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View Full Version : How do you protect your front lens elment?


Honus
02-25-2008, 11:42
I'm curious how many people use hoods/shades vs. filters (principally UV/haze) to protect their lenses. Or do you use nothing at all :eek:

Bingley
02-25-2008, 11:44
I know there have been heated debates over whether or not to use filters for protective purposes, but I always do. Usually a skylight filter.

brachal
02-25-2008, 11:55
I keep a UV filter on all of my lenses most of the time. Sometimes a hood as well, but the hood isn't really there to protect the lens.

robbo
02-25-2008, 12:10
Not quite the truth, but I won't use a filter unless it's a polariser or ND grad. I find my hand makes a good shade:>)

cosmonot
02-25-2008, 12:12
A hood if I have one for the lens; a filter if it's something huge like my 180/2.8 or 80-200/2.8 zoom.

For some reason putting a filter on a 39mm lens for protection made little sense, unless it was an old "soft" lens that I wanted to avoid "cleaning marks" on.

jbf
02-25-2008, 12:31
This is an issue that Im somewhat on the fence. I've had glare from bright lights or whatever happen with pretty much any lens that ive used with a filter... so in that sense I really dont want to be using filters on my glass...

But at the same time... i find it difficult to clean my lenses sometimes. I'll use an optic lens cleaner (some mesopropyawhatever alcohol) and pec pad wipes but they always seem to leave a residue after they evaporate... so in that sense Im not quite sure what to do. Heh.

I dont want to be cleaning my lenses and leave marks.


You mention that newer lenses are 'harder'. Are they much more resistant to scratches from cleaning them as the older lenses?

M. Valdemar
02-25-2008, 12:36
I scratch all of mine immediately with a special rusty nail I keep just for the purpose, then I no longer have to worry about it happening later.

FallisPhoto
02-25-2008, 12:39
I use a lens cap.

ruben
02-25-2008, 12:56
It's cheaper and more effective to my opinion to use a metal hood.

Cheaper because if you go for a filter you have to buy one not degrading your lenses. An expensive one.

More effective because with a hood you enjoy the benefit of preventing glare. And if you go for a filter, the filter becomes part of the front element. Then, how will you defend your filter ?

That been said, whenever a specific filter is due, of course it sould be used.

That's my vote.

Cheers,
Ruben

oftheherd
02-25-2008, 13:01
I scratch all of mine immediately with a special rusty nail I keep just for the purpose, then I no longer have to worry about it happening later.

LOL at M. Valdermar. Good one! Maybe I should try it. NOT!

oftheherd
02-25-2008, 13:06
I voted filter, as I try to do that, but when not ready for a photo, I also use a lens cap. It provides the added advantage of providing some very lovely photos to hang on one's wall. I mean really, 24x30 photos of the inside of a lens cap, mounted and framed on a wall, gets lots of comments.

This is an old debate. And people tend to defend their positions with religious ferosity. I just like to follow the advice of "keep the lens clean, don't keep cleaning the lens." Of course, if you have M. Valdemar's nail, it is a moot point. :D :D

peterm1
02-25-2008, 13:06
Mostly UV filters as I am less worried about a catastrophic event like dropping it although this can happen (pray it does not) but the compulsive cleaning that gradually destroys the coating that most people (me included can be prone to.) I feel a bit uncomfortable if my best lenses are going "nekkid"

amoz
02-25-2008, 13:11
A hood and B+W filter para siempre. I try to avoid to clean the front lens, I've got a Kenair "air duster" (Kenro Ltd.) for dry blowing.

nikon_sam
02-25-2008, 13:20
Thank God there was a UV filter on my 200mm lens when I was retrieving it from the back seat of my parents car...the camera and lens swung towards me and the filter hit the front seat latch...the filter saved that lens...the lens had a built-in hood and was pulled back...
That was 30 years ago and I still have that lens...in fact I was just looking at it yesterday and that front element still looks new...
I never saw the hoods as protection for lenses...maybe more so on a tele than a wide...

bmattock
02-25-2008, 13:24
I don't truly understand the question.

I use a lens hood, true. To cut down on glare.

I use a filter when the situation calls for it - usually a polarizing filter, but sometimes a red, yellow, or orange filter when I am shooting B&W.

To 'protect my lens' I try not to bash it into things.

Roger Hicks
02-25-2008, 13:27
To 'protect my lens' I try not to bash it into things.
Dear Bill,

Probably we all try not to bash our lenses into things, but accidents happen. Have you never tripped and fallen? My wife was exceedingly glad when it was only the filter that she smashed when she tripped on a rough stone staircase near the confluence of the Great and Little Tista rivers in the Himalayas.

Cheers,

R.

user237428934
02-25-2008, 14:02
Foto equipment that wants to live with me happily has to be very solid and must not catch any scratch or it will be replaced immediately ;-)
Just Kidding.
But I don't use any filters and a shade only when the light requires one. All the years i never had a problem. If i would start now being cautious I bet I would get a scratch very soon!

bmattock
02-25-2008, 14:02
Dear Bill,

Probably we all try not to bash our lenses into things, but accidents happen. Have you never tripped and fallen? My wife was exceedingly glad when it was only the filter that she smashed when she tripped on a rough stone staircase near the confluence of the Great and Little Tista rivers in the Himalayas.

