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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 02 Aug 2013 (Friday) 04:35
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POLL: "Who uses filter for the sole purpose of protecting the lens"
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455 voters, 455 votes given (1 choice only choices can be voted per member)). VOTING IS FOR MEMBERS ONLY.
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Who uses filters for the sole purpose of protecting the lens

 
cor726
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Aug 02, 2013 17:07 |  #16

Filters have saved my 17-40 f/4 L and 70-200 f/4 L from being damaged. I sometimes don't use them if conditions I am shooting in are safe. Both those lenses would have gotten some serious damage to the front element if they didn't have a filter on them. The filters on the other hand didn't fair so well.

I honestly don't see much image for quality issues on any of my lenses when using a filter.


Canon 7D, 50D, 40D, 20D and T3, Σ EX 10-20 f/4-5.6, 17-40 F/4L, Σ EX 18-50 f/2.8, 18-55 IS, 70-200 F/4L, Σ EX 30 f/1.4, 40 f/2.8 STM, 60 2.8 Macro, 85 f/1.8, 1.4x II, 430EXII
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Tommy1957
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Aug 03, 2013 01:33 |  #17

I used filters until I saw what they did to my 100-400L. Now I have hoods for all my lenses. I will mount a filter if I want to prevent something (mud, sand, dirt, snow) from getting to my front element. Otherwise, my glass goes commando!




  
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amfoto1
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Aug 03, 2013 08:45 as a reply to  @ post 16174943 |  #18

I use one because I want to, because it completes the weather sealing and so that I can just wipe my lens down with my shirt without worrying about anything.

First of all, no Canon camera or lens is "completely weather sealed". Some models are more moisture and dust resistant than others, and installing a filter on certain lenses when out shooting in a dust storm or a rain storm can modestly improve their resistance to intrusion of moisture or dust. I just wouldn't get too overly confident. These cameras and lenses are far from being thoroughly sealed and need to be given reasonable protection in nasty weather... even if it's just a plastic bag, some rubber bands and gaffer tape.

IMO their "recommendation" about adding filters to some lenses to "complete weather sealing" is just Canon's way of selling more highly profitable accessories. Considering their guality, Canon filters are very overpriced, maybe double or triple what you'd pay for a Hoya or B+W of equal quality. Almost certainly Canon filters are outsourced and they don't even appear multi-coated, so I'd guess there is a huge profit margin on Canon branded filters. (Have you ever bought a car and been offered a $300 "sealing and protection", inside and out"? That's similar... The dealers and sales people know folks are especually vulnerable suckers when they just spent a lot of money on a new "baby" and want to "protect" it from some unknown risk. For about $20 you can get a can of Scotchguard for fabrics, bottle of Armorall for plastics and rubber, some leather cleaner/moisturizer, and a good carnuba wax for the paintwork... then in a few hours do a much better job "protecting" the car yourself.)

Of course, you can buy other brands besides Canon, but any filter is going to stop some light passing through to the lens and camera, or is going to modify and effect that light in some way. It might be very little under ideal conditions, or a lot in worst case. Quality, multi-coated filters are the least likely to do harm. Cheap, single or uncoated filters are the worst.

A filter cannot replace a lens hood. When using a filter on your lens it becomes even more important to also use a lens hood to prevent flare issues or the filter from getting broken. Plus a hood virtually never can do any harm to an image, instead nearly always improves it and physically protects the lens far better than some thin piece of glass.

If it gives you some false sense of security to drop $50 or $100 or more on a quality filter to "protect" your lens, and that gets you out shooting with it rather than sitting at home worrying about it... I say go for it, get the filter.

If you do like me and get the "protective" filter, but leave it in your camera bag most of the time... by all means slap it on there in dust storms, rainstorms and similar. But take other sensible precautions, too. These cameras and lenses are not waterproof!

There really is no way to prove that "a filter saved my lens". You'd have to buy a 100 lenses and 100 filters and do drop tests from different heights and onto different surfaces, to see if on average the lenses with the filters fared any better. Now repeat that for every lens made and with different types of filters. A plastic lens hood will deflect and absorb a most bumps. A metal-framed filter threaded into a lens will transmit any hard knock against it right through to the lens. A filter can easly get jammed onto the lens' threads. Broken glass can be driven into the front element of the lens. Over the years, I've seen some lenses ruined by broken filters, though when lens hoods are used that's unlikely.

It's easy to test for image quality effects of filters. Just shoot some test shots with and without a filter on the lens. Shoot "tough light" situations and see how many filters will cause veiling flare or ghost flare, lower contrast, less color saturation. With digital, compare the file sizes of identical shots made with and without a filter... the filtered shot will be smaller, due to some loss of fine image quality "data". It might be so little loss as to be meaningless. Or in other situations it might ruin the shot.

