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I just bought a Canon T2i and I'm concerned that I need a UV filter (for protection) and I have some questions.

  • What are the best brands of filters?

  • What (side)effects filters brings to the table?

Other tips from you pros are very welcome!

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A UV filter will provide protection for your lens at the expense of image quality.

Under normal circumstances a UV filter is not needed and better protection is afforded by using a lens hood. When the lens is in eminent danger from flying particles of sand or salt water, then it is time to use a UV filter since the lens hood will not protect against that.

Tests have been done with plenty of UV filters. Different brands also have different grades. The better ones within a brand are usually labelled 'Super Multi-Coated' or at least 'Multi Coated'.

Hoya makes the best filters I have used but, well, I have not tried all the brands but I stay away from B+W which are not color-neutral as a UV filter should be.

NOTE Some shops confuse UV and Skylight filters which add a pink cast to everything unless you use Automatic White-Balance computed by the sensor which will cancel out the cast.

TIP Save money on filters buy buying the largest size and step-up-rings to avoid needing one filter-per-lens. The catch is that you use either a filter or a lens hood but not both because the step-up ring gets in the way.

  • great comments! I'll definitely look for a hoya filter since i'll be going to the beach soon. – George Silva Oct 5 '11 at 17:52
  • Other side-effect of the filter can be seen here: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/11518/… – John Cavan Oct 6 '11 at 2:30
  • in contrast, I use B+W exclusively (if I use filters at all) because of their consistently superior quality (but maybe that's because I can't get the best Hoya stuff here, while the top end B+W products are readily available). Then again, I never use "lens protectors" as UVs are labelled here, only Skylights, the pinkish cast slightly softening otherwise hard tones to make them more pleasin (and only used when I've a need for that, never as "protection", if it's bad enough to damage a front element, it's bad enough to damage other things as well). – jwenting Oct 6 '11 at 6:58
  • Even some of the protective aspects of filters are disputable, e.g., a filter is more brittle than the typical (thicker and curved) front elements of lenses and mounted in a fairly thin frame of soft metal, so it is quite prone to breaking from impact and pressure (e.g., if left on when carried in luggage). The shards from a broken filter can place the front element in greater risk of damage. I would suggest that filters not be left on as “protection” unless shooting in a situation where they are actively useful, such as protecting from spray/sand/dust flying around. – Arkku Oct 6 '11 at 7:47
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    @Arkku - Exactly my point. Lens hood for protection and UV for sand and salt-water. – Itai Oct 6 '11 at 13:44
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Lens-Tip has compared 20 different UV filters (results are here). Hoya is holding the first three positions, but it also has a model in the middle and another one near the bottom, so brand is not all you need to look at, different models really are different.

Other questions have already covered effects and side effects.

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