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by Dayo at 21:31 GMT - Wed 16 May 07


Many buy so called protective filters to be left on their lenses as a permanent feature but I say got some sky to polarise or reflections to deal with? Use a polariser. Going up the hills where UV and haze will be a problem? Pack a UV Filter.

Slapping a chunk of glass on your lens for "protection" just doesn't stack up to rational examination except to the person selling them. Don't get me wrong, I can understand using them when there is a definite risk of unwanted effects. However, your eyes are precious and delicate aren't they? I bet you don't wear safety goggles 24/7 in order to protect them.

One story I heard someone tell had me in stitches. Apparently, this guy fell down a flight of stairs one day while carrying his camera and believed his UV filter saved his front element and left convinced he had to leave a UV filter on all his lenses all the time. I hear that and think, thank God he didn't have a soft focus filter on the lens!

OK to be serious, I thought "a guy takes a tumble down a flight of stairs. His eyes could have gotten poked out in the process, he could have snapped his neck, spine or limbs. Does he start to go about in safety goggles, helmets and kevlar? Of course not! What does he do? He slaps UV filters on every lens and decides to use his common sense to deal with risks to his body." I wonder why that same common sense flies out of the window when it comes to this issue.

Common logic says you protect what is valuable and your health is MUCH MUCH more valuable than your lenses. Wearing safety googles 24/7 is not that inconvenient when you think about it given the myriad of bad things that could happen to ones' eyes. Yet, we take the chance and deal with the threat rationally. We know there is a risk but deal with it sensibly.

If you are so scared of damaging your lens that you can spend rip off amounts to buy the so called high quality protective filters to be stuck on your lenses 24/7, then think twice and apply the same logic to your eyes at least and wear safety goggles all the time. Remember that the very same meteorite falling out of the clear blue sky that you are so afraid might strike your lens, can also take out your eyes.

My argument is that slapping these on as a matter of routine is ridiculous and irrational. Shooters will go shoot dirt biking for instance and say "I must slap a filter on my lens to protect it" yet somehow, the same concern does not apply to their eyes which is infinitely more valuable. I am an observer of life and have to ask why. Surely, if a lens that could easily be replaced needs protection, then something like your eyes must need even more protection in the same circumstances. Don't you think? Conversely, if it is ok for the eyes to go without protection, then there is no need to "protect" the lens!

I know why you and that guy will not go about wearing safety goggles to "protect" your eyes from the mythical meteorite, because you will look like a dummy, that's why. Maybe it is time to rethink the so called "protective" filter.

Besides the irrationality of it, the damn things ruin images!
Here are some interesting tests on the effects of filters on images here.
This chap, puzzled on why his expensive lens was giving him poor results had a brainwave.
Nikon, makers of fine lenses, think that "protective filters" are bad for your images

What do you think? Do you agree it is time to tell Mr Salesman / Fearmonger where to stick it?

133212 Views | 13 Comments

(13 Comments , 0 are new)
1 Re: Protective filters by zander at 09:23 GMT - Thu 17 May 07
That's all well and good, but I don't have my eyes winging around my neck on the end of a strap.  I also don't put my eyes on the top of a tripod on uneven ground with the risk of it falling over.  The point is, my camera gets put in more risky situations than my eyes, because I prize my eyes over my lenses.  Hence the extra protection.  I dropped my camera a few weeks ago.  It landed on the end of the lens and dented the UV filter's thread.  ?¬?¨?¬?£500 of camera (?¬?¨?¬?£100 of lens) saved by a ?¬?¨?¬?£5 filter.  The maths add up to me.
2 Re: Protective filters by zander at 09:32 GMT - Thu 17 May 07
Of course there are certain things a UV filter won't protect against.  Read the description and check out the post-trauma pics on the right hand side.

3 Re: by Ned at 17:16 GMT - Thu 17 May 07
i thought you'd be talking about the disadvantages of the filters on the quality of the pic! but you keep comparing the lens to the eye!

ok .. the protection a filter provides to a lens is not only against dents and scratches. it also protects the coating on the front element of the lens, which can be worn away by repeated cleaning.

when it comes to the quality of the pic, i agree that you should remove any filter you don't need at the time plus you shouldn't stack filters unless for a purpose other than protection. for example, if you want to use ND filters to balance the exposure re
4 Re: by Ned at 17:18 GMT - Thu 17 May 07
... to balance the exposure remove the UV filter .. AND put it back after you've finished.