Cheers,

R.

I have tripped and I have fallen. So far, I have managed to not get my camera equipment in between a rock and a hard place.

I have dropped one camera and damaged it, and one lens as well. The camera was damaged while taking it out of the box it came in from eBay, and I just butter-fingered it and dropped it, having owned it about one second - and the lens was dropped in a ham-handed effort to set it on the counter while drinking coffee in my kitchen. In neither case would a filter have protected them.

I'm not against filters as protection. I have some UV and skylight filters. But invariably I take them off at some point to mount a polarizer or a colored filter and then I put them in my bag and they get quite grotty and then I lose them. So I just don't bother anymore, and haven't really been punished for it.

I suppose it may also matter that my cameras in general cost less than the price of a new circular polarizing filter. My few exceptions - digital SLR and various Voigtlander Bessa equipment purchased new seem to have weathered the storm so far.

ferider
02-25-2008, 14:10
When you live/shoot close to the ocean with expensive lenses
you need a protective filter, period. :rolleyes:

bmattock
02-25-2008, 14:12
When you live/shoot close to the ocean with expensive lenses
you need a protective filter, period. :rolleyes:

That seems reasonable.

Fortunately, for me - no, and no.

Just a couple of Great Lakes and Sears lenses. Not the same, I suppose.

IK13
02-25-2008, 14:15
I'll use a filter only if I'm after the effect this filter provides. With color that pretty much limits the set to a polarizer, ND (and gradual).

I find it not very logical to spend bunch of money on a lens, just to put a flat piece of glass in front of it...

Roger Hicks
02-25-2008, 14:19
I have tripped and I have fallen. So far, I have managed to not get my camera equipment in between a rock and a hard place.

Dear Bill,

You have been lucky. So have I. But Frances's lens was a 35/2,8 PC-Nikkor we had had for maybe a year -- and without that filter, she would not have been lucky.

That's why I normally keep either a cap or a filter over the lens. Or at the least, a hood.

Cheers,

R.

Bob Michaels
02-25-2008, 14:51
When you live/shoot close to the ocean with expensive lenses you need a protective filter, period. :rolleyes:

gosh, I spent six months shooting a series on the Daytona Beach Boardwalk with a Mamiya 7 using the 50mm and 80mm lenses and never used a filter. I did have to clean the salt spray off the lenses every time, but there is no impact on the lenses. I look at the prints, some made in potential high flare situations, and know I'd never use a filter in that situation.

Silva Lining
02-25-2008, 15:32
I normally have a yellow or orange filter on my rf lenses as I shoot almost exclusively in PanF and love the effect.

I have Heliopan filters for my Canon 'L' Lenses, but otherwise don't really bother. I use hoods on the lenses I have that are prone to flare (90/4 col. Elmarit being the worst culprit :rolleyes: ) otherwise I find they get in the way a bit.

sepiareverb
02-25-2008, 17:00
I generally use a hood, and generally have a filter on, but do work 'naked' often. Depends on the situation. When I'm going for compact, no hood. Filters for effect most often. I don't ever use a UV filter.

GeneW
02-25-2008, 17:56
I pop on a UV filter if I'm shooting in snow or rain. Otherwise just a hood.

Gene

back alley
02-25-2008, 17:56
the most effective method for protection that i have found so far?
2 very large men, walking in front of me at all times shoving people out of my way!
it also helps to get places quicker...;)

joe

rogue_designer
02-25-2008, 18:15
whoops!

I use lens hoods - but I accidentally chose "I use nothing" - I think the "i like to live dangerously" threw me off, cause that's my default mode

;P

Ok not really...

bmattock
02-25-2008, 20:30
Dear Bill,

You have been lucky. So have I. But Frances's lens was a 35/2,8 PC-Nikkor we had had for maybe a year -- and without that filter, she would not have been lucky.

That's why I normally keep either a cap or a filter over the lens. Or at the least, a hood.

Cheers,

R.

I take your point. But with a Sears 135mm f/2.8 on a five-year-old Pentax *ist DS at a Maple Syrup Festival in Michigan versus a trip to the matzevah in high mufti carrying lenses made of purest unobtainium, I've got a bit less to protect.

"Oh darn, I ruined a perfectly good $5 lens by dripping pancake syrup on it!"

Barring the lottery (my retirement plan, now that I've quit smoking), I shan't be leapin' from peak to peak in the Swiss Alps, dangling a jewel-encrusted, leather-covered, three-handled family M8 from one wrist anytime soon.

David Goldfarb
02-25-2008, 20:56
I usually use a hood. It's always beneficial to limit the image circle, even if there is no concern about stray light reflecting off the lens elements.

