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One camera setting that ruins your pictures
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Main Photography Discussion
Lens filters
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Jan 11, 2017 11:02:03   #
whitewolfowner
 
JohnFrim wrote:
Yeah, I guess you don't really want to shoot through a condom, so I'll go with the cap analogy. And your zippered pants are like a closed camera case.

Kidding aside, the filter question will never be resolved. It comes down to a personal preference for what is largely unsubstantiated security.

I always chuckle at stories of how a filter that broke during a lens/camera fall protected the lens from damage. The truth is that the other experiment -- dropping the lens/camera under identical conditions without the filter in place -- is never done. And if an unprotected lens was damaged, how can you be sure that a filter would have prevented that damage? The reverse experiment in this situation can only be done if you have an identical lens to potentially sacrifice.

I will accept that for some bumps and falls a filter ring can protect the lens front threads from damage, but a lens hood will do that even better, and will be cheaper to replace than a filter.

So what about sand, dust and water that gently accumulates on the filter? The argument is that a filter that is damaged from too much aggressive cleaning is cheaper to replace than a lens front element. But who is less careful about cleaning an expensive filter than cleaning a lens? How many people have actually replaced a filter because it was carefully cleaned once too often? And there is the argument that a front lens element may stand up to repeated cleaning better than a filter.

OK, there is the believable argument that a filter will protect a lens from a branch, rock or flying stone chip that in one go scratches the surface. But again, where is that repeat experiment with the bare lens, whose curved thick glass is probably much tougher than that of a thin planar filter? This one is a situation of playing the odds.

I believe a good quality filter will have very little negative effect on an image. Oblique light rays passing through a thin layer of good glass will be minimally displaced by refraction, and internal reflections are minimized by good coatings. The only real argument AGAINST using a filter is lens flare, but that can frequently be handled with a lens hood or shading with a hand or other object. If not, remove the filter.

So what do I do? I have good quality clear filters on all my lenses, and I always use a lens hood. The hood only comes off when shooting with the on-camera flash to avoid shadows of the hood on wide angle shots. I only remove the filter to put on a polarizer because my clear filter has a very thin ring that does not provide enough thread for the polarizer to grab securely.

Oh, one final comment related to the cost of the filter -- does a $200 filter suit a $2000 lens? Absolutely. The filter has much less glass, no moving parts, no electronic chips, etc. I don't think a $20 filter is an optical match to ANY lens, but a bit more money will get you enough quality for most photography.

Remember that an added filter can always be removed when not needed, but a non-existent filter when needed cannot be added.
Yeah, I guess you don't really want to shoot throu... (show quote)



Very well said, your last statement says it all.
 
Jan 11, 2017 11:42:52   #
catchlight.. (a regular here)
 
I think a protective filter is a fine solution for anyone who questions there ability to care for their equipment.

Consumers are hard on just about anything and cameras are no exception. Ive seen many a camera being abused with no regard on my travels and can understand the need. I actually am taken back a bit when I see the condition of some of these filters from friends and relatives that have been on for some time.

I can care for things that last for years and understand what it takes to do that but many people don't care to and that understandable. That's why their are lens filters, bed liners, cell phone covers, screen protectors, place mats, coasters, bibs, car bra's and even condoms...Less worry less damage.

Two mindsets exist in this conversation...the professional who has the knowledge and ability to care for precision equipment and the owner of precision equipment who expects the abuse of their camera to be much like everything else in their life... has a sense of the value and uses some caution.

Car collector Porsche guy vs the lady with a Geo full of door dings, but changes her oil religiously...both are happy and do well but don't mix well in a Walmart parking lot.
Jan 11, 2017 11:49:39   #
RWR
 
10MPlayer wrote:
You can be as careful as you can possibly be but stuff happens. I set my camera on a small end table while I downloaded the SD card. When I went to stand up I put my hand on the table to help myself up, (I'm old) I lost my balance, and the table with the camera on it tipped over. The UV filter was demolished but my macro lens which was only a month or two old at the time came out fine. I had to take the UV lens off with a pair of pliers it was so damaged.

