Mary C. Casey
Hoods and UV Filters
For my new wide-angle lens, do any of you use UV filters and or hoods? Do you feel either degrades the photo quality? Do you see a need for either, or both? Thanks!
Lens hoods are a benefit for a couple reasons: 1) They (may) protect the lens if you drop your camera. 2) A well-designed hood will keep stray light out in some shooting situations. This will improve color and contrast. But be careful when selecting a lens hood. If it is too large, you will get (vignetting) at the wide angle.
Concerning UV filters, you will no doubt get a few opinions here, and there are trade-offs. Personally, I do not use UV filters. Some will say there is some protection when one is employed, and I suppose there is an element of truth there. I'm careful with my camera and lenses, so that argument holds no water for me.
The reason I do NOT use UV filters is this: I cannot see the logic in placing a piece of glass in front of a high-quality lens. Unless the UV filter is optically pure, you will have some degradation in image quality. Optical physics proves this well. If you care to explore this principle, it is known as the "Refractive index" (i.e) air-glass-air-glass. In other words, the light has to pass from the air to the UV glass, then through the air again to the lens glass.
Also, I do not see any real "filtering" using a UV filter anyway. Theoretically, it does indeed filter; in practice, the effect is not well seen. If you don't believe that, shoot a landscape with and without and compare ... besides, I more often than not am using a polarizer when outside anyway; so why have two filters in front of a great lens?
All the best,
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