I only use a filter when I need a filter for photographic reasons, unless there is an obvious hazard that would call for a protective filter like sea spray, sand, or crowds.

maddoc
02-25-2008, 21:09
I just recently started mounting UV filter on all my lenses again. The hoods are permanently attached as some kind of mechanical protection. (It is amazing how many bags and handbags hit me on average in one subway ride in Tokyo or Sapporo ...)

Filters are more easy to clean after a heavy snow storm or rain shower. Additionally, the cold front element tends to adsorb a lot of smoke and moisture, when entering a restaurant or bar in winter... Unfortunately, the original Leica UV filter for the Noctilux makes the lens quite prone to flare but so would a scratched / dirty front element ....

Roger Hicks
02-26-2008, 01:26
Barring the lottery (my retirement plan, now that I've quit smoking), I shan't be leapin' from peak to peak in the Swiss Alps, dangling a jewel-encrusted, leather-covered, three-handled family M8 from one wrist anytime soon.
Dear Bill,

That is indeed a difference. I'm hoping to be in ther Pyrenees again next week, photographing my favourite abandoned village (access by 4WD or on foot only), probably with my Alpa...

Cheers,

roger

minoltist7
02-26-2008, 01:29
It depends from lens construction.
My SLR lenses have large front element (67mm, 72mm or even 82mm filter thread). It's easy to touch by fingers or foreign object by accident, so I always use UV/protective filters on them.
But on rangefinder, all my lenses are small (39mm filter) , and have small front element deeply inside the lens barrel (or metal hood). So there is no such need fro protection, as in case of SLR.

Silva Lining
02-26-2008, 06:21
Dear Bill,

That is indeed a difference. I'm hoping to be in ther Pyrenees again next week, photographing my favourite abandoned village (access by 4WD or on foot only), probably with my Alpa...

Cheers,

roger

Does this mean that you have abandoned villages that you are not so keen on? :)

dll927
02-26-2008, 06:41
I've posed this question before, but have never gotten an answer:

In this debate about filters, there is always somebody who claims that filters "degrade image quality". I have a Leica M4-2 and three lenses for it. All three lenses have a 39mm Leitz filter on them. Now my question:

If filters degrade image quality, why does Leitz, of all people, make filters for their lenses????? And notice, I didn't say Hoya, Tiffen, or somebody else. I said LEITZ.

caffeineshutter
02-26-2008, 06:52
Windex. I understand this to be effective and cheap in comparison to alternatives.

My Nikon™ lens cleaner leaves smudges/residue which I'd rather not use elbow grease to remove. I've tried Opticlean™ as well and it now resides in the former liquor cabinet where I keep stuff like that. Sort of 'purgatory' for parts/gadgets that I may never use again.

I'm all for filters; sometimes I just don't want to juggle them. Therefore the lens is on it's own.

BTW, for the first time I noticed a certain name-brand 52mm lens cap which actually HIT (and perhaps scratched/ground) the front element of a telephoto lens I'd recently purchased. Took me a little futzing for about :30 seconds, but by then the damage had been done. :bang: Oh the humanity. Maybe if I got some rubbing compound from the automotive department...


CJ


CJ


I'm curious how many people use hoods/shades vs. filters (principally UV/haze) to protect their lenses. Or do you use nothing at all :eek:

JOE1951
02-26-2008, 07:04
Had a bad experience with a UV filter early on in the hobby, that made me abandon them. Dropped my first camera with a UV filter and no lenshood. The filter shattered and the glass badly scratched the front element. It was cheapo 50mm that I didn't care for, so I didn't feel too bad, just learned from it.

I've been pretty lucky since then, have dropped my Nikon FE2 three times since the mid 80's. Everytime the metal lenshoods took the blow. The built-in lenshood on 105mm was badly damaged, but a pair of pliers fixed it. My 35mm and 24mm both had the lenshoods pop off after they got a good bang, but the lens elements have never been damaged.

As far as keeping the front element clean, well its just a part of the maintance of owning gear. I think lenses are more robust than we generally give them credit for, but my early experience makes me feel UV filters are overrated than practical, unless your shooting in extreme conditions, wet weather, salt spray, high dust and sand, etc. In which case it might be wise to also keep the whole camera in a protective weatherproof case.

Oh yeah...good insurance helps!!!

I think long lenses have the advantage in that scratches and stuff on the front element rarely become apparent unless they are really bad. I had a 300mm Nikkor that had a really bad scuff on the front element, but ever noticed an affect in my photos! I've heard it is better to take a black marker and fill in the scratch on the front element on long lenses to prevent flair, than worry about its affects on sharpness. Anyone heard that before?

