A customer came into the store today with her Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Zoom Lens. It was in sad shape. She had accidentally dropped the camera and lens and it left the lens filter badly damaged.
In spite of the damage there was some good news!
- The customer had a UV filter attached to the front of her lens. This meant the filter broke but the lens didn’t. The filter along with the lens hood protected her expensive lens from extreme damage.
- Dave was able to remove the bent filter without damaging the lens. The glass had to be removed so pliers could be used to unscrew the cross-threaded filter ring.
A few minutes later the lens was cleaned and had a new ProMaster HGX UV Filter attached.. The lens was as good as new, undamaged from the accident.
There is some debate whether UV filters are still needed when using digital cameras. The customer we helped today doesn’t debate the usefulness of UV filters! But some do. We recommend using UV filters for the following reasons:
- Insurance: Shooting in dusty or sandy conditions can be damaging to your gear. Sand can scratch the front element of the lens when you try to clean it. Sand can grind through pretty much any kind of glass, even very tough “guerrilla” glass we see on high-end devices today. So having a protective filter really helps in such environments, because an $80 – $100 filter is far cheaper to replace when compared to a $2000 lens.
- Convenience: Many lenses have round front elements, which can be really tough to clean. In some cases, the front element of a lens is deeply recessed inside the barrel making it difficult to clean! A UV filter makes lens cleaning so much easier!
The argument against protective filters is that they reduce image quality. If you use cheap, low-quality filters, this can be true! However, if you use a high-quality filter, there is negligible degradation of image quality. Tests conclude that if you use high-quality lens filters, you have nothing to worry about!
With that said, we recommend the ProMaster HGX UV Filter line when you want to protect an expensive lens. With an entry level or inexpensive lens, a protective filter may be optional. At any rate, never use an inexpensive filter as it degrades image quality.
For UV filter and other gear recommendations you can count on your locally owned Photo Pro camera and image design center. We are here to serve you!