There are times and places that a filter helps a shot. A circular polarizer can helps deepend the blue of the sky and make white clouds "pop" in a scenic shot. A CPL also helps control reflections, not just what we notice the most off glass and water, but also on overcast days the reflection on foliage, so a CPL can improve saturation and contrast. It also can reduce reflections off skin in portraits, and is helpful if the subject wears eyeglasses. A haze or UV filter can help with clarity over longer distances, through a lot of atmosphere. A Neutral Density filter can allow you to use a combination of aperture and shutter speed that you might not be able to otherwise. A Graduated ND can help balance the sky with the foreground, in a scenic shot.

Back in the days of film, a lot of it was overly sensitive to UV light. So many experienced photographers were in the habit of using a UV filter. Other folks saw that and misinterpreted that the filter was serving as some mythical form of protection. Sales people in camera stores and filter manufacturers certainly did all they could to promote and encourage this, and continue to do so today. Though commonly used UV filters are unnecessary now, on digital cameras (which already have built-in UV filtration).


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belias1989
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Aug 03, 2013 09:08 |  #19

xeodragon wrote in post #16176012 (external link)
I use a filter on my 17-55 - because it supposedly helps minimize dust getting into the lens, plus it's my walk around so it gets frequent use.

I don't use a filter otherwise (ie on my 70-200 or my previous 100 macro). Similar to how I don't use a case or screen protector on my phone.

what filter do you use on your 17-55 ?




  
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xeodragon
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Aug 03, 2013 09:43 |  #20

belias1989 wrote in post #16177656 (external link)
what filter do you use on your 17-55 ?

B+W 77mm MRC UV Haze.




  
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MakisM1
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Aug 03, 2013 10:07 |  #21

I've written this many times before in similar threads. I got my first SLR in 1973, a Canon FTb with a FD 50 f1.4 and a Skylight filter. The lens was stolen in 1987 along with the 3d filter to be mounted on it.

The previous two were retired due to scratches, and a bent thread (from impact).

I know that in today's throwaway mentality, (almost... :D) nobody is going to keep a lens for 14 years.

However, service experience points out (to me) that if I discarded 2 filters over 12-14 years (the stolen filter was not new...), the filters are useful for protection.

I buy (very expensive) Hoya (for my inexpensive lenses) and (even more expensive) B+W for my 2 L zooms. The hoods are permanently on my lenses and I mean it...

I know when to take the filters off and I do take them off. I have yet to see evidence of IQ deterioration in any of my shots. If I do, I'll track down the cause and act accordingly.

The filters are on 95% of the time...


Gerry
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Gregg.Siam
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Aug 03, 2013 11:01 as a reply to  @ MakisM1's post |  #22

I'm one of those people that hate cell phone cover, seat covers etc...use it the way it was designed to be used, felt, etc... I keep all my gear in immaculate condition (phones, cameras, cars, tv, anything)

But...I was using a filter and noticed ofter one day of shooting cosplay in a crowd of many people, I got a strange smudge that no amount of cleaning would remove. I had a lens hood on all day. I didn't bump into anyone. It wasn't a scratch, more like an abrasion or dull spot. I tried many cleaners, micro-fiber, everything...it wouldn't clean up. It's that little smudge that makes me wonder what if I didn't have a filter...would it be my lens? So I keep using a filter and remove it when I need to shoot something critical. Casual shooting or crowds, it stays on.


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Xyclopx
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Aug 03, 2013 11:30 as a reply to  @ Gregg.Siam's post |  #23

Just wanted to add... To all those that say protective filters are useless they don't seem to look at the used market. Plenty of lenses with hairline scratches or dings. Heck I bought a few and returned some when the original owner claimed they were flawless.

Definitely not useless. The real question is whether they cause noticeable degredation in iq. For myself I have compared photos with and without using a high end multi coated filters and never saw a difference with my lenses. But it does seem like some lenses are more susceptible to problems than others. Also different lighting conditions. But I never noticed anything weird and have filters on all my lenses.

One question to ask yourself: when u buy used lenses and the poster says they have used a filter since day 1 does that give u peace of mind in the purchase? If u are one that says they are useless these comments should not have any effect on your buying decision. If given a choice, all things being equal, between a lens that has been protected since day 1 and one that has not, which would u choose?


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GregDunn
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Aug 03, 2013 11:38 |  #24

I use high quality filters on all my lenses. My 17-55 took a serious fall onto a protruding object that shattered the filter a few years ago, and all I had to do was remove and replace it - the lens was fine physically. I've tested AF and IQ with and without them, and there's no discernible difference. YMMV.