Rob-F
02-26-2008, 07:17
I always have a hood on the lens I'm using or carrying. I may have a filter as well. But I would not use a filter without a hood, for the reason Joe 1951 just mentioned. If it is reasonably convenient, as it is with the 28mm Summicron, I keep a cap on the front of the filter. The soft rubber hood cap for the 35mm Summilux ASPH, I simply lose in no time. The flare Bob Michaels wrote about can be solved by using a B&W filter with MRC coating.

ebolton
02-26-2008, 07:29
Sort of a related story: I bought an ebay camera awhile ago, and when the box arrived there was a 1/2" hole in it. When I opened the box, I found the hole happened to be exactly in line with the lens mounted on the camera. There was a haze filter and a lens cap on the lens that took the hit from whatever penetrated the box (it looked like it had been shot). The lenscap was potato-chipped and the filter was shattered. I was glad the seller had put it on there, because the filter wasn't mentioned in the listing and I wasn't expecting it. Once I cleaned the broken glass out of everything, I found the camera was OK except for one little nick at the extreme OD of the lens, which I think came from part of the filter. Without that filter, the front element would have been badly damaged.

caffeineshutter
02-26-2008, 07:37
My father has always shot with a Nikon F + 85/1.8 and a Vivitar 35ES, (40/1.7) Sometimes a GAF Memo (40mm/something, AE).

He had this hardware with him on every family outing, vacation, (Cape Cod. Every summer.) and sporting event I participated in as I grew up (baseball, swim meets, triathlons & road races).

The front elements of these cameras were never protected over the past 35+ years. The only lens cap he used was on the 35ES to keep the battery from running down. Never used a strap on any of his cameras.

The front elements on these aforementioned cameras are flawless. As a kid I'd see him periodically clean the Nikon or RF glass with the t-shirt he was wearing :eek: . At the beach amid the sand and ocean spray. He never used a camera bag either. I don't think he knows what a CLA is.

I don't understand how he did it.

I keep a Nikon UV filter on my Nikkor 85/1.8, and the Kalimar UV filter NEVER comes off the 35ES (that was one of the RFs he used all the time, mentioned above. I had used it as a kid with him and asked for it back when I got more into photography)

So the conclusion? Heck if I know.

Some people have a natural instinct in handling their cameras I guess. Not I. I ruined a Pentax P3 last week when I fell (back won't stay shut now. Fortunately the SMC-A 50/1.7 had a metal hood. :) )

I've mentioned this before in other threads, but I'm curious to find an article on the methods which AP photographers used in combat zones. THAT would be an interesting read.








Windex. I understand this to be effective and cheap in comparison to alternatives.

My Nikon™ lens cleaner leaves smudges/residue which I'd rather not use elbow grease to remove. I've tried Opticlean™ as well and it now resides in the former liquor cabinet where I keep stuff like that. Sort of 'purgatory' for parts/gadgets that I may never use again.

I'm all for filters; sometimes I just don't want to juggle them. Therefore the lens is on it's own.

BTW, for the first time I noticed a certain name-brand 52mm lens cap which actually HIT (and perhaps scratched/ground) the front element of a telephoto lens I'd recently purchased. Took me a little futzing for about :30 seconds, but by then the damage had been done. :bang: Oh the humanity. Maybe if I got some rubbing compound from the automotive department...



CJ

David Goldfarb
02-26-2008, 08:31
If filters degrade image quality, why does Leitz, of all people, make filters for their lenses????? And notice, I didn't say Hoya, Tiffen, or somebody else. I said LEITZ.

It's not a mystery, and Leitz filters have no magic properties in this regard. Filters are always a tradeoff.

If you are shooting color film and want to reduce the effects of haze and UV, then a UV filter improves image quality, with the caveat that it also reduces light transmission and contrast slightly due to flare. With B&W filters can alter the contrast of the image or the rendering of colors in grayscale, often to great advantage in comparison to the disadvantages of using a filter. If there is an obvious physical hazard, the use of a high quality filter lets you take pictures without being distracted by concern about damage to your lens, but if there is no physical hazard or photographic reason for using a filter, then I don't use them.

Regarding the effectiveness of UV filters in filtering UV, Bob Atkins wrote up a good test of this as an article on photo.net a while back. Many of them don't do much, but the better filters like Heliopan and B+W are quite effective.

A multicoated filter, though, is slightly better than a single coated filter, and significantly better than an uncoated filter. Higher quality filters are usually tested more carefully for optical flatness and generally have better rings. B+W and Heliopan filters are usually dyed in the mass, while Tiffen filters are typically glass/gel/glass sandwiches, which don't last as long, but certainly last long enough for most purposes.

kalokeri
02-26-2008, 09:14
An UV filter to protect the front lens.

A hood I use only if it has a bayonet mount or is build in. Screw ins make me mad.

Thomas

JOE1951
02-26-2008, 09:22
Just to expand on this with a couple of anecdotes of "extreme cases"

I know of a photographer who loves to tell his story of working a wedding. During a reception, he changes lenses on his Hasselblad. Puts switched lens on table, turns his back only momentarily to take a photo, turns back to the lens on the table to find someone thought it was an ashtray and put a cigarette out in it! No filter!

I don't know if that is true or some urban myth B.S., but it wouldn't surprise me.

2nd story was during a G7/G8/Gx whatever protest. I watched a television cameraman 3 feet away from me, get blast of blue paint completely across the front element of his video camera! No filter! He must have been new on the job, and probably the last job he did.

...and no I wasn't me,...administrator, we need a smilely icon for "shifty eyes"

So yeah, UV filters have their place, I just don't experience those extreme cases! Your mileage will vary.



