To filter or not to filter...where do you stand.

Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
edited August 2013 in General Discussions
I have come across this topic many time with other photographers. My stance has always been to buy good quality filters in order to hedge agains damaging your lens front element. Yet, some have stated that by doing so you end up taking some of the lenses sharpness away and possibly adding flare and ghosting. So tonight I came across this article which proved very fruitful.

Do Filters Affect the Resolution of Lenses?

Your thoughts are welcomed.

Sidebar: The only lens I do not have a filter for is my 14-24 2.8. One day I just might get the Lee Filter or one by Fotodiox.
Post edited by Golf007sd on
D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
«1

Comments

  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,973Member
    I read this article earlier today and I also found it interesting. In the past I have been against the use of "protective" filters, but I think Nasim's post shows that I may have been hasty in that viewpoint.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
    I wont use them due to ghosting and being unwilling to spend $200 on one that doesnt ghost only to shatter it. Then again my prime shooter is the 14-24mm so it hardly applies. Interesting read tho. I had always thought most filters were resolution killers too...
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,029Moderator
    I think the author of the test missed an opportunity to make his finding useful to everybody IMHO. Of course if you buy an el cheapo crappy plastic filter it is going to be a problem - duh! What would have been useful to know is what the difference is between B+W or Lee and £25 Hoya or other more accessible brands that are bought by the majority of camera owners. 8-|
    Always learning.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    I have high quality filters on all my lenses
    but I sometimes take them off if I am in a clean, safe environment and shooting against the light

    e.g. I am not on a windy foreshore or a dusty field
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    High end UV filters only on all my lenses (i.e. 77mm = $60-$120) each and have rarely ever seen any IQ degradation. Some flaring & ghosting though - you just have to know when those times are (mostly at night with street lights) and remove it. The better filters are coated on BOTH sides which helps stop this.

    I have seen cheap (and even older (10+yr) high end) filters degrade quality greatly-and I do mean greatly! Even "name brand" stuff. Why on earth people put a $30 filter on a $1,200+ lens is beyond me.

    Ultra wides are where flares and ghosting have the largest opportunity due to the wide curvature of the front element.

    When it comes down to it, I plan on selling my lenses when I upgrade and you can easily loose 25% or more if your lens element has even the faintest cleaning marks. A chipped/scratched front element can easily cost $200 to fix plus you are without your lens. I figure I can easily live with a small amount of IQ variance for $80 and save me the cost and hassle.

    Thinking of Lee Filters - I find flat filters are a pain since it is hard to "hood" them. I always find glares in many shots when I get home if I'm not careful enough. I do wish someone would come up with a better system.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • GarethGareth Posts: 159Member
    I never suffer filter degradation unless I have to. Why would you?

    WOW, you have never had to replace your front element. Neither have I, and I dont use anything other than ND and CPL filters.

    If you use your hood and cap, then I don't see the need to even chance it.
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    The way I see it, I'm not a good enough photographer to notice the difference or any lens degradation with a $100+ filter, and I'm not rich enough to be replacing front elements every time I mistakenly bump into something.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    I hate lens caps. I only put them on when the lens is in my case. A NC filter is my clear lens cap :-) I will unscrew the filter if the shot warrants it, usually at night with bright lights.
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,144Member
    edited September 2013
    I use Nikon NC filters on all my lenses (and lens hoods since I found they can increase contrast) except macro lenses which have a recessed lens. I rarely shoot into the sun. I doubt a Nikon NC filter degrades image quality but even if is does by a small bit I figure there are many other things I do which degrades image quality more. I don't think any filter degradation is the limiting factor in the images I produce. For example" hold that camera more steady, compose better, capture a better moment, obtain more precise exposure, etc are more of a factor in my case. I would also suggest that protective filters are not needed in the studio, however I don't bother to take them off. Finally, I did have sharpness issues with a lens I bought used and when I took the filter it came with off it sharpened right up. That was not a Nikon NC filter.
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    I have put filters on all my lens. Except when I had the 50mm 1.8d which was recessed and now the 85mm 1.8g is also filterless.

    When I got the sigma 35mm it came with some free filters. I didn't bother because of the cheap feel to it and also my previous understanding that quality filters makes a difference. That lens is now protected with a B+W. I have not noticed a difference.

    I will check what filter the 24-70 has and see if it makes a difference when I take it out. I already had a 77 filter that I transferred to it and never bothered to test before and after with it.
    I'll report to see if my feelings with this lens changes.

  • DenverShooterDenverShooter Posts: 340Member
    Anything placed in front of a lens will have an impact on the optical performance. And many lenses can't support filters. 14mm to 24mm, 400mm F/2.8, 600mm F/4 and the 800mm F/5.6 come to mind..

    As my HS shop teacher always said "don't stick your hand where you wouldn't put your face..

    Same applies to lenses..

