Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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I finally bought myself an L lens - it gets here tomorrow. I usually buy the cheapo UV filters, but I'm wondering if in this case - more expensive is "better?"

I'm by no means a professional - I just shoot what I like and toss more than I keep. Would love to get into insect macros - but this will be for bearded dragon pics, and interesting patterns found in food (yes - patterns found in food.)

Any recommendations for an appropriate filter?

Hrm - this would have been an awesome to confirm that my 7D would work with that lens.

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marked as duplicate by dpollitt, mattdm, MikeW, Paul Cezanne, Nir Jul 3 '13 at 13:03

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

2  
Why do you want a UV filter with a digital camera? UV rays are filtered internally. –  Michael Clark Jul 3 '13 at 3:46
    
I can confirm you that the 100mm 2.8 L is awesome on the 7D: Razor-sharp, 1:1 pixel-peeping goodness ;) –  Berzemus Jul 3 '13 at 13:45
    
Thanks Berz...Appreciate the reply. –  Seth Jul 3 '13 at 15:04
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3 Answers 3

One should only use the filter you need and buy the best one you can afford to minimize adverse effects. So at this point, we do not even know why you are looking for a filter. We do know that a 67mm is the right size for your lens, if you use it directly.

All filters degrade image quality because they add another glass element in the optical path. The flat surface of filters is highly prone to flare which is why they ruin so many images, particularly UV ones since they do not even attenuate light and there is therefore more of it to bounce back out.

Should you need a filter, then it depends on what for. UV filters are good protection against flying dangers such as sand and salt-water spray. For bumps, a lens hood is far more effective and the right one actually reduces flare. If you need to remove reflections or glossiness from subjects, you need a circular polarizer instead.

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I wanted a filter mostly to protect the lens. I didn't think that the lens hood would really protect the glass. That's what I was mainly concerned with, but i've read a lot of posts that show photos of scenes with / without a filter / polarizer / etc and how having one helps with glare, flare, etc. –  Seth Jul 3 '13 at 4:06
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@Seth - Polarizers generally reduce glare. UV filters increase it. This is extremely easy to spot, particularly in scenes with bright light sources. A lens hood reduces the possibility of the glass being hit. A fractured UV filter on the other hand can scratch the glass apparently. I have not seen that myself but I have seen hundreds of photos ruined by UV filters, there are some examples even in this Q&A site :) –  Itai Jul 3 '13 at 4:53
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I buy filters for all of my lenses as a means of protecting the front element. Yes, it will slightly degrade the IQ (not sure it's perceptible, though), but it's a peace of mind; I'd rather replace a filter than a lens.

My approach to filters is that the more expensive the lens, the more expensive the filter. I buy B+W myself, but there are other top name brands. Take a look on Amazon at the customer submitted pictures and you can see some examples of how they rank against cheaper filters (one bonus is that if you do get flare, take the filter off temporarily). I don't feel the $100 kit lens warrants a $100 filter and also if I'm going to drop $1000 on a lens it doesn't make much sense to put a $10 piece of glass on the front (I think a cheap filter would probably be perceptibly degrading to the IQ).

I also own the 100mm L and I bought this filter for it.

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I would always advocate purchasing the best filter you can afford. At the moment, my filters of choice are the Hoya HD range, but their Pro1's are also good (just not as thin a bezel).

I have experienced first hand a prime reason for having a filter on the lens when I was setting up a shot a few years ago on a lake shoreline in the USA, and a hornet (or some horrible thing!) landed right on my arm. I panicked and flinched and my arm sent my camera on tripod flying forward and landing lens face down in the sand. The filter was scratched to buggery but when I removed it the lens behind was completely unscathed! (And it was an expensive EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM too!!).

So always worth thinking about keeping a filter on the lens. I feel that so long as you spend the money on a good one, not the el-cheapo kind, that any negative effect on the photo is negligible and you won't notice.

The one exception is if shooting in the dark and there is a light source such as a car headlight or streetlight or whatever... I had an experience where I was getting 'ghosting' of the light on all my shots, and when I removed the UV filter from my lens it went away entirely. Must have been internally reflecting the light back out of the lens, then the filter bouncing it back in again...

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