Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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I know that digital sensors have filters that filter out UV and IR light and thus do not require UV filters, but what about film? Are IR or UV filters required when shooting film?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

"Required" is probably a bit of an overstatement, but they are certainly more useful for film shooting.

The exact effects that UV have on your film photographs will depend largely on what film you're using, and the conditions under which you shoot. From the Wikipedia article UV filter:

Historically, some photographic films were sensitive to UV light, which caused haziness or fogginess, particularly with a blue hue. However, newer photographic film and digital cameras are highly insensitive to UV wavelengths.

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I've shot film for 30 years and never used one. If they were required, I'd have noticed by now.

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If you want film photos of bluebells to actually look blue instead of purple then yes, UV filters are... if not necessary then at least useful for film photography. Film is sensitive to UV, digital cameras are not.

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