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Protective filters. Yes or no?
Old 06-02-2019   #1
Ccoppola82
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Protective filters. Yes or no?

I'm not sure if this is the right forum, but I've always used UV or protective filters since my DSLR days. I have a decent set of contrast filters for use with BW film, but I'm curious what your thoughts are as far as the protection vs IQ degradation pros and cons. For those of you who use filters for protection, do you prefer B&W, heliopan, or Leica filters?
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Old 06-02-2019   #2
Ko.Fe.
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UV filters on digital cameras is most common topic I have seen in the last decade.
UV on DSLR is the degradation of quality or just useless at least.

https://photographylife.com/polarizi...and-uv-filters
Quote:
Let’s get UV filters out of the way – indeed, unless you are using a film camera, they are completely useless for the task of blocking UV. That’s already done by your sensor filter stack, which contains a UV blocking filter. Today, UV filters are only used as “protective” filters, for the purpose of protecting your lenses against damage.
Use clear filters for protection.
I prefer B&W clear protective filters. If too expensive, then else clear protective filters.
No UV, it will degrade the quality.
https://schneiderkreuznach.com/en/ph...rlage/uv-clear

Here is no IQ degradation with the clear filters.
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Old 06-02-2019   #3
oftheherd
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Have you done a search of your subject? There have been several threads on that. Many answer with the fervor of a religious discussion.

Myself, I like to use a UV filter for protection. You may have heard the old adage, Keep the lens clean, don't keep cleaning the lens.

You will find many who will disagree with a protective filter. If it works for them, so be it. It really isn't worth arguing about as long as you are satisfied with your results over time.
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Old 06-02-2019   #4
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A dirty lens will degrade the image quality more than a clean UV filter will. Lenses get dirty pretty quickly and you shouldn't really be cleaning the front element regularly.
There's plenty of lenses out there being sold with cleaning marks on the front element.
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Old 06-02-2019   #5
Ccoppola82
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I've always used them but am wondering if people have experience with different brands making any difference in flaring etc? Generally I use B&W for my DSLRs but have heard good things about heliopan, and I have an old chrome leitz on my collapsible cron.
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Old 06-02-2019   #6
Renato Tonelli
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All of my lenses have a UV filter to protect the front element. Many years ago, my Tokina 80-200 would have been damaged and unusable during an assignment - a photographer, standing next to me accidentally poked the front of the lens with his Monopod - I removed the scratched filter and continue shooting.

The best glass deserves good quality filters. I use B+W, Hoya, Heliopan.
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Old 06-02-2019   #7
Godfrey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ccoppola82 View Post
I've always used them but am wondering if people have experience with different brands making any difference in flaring etc? Generally I use B&W for my DSLRs but have heard good things about heliopan, and I have an old chrome leitz on my collapsible cron.
I don't use "protective" filters unless I'm shooting in circumstances where I deem them necessary ... Like at the beach, or on the desert, where salt air, blowing sand and grit, etc, can attack and damage the lenses. But whatever you like... I only rarely find I need to clean my lenses (just dust them off now and then), and sometimes a filter allows a thin and difficult to remove film of very fine dust to develop on the front element of the lens, so it's a bit of a toss up to me.

When I do use filters today, it's usually either to modify gray scale relationships with B&W film, neutral density to allow large apertures in bright light, or polarizing filters to help reduce reflections and consequent flare. But the same criteria for them applies to any and all other filters: clear protection, UV absorption, color correction, etc.

The multicoatings used by nearly all vendors today are outstanding. Hoya, Heliopan, Rodenstock, B+W, ... you name it, they're all pretty darn good. The discriminators upon which to base buying decisions are
  • optical flatness
  • thickness
  • material of the filter mount
  • quality of the mount threads
  • design of the mount (such that it holds the filter as close to the front element of the lens a possible)
  • spectral characteristics' consistency

in no particular order. Generally speaking, I've had my best satisfaction with B+W, Heliopan, and Hoya filters on these points. I prefer thin brass mounts with rolled threads: these generally have the least issues on today's lenses, particularly some with light weight polycarbonate threaded bezels. B+W and Heliopan make these kinds of filter mounts; Hoya mounts are usually aluminum alloy but I think they use rolled threads.

I've had some defects with all manufacturers' filters over the years, so my rule of thumb is to buy a filter and then test it carefully to be sure that it performs as I desire. Most, like 99%+, from quality manufacturers like these are defect free and perform as desired—so don't expect to find too many bad ones.

G
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Old 06-02-2019   #8
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These are pretty old, alas, but still instructive about the kinds of differences that can be observed:

https://www.lenstip.com/113.1-articl...roduction.html

https://www.lenstip.com/index.php?art=120http://
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Old 06-02-2019   #9
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Clear filters will protect the front element. I've thrown away a considerable number of scratched filters over the years but I don't think I've ever had a lens element get messed up.

I'm too lazy to find the post but Roger over at Lens Rentals blog did a fairly extensive report on the tests they did using UV filters a while back. As I recall, his findings were that good quality protective filters did not deteriorate the image to any significant degree.

Personally, I've used B+W MRC clear and UV filters on all my current Fujinon and Zeiss lenses and in the past with Leitz lenses. I've used Hoya HMC filters on my Canon and Olympus lenses over the years. I never found these particular filters to cause any image deterioration, even when shooting against the light. Both brands are good quality.

On the other hand, I've seen severe image quality deterioration using several different types of Cokin filters on long telephoto lenses. And I've had secondary image reflections when using uncoated Tiffen filters when a light source was in the image area. I threw those filters in the trash long ago.
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Old 06-02-2019   #10
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For me, protective filters always. In fact last month I had to replace a filter because the glass was badly damaged by a brick wall as I was climbing it to get a better view: that damaged filter could have been the front element of my Fuji 16-55 zoom lens. I have never found that a good quality filter (Hoya, B+W etc) degrades images in film or digital. You may find otherwise.
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Old 06-02-2019   #11
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I didn't for a long time; I definitely regret it, as after a while, my old bag seemed to lose its shape and lenses would slip under the dividers and bang up against each other. I have a few minute scratches on some favorite lenses.

My M8 came with a 39mm and 43mm UV/IR filter each, and I augmented those with just the basic B+W multicoated filters, from Amazon's 'warehouse deals' section for pretty cheap. They ended up being about the same price as the cheap filters sold at my local shop.

Wish I'd sprung for the slimmer mount ones, since I too use BW contrast filters fairly extensively, and usually stack them as I switch between film and digital. No image degradation that i've noticed, but a little vignetting in wide angles. Agreed with Dogman on Tiffen—tossed mine for the same reason.

Also have a Haida UV/IR that was the only one I could find cheaper than the insane B+W ones. Can't speak for the rest of their line, but sturdy, very thin mount, does the job.
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