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March 27, 2008


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Good write up with substantiable data. Makes me think differently about buying the lens filters.


the write-up regarding the Lensrentals.com repairs states 6 damaged front elements; information missing is: how many filters were either scratched or finger-printed in such a way that would have resulted in a front element replacement had the filter not been in place? for me, i've scratched or otherwise damaged the coating on my 5 UV filters close to a dozen times.

Colin Povey

The original poster makes several serious technical mistakes that put into question his entire argument. I spent many years working in the technical side of the glass business-I know more about glass than they do.

Lens filters are made of similar/identical to the glass that is in camera lenses-it is not softer. Second, and even more serious, lens glass is NOT tempered as they state "... filters, being soft glass, not the tempered glass of a front element ..." Lens elements are NOT made of tempered glass. Tempered glass CANNOT be ground or polished-doing so will cause it to break, period. And if you gring and polish it before tempering, the heat of tempering causes it to lose it's shape. Look up tempered or toughened glass if you don't believe me.

If a lens were damaged and a pro shoot could not proceed, tens of thousand of dollars in rental fees, modeling fees, etc. might be wasted. And what about a wedding photographer who finds his primary lens scratched on wedding day!

Show me a picture that was degraded by a filter-I bet you can't.

Lastly, I look at it this way: a filter eliminates cleaning the lens-thus there is no possibility of scratching the lens.

Jim Simpson

I would say that the last poster certainly made a lot of sense. I was brought to this site by a link at Lensrentrals.com where I am renting a Canon 70-200 f2 lens. Even with the insurance I am just not going to leave the front element of a lens that expensive unprotected, even if it might be minimal protection.

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Eyeglass lenses are commonly made from plastic, including CR-39 and polycarbonate. These materials reduce the danger of breakage and weigh less than glass lenses. Some plastics also have more advantageous optical properties than glass, such as better transmission of visible light and greater absorption of ultraviolet light.[1] Some plastics have a greater index of refraction than most types of glass; this is useful in the making of corrective lenses shaped to correct various vision abnormalities such as myopia, allowing thinner lenses for a given prescription.

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A UV filter in photography is transparent to visible light, and so can be left on the lens for nearly all shots. UV filters are among the least expensive filters, so many people use them as protection for their lenses, although this may not be effective.[1] For this purpose they are preferred over other kinds of filters which are more intrusive, such as neutral density filters.

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I hear it daily. "Always protected by a UV filter" in the for sale adds. "UV filter saved my lens." Etc. It seems people are terrified they might actually take a photograph on a lens that doesn't have a UV filter on it.

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"A UV filter in photography is transparent to visible light, and so can be left on the lens for nearly all shots." A window does the same thing, but I prefer to open it when I take a picture, rather then keeping it closed (or better, walk outside).

Secondly: (dSLR) sensors are not responsive to UV radiation.

Just keep the hood on your lens and it will be fine, much better protection, even for the front element.


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I hear it daily. "Always protected by a UV filter" in the for sale adds. "UV filter saved my lens." Etc. It seems people are terrified they might actually take a photograph on a lens that doesn't have a UV filter on it.


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Rae Merrill

I would like to see more technical data to back up claims about filters. Filters reduce the need for cleaning and provide some protection against bumps etc. As for affecting image quality. I think using a tripod or monopod will do more for quality than choosing the most expensive UV filter or not using a filter.

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I have to disagree, I'm not a fan of filters, If they are cheap they are rubbish that will degrade your images. Why buy good glass then put poor glass infront of it ?


hey buddy,this is one of the best posts that I’ve ever seen; you may include some more ideas in the same theme. I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post.

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With ecological problems growing so much, the need for UV rays have been gaining importance. This is the reason why UV filters have been introduced. The way it will be projected might not depend in the awareness created.

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They don't protect the glass from shattering (actually, filters which are soft glass are more likely to shatter and scratch the front element).

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