...but my early experience makes me feel UV filters are overrated than practical, unless your shooting in extreme conditions, wet weather, salt spray, high dust and sand, etc. In which case it might be wise to also keep the whole camera in a protective weatherproof case....

bmattock
02-26-2008, 09:55
I ruined a Pentax P3 last week when I fell (back won't stay shut now. Fortunately the SMC-A 50/1.7 had a metal hood. :) )

I have a couple of P3's that I bought entirely for the lens, so the bodies are surplus to my needs. Let me know if you need one.

Ronald M
02-26-2008, 10:10
I use a lens shade and watch where I swing the camera. Do not clean in the field unless it is a dire emergency, wait to get home and do it properly.

skahde
02-26-2008, 12:37
Hood for a bumper, filters for a purpose. Protection is not one of them.

When I started I had UVs and 1As on every lens and ran into trouble with reflections, double-pictures of bright objects and flare on several occasions. I could solve theses problems by removing all unnecessary filters.

I have dozens of lenses and use them daily. I didn't have a single scratch or problem during the last 12 years due to not using filters.

Stefan

bmattock
02-26-2008, 19:34
Yep, protection is dubious at best.... A mate once said, "Me, carry a gun, luv? That's just asking to get shot at."

That doesn't make any sense. Why would carrying a firearm make one any more prone to be shot at?

bmattock
02-26-2008, 19:47
Of itself, it doesn't. It's a 'rounder's' lament from the bad old days. Show a gun to the coppers and you're likely to be responded to in kind. At that point we may have young people all nervous and with their fingers NOT where they're supposed to be - outside the trigger guard. Conceled it's simple insurance. Revealed, to some, not all, it's an occasion for brinksmanship. Lamentably.

Ah. Didn't quite get it the way you said it. I would never draw a concealed weapon or brandish one at anyone I did not intend to shoot, and there is very little that would persuade me not to fire once I had made that determination.

In my opinion, the problem with guns is not the gun enthusiast, but rather the dabbler. Some people see movies and think that waving a gun around in the air solves problems and therefore they might like to have one. Those are the dangerous folks. People who understand weapons do not object to statements like 'guns kill'. Of course they do, when used properly. That is what they are for. Next question?

bmattock
02-26-2008, 20:16
The mate was a photog for a Canadian magazine, smart man. I once saw him wrap a lens and a few other things in condoms to ford a river that was high and fast. He didn't use filters on his lenses, except for shooting colour, either. All of us broke stuff. But he seemed to break less than me.

Non-lubricated, I presume. Ribbed or non?

Honus
02-26-2008, 20:23
The mate was a photog for a Canadian magazine, smart man. I once saw him wrap a lens and a few other things in condoms to ford a river that was high and fast. He didn't use filters on his lenses, except for shooting colour, either. All of us broke stuff. But he seemed to break less than me.

Yes, this again underscores the idea that size matters. It would be a bigger man than me, so to speak, that could wrap his DSLR and zoom lens in his condom. Me? I'm thankful I use M-Leicas :D

caffeineshutter
02-26-2008, 20:46
Thank you very much. I appreciate your kindness. However, that P3 was getting on my nerves. Loud shutter, DX coding only, and a difficult-to-sense shutter release button. My ex-gf just gave me her K1000 on semi-permanent loan, and I'm very happy with that one.


Cheers,

CJ



I have a couple of P3's that I bought entirely for the lens, so the bodies are surplus to my needs. Let me know if you need one.

pvdhaar
02-29-2008, 02:22
That doesn't make any sense. Why would carrying a firearm make one any more prone to be shot at?
I guess he means shooting yourself in the foot.. sort of like collateral damage but in a different way. :D

amateriat
02-29-2008, 18:50
It's cheaper and more effective to my opinion to use a metal hood.

Cheaper because if you go for a filter you have to buy one not degrading your lenses. An expensive one.

More effective because with a hood you enjoy the benefit of preventing glare. And if you go for a filter, the filter becomes part of the front element. Then, how will you defend your filter ?

That been said, whenever a specific filter is due, of course it sould be used.

That's my vote.

Cheers,
Ruben Most heartily agreed. And there's one other little thing: take a lens with that expensive, low-flare filter and smack it against something pretty hard, and your lens might come away unscathed, but the filter is now toast (and good luck unscrewing it from the lens, BTW). The filter has now done at least one of its jobs. Once. And your shooting for the day is more-or-less a wrap.

Take that same lens, this time with a metal or hard rubber hood (not the floppy, collapsible, accordian-rubber jobs of the bad old days), and smack it with the same intensity, and it's a 90-95% certainty (okay, based on my own experience) your lens comes away unscathed, and, at worst, the metal hood might suffer a scratch or two, or maybe a nick or small dent. The screw threads are likely unharmed, and you can get back to shooting (as soon as you calm down and reorder yourself). :)

Other than the (very) occasional polarizer, I've never used filters, and I've yet to lose a single lens in thirty years' use from doing in the front element. (I once destroyed a cheap, no-name zoom lens by ripping the barrel loose from the lens mount, but that's another story. And the lens wasn't even mine...)


