Filter protection

sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
edited April 2013 in General Discussions
Carrying on from the old forum

this is copied from a Friends FB page

Chickens attack their reflection and have no concern for expensive camera lenses


  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    edited April 2013

    Is there supposed to be a link?

    In any case..I use a filter unless it creates a problem with vignetting...e.g., on a wide lens, if the lens hood screws into the filter thread this will often create a vignetting issue, especially on the 24mm f/3.5 PC Nikkor when shifted to the end position.

    My experience from years back is that I have let cameras drop to the ground and in a few cases into gravel or stones. Having replaced a couple of front filters, I was happy I did not have to have the lens rebuilt with front element replaced. I rarely clean my lenses, only if caught in a wet condition or if something gets on the front surface. Usually, dust is easily blown off.

    I also use the highest quality protective filter I can purchase.

    For those who do not use a front filter...I fully understand. There can be no doubt there is some finite degradation of the image with another two glass surfaces to get through.

    And, some lenses cannot accept a front filter. With the big lenses from Nikon, the front surface is a protective glass element, so apparently Nikon believes this is advantageous in the event of the front surface being damaged.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Like @Msmoto I use the highest quality NC filter I can find, usually B+W or Nikon brands. I have found that anything cheaper will degrade the image quality. Using clear filters is a lesson learned from the school of hard knocks, since I have smashed a few over the years. That being said, I have no issue with removing a filter if the situation requires, such as needing to fit a specialized filter (ND, CPL, etc...) or if I know the shooting situation will cause issues like ghosting or flare. OTOH, I keep a few cheap filters around in case I want to induce these effects for artistic reasons.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    OMG...funny! :))
    Msmoto, mod
  • BesoBeso Posts: 464Member
    I tend to keep a UV filter on each lens primarily for protection but also to cut haze. I know that the addition of more glass surfaces can result in image degradation and I try to buy the best I can get. Typically I use B+W but more recently moved to Heliopan. Interesting thread here and it raises the question of whether anyone has done serious testing of filters.
    Occasionally a decent image ...
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    I'm a big believer in protecting your lenses as best as possible. Thus, I have a Hoya HD filters on all my lenses, exept the 14-24 2.8, It is very easy to take off should one have a reason too, but replacing the front element of you lenses is not! Not to mention far more costly, as well as, down time,

    Here is a test you are welcome to try on your filters and see if it yields the same result.

    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 |
  • JohnJohn Posts: 134Member
    I too am a big believer in using protective filters and this for the following reasons:
    - It's sometimes easier to clean a protective filter then it is to clean a lens
    - If you can't get a filter clean any more it only costs you a new filter
    - Sometimes it can save your lens from damage

    Allow me to elaborate:

    I always use B+W Multi Resistant Coating UV filters as front protection. They are not cheap but they offer no visual image degradation that I could see. (It might be detectable under lab conditions but it's nothing I worry about)
    They also do not create additional reflections or lens flair.
    Both these qualities are not always found in cheaper filters.
    The MRC coating also repels dirt and water much easier then normal glass. As such they clean easily and can be returned to perfect clarity after shooting in the rain (or in a blizzard).

    When a filter has finally had enough abuse and can no longer be fully cleaned (or has scratches on it) it can simply be replaced. (I've never had to do this in all my years of shooting but it's good to have the opportunity).
    It will cost you 100-200$ for a new filter but that's nothing compared to the 2000$+ that you payed for your pro lens.
    (The bigger the filter the higher the cost so 77mm filters for the 24-70 or 70-200 f2.8 will cost more then small filters for the cheaper lenses.)

    Finally, I've seen filters take save a lens on multiple occasions.
    One case was tree sap falling on a filter. After adding some lens cleaning fluid and giving it a few wipe downs the filter was restored to perfect condition.
    Another case was when a photographer gave her camera to a local so she could be in the picture as well.
    The local took the photo and then dropped the camera; lens down...
    Luckily for her the filter took all the damage and both the camera and the lens were fine.

    So yes, I keep a filter on all my lenses whenever that's possible.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    edited April 2013
    Yes, somebody did testing filters, but I'm very afraid, all the believers of protecting filters won't agree with Roger Cigala's statement from

    His summit is in simple sentence "a good protection filter costs as much as the front element it has to protect. In case of damage, you don't save money". Therefore I'm not spending 500-1000$ to protect all my lenses. And the 14-24 has to stay unprotected? My protection in this case is: I know, I'm working with vulnerable glass. I don't want to come into a "feeling safely mode" because all other lenses are protected. I know myself and I'm afraid I would become careless.

