How does a UV filter enhance my photos?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by tenthumbs, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. tenthumbs

    tenthumbs TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I got a UV filter with my new camera (Pentax Kx) and it's not really clear to me what situations I would use it. I took a few pics with and without but I don't see much difference. What's it for?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Goontz

    Goontz TPF Noob!

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    Do a search here on the forums and you'll find many threads arguing the importance (or lack thereof) of UV filters. They're usually marketed as cutting down on haze and atmospheric blah blah. Truthfully, anyone that uses them does so for no other reason than protection. That is, they use them so that if anything were to hit and possibly break or scratch the front of the lens, only a cheap filter would need replacing rather than a whole lens.

    The other 'party' will say that it will degrade your image quality more than any protection benefits and never use a UV filter. Personally, I don't use one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  3. r31ncarnat3d

    r31ncarnat3d TPF Noob!

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    Still a bit of a beginner myself, but my understanding is that UV filters are there to protect the lenses from damage by UV radiation, prevent hazing in your lenses, and protect your eye from UV radiation. It does not have anything to do with picture quality and is more of a protection/safety thing.

    I use one myself purely for lens protection. It's much easier for me to replace a scratched/damaged filter than it is for me to replace a scratched/damaged lens.
     
  4. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've never heard that one before. I'd guess that if there was enough UV radiation to harm a lens, even over time, then the photographer would have suffered serious damage. http://www.dailyhaha.com/_pics/burnt_to_a_crisp.jpg

    As mentioned, I think the most common use of UV filters are physical protection...as in, it keeps crap from getting onto the front element of the lens and might take the brunt of a fall if you drop the lens etc. Of course, there are 'clear' filters that do that, but people seem to use UV filters just as or more often. As for the bennefits to the image quality, cutting UV/sky haze etc....I don't know, maybe. :scratch:
     
  6. r31ncarnat3d

    r31ncarnat3d TPF Noob!

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    Again, I'm new to photography, so there is a very good chance I'm completely wrong :)
     
  7. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Doesn't the sensor have a UV filter already on it?

    UV filters were useful on film cameras, but no longer needed on digital.
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    UV filters are a huge profit maker for camera retailers. The $19.99 UV filter is sold as a way to add cost to a camera and lens or a camera package, with the ostensible goal of it being to "protect the lens" or to "cut ultraviolet light". What the customer doesn't know is that the filter is often a very low-cost item purchased in bulk by the dealer, and sold so as to make a tidy $17 profit or so from each sale. The markup on filters, and especially off-brand filters, is insanely high. It helps stores make a decent profit on new items which have a surprisingly skinny margin on them, like new cameras and lenses.
     
  9. burstintoflame81

    burstintoflame81 TPF Noob!

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    Most filters are sold as protection as people on this post already pointed out. Any big hit to your lens that is hard enough to break a filter is going to do damage to your lens simply by the vibration of the impact. I had UV filters for the same reason as a beginner and got rid of them all because they degraded the image and if you take care of your equipment, damage shouldn't be an issue. I actually fell when walking through Yosemite shooting a deer with my 85mm F/1.8. I stepped on a stump that was completely hollow underneath from bugs. I broke through and went down to my thigh. No lens cap or filter. Put a mark on my lens from hitting a branch as I tried to brace my fall. I had one of those buffer felt tip pens/brushes ( $7 at Frys Electronics, much better investment than a UV filter ) It buffed the mark right out and the lense looked flawless.
     
  10. thomas.corbett

    thomas.corbett TPF Noob!

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    I use one to protect my lens from dust and being hit by anything. (or my dogs nose. you can use pp for filter affects easy.
     
  11. Joves

    Joves No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    UV filters will not help your photos. For my glass I use the clears if it is a case of want to keep the front element clean. Dont go cheap because even the low priced clear glass has distrotion at the lower end. Now a good Circular Polarizer will help you in cetrain circumstances as will Neutral Density filter for effects. But again dont go cheap because, cheap = trash.
     
  12. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Yes, digital sensors are already filtered so adding one to the lens is of no advantage.

    Also, all color films for the past one third of a century or so have been pre-filtered. It hasn't been since the days of Ektachrome-X (process E-4) and Kodachrome II and X (process K-14) that any Kodak color film needed a UV filter under any conditions. Even then, the effect of a UV was small. UVs haven't had any significant utility since the 1950's and the E-2 and K-12 class films.
     

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