Filters for lens protection

There is a great debate among pho­tog­ra­phers as to whether or not lens fil­ters need to be used for lens pro­tec­tion. Pho­tog­ra­phers are divided when it comes to fil­ters and image qual­ity. Many believe that adding a fil­ter to the lens reduces the image qual­ity while other pho­tog­ra­phers feel there are lit­tle to no effects to the photograph.

A fil­ter is not only used to‚protect against every day use. UV fil­ters offer pro­tec­tion against UV rays that may dam­age our lenses, and Sky­light fil­ters reduce the haze and clar­ify the photo. But really, are these truly nec­es­sary? Many pho­tog­ra­phers sug­gest that they have no notice­able effect in most cir­cum­stances. Lenses are made so strong today, that the ques­tion remains…“To use a fil­ter, or not to use a filter?”

Feel free to add your com­ments here or join our pho­tog­ra­phy forum and add to the con­ver­sa­tion. Here’s a link to the topic in the pho­tog­ra­phy forum.


  1. Syd says:

    Yes, this in a way ties in with another recent blog entry advis­ing new­com­ers and hob­by­ists to invest in glass first. Opin­ions about fil­ters for pro­tec­tion seem quite “polar­ized” (no pun intended) but I think that there’s a com­pro­mise or mid­dle ground that may set­tle the debate for some peo­ple. If you have an expen­sive lens, and are con­cerned about pro­tect­ing your invest­ment, then use a fil­ter if it gives you peace of mind. But per­haps con­sider the fol­low­ing: Buy a good qual­ity mul­ti­coated fil­ter; shop around on line (you’d be amazed at the dif­fer­ence in price vs the local cam­era shop); and just remove it in any sit­u­a­tions where it’s more prone to pose IQ prob­lems (eg. strong light sources in the frame).
    I think many hob­by­ists like myself get caught up in the deci­sion because they just fin­ished stretch­ing their bud­get to buy the best glass they can(‘t) afford, and then they’re being pres­sured by fear into con­sid­er­ing drop­ping another $100+ on a pro­tec­tive fil­ter. Fear not! The pop­u­lar on line auc­tion site has all kinds of good qual­ity fil­ters for $25 — $70 deliv­ered to your door!!! Enjoy the best of both worlds! It’s the pros and the wealthy who can talk about going naked and never hav­ing a prob­lem. Clutzes like me need to embrace the bet­ter safe than sorry philosophy!

  2. Paul Parkinson says:

    I’ve always used basic polar­is­ing fil­ters on my lenses. Does it affect image qual­ity? Pos­si­bly but if it acts as some sort of pro­tec­tion for the lens then I believe it’s a price worth paying.

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