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Author Topic: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?  (Read 1960 times)

steverap

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Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« on: November 15, 2018, 02:42:59 pm »

I just bought the new FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS lens for my a7R II. is it worth spending $125 for the Hoya HD3 Pro UV filter (chiefly to protect the lens) - or comparable filters from Zeiss or Rodenstock - or is there little difference in practice with respect to image quality between it and less-expensive UV filters (such as B+W)?
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Two23

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2018, 03:08:39 pm »

I just bought the new FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS lens for my a7R II. is it worth spending $125 for the Hoya HD3 Pro UV filter (chiefly to protect the lens) - or comparable filters from Zeiss or Rodenstock - or is there little difference in practice with respect to image quality between it and less-expensive UV filters (such as B+W)?

I very rarely  use a filter.  I use the lens cap for protection.   I once had a filter break and scratch my  lens



Kent in SD
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langier

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2018, 03:16:37 pm »

Find a vendor with a week or two return policy and buy the most expensive, a mid-range & a cheap UV filter.

Try each on your lens and shoot away in the normal situations you shoot and take good notes. Say shoot without the filter for an hour and write down your frame number, then the cheap filter for an hour.... Use different focal lengths, apertures, etc.

Go home and process the files and take a look at each group. Do you see much different between the filters? Is there a sharpness issue, flare, ghosting, focus or any other issue? Is there vignetting of the corners at the wide on any of the filters? What about subtle color differences? Take a look down to the pixel on a few from each filter and without.

If there are glaring differences this should give you an idea. If the cheap filter does the job, send the rest back for refunds. If it's one of the others that does the job, you have your answer.

Here's a couple of blog articles that may be of interest:

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2017/05/yet-another-post-about-my-issues-with-uv-filters/

and

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2011/06/good-times-with-bad-filters/

Good testing and as always, YRMV.
 
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Larry Angier
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Aram Hăvărneanu

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2018, 03:35:56 pm »

You don't necessarily need the most expensive filter (assuming you need a filter at all), but in general you get what you pay for. The cheapest stuff is pretty awful.

Once you get past a certain quality level the only difference between filters is the quality of the coatings.

Personally I think that life is too short to test and worry and microoptimize about which filters are better, so I only buy the best.

Some people think that filters last forever, but in my experience the more you use them the more they scratch, and at some point you have to replace them. Whether that's a pro-filter argument, or an argument against them, I don't know.
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2018, 04:50:12 pm »

I just bought the new FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS lens for my a7R II. is it worth spending $125 for the Hoya HD3 Pro UV filter (chiefly to protect the lens) - or comparable filters from Zeiss or Rodenstock - or is there little difference in practice with respect to image quality between it and less-expensive UV filters (such as B+W)?

Protect against what?

Filters reduce lens quality because they (usually) were not part of the optical design.
How much they degrade optical quality depends on the optical quality of the filter.
If mounted in front of the front element of the lens, a deeper lens-hood may be required to reduce risks of flare.

Cheers,
Bart
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PeterAit

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2018, 05:51:53 pm »

Protect against what?

Filters reduce lens quality because they (usually) were not part of the optical design.
How much they degrade optical quality depends on the optical quality of the filter.
If mounted in front of the front element of the lens, a deeper lens-hood may be required to reduce risks of flare.

Cheers,
Bart

I agree with Bart. The filter mfg have executed a huge scam with this lens protection crapola. $125! Mamma mia! Be reasonably careful, use a lens hood, metal preferably. I havae hauled many camera all over, and I am a bit of a klutz. Never once damaged a lens.
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guido

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2018, 06:02:27 pm »

The only conditions worthy of a "protective" filter is working in the surf spray zone. 
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faberryman

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2018, 06:21:33 pm »

I bought a filter to protect my lens for my first camera in 1973. All the photo magazines recommended it. Haven't bought one since.

Aram Hăvărneanu

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2018, 07:17:38 pm »

Considering that all my UV filters are getting scratched over time, I'm very happy to use them. A lens hood does nothing for sand.

I also find it much harder to clean a lens than to clean a filter because the lens surface is not flat. I literally never need to clean the front elements of any of my lenses.

It's a tool that you might or might not want, and might or might not need. It's not a "scam". $125 is nothing compared to the value of the lens or compared to other photographic equipment.

If you don't want to use filters, or don't need them, that's totally fine, I just don't understand why the non-filter users need to express their hate for them in every such discussion. We can't have a normal discussion about filter without turning into chaos.

Btw, the front "element" of Nikon supertelephotos is a permanent filter without any optical function. Since it very slightly degrades image quality and introduces flare and decreases contrast, I wonder why did they put it there anyway?
« Last Edit: November 15, 2018, 07:26:48 pm by Aram Hăvărneanu »
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Two23

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2018, 08:48:00 pm »

I agree with Bart. The filter mfg have executed a huge scam with this lens protection crapola. $125! Mamma mia! Be reasonably careful, use a lens hood, metal preferably. I havae hauled many camera all over, and I am a bit of a klutz. Never once damaged a lens.

Same here.  Might use one around ocean spray etc., but usually that's a polarizer.  I have some pretty expensive lenses and use them in some pretty extreme conditions (such as dusty grain harvesting on the Northern Plains.)  Rarely use a filter but DO certainly use a lens cap & hood.  A lens cap is designed to protect a lens.  A filter is just flimsy glass that shatters and scratches coatings.  Modern coatings are actually harder than glass.   Camera stores sell filters sort of like MacDonalds ask, "Want some fries with that?" ;D


Kent in SD
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Two23

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2018, 08:52:05 pm »



If you don't want to use filters, or don't need them, that's totally fine, I just don't understand why the non-filter users need to express their hate for them in every such discussion. We can't have a normal discussion about filter without turning into chaos.


