Why UV Filters?
Here’s a question I’ve asked as I started my journey of photography. I was always told that I need to put a UV Filter on my lens. Why? I was told that it cuts down on haze and it’s for protection. I felt that I didn’t know as much as the photographers telling me to do this. So, I went along with it but I still wondered.
I used a UV filter on my lenses to protect them because of being so afraid of cracked lenses. If I cracked a filter, it was better than cracking a very expensive lens.
Good Glass (lenses) is very important to my photography as it should be to any photographer. The better the lens the more it will cost. A good lens can run anywhere from $400 and up. Naturally, you want to protect an investment like that. So, putting a UV filter on my lenses seemed very sensible. Crack the filter and replace it.
UV Filter Glass
The glass used in lenses are coated, treated, and there are many elements of glass inside of a lens. All of the elements and treated glass is what makes these lenses produce crisp sharp images. Filter glass can be treated but, why put it on your expensive lens? I feel that, when you put a $70 UV filter on a $1200 lens, it turns that $1200 lens into a $70 piece of glass. The UV filter is the first element light comes in contact with when shooting an image. It’s not a significant difference but it is a difference. Why force your light through a filter that’s not needed?
Protecting Your Lenses
Is the protection of your lens worth the difference in an image? There are other ways of protecting your glass.
- Lens Hood. A lens hood is said to limit sun flare and other unwanted light from entering the lens. I find the best use of a lens hood is lens protection. If you are in an environment where your lens may get bumped, a lens hood is a good idea.
- Lens Cap. Yep! A lens cap is made to protect your lens. I usually keep mine in my pocket until I’m ready to shoot.
- Pay attention to your lens. When you are out with your camera, you should always be in protect mode. Hold your camera so it doesn’t come close to getting hit by something or someone. Be aware of what’s in front of your lens when you are carrying it.
There are other filters that actually have a purpose and I would actually use. These are a few that I would put onto my Good Glass.
- Polarizing. To help prevent glare and reflections, a polarizing filter can be used. Landscape photographers may use these. I have used them in the past but not lately.
- Neutral Density. To minimize overexposure due to harsh sunlight.
- Graduated Neutral Density. These are used mostly by landscape photographers to correctly expose while maintaining a blue sky.
This is my opinion on UV filters. What are your thoughts?