- Barrett

kshapero
03-12-2008, 03:42
I use a filter and a hood but no cap.

1. Filter - Tiffen protector, not MC. Easy to clean and cheap. Protects lens glass.
2. Hood - protects rim of the lens.
3. No cap - so I am ready to shoot and don't have to worry about the cap's whereabouts.
PS I do use the cap when the lens is on the shelf at home.

jbh
03-22-2008, 16:32
I always stick on a good-quality filter and a metal (if possible) shade. Over the years I've managed to smash a few filters and bend a couple of shades but have never yet damaged a lens.

ErnestoJL
03-22-2008, 17:28
I always stick on a good-quality filter and a metal (if possible) shade. Over the years I've managed to smash a few filters and bend a couple of shades but have never yet damaged a lens.

That´s my vote too.
Allways, it was easier and cheaper to find another hood (even an original one) or a filter made with good optical grade glass than to find another prime lens that performs exactly the same as the one you protected with those seemingly inexpensive (in fact they aren´t) accesories.
Fortunately, I managed to damage only one original Fujica 49 mm hood in all those years, but anyway it protected the lens from massive damage.
It was well worth the expense.

Cheers

Ernesto

feenej
03-22-2008, 18:14
Lens cap or nothing.

jbh
03-26-2008, 21:09
The "protective filter" question takes on religious aspects... <g>

It's interesting how some assert that a skylight/uv filter will "degrade image quality" in some horrible manner while it's otherwise perfectly acceptable to use a color filter.

I think the reason that some are so strongly opposed to using a protective filter is probably that many have bought the cheapest filters they could find and of course saw the image degradation that those filters cause. I don't know why anyone would use a filter that isn't of comparable quality to the lens itself and be surprised when that happens.

Some say that a filter should only be used in hazardous conditions. That's somewhat valid, but otoh I once managed to smash a filter against a doorknob in my house!

Simply using a filter isn't the best protection and the extra surfaces could cause some flare; if it's an either/or situation a screw-in metal shade is much better. Note that most shades that are supposedly appropriate for a given lens are much shorter than could be used; all you need to do is use the longest shade that doesn't cut off the corners.

Of course for maximum protection you should use both a filter and a shade. Just be sure it's a high-quality filter and a rigid shade.

-jbh-

tvagi
04-07-2008, 04:17
i use nothing!
i am sure that i would loose any lens cap!(if i used one)

narsuitus
04-25-2008, 13:56
“How do you protect your front lens elment?”

“What do you use in front of your lenses?”


When I am shooting, the primary thing I use in front of my lens to protect it is distance. Selecting a focal length that not only puts my front lens element out of harms way but me as well is extremely important.

I do not routinely use a UV/Haze filter on my lenses because they tend to rob me of some of the detail I am trying to capture (yes, I have performed comparison tests on 35mm images enlarged over 16x20 inches and noticed the difference in detail). However, on those rare occasions when I am shooting in a situation or an environment where the front lens element is likely to get damaged (mud wrestling, dust storm, race track), I will use a UV/Haze filter to protect the front element.

I routinely use a screw-on lens hood but primarily to block stray light from the front lens element. As a secondary benefit, the hood does offer some protection to the lens.

I use a case to protect my hooded lens while it is being stored or transported.

I do use a lens cap on my lenses that will accept a lens cap while the lens hood is attached or retracted.

If I am shooting in a hostile environment where the front lens element, the lens, and the camera are likely to get lost, damaged, or stolen; I use a disposable camera.

Since there were no options that fit me, I did not vote.

craygc
04-27-2008, 23:43
Just to through some other views into this thread. For the third time, I've just come back from photographing the Thai New Year festivities (called Song Kran). For those who aren't aware of what this is, it is best described as a 3~4 day non stop water fight. Example...

Song Kran 2008 (http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2146/2439888158_33bfa3d19c.jpg)

Every time I've photographed this event I've used a Nikonos V (well, almost a rangefinder - guessfinder is probably a more apt term :D). In previous years I have found trying to keep water off and/or from beading on the front element the hardest task; frequently resulting in shots that are obviously affected from the water beads. My point in terms of lens protection is that prior to this year's event, I purchased an after-market screw in metal lens hood for the 35mm lens. The result was the best lens protection ever. Keeping the lens pointed towards the ground, the front element kept dry even after the camera received multiple direct hits from buckets of water. In 3 days I only had to wipe water off about 6 times - mainly due to being caught off guard as I was resetting the focal distance - and never had one shot ruined due to water on the front element.

Lens hoods rock...

Pherdinand
04-28-2008, 07:54
i only use a protective filter if it's a new lens (new for me) and i am not sure if i will like/use it enough so i try to protect it for a future resale.

Didier
05-29-2008, 13:54
Never used filters for protection but for their effect on the picture, mostly Y, O or R for B&W work. Don't use these anymore since I shoot digital. Hoods take too much place in my jacket pockets, so they stay at home mostly (except for the flare prone Canon 50/1.2).

