Jump to content
Wally The Confused

To UV Filter or Not to UV filter ?

Recommended Posts

As you all know, I am new to this Digital malarkey.

My last camera was a now  broken  Minolta XE 1.

In those days, lenses had soft outer coatings, that would supposedly be ruined, by repeated wipes of cleaning cloths.

Now I have the A7 II, with the  Sony 18 - 200  and the Sony Zeiss 35 f 1.4.

Some people are saying that the modern front lenses, have hard coatings, so you can wipe them as much as you like,  without destroying the coating, and  that  the  UV filter  of yesteryear, is now ,no longer necessary.

In fact the UV filter can detract from the sharpness of the lens  ?

 

Any info on this would be greatly appreciated , thanks.

Wally The Confused

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if modern coatings no longer accumulate

cleaning marks [which was not a problem with

majority of older lenses anyway ... ], wearing

a filter protects against various mishaps etc.

 

As for a reduction in sharpness, once you've

lugged a seriously heavy tripod and set your

camera on it, focused critically, and set your

lens to it's most critical aperture and your

capture to raw, you really owe it to all your

efforts at perfect sharpness to go right ahead

and remove the filter, just in case it's worth

it for a possible improvement.

 

BUT ! Before you remove the filter, you also

owe it to yourself to record the shot WITH

the filter in place, for later comparison. Also

recheck your focus after removing the filter.

 

Also bracket your focus for both versions and

be sure to focus using live view. Do not trust

the alignment of mirrors and focusing screens

in SLRs.

 

If you wanna get reeeeeeally picky ... and if

you worry about negative influences of filters

then you are, by definition, picky ... assume

that your lens shifts focus when stopped down.

Thus you need to focus at working aperture.

 

So, whenever you are NOT following all the

critical sharpness procedures outlined above,

keep the filter on your lens and don't worry

about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah UV filters.

1. You don't need to filter out the UV.

2. It will reduce your image quality.

3. They may introduce or worsen vignetting.

4. Good filters are really expensive.

5. Generally a lens hood provides better protection to the lens front element while being positive for image quality.

6. In 30 odd years of photography I've never damaged a lens by cleaning it.

 

Does that help?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Peter Kelly

The first thing to say is that you don't need a UV filter for digital photography; UV filters are a hangover from film days when UV light would cause the picture to look washed out. Sensors are not affected by UV in the same way.

So the decision rests on whether to use a protection filter, or not.

 

Ultimately, it is a personal choice but you need to consider what you want and how you work.

 

First of all, even if it is the best filter in the world, adding another layer of glass (two air glass interfaces) can affect the image. It can't possibly improve it, otherwise filters would be fitted as standard!

That said, the very best quality filters will only introduce minute changes and often only in certain circumstances that give rise to extra flare. If you can live with that then those issues don't matter.

 

However, you then come to the purpose of such a filter.

 

The idea is that it will offer protection, but from what exactly? Certainly if you're working in a very dusty environment, or by the sea with plenty of spray, then a filter may help when it comes to cleaning the front element.

Then again, this is no guarantee: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/05/how-to-ruin-your-gear-in-5-minutes-without-water

 

The other issue is an impact, which might scratch the lens. Unfortunately, there are no measurements or tests that will show whether a particular filter will withstand such a blow that would otherwise harm the lens, so you don't know the 'protection' you're getting, but this is as good an indication as anything: http://petapixel.com/2015/08/31/photo-mythbusters-how-much-do-uv-filters-actually-protect-your-lenses/. Simply, the best thing, with or without a filter, is to keep damaging objects away from the front element and the best for that is the hood.

 

Even in the worst case scenario and damage occurs, though, slight scratches will have little effect: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2008/10/front-element-scratches and http://kurtmunger.com/dirty_lens_articleid35.html

 

That finally brings you down to cost.

 

There are all sorts of ways of looking at this, but any final decision depends upon your own situation. For instance, it is absolutely certain that all the money spent by everyone on these filters will be many times any costs of repairs people have had done. Of course, that is the same with any insurance; those who paid and never claim will see it as expensive, whereas those who suffer a write-off will think it a bargain!

 

To make your decision you will need to be honest about what you want and how you behave.

 

Personally I think protection filters are a complete waste of money. I'm a working pro (have been for years), have never used them, and never suffered damage. I dread to think the money I would have wasted if I'd bought filters!

I regard a lens as a capital asset with a limited lifespan and rely on insurance if the worst was to happen, but I do appreciate that this isn't the same for everyone. If you are at the other end of users, an occasional hobbyist, perhaps, taking great care and replacing your camera and lens into a case after every shot, there is even less need for protection.