Canon 1Dx | 5D3 | 7D2 | 6D | 70-200L f/2.8IS | 70-200L f/4 | 24-70L f/2.8 | 24-105L f/4IS | 100-400L f/4.5-5.6IS | 17-55 f/2.8IS | 50 f/1.8 | 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 | 4x Godox AD360

  
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Sirrith
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Aug 03, 2013 11:39 |  #25

amfoto1 wrote in post #16177615 (external link)
There really is no way to prove that "a filter saved my lens". You'd have to buy a 100 lenses and 100 filters and do drop tests from different heights and onto different surfaces, to see if on average the lenses with the filters fared any better. Now repeat that for every lens made and with different types of filters. A plastic lens hood will deflect and absorb a most bumps. A metal-framed filter threaded into a lens will transmit any hard knock against it right through to the lens. A filter can easly get jammed onto the lens' threads. Broken glass can be driven into the front element of the lens. Over the years, I've seen some lenses ruined by broken filters, though when lens hoods are used that's unlikely.

On the other hand, there's no way to prove adding a filter does not help protect the lens, yet you always see people stating they will more likely than not make things worse (who knows, that front element that got scratched by broken glass could have been shattered instead, or that filter which is now stuck in the filter threads could have been a completely mangled filter thread and cracked barrel).

However, as for the metal filter transmitting the force through to the lens, that I find difficult to accept: filters after a drop are usually bent and crumpled. That indicates it has absorbed and dispersed at least some of the force. Is it much? I don't know. Is it enough to protect the lens from some more severe damage than it has sustained? Again, I don't know, but it is definitely plausible.

So yes, until someone does a test like the one you have mentioned, there is no way to prove anything, for or against in terms of impact protection.

But this doesn't matter, because I don't recommend filters for strong impact protection anyway. They provide good protection against scratches, against dust and droplets of water, against fingers, grease, etc... No one has ever, to my knowledge, said that a filter will protect your lens if you decide to go bashing it against concrete walls. It is pretty much the consensus that a hood is the best option for impact protection. With a filter for example, I do not give a second thought to just shoving my lens front-down into my bag without a cap on (I have to reverse my hoods on some lenses). Without the filter, I am a lot more careful, because my bag can and does have small grains of sand, dirt, grit etc... that find their way in during shoots.


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ed ­ rader
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Aug 03, 2013 11:42 as a reply to  @ Sirrith's post |  #26

we know who does not use filters and the anti-filter jihadists will take every opportunity to bloviate and pontificate on their hate of all filters!

they hate your filters :D!

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JM ­ Photos
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Aug 03, 2013 11:52 |  #27

kin2son wrote in post #16174885 (external link)
As discussed many times before, unless you are shooting in the middle of sandstorm or at a beach where sea water and sand will have any form of contact on the front element, protective filter is absolutely useless.

False, false, false. So if you're walking through the woods or trying to climb down a bank to get to a hidden waterfall, you wouldn't want a cheap filter over the glass to protect from stray tree branches/twigs that stick out all over in the woods? How would a lens hood protect from a branch or stray twig poking straight past the hood into the lens? A basic UV filter does absolutely NOTHING to image quality so why wouldn't you want the extra protection?

Gregg.Siam wrote in post #16177858 (external link)
I'm one of those people that hate cell phone cover, seat covers etc...use it the way it was designed to be used, felt, etc... I keep all my gear in immaculate condition (phones, cameras, cars, tv, anything)

But...I was using a filter and noticed ofter one day of shooting cosplay in a crowd of many people, I got a strange smudge that no amount of cleaning would remove. I had a lens hood on all day. I didn't bump into anyone. It wasn't a scratch, more like an abrasion or dull spot. I tried many cleaners, micro-fiber, everything...it wouldn't clean up. It's that little smudge that makes me wonder what if I didn't have a filter...would it be my lens? So I keep using a filter and remove it when I need to shoot something critical. Casual shooting or crowds, it stays on.

Best example in this thread by far. Who knows when something unexpected is going to happen that a lens hood won't protect against. The added protection has no cons and to me, should always be used.

Xyclopx wrote in post #16177923 (external link)
Just wanted to add... To all those that say protective filters are useless they don't seem to look at the used market. Plenty of lenses with hairline scratches or dings. Heck I bought a few and returned some when the original owner claimed they were flawless.

Definitely not useless. The real question is whether they cause noticeable degredation in iq. For myself I have compared photos with and without using a high end multi coated filters and never saw a difference with my lenses. But it does seem like some lenses are more susceptible to problems than others. Also different lighting conditions. But I never noticed anything weird and have filters on all my lenses.

