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Batteries Not Included

A blog focused on cameras with no batteries - and the photos they take

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Do you feel protected?

Should one use a protective filter at any time on all lenses?
Feelings and theories goes both ways on this topic

Some people argue that putting a piece of glass in front of a potentially very expensive, and carefully corrected, piece of glass will do nothing but deteriorate the image while there are others that considers the relatively cheap investment in a protective filter to be well worth the cost compared to how much it would cost if the front element of the lens would be accidentally scratched or damaged.

So what are these 'protective filters' and should YOU use on and should you use them on ALL of your lenses?

Well, there are a number of filters that one could consider to be predominantly there for protection. You'll find them called everything from UV, Haze to Skylight filters (the UV and Haze filters does claim to have a beneficial effect in that they correct for the sometimes bluish cast caused by UV light).
I personally have never experienced a problem with effects from UV light and it would not be the reason that I would use a protective filter.

Below is a recap of some of the more common pro's and con's you hear on this topic...:

Potential Pro's:
* Cuts down on bluish cast from UV ligh (if using UV/Haze filters)
* Could prevent accidental scratching to the front element of your lens
* Could prevent moisture and dirt from getting to your lens
* Potential cheap insurance for your more expensive lens glass

Potential Con's:
* Could degrade the image quality
* More glass means more likelihood of flaring
* Potential unneccesary cost

What do I personally do?
I belong to the "pro-protective-filter camp" (it's unfortunately too long for us to put on t-shirts...) - but with a twist...
I tend to shoot mostly b&w film. My protective filter is therefore my favorite b&w filter - the yellow-green filter (gosh I love that filter...). I really only take it off if I shoot colour film - or run out of yellow-greens for my other lenses.
I have a number of UV and Skylight filters as well and I tend to keep them on lenses that I tend to use less infrequently.

What filter brands are good?
That's a discussion entry on its own...but my personal favorite is B+W MRC filters. You really can't go wrong with them.
But apply common sense - does it make financial sense to put a $40 filter on a $30 lens to protect it? :)

So - be careful out there and remember your protection...