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Lens Protection Tip

Posted by: Nicholas Evans on 05/10/2013 - 6:52 PM

To protect your lens or not? That is the question. I know some people are VERY much against using UV filters because the quality of the image drops. Let me tell you, it does not drop that much. I use UV filters, mostly to keep dust off the main lens. But today I have a new found respect for these cheap little pieces of glass. See the image blow:

After some CAREFUL cleaning to make sure that the shattered glass does not damage the actual lens I was able to get it back to perfection, again see below:

So in my opinion advise you to use these filters because you NEVER know when this might happen to you.
Seeing something like this when you open your camera bag is a real pucker factor. I am surprised that there is any upholstry left of this chair.


Oldest Reply

Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/10/2013 - 7:15 PM

i did run tests and there is like a 1% change in quality. ever since i had my favorite lens scratch (something must have blown on it because it was fine 5 min earlier). always have the protection. i usually get B+W it's more expensive but easy to clean. you might want to send back the lens just in case there is some calibration issues internally. with a drop like that something could have snapped a bit.

the only thing you have to be careful is, making sure both sides of the glass is clean. because no matter how clean you think it was, it will be hazy a little later on.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Nicholas Evans on 05/10/2013 - 8:16 PM

Yes, there was some problems with it after, but I repaired them on my own.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/10/2013 - 8:26 PM

the last time i dropped my lens it became inside out. it landed on carpet and just, well it wasn't pretty. but it was solid, and tamron still fixed it. i forgot what i told them. this happened the day before vacation.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Mary Bedy on 05/10/2013 - 8:31 PM

Ouch. Dropped on on concrete once. Didn't break, but the focus ring had some resistance when I turned it (manual focus film lens). I dodged a bullet that day. I used to keep UV filters on my film camera lenses - think I'll order one now after looking at that picture, Nicholas (kit lens and zoom are the same diameter).


Posted by: Wendy J St Christopher on 05/10/2013 - 8:32 PM

You're so right, Nicholas. I've never owned a camera that didn't constantly wear the protection of a a UV filter, which has saved my bacon more than once. The peace of mind is priceless!

Glad your damage wasn't worse, :-)


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/10/2013 - 8:34 PM

also a lens hood is a good idea. i've once dropped it on gravel but the hood was deep enough to keep the rocks off everything. plus it helps the lens a little since i don't use a cap.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Heather Applegate on 05/10/2013 - 8:35 PM

I keep a UV or CP filter on the lens always, plus I keep a lens hood on it. If it falls lens first, the hood will take most of the impact.


Posted by: Mary Bedy on 05/10/2013 - 8:39 PM

I was in San Antonio weekend before last, and I was standing on a sidewalk when I got my camera out of the bag. Put the strap over my head and it broke immediately (old strap). Fortunately, I was still holding onto the camera. Went directly to a camera shop and bought a pricier strap.


Posted by: Roy Erickson on 05/10/2013 - 9:13 PM

I've just not had good luck with uv or polarizer filters - my pictures always seem just a bit blurry. I do keep a hood on it always and have dropped it into soft sand - but it all cleaned up well. I'm sure the lens needs calibrating - when is there ever time to send it off - it takes nearly a month to get it - or the camera back. there is no place near - it's either Chicago or Atlanta.


Posted by: Crystal Wightman on 05/10/2013 - 9:19 PM

I use CP filters. I do agree having a filter on, helps. I was hiking, taking waterfall photos, slip and fell. My CP filter was damaged, but saved the lens. I also broke the hood and camera got some scratches.


Posted by: A M Johnson on 05/10/2013 - 9:24 PM

B&W filters are the way to go if you must have a UV or Skylite filter on your walking around lens.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/10/2013 - 9:29 PM

ever since i bought a hoya, what a pain in the neck to clean that thing. even though they are cheaper, the B&W are the way to go. i never tried a few of the others, though they are thicker than your average filter. as long as you don't drop it the filter should last forever. also a filter is easier to clean because it's flat. i have one lens that has a sharp edge around it and it cuts all my clothes.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Gunter Nezhoda on 05/10/2013 - 9:38 PM

I agree B&W is the best, but I never use any, as Mike says you lose 1%. That's best case scenario, usually you double up dust, and it also depends on the lenght. if you zoom in all the way you lose much more. I can't afford that. Most everybody can deliver 95% with a $500 camera. Above that is when a pros skills and gear kicks in, getting 98% is what makes you the money shot. So, think about it, it's hard to tell from your pic, but I guess it's a 70-200mm F4. You paid $1500 for that glass. It has to perform for that kind of money in my book and if it brakes, you need a new one. It's a precise tool, there are many tools you can't protect.

The only thing I will use is a CP and sometimes N when I need slow shutter speed in bright sunlight.
You could buy a Tamron, like Mike, then it does not matter, because you get only 75% in the first place. :)

It's like people buy a stereo system for 10K and then put $5 Radio Shack cables on it.

At least that's how I see it.