NOte: this out of focus image is not a good example of my macro lens' sharpness. It was simply a picture to document what happened.
You can be as careful as you can possibly be but s... (show quote)

The picture doesn't prove much. The ring itself did offer some protection, but the damage would likely have been about the same if it had been used with the filter removed, for all the resistance the thin glass provided. And one can only speculate as to whether or not the thicker and harder front element would have been damaged if no filter had been on the lens. For sure the damage would have been less if a metal lens cap had been screwed on.
Jan 11, 2017 12:48:06   #
mcveed (a regular here)
 
whitewolfowner wrote:
Some day your pocket book will see the flaw in your logic. After that get back with us and tell us how you feel about it.


Well, I'm honoured that you are so concerned about my welfare. But I think I'll just carry on with what I have been doing for the last 40 years. You seem to be very committed to the use of protective filters and dismissive, if not down right insulting, to anyone who disagrees with you. I will make a point of letting you know when I suffer financial loss through not using a protective filter on my lens. You might be interested in the video made by Steve Perry, who is one of us hogs, which demonstrates that the front element of the lens is much stronger than the flimsy filter which offers very little impact protection. Of course you have to watch it with an open mind and so you might find it difficult. Others might get something out of it though.
http://backcountrygallery.com/all-about-uv-filters/
Jan 11, 2017 13:55:12   #
catchlight.. (a regular here)
 
Applause to Mr. mcveed!!!!
Jan 11, 2017 17:44:44   #
whitewolfowner
 
mcveed wrote:
Well, I'm honoured that you are so concerned about my welfare. But I think I'll just carry on with what I have been doing for the last 40 years. You seem to be very committed to the use of protective filters and dismissive, if not down right insulting, to anyone who disagrees with you. I will make a point of letting you know when I suffer financial loss through not using a protective filter on my lens. You might be interested in the video made by Steve Perry, who is one of us hogs, which demonstrates that the front element of the lens is much stronger than the flimsy filter which offers very little impact protection. Of course you have to watch it with an open mind and so you might find it difficult. Others might get something out of it though.
http://backcountrygallery.com/all-about-uv-filters/
Well, I'm honoured that you are so concerned about... (show quote)



You are misinterpreting me for sure. I just hate to see a new photographer, without the proper information to not use a filter and have a good lens get ruined. Excuse me for caring for others. Not everyone out there can afford to stock a camera store in their house.
 
Jan 11, 2017 18:57:31   #
mcveed (a regular here)
 
whitewolfowner wrote:
You are misinterpreting me for sure. I just hate to see a new photographer, without the proper information to not use a filter and have a good lens get ruined. Excuse me for caring for others. Not everyone out there can afford to stock a camera store in their house.


Did you look at Steve's video? You are treating your opinion as fact, which it is not. I care for others too and I hate to see a new photographer led down the garden path by the advocates of protective filters, thus wasting money and going along with a false sense of security. My advice to a new photographer is to watch Steve's video and decide for themselves. If they watch the video and still follow the salesman's pitch, well I've done what I could. By the way, in forty years I have never had a lens damaged that could have been saved by a filter. The lens hoods and lens caps have done their job well.
Jan 11, 2017 19:20:36   #
whitewolfowner
 
mcveed wrote:
Did you look at Steve's video? You are treating your opinion as fact, which it is not. I care for others too and I hate to see a new photographer led down the garden path by the advocates of protective filters, thus wasting money and going along with a false sense of security. My advice to a new photographer is to watch Steve's video and decide for themselves. If they watch the video and still follow the salesman's pitch, well I've done what I could. By the way, in forty years I have never had a lens damaged that could have been saved by a filter. The lens hoods and lens caps have done their job well.
Did you look at Steve's video? You are treating yo... (show quote)



What I am saying is fact; sorry for those that refuse to believe it. I could put out a video too and claim anything I want to; it doesn't make it right or wrong. Several independent labs over the years have done properly run scientific test under control;ed conditions and have proven that a quality filter has no effect on a photograph. A bright light source in the photo is the exception when it can increase the amount of flair in the photo. I have a scientific back ground and understand wheat a scientifically controlled test means.
Jan 11, 2017 19:33:16   #
DirtFarmer (a regular here)
 
whitewolfowner wrote:
And what part of 10Mplayer's post did you not understand? For all those who are wondering if they should or shouldn't put a good quality UV filter on their lenses, look at the responses from the crowd is telling you not to use one; is there any question in your minds as to what is the right thing to do?


My post concerned the claim that a filter protected a lens when the camera fell. While I believe that it is not impossible, I consider it a rare event. A thin filter will break easily. That means something heavy coming at the lens will not be slowed down appreciably by the filter. In a prior post I did say that a filter will protect your lens from blowing sand and such things. But I don't believe it would stop a rock of any appreciable size.