 

However, if it gives you peace of mind and you don't have a huge collection of lenses that each need a filter, purchasing one good quality filter is not going to break the bank.

It does need to be a good one though!

 

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

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/10/bad-times-with-bad-filters

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

whenever you add glass to your lens, your image quality will always suffer. I personally did tests with my Sony 70-200mm f/4 and my Sony 50mm f/1.8. with the UV on I pointed the lens towards a light source. now sometimes light will reflect off of the lens elements inside the lens, a microscopic amount of this can't be helped but coatings are added to the lens to remove this. but when a uv filter is on, all bets are off. i would get terrible BIG ghosting marks in my shot. at a bonfire, there would be a upside down reflection of the fire in my image that was unremovable and flares. but if I took the uv filter off, it would go away. if that light source was particularly bright then I may still see a itty bitty tiny amount of ghosting and flare, but almost not noticeable and easier to avoid by changing the angle.

now I no longer use UV filters

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest all8

I use UV filters (Zeiss or B+W), my experience is as follows:

 

  1. ​I don't have to clean the front lens, it stays pristine. eBay buyers like this.
  2. I don't have to mount a lens hood in order to get some protection for my front lens element.
  3. When there is a strong light source at the edges of the frame, there can be some flare or internal reflections, how much of this is from the filter I don't know. The filters I use are pretty good, so this is not a common problem for me, perhaps 0.1% of all photos.
  4. The filter can be removed if I suspect it is causing flare.
  5. The filter can be removed whenever I want, for whatever reason, or no reason at all.
  6. The filter can be removed if it gets dirty (real dirt, not fingerprints), and cleaned later. Sometimes I don't have my cleaning gear with me (I'm halfway up a tree, balanced on rocks or whatever) so I can remove a dirty filter and keep shooting a bit.
  7. The filter can be removed if I'm using the Lee Seven5 filter system.

 

So, I don't really see any problems, and none that can't be solved by removing the filter now and then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest all8

Would the same issue of reflections occur with a Zeiss lens and Zeiss filter attached. I have Zeiss UV filters on my 55 and 35mm lenses and I'm now wondering if I should remove them…? This is a great thread by the way.

 

 

I've used a 70200 with B+W filter and shot directly into the Sun (Sun was the object), no flare. When I do get flare, I think its really light reflecting of the sensor and lens elements (not proven).  https://500px.com/photo/117351401/heat-wave-by-tim-rule

 

 

 

And a Batis 25 with Zeiss filter, once I had the pattern of the Aperture blades appearing as flare, so not sure if it came from the filter or the lens. But I have plenty of other photos with sun-stars and other things, no flare. The photo is here, but really you can't see the flare once the exposure was corrected (flare was in top left area): https://500px.com/photo/136494559/cabo-espichel-generator-room-by-tim-rule

 

A good high quality filter is as good as a good high quality lens. Its one additional glass element in a lens system that can contain many pieces of glass.

 

They (Zeiss) are _very_ good filters, I would only remove them if you think they are causing a problem. Or if you don't want to use them, whatever works.

 

 

I have some shots at 500px that have strong light sources, I think they are OK but you can decide for yourself. In each case a filter was attached.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never have used UV filter on digital (did on film SLRs).

 

That said, I usually have CPL on 70200G4, since its used mostly during sunny days on sports fields.

 

Always use lens hood to protect against incidental contacts.... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Jaf-Photo

You might consider using a protector filter instead of a UV filter. The UV filtration is not necessary on digital, but the protector is hardened and has anti-flare coatings etc. The light-loss is negligible (and auto-corrected for) and uniform across the spectrum.

 

You'd be hard-pressed to see any difference in the images with the filter on or off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The idea of protecting your lens is a good one, but keep in mind your image quality does suffer.  I mostly notice when bright lights or sun is in the shot, you'll get glare/flare where otherwise your lens would not be affected due to the higher quality coatings.

 

Now on the flip side, I did use a UV filter for many years and it actually 'may' have saved my lenses front element.  My lens took a direct hit on a door knob, the UV filter cracked and no damage to lens.

 

I no longer use any filter to protect my lens unless I go to the beach.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest all8

The idea of protecting your lens is a good one, but keep in mind your image quality does suffer.  I mostly notice when bright lights or sun is in the shot, you'll get glare/flare where otherwise your lens would not be affected due to the higher quality coatings.

  

 

 

My Zeiss Filter has the same coatings as the Lens its is attached too. I think its a case of you get what you pay for ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Zeiss Filter has the same coatings as the Lens its is attached too. I think its a case of you get what you pay for ...