Q - the collection


Posted by: Gregory Scott on 05/10/2013 - 9:54 PM

I almost always keep a filter on my lens, and a hood. Particularly when photographing hummingbird feeders and birds, it helps keep the lens clean. I once had a tripod fall over and break the filter, and the lens was just fine. If I don't use a filter, I make an extra effort to use a hood.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/10/2013 - 9:58 PM

either i lose 1% of my picture, or i have to pay $600 or more for a new lens. not a hard decision. you can't even see where it would deviate.

it's easy, you drop the lens and it's $500 to get it repaired or $1500 to replace. or replace a $20-50 piece of glass. is there much difference in sharpness? you'll never be able to tell. and of course if your just going to apply filters to the final photo, you'll never see anything anyway. all images are sharpened. tamron makes fine glass. the only thing that differs between my lens and a canon is the size, bulk and identifiability of that huge white lens. i use a tamron 28-300 for all my work, the glass works for what i need it do. i use pro gear in my price range. i don't need the lens to be water resistant like canons stuff is.

if a $5 cable works then it works, there is little difference. because if you have a 10k system, you'll need a 20k room to listen to it in, otherwise you won't hear the fidelity anyway.

until you try the lens don't comment on the ability. what makes the money is the skill of the photographer, not the gear they carry.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Nicholas Evans on 05/10/2013 - 10:56 PM

This incident that broke my filter was not a fall or a drop. It was my tripod tipping over after I closed the legs and leaned it against the side of the car. It fell on the camera while it was sitting in the camera bag (bag open). The tripod does weigh about 25 lbs, so I can see how this happened. I had the hood on it, but reversed as I usually do when I have it stored. As for the type of filter, this was a Hoya.
If this ever happes to you, fear not... You do have to be careful when cleaning the glass on the actual lens. My tips: 1) remove the filter, 2) tip the lens up-side down and shake to remove all big debris, 3) use a blower to blow off the glass frags, 4) I used a vacuum to remove the finer glass dust, 5) I used a badger hair shaving brush to brush it all away, then used a lens claning compound and micro fiber wipes to clean it all up. I ended up with absolutely no damage to the lens glass.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/10/2013 - 11:06 PM

your lucky it was just a filter. on a vacation i was ever so careful to lay my camera with it's lens off on my back pack, in the car - just to prevent breaking it. i wanted to clean the back of the lens. i bumped into something, the camera fell right on the brake level, smashed the mirror, ruined the focus, i couldn't see anything but a few corners, and when i picked that camera up, i had that moment where i tried to reverse time. you know when your in a dream and something bad happens, and you can often just will it to change channels. i tried to do that and almost broke my brain trying. camera was toast at that point. i only had a small back up camera, at the time.

the insurance covered most of the bill, but that was a heart stopping thing that i died internally when it happened. that was like 4 cameras ago, but to this day i try not to change the lenses unless i really have to.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Mary Bedy on 05/10/2013 - 11:06 PM

Yup - ordering a UV tomorrow. I have a polarizer on it usually, but not indoors.


Posted by: David Bowman on 05/11/2013 - 8:27 AM

I don't use UV filters as a rule for a variety of reasons:

I've known people who have used them, the filter has shattered and the glass has scratched the lens surface.
I've seen lenses dropped with UV filters on and the lens glass has still been damaged. I've seen lenses dropped w/o UV filters that have not been damaged. So the actual protection they provide, I feel, is somewhat subjective and depends much on circumstances.
They increase the chance of lens flare
They increase the likelihood of vignetting on w/a shots

However, if there's sporadic rain about I will use them as it's easier to wipe off the filter than the lens.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/11/2013 - 8:49 AM

i've never had a problem with flare and such, though i think it varies per filter and how clean it is. though if you stack filters, like a UV then a polarizer or such. they also make thin filters, but you have to toss the threads in the front.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Aj F on 05/11/2013 - 9:02 AM

I just never take the lens hoods off.. Albeit, for wide angle lenses with short hoods, I suppose it's a good idea to have something up front.. Photography is of course, one of those hobbies/professions that the > X of $ something cost, typically the better it is..


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/11/2013 - 9:21 AM

not always, some of my best sellers came from a pocket camera. better equipment makes it easier to get the shot, but it's all in the person who shoots it. like a wrench can either fix your car, or make a nice paper weight, it all depends how you use it.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Kay Pickens on 05/11/2013 - 10:12 AM

I used to use filters, but have since quit unless I need a polarizer or ND for a specific shot. I mostly use B+W if I use them. The lens hood offers pretty good protection. I do use filters at the beach, due to the sand blowing around, but that's about it.


Posted by: Mary Bedy on 05/11/2013 - 10:17 AM

I used them to keep form accidentally scratching the lens. I feel more secure with them on, but I haven't bought any since I switched to digital except the polarizing filter. I never noticed any perceivable difference with or without...but I wasn't looking that closely either because I was just shooting vacation photos at the time.


Posted by: Aj F on 05/11/2013 - 10:40 AM

Mike Savad: I don't know if your last comment was in response to my post.. However, I'd like to clarify just in case.. I was referencing the cost v. build quality. I.e., $20.00 UV filter vs. a $400 UV filter in terms of IQ degradation.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/11/2013 - 10:56 AM

if i'm spending $400 on a filter, i might as well just get a new lens or have it repaired. i have a $50 filter, maybe not that much even, and never had flare problems.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Alasdair Turner on 05/11/2013 - 11:15 AM

I dont use them and spend time in some of the harshest shooting environments possible. I have only ever scratched one lens and thats because I had the camera slung over my back while I was rock climbing and fell. The lens hit the rock as I was falling. I dropped a lens out an aircraft last year onto the tarmac and managed to get away with that one. For me its just one more layer likely to fog up.


Posted by: Aj F on 05/11/2013 - 11:32 AM

Mike Savad, I completely agree with you..I find it blasphemous they exist at that cost, lol. But, people pay for it.. :-\ I truly believe that the lens hood is probably your best ally unless you're using an ultra wide lens that has an extremely short, extremely large diameter hood..


Posted by: Jahred Klahre on 05/11/2013 - 11:42 AM

Great Tip.


This discussion is closed.