But not using hoods and filters it's not really "living dangerously" like suggested in the poll. Can't understand that paranoia. Damn, it's glass, not your balls. Or do you carry a cup in your slip everyday? :)

Most lenses can be cleaned easily, just take care with older Leitz and other old glass with soft coatings.

myoptic3
05-29-2008, 17:13
I do not enjoy cleaning camera glass, so once I get my lens all spiffy a MC UV filter goes right on. Shouldn't ever need to clean it again. I also use a yellow filter if it's bright out w/ B&W film. Having lived by the ocean, a filter of some kind is a good idea. Salt spray is not something you want on a lens. I also nearly always use a hood, AND I have a lens cap that fits the hood. Cleaning filters is not my idea of fun either. Accidents will happen, and I would rather scratch a filter than a lens any day.

Pherdinand
06-29-2008, 09:40
I take the front element out and leave it at home.
Much safer!

raid
07-01-2008, 06:41
I do not use filters on RF lenses but I used to use them on SLR lenses in the past. I always have a lens hood on the lenses and I avoid taking the expensive lenses when I am close to sea water. One of my favorite "close to ocean lens" is the one attached to my Konica S2. I always thought that's why there exists a Konica S2. It is a perfect ocean camera.

Windscale
07-01-2008, 07:57
I use lens hoods and UV (or skylight) filters on all my lenses manly for protection. I do many blow-ups (to 24x36 in). I have also done many tests regarding the use of filters. I did not find them contributory or detrimental to a good picture, even the cheaper ones. But I do normally use better ones. However, a good lens hood does make a lot of difference, especially with older (non-multi-coated) lenses.

Soeren
08-26-2008, 02:34
I use a lens cap.

How does it affect image quality shooting through a lenscap ? :D

I use hoods for my 50 and 85mm's and nothing for the rest of the lenses though my 20mm would be better of with some kind of hood I think.
Kind regards

ClaremontPhoto
08-26-2008, 05:58
Put the lens in a presentation box and take it out only on your birthday.

For three minutes.

presspass
08-27-2008, 10:15
I use my Leicas in rain and snow as well as on sunny dry days. For the past 30+ years I've also been documenting our volunteer fire company. Since I don't have time at a fire or rescue call to put filters and hoods on, I keep them on all lenses. I don't use caps on the lenses that are either on the cameras or in the bag. I've lost a couple of Leica caps at fire scenes and they're just too expensive to replace. I have made comparisons between shots through UV filters and ones without and printed the tests up to 11x14 (black and white) and haven't seen a difference.

Morca007
08-27-2008, 14:14
All of my Nikon SLR lenses have UV filters on them. My J-8 receives no such luxury, when I'm out the lens cap stays in the pocket and the front element lives dangerously.

rogerchristian
08-29-2008, 20:35
I use a filter on every lens if for no other reason than to make sure I can put on another filter in the future.

MikeL
09-18-2008, 15:29
I'm just careful about where I put my front element. If I put it in the wrong place I can get scratches and fungus on it. I can also get spots on it that won't go away. People close to you might not like spots on your front element.
If you decide to put it someplace risky, then having something covering your front element is a safe idea. Good luck.

kipkeston
09-21-2008, 08:27
neither ! what's a little dust on the front element?

Shadowplay
09-21-2008, 10:30
I'm just careful about where I put my front element. If I put it in the wrong place I can get scratches and fungus on it. I can also get spots on it that won't go away. People close to you might not like spots on your front element.
If you decide to put it someplace risky, then having something covering your front element is a safe idea. Good luck.
I had to have a fungus removed from the inside of mine once. It was a very unpleasant experience that first involved inserting a q-tip into the lens barrel to detect what type of fungus it was.

MikeL
10-07-2008, 20:14
I had to have a fungus removed from the inside of mine once. It was a very unpleasant experience that first involved inserting a q-tip into the lens barrel to detect what type of fungus it was.

I've heard that test can be unpleasant, and my sympathies. The cost/benefit analysis of this happening is not always done when one is thinking...er... clearly. You see something in the moment, and the next thing you know you have an obstruction in the lens barrel. Protect when you can.....

FallisPhoto
10-19-2008, 18:54
How does it affect image quality shooting through a lenscap ? :D

I use hoods for my 50 and 85mm's and nothing for the rest of the lenses though my 20mm would be better of with some kind of hood I think.
Kind regards

Not at all, because I take it off. I don't do much impulse shooting.

John Lawrence
12-23-2008, 10:28
With my old LTM lenses I use either UV or Skylight filters to protect the front element. I always try to use a lens hood with any lens I have - more to keep stray light out than for protection though.

Al Kaplan
12-24-2008, 10:28
Oh WOW! Now I'm thinking that maybe I should take all my Leica bodies and lenses, wrap them in Saran Wrap with silica gell packets, then in foam before sticking them, along with more silica gell, into two layers of zip-lock bags, finishing off with a padded cmera bag. Store the whole thing in the deep freeze of course. I can buy the store brand disposeable cameras at Walgreens for little more than the price of film. A lot of you guys would look at my photos and wonder how I managed to get such unreal yet intense colors with just that little hint of softness...