YES .. my eyes are more valuable than any lens .. but who said my eyes are not protected?!!
my eyes are protected by pairs of eyelids, eyelashes and eyebrows. in addition, the front element of my eyes has a transparent protective skin. moreover, i have two hands to stop flying things hitting my eyes, or blocking direct sunlight. LEARN FROM GOD AND PROTECT YOUR LENS!

ooh .. i have sunglasses with UV protection and polarizer. you have sunglasses, dayo, don't you?!!
5 Re: Sports Shooter Fall by Dayo at 17:58 GMT - Thu 17 May 07
Wow! His camera was totally destroyed, the lens apparently survived though. Hmmm. I bet a filter didn't come into play on that one.
6 Re: by Ned at 20:00 GMT - Thu 17 May 07
dayo, i remember the first time we met, at yaqubee .. remember?! when you left, myself and mohammed were wondering what the hell you do with your camera to be that filthy?! .. lol .. no wonder you don't care about the protection of your lens ;)
7 Re: "Filthy" Cams by Dayo at 21:02 GMT - Thu 17 May 07
Take Pics Ned :).

Will readily admit to not spending time polishing the cam body very day.

Of course lenses and gear need protection.  Question is how.  Yet to actually hear of, talk less of see, a lens
destroyed by careful cleaning.

This topic though is like religion.  No matter what anyone has to say to the contrary, the faithfully will always
stay on.  An interesting one though.
8 Re: Protective Filters by Foto-House at 22:32 GMT - Thu 17 May 07
Filters are like sunglasses,(or safety goggles), as the risk increases so should the level of protection, I think the point Dayo is getting at is your lens does not need 24/7 protection for the front element.  As far as impact protection is concerned I most always have the lens hood on ( also get the added protection from lens flare and get better contrast to boot.  Some camera store sales people will tell you you should buy a uv for protection when you buy a lens, they never ask if you have another lens with the same threads.  UV filters do have color, they do change color and if color is imp
9 Re: Protective Filters by Ransom at 13:05 GMT - Sat 19 May 07
I leave protective filters on my lenses always when in the bag. I have become used to either simply removing the lens cap or unscrewing the filter when I put that lens on the cam. Depends on the situation. Beautiful day in the country/city, take off the filter. Misty/hazy day or around the lake/Beach, leave it on. I've had to replace a couple of filters due to scratches or something that ate away at the coating, but the lens elements are still perfect.
10 Re: by Ned at 16:11 GMT - Sat 19 May 07
yesterday i had a trip with friends to a farm with swimming pool. i had to clean the front glass on the lens more than 10 times because of the water splashes. imagine a dirty biking photographer with all the mud splashes! do you think he should sacrifice his expensive lens for a little change in colours from a UV filter?!

protection is subjective more than specific. moreover, protection is a relative matter. some people are careful, others are careless, .. they need different levels of protection. a careful photographer may trust his carefulness and leave his lens unprotected, or maybe his
11 Re: by Ned at 16:12 GMT - Sat 19 May 07
... carefulness pushes him to use protective filters.

personally, i'm not careful at all, but i appreciate that my photographic gear deserves some protection, at least against my carelessness, and i don't mind little colour change as a result of using a UV filter. actually i have one of those on every lens of mine and i only remove them when i need to use other filters.
12 Re: Cleaning To Destruction by Dayo at 16:21 GMT - Sun 20 May 07
I hear a lot of talk about lens coating getting damaged and although I can see how that conclusion was reached, I
wonder whether anyone has actually come across a lens cleaned to destruction.
I also wonder about fisheyes and wideangles that don't allow filters. Are the manufacturers actually selling us
stuff that is doomed to a fate of early damage from ordinary reasonable use?  Time for Class Action People!
There's money to be made here.
13 Re: by Ned at 06:10 GMT - Fri 01 Jun 07
"there's money to be made here" .. no doubt, dayo!
now you decide whether you need to spend that money or not.

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