 

 

So TRUE...

I have a relatively cheap $40 UV filter, it's not a $4 filter made by Blind Teenage Girls in China, but still sucks the life out of a sunny day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input; I think I will leave my Zeiss filters in place for now as I do tend to expose my cameras to dust and occasional rain and it will offer some protection to the front lens. Although considering where I sometimes put my camera I suspect that it will not offer much protection in every circumstance. 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest all8

This is an example of the flare I get with a Batis 25 + Zeiss UV filter (T* coated), its a crop of the center of the frame. I do wonder if it caused by the filter because it is fairly circular, rather than showing the aperture pattern (which I sometimes see). Anyway, a mystery to solve when the days get a little longer.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I put a filter on when I'm taking rally pictures.  Those cars throw a lot of rocks and dirt and mud around.  Spectators get hit fairly often, so there's definitely a non-zero chance it could nail the lens.

Also, they run rain or shine, which means we shoot rain or shine.  When it's rainy the lens will get wet, and when its dry the lens will get dusty.  And a good filter is way way easier to clean than the front element of the lens.  Or worst case if I'm in a hurry or in a pinch, instead of trying to clean it, I can just swap it out for a fresh filter, then clean the dirty one off the camera.  Then swap them back again when needed.

 

 

That is the only scenario I use a filter.  It's for the protection and making it easier to clean.  Any other time, I don't use a filter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an example of the flare I get with a Batis 25 + Zeiss UV filter (T* coated), its a crop of the center of the frame. I do wonder if it caused by the filter because it is fairly circular, rather than showing the aperture pattern (which I sometimes see). Anyway, a mystery to solve when the days get a little longer.

 

[]

See that flare on her leg and just below the sun, that might be from the filter. I get similar flares, when I take it off, nothing but clean.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest all8

See that flare on her leg and just below the sun, that might be from the filter. I get similar flares, when I take it off, nothing but clean.

 

 

Probably. That's the one I think comes from the filter, it was easy to control so unfortunately I did not bother to remove the filter ... perhaps the lens would have struggled anyway, without a filter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably. That's the one I think comes from the filter, it was easy to control so unfortunately I did not bother to remove the filter ... perhaps the lens would have struggled anyway, without a filter?

 

In my experience the 25mm Batis is absolutely immune to flare. I used in midday full sunlight in the snow (don't think you can get more light and reflections without flash) and didn't notice a *single* image with a flare.

So if you ask me, the flare in your picture is definitely because of the filter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest all8

In my experience the 25mm Batis is absolutely immune to flare. I used in midday full sunlight in the snow (don't think you can get more light and reflections without flash) and didn't notice a *single* image with a flare.

So if you ask me, the flare in your picture is definitely because of the filter.

 

 

I don't want to draw this conclusion without evidence, even if I suspect the same thing, because it is actually pretty hard to get that flare to occur. Right now, pointing the Camera at a lamp, I struggle to get any flare, and the flare that does occur is there regardless of the filter being attached or not. But, next time I see this flare (i.e. the next time I see the sun, could be a while ...) I will remove the filter and post pics here. 

 

If it turns out that I remove the filter and the flare goes away, then I'm happy with that   

 

This is the other example of flare I have, its a different kind, same setup Batis 25 + Zeiss UV filter (with T* coating) - in this case there was no direct sunlight on the lens itself. I think these are the only two instances I have, out of 1500 photos with the Batis 25mm.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Food for thought... I replaced all my lens caps with filters. I have missed a couple of shots in the past because of the cap being in place but never missed one because of a filter. I remove filters if I think there could be an issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Food for thought... I replaced all my lens caps with filters. I have missed a couple of shots in the past because of the cap being in place but never missed one because of a filter. I remove filters if I think there could be an issue.

 

Kinda like how snakes have clear eyelids?  Eyelids don't move, they're always closed.  So they never miss anything in a blink.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like most comments I agree that filters are not necessary in most situations.

However what I picked up on some forums is that you need a front filter to make the lens totally weather sealed.

Don't know if this is also the case for Sony lenses but for other brands the weather sealing is only 100% effective with a front lens in place and so the UV filter is the best choice I think.

Weather sealing is necessary for dust (sand) and rain, heavy rain.

For the moment I'm in a landscape photography fase...and don't like UV-filters because I'm using LEE gradients and stoppers.

So no place for an UV-filter because I would have to remove it before placing the LEE system.

But I carry them when I'm shooting in the rain or in dusty situations (for example Iceland were wind can carry a lot of very fine particles).

Can anyone confirm if it's also necessary for the Sony and Zeiss lenses (former Canon user).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...