ElectroWNED
12-25-2008, 17:54
I use a lens cap.

I agree with this post.

john341
12-25-2008, 17:56
I use a see-through lens cap

BTMarcais
12-25-2008, 22:13
I put hoods and filters...although the filter isn't always a given. If i'm in inclement weather conditons, rain, snow, sand storm, tornado, volcanic eruption, etc... then a filter will definitely be on my lens. Also if it's one of my older soft-coating lenses that are easily scratched ( collapsible summicron 50). But I pretty much always have a hood on, since I have been known to walk into things from time to time. And the hood is even more important with a filter, just because of the added chance of flare from the extra glass.
If i'm using a filter.... Heliopan or B+W.

muser53
12-25-2008, 22:51
Living in the SF bay area there is often an early morning mist and or fog and so I generally use a UV (multi-coated) filter and pack along the appropriate hoods for when the (bright Cal) sun finally breaks thru.

Paul

"To arrive at what is simple is a difficult process."
Rasheeed bin Fouad

Michael Markey
12-26-2008, 12:15
Glad of that lense hood today. My M3 took a fall onto my driveway from my Landover because I was stupid and did not fasten my bag . The hood has a dent and the lever on the baseplate refuses to lie flush but the rangefinder is working and there appears to be no other damage.

TomN
03-30-2009, 06:00
I'm curious how many people use hoods/shades vs. filters (principally UV/haze) to protect their lenses. Or do you use nothing at all :eek:

i find the best and most durable is a lens cap. of course, when I shoot, i don't need protection.

januaryman
03-30-2009, 07:52
I voted "nothing/dangerously" but for the two lenses that cost more than usual, I do use a UV filter. I have hoods for most of my lenses, but don't bother using them for the most part. I'm just too lazy or don't want the camera to stand out and draw attention to itself when street shooting.

Merkin
03-30-2009, 15:01
About three hours ago, I had a reaffirmation of the importance of using a good quality UV filter on your lenses. I was in a 'target rich environment,' switching from a 90mm to a 50mm lens. In the process, the back cap fell off of the fifty, and in the process of snatching it, I accidentally grazed my thumb across the filter, leaving a lovely mark across it. I didn't want to take the time to clean it right then, so I just unscrewed it, put it in the filter case I keep with me, and kept shooting without it. If I hadn't had the filter on, I would have had to take several minutes cleaning the front element, and i would have missed a shot that I am pretty sure will be a 'keeper.' When i got back a while ago, i carefully cleaned both the filter and the front element, and reinstalled the filter. Yes, technically, the filter does degrade the image quality, but it has never been noticeable whatsoever for me, and I would rather have my image quality degraded a tiny tiny amount on average for the ability to keep shooting when I would otherwise have to stop, like today.

Leighgion
03-30-2009, 15:28
I use hoods the majority of the time, but I somehow don't think of them as physical protection on anything but my lenses with the widest front elements. To me, it's the UV filter that's physical protection. My filters have blocked salt spray, freshwater spray and unidentified goopy substances. Like Merkin, I'm more than willing to accept whatever small image degradation the filter might bring in exchange for the comfort and convenience of cleaning a filter rather than my front element.

sanmich
04-01-2009, 15:22
A multi coated B&W to protect the lens.
and then a Hoya filter to protect the expensive B&W filter.
and then...
.
.

and then a hood.

I wander How I manage to have vignetting on a tele??

eleskin
04-28-2009, 15:43
I always use a skylight filter on all my Lenses. A friend of mine had a Hassy 501C with a 75mm Planar lens. His camera was on a tripod in his studio. He tripped on a mop, and the mop handle hit you know where. He did not have a protective filter on the lens, guess what happened to the lens? PAPERWEIGHT!!! I remembered the phone call, he had a shoot and wanted to borrow my Pentax 645N with the 75mm Lens (He said it was sharper than the Planar Ha, Ha, I only paid $245 at Adoroma, Used). He never told me how much he paid to repair his lens.

flip
04-28-2009, 18:53
Depends. But I always keep the cap on if I don't have a hood in the way.

italy74
04-29-2009, 03:38
Actually, I use more hoods than filters.
If any, only when necessary, a cir polarizing one.

JohnTF
04-29-2009, 09:04
I always use a skylight filter on all my Lenses. A friend of mine had a Hassy 501C with a 75mm Planar lens. His camera was on a tripod in his studio. He tripped on a mop, and the mop handle hit you know where. He did not have a protective filter on the lens, guess what happened to the lens? PAPERWEIGHT!!! I remembered the phone call, he had a shoot and wanted to borrow my Pentax 645N with the 75mm Lens (He said it was sharper than the Planar Ha, Ha, I only paid $245 at Adoroma, Used). He never told me how much he paid to repair his lens.

I think that is how "parts" lenses get sold. Outer element on a 28-200? Tamron zoom was $100 from the factory.

I know someone who just sold some Hassy lenses which had excellent glass, but the shutters and diaphragms were totally shot, am pretty sure he would have sold them for $100 each?

Regards, John