It took me a while to find the link, but the experiment has been done.
http://petapixel.com/2015/08/31/photo-mythbusters-how-much-do-uv-filters-actually-protect-your-lenses/

I should note that this is a pretty heavy handed demonstration. A thin object with some weight behind it dropped from a few feet onto a lens. The experiment was done with several lenses and from different distances. The video is just a bit shy of 20 minutes. The important conclusion is that filters are easy to break, but the front element of a lens is less easy to break (after all, they're thicker). Another conclusion is that even if the filter broke but the front element didn't, the lens often sustained other damage that impaired the utility of the lens.

As far as the other conclusions in the video, such as whether or not a UV filter is necessary to remove UV light, they were based on a limited number of examples, so they were not that compelling to me.
Jan 11, 2017 19:36:41   #
mcveed (a regular here)
 
whitewolfowner wrote:
What I am saying is fact; sorry for those that refuse to believe it. I could put out a video too and claim anything I want to; it doesn't make it right or wrong. Several independent labs over the years have done properly run scientific test under control;ed conditions and have proven that a quality filter has no effect on a photograph. A bright light source in the photo is the exception when it can increase the amount of flair in the photo. I have a scientific back ground and understand wheat a scientifically controlled test means.
What I am saying is fact; sorry for those that ref... (show quote)


I never said that good quality filters affect the quality of images. I did say the effect is "little if any" except for increased risk of lens flare. What I am saying is that they are an unnecessary expense and inconvenience with no real protection provided except in the case of blowing dirt or sand and salt water. I stand by my opinion that the protection against impact damage provided by a filter is "little if any" and that the expense and inconvenience far outweighs it. I don't, however, insist that everyone or anyone agree with my opinion.
Jan 11, 2017 19:38:07   #
Screamin Scott (a regular here)
 
I think you are addressing a different issue here. Nobody is denying that the filters effect on the image is minimal. What is being disputed is the fact that a filter isn't going to "protect" a lens as much as you are stating. Yes, a filter may offer some "protection" from minor issues like small scratches (which will have almost no effect on the image), fingerprints & the like, but if a lens suffers from a more severe drop, it won't offer much protection. This is especially true of consumer grade lenses & most newer lenses as they have much more electronic pieces as well as the mechanical ones. Plus many of the better grade filters will cost a pretty penny, much more of the lens cost of a consumer grade lens than a pro grade lens. Thus basically no one is denying the effects on the image, but the ability to protect a lens from a major drop. That's what insurance is for. I have been at this since the late 60's & have yet to have any lenses damaged that a filter could have prevented. I take care of my gear. The only time I ever had to send a camera in for repair was when I had lent one out to a friend, who was evidently not as cautious. No, I don't have lots of funds & I sure am not going to spend an excessive amount of money on a protective filter when I get all the protection I need from lens hoods & caps. I take that back, I do use a protective filter under certain situations, but seldom find myself shooting under those situations. The major drawback of a scratch on the front element is in the resale value o a lens. Then again knowing the minimal effect of a small scratch, I was able to get a 20 mm Nikkor for $35 because of an almost non existent scratch on the front element. I've taken many an excellent shot with that lens.
whitewolfowner wrote:
What I am saying is fact; sorry for those that refuse to believe it. I could put out a video too and claim anything I want to; it doesn't make it right or wrong. Several independent labs over the years have done properly run scientific test under control;ed conditions and have proven that a quality filter has no effect on a photograph. A bright light source in the photo is the exception when it can increase the amount of flair in the photo. I have a scientific back ground and understand wheat a scientifically controlled test means.
What I am saying is fact; sorry for those that ref... (show quote)
 
Jan 11, 2017 20:07:39   #
whitewolfowner
 
mcveed wrote:
I never said that good quality filters affect the quality of images. I did say the effect is "little if any" except for increased risk of lens flare. What I am saying is that they are an unnecessary expense and inconvenience with no real protection provided except in the case of blowing dirt or sand and salt water. I stand by my opinion that the protection against impact damage provided by a filter is "little if any" and that the expense and inconvenience far outweighs it. I don't, however, insist that everyone or anyone agree with my opinion.
I never said that good quality filters affect the ... (show quote)