    BUT: I'm usually not photographing really rough environments. Would that be the case, I'd consider also protection and a spare filter in case it gets damaged. I think, Roger's right with the costs, but while on an assignment it might be faster to remove a broken filter with a fresh one than to send in the lens.
    Post edited by JJ_SO on
  • JohnJohn Posts: 134Member
    The cost of a good protection filter might be the same as the cost of a front element but 500-1000$ seems extremely high to me.
    That being said, what would you prefer?
    - Having your filter damaged while visiting Yellowstone National Park, unscrewing the filter and screwing on a brand new backup filter. Continuing to enjoy your vacation and taking pictures.
    - Having a damaged front element. Losing the lens for the rest of your vacation (and possibly missing a lot of shot or having no photos at all if it was your only lens). Sending the lens by mail to a repair center. Hoping that no dust gets into the lens during repair and that everything work fine afterwards. Hoping that the lens will survive both transports. Waiting for weeks or months (after the completion of your holiday) until your lens is returned. Spending a few days testing the lens to see if everything works as it should.

    I know that I prefer the first situation.
    I'm not saying that a protective filter is an absolute must have. Some people do fine without it.
    But when things start to go wrong I'd much rather replace a filter then having to send in the lens for repairs.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    For 9 lenses, some of them with 72mm threads... I thought around 50$ each at minimum. When I had Zeiss lenses, the 67mm Zeiss UV were around 60$ and that was long ago.

    I was a couple of times in vacation with my stuff but had never a problem with dust or moisture on the front element. But I do understand your point absolutely - it's just like insurances - some have one for each possible risk, others don't.

    I think, my close friend Murphy would be present and ready for action if I drop down a lens - in worst case, it would fall on a rock's tip and the filter and front element would be gone. My experience is, if things go wrong, they use to do it in a serious manner with me.
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    Finding this post very thought provoking, I have just run off a few quick tests. I have shot exactly the same scene, into the light, with a 16-35mm f4 (a fairly flare-prone lens in my experience) with no filter, a Hoya UV and a (cheap) Jessops UV. There is a tiny colour shift but I honestly cannot see any difference between any of the shots at 100% and bigger. Not a proper test I admit, but it does replicate a 'real' shot rather than a lab test.

    I am surprised that there is no discernible effect. I have always used UV or Skylight filters on lenses, except large format studio based cameras and never thought much about them before. There does not seem to be a problem with the ones I have at any rate but I will certainly run some more exacting tests on what I have- a mix of Hoya, Jessops and Cokin. I am fairly sure that the Cokin plastic filters do contribute some flare but they always seem to have done the job well enough in the past. I did not have a D800 then though!
  • itsnotmeyouknowitsnotmeyouknow Posts: 481Member
    One element (ta dum) to consider is dropping the camera/lens and the filter getting shattering and scratching your front element. I found this video interesting:

    I have had a filter stuck on a lens before - thankfully not a CPL. I used ice from the freezer in a bowl and put the Canon 24 - 70L into it and after just a few minutes, it came off with no condensation. There was lots of dust on the inside of the filter,
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    Lordy, he doesn't like that Canon lens much!

    Very interesting and I am sure that you are right, the cheap filters would not stand up to anything close to that level of abuse. However, in fifty something years of being a photographer, the only camera/lens damage I have had was when my Olympus OM1 strap broke and it fell about 100 feet off a cliff-face that I was climbing, on to rocks at the bottom. Nothing actually smashed but everything was bashed so out of alignment that it was unrepairable. I have certainly never abused any lens like the guy in the video! I guess I have been lucky.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    All is very interesting....I suspect, however, that we make our decision based upon a bit of information, and a lot of emotional input which may or may not be rational. I like to use a filter, but I certainly cannot say this is good or not so good. My experience has suggested it has saved some lenses in the past for me.
    Msmoto, mod
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @itsnotmeyouknow: I don't care who's lens it is...I would never take a hammer to a lens to prove it is durable and can with stand abuse. It is as foolish as this test.

    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 |
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Now this one is more target to the subject at hand.

