'blad. And it was never as good as the 180mm Sekor it replaced when I gave up the Mamiya TLR system.

If there's a difference, with or without filter, then I accept that my snaps are not good enough to reveal it, and in any case, it would make no difference worth talking about to the end product. Just another version/level of pixie-peeper thought.

Far better, as others have pointed out, a new filter than a new lens or lens element!

Rob

JJon

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2017, 12:46:11 am »

I don't like using them but they have taken the brunt of the fall three times for me. So for almost all lenses I use them. A sacrificial piece.
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graeme

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Re: Protective filter or not?
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2017, 04:48:40 am »

I rarely ever use them but I don't tend to photograph in challenging environments. I do a lot of photographing stained glass inside churches which can be challenging re lens flare so I don't want a filter to increase the risk of this. I always use a lens hood. Just about the only time I fit a filter is at the seashore.

My lenses are tools for taking photos, none are super expensive, if the front elements start causing problems because of wear & tear I'll have them repaired.

( From what I've read people worry far to much about minor damage to front elements ).
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