Protective filters

I just bought my first DSLR with two lenses.

Would it be a good idea to get two cheap UV filters just to protect the lens?

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One response:

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Cheap filters is not a good idea

The sole purpose of “protective” filters is to make a profit for those selling such filters. In front of a lens, they are worse than useless.

First, a lens-hood do a much better job protecting the front element of your lens than a cheap filter. With a filter, if you knock the front of it against something you can damage the thread and/or break the glass. Glass scratches glass in such situations, so a glass filter is not the best protection. With a lens hood for protection you are very unlikely to knock anything other than the front edge of the hood, which is usually plastic anyway.

Second, filters are not lens covers or lens protectors – they are designed to filter light. If they were designed to be lens protectors, they would be designed to be impact resistant and strong.

Third, even an expensive multi-coated filter introduces two extra air/glass surfaces that lowers contrast and increases flare. And putting a 20 dollar filter in front of a 800 dollar lens will seriously compromise the quality of that lens.

For the lowdown on the optical effects of filters, see the story “Good times with bad filters” @LensRentals.com.

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