    Denver Shooter
  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    And many lenses can't support filters. 14mm to 24mm, 400mm F/2.8, 600mm F/4 and the 800mm F/5.6 come to mind..
    You do have the option for drop-in filters with the telephoto lenses you mentioned, and they each have a protective front element that is easily replaced by Nikon if damaged - essentially acting as a front filter. :]
    Mike
    D3 • D750 • 14-24mm f2.8 • 35mm f1.4A • PC-E 45mm f2.8 • 50mm f1.8G • AF-D 85mm f1.4 • ZF.2 100mm f2 • 200mm f2 VR2
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,973Member
    Indeed, many super telephoto lenses have that drop in filter as part of the optical formula.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • DenverShooterDenverShooter Posts: 340Member
    Correct. And there is a clear placeholder in each of those super telephotos. When you run the polarizer for example you remove the clear element. Unlike adding a filter to the front of a lens the number of pieces of glass doesn't change. Additionally the lenses are designed for it.

    Denver Shooter
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited September 2013
    Having dropped cameras in the rocks, and as one who drops things easily nowadays, LOL, I like a high quality UV filter on the front of my lens. I have cleaned from this, dirt, mud, Coca Cola, rubber bits, and other garbage.

    I would note, unless there is some real grunge on the front, I simply blow it off and avoid touching the front element (or filter) unless absolutely necessary.

    One point, on a PC lens, when in a full shift or tilt, the filter must be removed as it will vignette the image.

    @DenverShooter.... I never thought about the little 52mm in the rear of the big lenses, but it certainly makes sense that this assures the number of glass surfaces does not change with the use of a filter.... Thanks
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    If your consideration for protection is from the perceived potential for dropping a camera and lens on rough surfaces with rocks then a hood is really all you need to think about. The chance of having small particles of pulverized glass near my front element from a smashed filter scares me more than the thought of possibly scratching the front element of my lens during a drop. And a drop good enough to smash the filter is a large enough drop for large shards or even said rocks to possibly damage the front element during impact. The main reason to use a filter, IMO, is to guard against dust and moisture. Insurance is how you deal with the damaged gear if it ever happens.
    Mike
    D3 • D750 • 14-24mm f2.8 • 35mm f1.4A • PC-E 45mm f2.8 • 50mm f1.8G • AF-D 85mm f1.4 • ZF.2 100mm f2 • 200mm f2 VR2
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    Reporting back with my findings.
    D800 +24-70 with cheap tiffen filter (yeah yeah ) with flash and no flash it has a vignette to the photos. By removing the filter that vignette is gone. Checking the histogram with and without the filter there is a diffrence.

    D800 +sigma 35mm with B+W F-Pro there is no diffrence in the photo. Checking the histogram there is a hair like diffrence but not as noticeable like with the cheap tiffen.

    So if the tiffen is a cheap filter compared to the B+W then yes it makes a difference.
    By using a good filter with the sigma I didn't notice anything different.
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    Having used UV filters for years, I am certain they have saved me numerous times, against sand (I've actually had to replace a filter due to scratches), against dust and so forth. Hence I have UV/Protector filters on all my lenses, bar of course my 14-24mm and my 500mm.

    IMO it is much easier to quickly clean a flat filter then a sunken, possibly concave, front element.

    I have always stuck to Hoya filters, the Pro1 Digital and the HD filters, as well as B&W F-Pro. I don't know which one I like best, and see no difference between the three of them.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    edited September 2013
    .. The chance of having small particles of pulverized glass near my front element from a smashed filter scares me more than the thought of possibly scratching the front element of my lens during a drop.
    Never seen this video have ya ;)
    Post edited by TaoTeJared on
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,537Member
    I have also used a UV filter on every lens. I started with Nikon for years, even when I could not afford them and then switched and stuck with Hoya filters, the Pro1 Digital and the HD filters. From the testing I did using film and digital I saw no difference.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,042Member
    Filters do make a difference. I'm not sure if buying a more expensive 52mm UV filter would have helped, but here is a comparison with a cheap Tiffen 52 and without.

    DSC_7062

    And without.

    DSC_7063

    I still keep it on because it's very rare that it would ghost like that, but I do keep it in mind.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @NSXTypeR: 1) At night time, unless you have a good UV filter, I would not use one. 2) High quality 52mm filters are not that expensive, compared to the 77mm ones. 3) Should you get a good 77mm UV filter, a step-up-ring is worth looking at. Personally, I have Hoya HD filter on all my lenses. I also have 77MM CPL & ND filters for the lenses that I might use that are not 77mm, I purchased the step-up-rings. Note, should you decide to only use step-up-rings...the lens hood for the lens will not fit.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,029Moderator
    Step-up ring maximise the chance that you will hit that area of your camera on something though.
    Always learning.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @spraynpray: Very true. Specially if the front of the lens is not metal...like my 85 1.8G. It has a permeant 67mm UV filter on it, but when I want to use the 77mm CPL or ND...I put the step-up ring on it and I'm carful in how I is it. With the ND it is usually mounted on a tripod.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    edited September 2013
    I have uploaded my test findings:

    Cheap UV Filter vs. Quality UV Filter Test.

    On a separate question is it me or is it me but at 35mm the 24-70 still has some distortion. The sigma has virtually no distortion.

    Photos where shot on a tripod with a remote. no editing was done.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
Sign In or Register to comment.