To skylight filter or not: that is the question!

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by groston, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. groston

    groston TPF Noob!

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    All,

    I am seeking opinions regarding the use of skylight filters on a digital SLR.

    Pros:
    - They keep junk off the lens
    - The metal ring provides protection as well

    Cons:
    - Good ones are costly
    - A friend once dropped a camera, had the filter shatter and scratch the lens. He since swore off filters, but uses a ring
    - They can potentially introduce optical problems

    Your thoughts?

    p.s. I have purchased some decent lenses - they all cost >$500 apiece.
     
  2. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes, and yes.

    Why do you think you need a "good" one? I paid less than ten bucks for mine -- no problems.

    Solution: don't drop your camera. What do you think would have happened had he not been using a filter on top of it? It probably would have broken the lens, not just scratched it.

    Blah, blah, blah. Try it for yourself and see if you think there's a problem.
     
  3. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    Because people want professional results from their $1000 dollar lens by NOT putting a crap piece of glass in front of it?
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would suggest put a UV on not a Skylight. The reason is self evident: UV is on the left, skylight on the right.

    [​IMG]

    Also I don't subscribe to the filter shattered and scratched my lens theory of not using them. If the filter shattered your front element is screwed regardless. This protection is designed to stop bits of mud, sand, dirty fingerprints, and spilt coffee, not bullets. It's like complaining when someone stabs you through a life jacket, you must be realistic as to what it can protect you from.

    Point it at a a ceiling light, take photo, remove, repeat, and see which image looks better. Multicoating was created specifically for this purpose. It's madness to put a cheap piece of glass in front of a precision piece of optically coated custom made silica.
     
  5. Tiberius47

    Tiberius47 TPF Noob!

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    What ^ said.

    And there's a simple way to see if it's a good quality filter. Put it on a plain piece of paper and see if it gives a tint.
     
  6. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'll let you know when the next time is that I want to take a picture of a light....um, never. Yes, I'm aware of the reflection. That's fine, I can take it off for those rare occasions.
     
  7. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    And now for a message from the other camp.

    I only use filters when I need filters. My filter collection consists of a circular polarizer (screw on) and several various ND filters (rectangular). They only real pro on your list is that they keep junk of the lens. But then if you are not shooting still shots on a porno set or wave shots during a hurricane it shouldn't be that much of a problem. As for the metal adding protection. Rigid metal screwed to Rigid metal provides no shock protection and will often be stuck on there when it bends and torques the thread mount.

    As for your cons, you are correct, good ones are costly. My CP ran me in the neighborhood of $250.00 for a 77mm B&W Kaeseman MRC.

    Glass is glass. Stress it and it breaks. Damage to a front element is damage, no mattere where it came from and glass on glass will result in scratches.

    I am of the camp that believes from experience that filters do introduce optical changes. That is why I only use them when I have to. What I always use is the OEM hood designed for the lens instead.

    Lens hoods help reduce stray light into the lens and the photo. They also provide a good degree of protection from bumps, scrapes and drops. Remember that nothing short of not dropping the lens will protect it from dropping the lens. :confused: If you drop it from too great a distance or it hits wrong you are going to have damage no matter how many filters, and hoods you have on. Shock damage happens. I have yet to see anyone have a lens scratched from a hood shattering. Or see a hood that shattered for that matter.

    And as long as you refrain from shooting on porno movie sets and during hurricanes, you should drasticly reduce the amount of stray junk you get on the lens. I shoot sports and on a rainy, muddy day on the sidelines of a football game I they action is close enough to spray stuff on my lens, I am not close to the action, I am in the middle of the action where I DO NOT belong.
     
  8. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ... and if you don't think that gryphonslair99 is serious about lenses, read this thread.
     
  9. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    And God forbid I ever have to replace that lens hood. I have good lenses that cost less than that replacement hood. But I would rather pay for that then to replace the lens.

    I wonder what a UV would cost for the front of that lens. I'm guessing that it would be more than $10.00 even from Wal-mart. :lol:
     
  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I use IR cut/UV filters because of my shooting style.... Primarily with primes and I do switch lenses frequently. Each lens is stored in a separate pouch that hangs on my belt or a separate compartment in a shoulder bag. I use no front or rear caps... as they just slow me down and/or I loose them. I only buy high end quality filters.. no matter the cost it is still relatively inexpensive to the lenses I use. I also shoot with some older lenses that are notoriously soft glass that scratches easily. I like the fact that I have absolutely no worry about cleaning the front elements. I also have conducted my own tests and found no degradation of image quality. So my personal experience pretty much echos Garbz.

    I've also had two cases that the filter saved the lens; more recently I dropped a lens and the brunt of the force was on the filter ring. There is a little damage to lens itself but it could have been a lot worse.
     

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