"Hate" is too strong a word in my case, but I long ago came to the conclusion that camera stores were preying on fears to push an unneeded item on me.  That's what I resented.  I quickly figured out that to place a quality filter on all my lenses would cost more than a repair!  And then I had a filter break and scratch up a lens element.  If I had been using the lens cap I would have had no damage at all.


Kent in SD
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Kirk_C

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2018, 11:09:56 pm »

Considering that all my UV filters are getting scratched over time, I'm very happy to use them.

The scratches probably come from you cleaning the filter and the coating on the front of a modern lens is stronger than the glass on most filters.

I was a feature news (editorial) shooter for a decade and never used a UV filter unless there was haze in an outdoor shot. Then I'd put one on (B+W with Schott glass )and it made a noticeable improvement. When there wasn't haze I didn't use a filter. I shot with Leica R's and Hassy V's. Still have them but don't have any scratched front elements.
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faberryman

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2018, 07:03:47 am »

If you don't want to use filters, or don't need them, that's totally fine, I just don't understand why the non-filter users need to express their hate for them in every such discussion. We can't have a normal discussion about filter without turning into chaos.
I haven't seen any hate or chaos. Just people expressing their opinion.

Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2018, 10:41:13 am »

As expected, you got a  polarized response. You must think about:

1. Am I going to shoot in challenging conditions? Water, mud, sand, dirt, can they hit my front element? Will my lens fall into the ground face first and cause damage?

2. If the answer is yes, then you are wise to use a protective filter during those shootings.

Regarding water, do not forget that modern coatings are easier to wipe clean. Also, some filters now have some sort of "hydrophobia" coating to repel water and avoid it adhering to the their surface.

Two23

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2018, 10:58:45 am »

As expected, you got a  polarized response. You must think about:

1. Am I going to shoot in challenging conditions? Water, mud, sand, dirt, can they hit my front element? Will my lens fall into the ground face first and cause damage?

2. If the answer is yes, then you are wise to use a protective filter during those shootings.

Regarding water, do not forget that modern coatings are easier to wipe clean. Also, some filters now have some sort of "hydrophobia" coating to repel water and avoid it adhering to the their surface.


In my case the lens fell "face down" and the filter broke. The shards  then gouged my lens.  I've seen that happen  to another  guy too.  I now use the lens cap.  No more repairs.


Kent in SD
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steverap

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2018, 11:13:31 am »

Thanks to everyone for this helpful - and lively ;-)! - discussion. Roger Cicala sent me the link to an extensive review he did of $1,500 worth of lens filters: https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2017/06/the-comprehensive-ranking-of-the-major-uv-filters-on-the-market/.

After extensive testing, he found nine filters that neither reduce light transmission (less than 0.5%) nor degrade image quality, and half the filters that scored well are under $50. For me, then, the question is: why not use one? Yes, a lens hood will protect a lens in most - though not all - situations, but if adding a filter neither reduces light transmission nor adversely affects image quality, why not add an extra layer of protection? It may not be for everyone, but his valuable research suggests that there is no reason not to use one.

Thanks again to everyone for your thoughts, Steve
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JayWPage

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2018, 12:00:32 pm »

Actually, there is a middle path in this discussion. Many images, especially many landscapes benefit from the use of a circular polarizer which also provides protection for the front element of the lens if that's desired and some of the newer polarizers (i.e. Breakthrough) have only a ~1-stop cost in exposure.

A polarizer may not always be so great if you shoot at the wide end of your zoom a lot, but I use one regularly even on my 21mm prime lens if there's not a lot of sky in the picture. In fact, all of my polarizers are almost always on the end on one lens or other, and my UV's are almost always in their cases.
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2018, 12:53:59 pm »

After extensive testing, he found nine filters that neither reduce light transmission (less than 0.5%) nor degrade image quality, and half the filters that scored well are under $50. For me, then, the question is: why not use one?

Depending on focal length, dust becomes more visible. Roger presumably tested clean filters.

Cheers,
Bart
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Jonathan Cross

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2018, 02:42:52 pm »

I always use a protective filter.  I would rather clean a filter than the front surface of a lens.  I would hate to have not noticed that small bit of grit on my cleaning cloth.  I use a thin filter from a reputable manufacturer and am happy with my images.  What is the cost of a filter compared to the cost of a lens?  And, yes I have had the wind blow over my tripod and camera on the rocks of a Sottish island in the spilt second that I was not looking.  Even though the lens was damaged it was repairable at a lower cost than a scratched front lens thanks to the filter.  I have also occasionally lost a lens cap.  Having a protective filter means less worry for me.

Best wishes,

Jonathan


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langier

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Re: Expensive UV Filter - Is It Worth It?
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2018, 04:25:56 pm »

And as I gather around photographers, indoors and out, many tend to leave their polarizers on 24/7.

It's amusing how these same people moan-and-groan inside when they need to up their ISO inside to overcome the scarce light. Then they fail to remove their polarizer and have to crank up the ISO another stop.

Further, they complain that the higher iso needed to overcome both the lower light and the filter increases the noise toomuch for their images...that may be posted on Facebook as a thumbnail.

Ignorance and laziness working hand-in-hand.
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