One question to ask yourself: when u buy used lenses and the poster says they have used a filter since day 1 does that give u peace of mind in the purchase? If u are one that says they are useless these comments should not have any effect on your buying decision. If given a choice, all things being equal, between a lens that has been protected since day 1 and one that has not, which would u choose?

Another great reason as to why filters are a must for me. When looking at used lenses, it always makes me feel better and more willing to buy when there has beena filter since day 1. Of course the user could just say that, but as long as the glass is flawless, why think otherwise?


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jimewall
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Aug 03, 2013 11:55 |  #28

Gregg.Siam wrote in post #16177858 (external link)
I'm one of those people that hate cell phone cover, seat covers etc...use it the way it was designed to be used, felt, etc... I keep all my gear in immaculate condition (phones, cameras, cars, tv, anything)

For somethings maybe!?! For other things this is just not a well thought out statement as advice for anyone! Though the idea may work for you and some others.

Example - I bought my car without plush seats (old fashioned plastic/vinyl or whatever they use), because I knew I could get seat covers for them. I wanted plastic because is is easy to wipe clean, it can take seat covers in whatever color I want, and they were cheaper. I do not want to stick to them or be burnt because of the hot sun heating them up - so seat covers. The vinyl seats weren't designed to be used/felt/etc... sticky and hot - they were designed to be an inexpensive choice.

Many things are made in such a generic way, so that the user can customize them the way they desire them.

On the camera side. Canon didn't put extended grips on the xxD series or Rebels, but they made battery grips. Which way are they to be used, with or without the grip? Canon did not make their camera to be used with non-Canon lenses. But many people customize their Canon Camera bodies with Sigma, Tamron, Zeiss, etc... lenses.

I try to keep my gear in immaculate condition also - whether using coverings or not. But I also know accidents happen, so with certain thing (expensive, frequently utilized, etc...) I try and have something protect it. Heck even my wood floor that was design to just walk on, has either polyurethane and or carpet on it to protect it.

If I invented everything, then I would have created it to use it how I wanted. Since I don't, I will modify as to how I think it will perform the best for me.

To the original question by the OP. I use filters for protection most of the time. I understand the lenses (and the coatings) in/on modern lenses are extremely hard, relatively thick, as well as scratch resistant. I also understand anything in front of the lens can/will degrade the image to some degree. I just like extra protection.

For protective filter, I prefer to use a top end quality filter from Hoya or B+W. I like the HD Hoyas for the higher strength glass.

There are conditions (environmental - plus there are some lenses that just don't like filters) where filter use has the large potential to cause a problem. That is when you remove the filter. I typically don't use a filter on my Sigma 150-500mm, because in most situations it doesn't do well with a filter.


Thanks for Reading & Good Luck - Jim
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2ndviolinman
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Aug 03, 2013 11:56 |  #29

I do not keep filters on my manual focus lenses except the most expensive one because I am paranoid, and I could imagine selling it if Canon ever came out with a 14-24mm. I take it off in situations where flare might be an issue. These lenses are mostly used in a fairly methodical manner, and I feel that there is little danger of sloppy handling resulting in damage or needless cleaning.

However, my cheap kid birthday party zoom and lenses used for walk around get a filter. I prefer not to use a lenscap or shade for this use, and I don't want to have to be overly considerate of the equipment. Having said that, the Pancake never gets a filter- its price doesn't warrant the expense and the quality doesn't deserve degredation.

I once went to sell a Pentax 6x7 300mm f/4 lens, and when I gave it that last honest once over, I found a faint 1/4" scratch on the front element. I have no idea how it got there, but I am sure that I did it. No drop test is needed for me to know that having used a filter at some point would have saved the element from that damage. On the other hand, one might come home from shooting with a filter and find flare where none was expected.

It boils down to which scenario represents the greater risk to you.


David
5Dc, 5Dii, Canon 16-35 f/4L IS, 40/2.8 Pancake, 85/1.8, 100/2.8 Macro, 135/2.0L, 200/2.8L, converted 35mm TS, Sigma 50/2.8 Macro, 70/2.8 Macro, Zeiss ZE 21/2.8, Zeiss Contax 28/2.8, 50/1.7 & 85/2.8, Jena 135/3.5, Voigtlander 90mm f/3.5 APO, Canon 28-135.

  
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John57
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Aug 03, 2013 12:16 |  #30

I like the added protection a filter offers to the expensive glass !

Having just bought 50L, 85L and 135L lenses there is a lot of glass on the front to bang or scratch ... and for the cost of a decent thin Hoya Pro 1 filter I feel happier !!




  
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Who uses filters for the sole purpose of protecting the lens
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