UV or not UV?

Luminous-Landscape.com has an answer to that age old debate: Should you use a UV filter or not?

Several good points are made — the practice of using a UV filter is an age-old one and was valid by all measures a while ago. Today, however, it seems the lenses are made to withstand a lot more.

I have had a time when a UV filter most likely saved my lens. Shortly after purchasing my D60 (a few years ago), I took it out on a test-shoot. The light outdoors was dimishing, so a default focus assist beam (which I have since turned off, as it is almost entirely useless) flashed while I was focusing. An insatiable firefly mistook my D60 for another of its kind and tried to mate with my camera. “Thunk!” The bug would’ve smashed into my lens, but the sturdy UV filter blocked it from doing so.

Now the odds of something that peculiar occuring are pretty slim. For oddball cases, I imagine that’s why there is camera insurance. Most anything that could break the lens with a UV filter on could also break a lens not wearing a UV filter.

I think I’m going to try not wearing a UV filter on the front of my camera’s lenses for a while — and possibly will pick up some of those nifty MRC filters mentioned in the article for weather conditions.

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6 Responses to “UV or not UV?”

  1. Arne Caspari says:

    Using a digital camera you should at least avoid to expose the image sensor to UV light too long since UV causes regression to the CCD. But I do not know if an UV filter alone would avoid this effect…

  2. Tom says:

    I don’t use a UV anymore. I think the lens is the most important non human element in photography. I don’t want a $5 piece of glass in front. I do want lens protection and always use a METAL lens hood.

  3. Arne, almost every modern lens (within the past decade or two) has UV filtering built in. Things like extremely cheap cameras (especially cell phone cameras) do not, obviously, but those are typically cameras which you cannot mount a filter on the front.

    Tom, I totally agree — using a lens hood is a great way to protect a lens from flying particles, extra light (the intended purpose), and also accidental collisions.

    Personally, I almost always use lens hoods — the only exception would be when I need to get my lens closer to a subject, either in macrophotography or if there’s a piece of glass in the way (such as in a zoo exhibit).

  4. Tom: there are better uv-filters than the $5 ones. A nice large one can cost tens of dollars..

    My wideangle cannot house a filter thouhg, because it doesnt have threads on the front thanks to the bulby glass..

  5. Tom says:

    Yes, there’s good UV filters..Heliopan and B and W and all. I just don’t like anything between my lens and what’s being photographed, of course I’m being real persnickety about that but as far as protection, I like a metal hood. I just don’t think a UV does much, it’s effects cancelled by poor processing etc..

  6. […] uminous Landscape, makes the case for removing the UV filter. (If this looks familiar, I posted it on my own personal ‘blog a few months ago.) T […]

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