    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 |
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    I use filters on all lenses. There are ultra-thin (and expensive) ones for very wide lenses.

    But I would like to turn the conversation from lens protection to image protection or job protection where it likely should belong.

    If a lens gets marred during a journey or assignment it's toast. It's use for the assignment for the job and the ensuing image is gone until a replacement is found. Like John's case in Yellowstone Park, you can also apply the same notion in travel or vacation photography.

    It's happened to me during my work many times, and I've carried spare filters and filter wrenches to remove bad filters, if I had to, and continued to shoot. My employers had deep pockets. The cost of lenses wasn't the issue, it was the images, the job, and continuing the mission.

    The important thing is not the equipment, but what it was made to do.

    @JJ_SO About Roger Cigala's filter video. I'm not too convinced. I would submit that you could take fifty Zeiss lenses at 0 diopter and they would also have some affect on the optical purity of an image, likely even 10, but 1, probably not measurably.

    As always, my best,

  • WesleyWesley Posts: 67Member
    The people using the filters as the front element protection must not be using a lens hood? I think using the hood would save the front from a drop unless it happens to land on a pole lens down.

    After a hard drop send your lens in for diagnostics even if front element is fine because the internals could be affected. It could produce weird noises or make the AF screwy as post damage later on.

    If I will be in a place with particles in the air (beach, desert, etc.) than I use one.

    D700: 24-70 2.8, 85 1.8G
    D3100: 18-55
    A7II: 16-35 F4, 55 1.8, 70-200 F4
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2013
    @Wesley: I use the hood provide for each lens all the time. As you know it service multiple purposes but I still have a filter on 90% of my lenses. The only two that don't have one is my 10.5 Fish-eye and the 14-24 2.8.
    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 |
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    edited April 2013
    @MikeGunter As far as I was able to understand Roger's report it was about to tell how useless a bad, cheap filter is, but also how high the benefits for photodealers selling cheap glass filter at high prices just to make more money. Not that I'm thinking "normal photodealers" had to face the risc of becoming millionaires with filters.
    Post edited by JJ_SO on
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    edited April 2013
    It happens also with Opera - parts of post are eaten by the forum software.
    Post edited by JJ_SO on
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    As a working reporter for the civilian and military press, I've had glass crack too many times. I'd rather have that crack be the protector and not the lens element.

    My critical point is that if the photographer can continue his or her job in getting the image, that's the important thing.

    @Wesley - So sorry not to have explained in my post. I use hoods, too. My history is much harder on equipment. I was military photographer in Vietnam and with a wire service and civilian newspapers. My experience with 'roughness' is very rough. We went through a lot of lenses and cameras.

    My best,

  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    edited April 2013
    I don't think this extreme situation is a sample for amateur photographers, otherwise I would have to get a tank instead of a small car. I can imagine it's pretty rough to be a war photographer, but in these conditions a lens filter is like a newspaper as protection in a hailstorm.

    Anyway, in your experiencing when glass cracked: Did that only happen to the front elements?

    My experience is, I usuallly take care of the front element. But due to Nikon's poorly desigend rear caps I was very often in a situation almots my lens slipped out of my hand while changing lenses. Not any longer - since I changed all rear caps to Sigma's which are far better in handling I feel more confident about lens changing.
    Post edited by JJ_SO on
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    It doesn't have to be an extreme situation.

    E.g., taking pictures of babies/toddlers, it's not unusual for a toddler to want to grab the camera (and a fingerprint or handprint smudge on the filter is the first thing that happens). Just unscrew the filter and keep on shooting.

    Even with a lens hood... once I was taking some architectural shots (outdoors/exteriors) when it started raining. Light rain so no problem right? Well after a small gust of wind my front filter was covered in rain drops. I knew trying to wipe it off will just spread a thin-film of water around the filter. Again, I just unscrewed the filter and was able to get the job done.

    @JJ_SO: Nikon lenses now come with a "new and improved" rear lens cap LF-4. They work quite well and at just $4.50 they are cheaper and better than the Sigma ones. I bought a few extra to replace some of my older caps.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    @Ade: They might be cheaper but IMO not better than the Sigma new ones, delivered with the Art-/Sports-/Contemporary-series. I think, I'll start a new thread, as this one is not called lens-protection (which would include bags and stuff, too).
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