Obviously your opinion is flawed. 10MPlayer posted an example to show you that there are times where a filter will save a lens right in this thread. It's good that you clarified your statement.
Jan 11, 2017 20:28:48   #
whitewolfowner
 
Screamin Scott wrote:
I think you are addressing a different issue here. Nobody is denying that the filters effect on the image is minimal. What is being disputed is the fact that a filter isn't going to "protect" a lens as much as you are stating. Yes, a filter may offer some "protection" from minor issues like small scratches (which will have almost no effect on the image), fingerprints & the like, but if a lens suffers from a more severe drop, it won't offer much protection. This is especially true of consumer grade lenses & most newer lenses as they have much more electronic pieces as well as the mechanical ones. Plus many of the better grade filters will cost a pretty penny, much more of the lens cost of a consumer grade lens than a pro grade lens. Thus basically no one is denying the effects on the image, but the ability to protect a lens from a major drop. That's what insurance is for. I have been at this since the late 60's & have yet to have any lenses damaged that a filter could have prevented. I take care of my gear. The only time I ever had to send a camera in for repair was when I had lent one out to a friend, who was evidently not as cautious. No, I don't have lots of funds & I sure am not going to spend an excessive amount of money on a protective filter when I get all the protection I need from lens hoods & caps. I take that back, I do use a protective filter under certain situations, but seldom find myself shooting under those situations. The major drawback of a scratch on the front element is in the resale value o a lens. Then again knowing the minimal effect of a small scratch, I was able to get a 20 mm Nikkor for $35 because of an almost non existent scratch on the front element. I've taken many an excellent shot with that lens.
I think you are addressing a different issue here.... (show quote)



I never said that a filter is bullet proof protection for a lens. I, like you, take care of my gear and have never had an accident with a lens but I have been around the photographic world for about 50 years now and have seen a lot of incidents from other photographers and have learned from their experiences and errors in judgement. It's called wisdom and I'm trying to pass it on to those that are willing to listen; nothing more, nothing less. I have had several filters that have ended up very filthy and in need of serious cleaning from dust to extremely dirty fingers prints to name it a few. Young children have a PHD in knowing how to smear the daylights out of the front of a lens and they deposit everything from bugers to poop to soda with that magic smear. That alone is reason enough to have a filter on the front of a lens. We are debating the issue here for others that are unsure about the subject to decide for themselves. Your point about protecting a cheap lens has a worthwhile idea to bring up; but I would also look at it from the angle that one has that cheap lens because they cannot afford the better one; so it may be more important for them to protect that lens than it may be for someone who has the better one, since the one with the better is probably in a much better position to replace their lens if it gets destroyed than the one with the cheaper. Also the one with the better lens, like you say is the role of insurance, has the insurance to protect their investment and may care less if something happens to it. Meanwhile the person with the cheaper lens and something happens to it, may be out of commission because they don't have it insured and may not have the money to replace it; but may have had the money for a filter that may have saved their lens. The point is there are accidents every day that the lens is either saved or destroyed because it had or didn't have a filter on it. Sure some are destroyed that had the filter and nothing would have saved it, but there are those that the filter saved.
Jan 11, 2017 21:39:56   #
mcveed (a regular here)
 
whitewolfowner wrote:
Obviously your opinion is flawed. 10MPlayer posted an example to show you that there are times where a filter will save a lens right in this thread. It's good that you clarified your statement.


Your logic is flawed. The fact that a thin piece of glass mounted on a lens broke, and the lens did not, is not evidence that the lens prevented the lens from breaking. Particularly when it has been demonstrated that the front lens element is much more robust than any filter. It is, however, evidence that the filter is very fragile. I would suggest, that if you are going to handle your camera in such a way that your filter could get broken, that you should keep a lens cap and/or lens hood on it. And if do that what do you need the filter for? It seems to me there is a good argument that putting a protective filter on a lens gives a false sense of security which leads to not using the correct protective measures. Did 10MPlayer have a lens cap and/or hood on the lens when his camera fell? One or both of them would have protected the lens and the filter.
Jan 11, 2017 23:05:43   #
LoneRangeFinder (a regular here)
 
I'm not inclined to argue with the proverbial brick wall, but based on my experience a lens hood is way more protection for the front element of the lens. Because it protrudes it is more likely to provide some cushion to impact in a lens pointed down collision with a hard surface. It's logic 101.
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