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Photography Question 
Leslie L. Steinkraus
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/23/2008

Protective Filters for Lenses?

Should we place filters onto new lenses to protect glass? If so, which ones are most recommended? I have a new Canon 100-400 lens. Several are listed, what would fellow BetterPhoto users suggest for the one above??
Thank U so much...

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12/27/2010 6:14:31 PM

Lynn R. Powers   This is a Canon Vs. Nikon question in that the answer lies in two strongly opinionated camps. I do use protective filters except when the lens already has a protector plate built in to it. The Canon 100-400mm lens may have one so check it out. If I put any filter on a camera, it has to do something besides protect the lens. That eliminates the clear glass filters and the UV filters, since the camera sensor is built to eliminate UV. Instead, the skylight filter is used because it helps a LITTLE with colors in the shade or in a cloud shadow.
The other filters to own are a good circular polarizing filter, as well as neutral density and graduated neutral Density filters. Insure that you purchase filters with multiple coatings. I use B+W without problems.
If you are using a protective filter, take it off the lens when adding any others. Always use a lens hood. When using a polarizer, substitute the hard lens hood with a screw-in rubber lens hood. In this way, you will still be able to adjust the polarizer no matter where the sun is located without having to take off and remount the hard hood.

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12/29/2010 12:29:55 PM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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Hello Leslie,
I look at it this way, I spent a lot of $$ for my 100-400mm lens and I don't want to put another optic in front of it unless it adds something I want (ND/Circular polarizer filters). If you do decide to get a "protective" filter, get one of high quality and like Lynn - B+W are my favorites, but the Singh Rays are also tempting although they are very expensive. You don't want to degrade your image quality with an inferior filter so read reviews before buying. My 77mm B+W Circular Polarizer was $175 but I think it is worth it.
I keep my lens hood or lens cap on all the time until I am ready to shoot, but I did see a Nikon shooter drop an expensive Nikkor lens and the UV filter got busted up but the lens was not damaged, so there are valid arguments either way.
Most of my photographer friends, along with myself, don't use protective filters.
my .02,
Here's a pic with my 100-400 and NO filter :)

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12/30/2010 11:12:28 PM

Leslie L. Steinkraus
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/23/2008
  Hey thanks to both of you for your valuable input. I do agree after some additional research that the IQ would only suffer w/a filter. So Carlton, I'll do the same. By the way, I always appreciate your more than 2-cents worth.
And I couldn't be more thrilled to finally own this marvelous lens!
Cheers to a brand New Year.....

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12/31/2010 8:00:26 PM

Lynn R. Powers   Leslie,

I would like to suggest that you keep a filter in your bag. It will come in handy on rainy days, during the spring when you can see the pollen in the air, at the beach where there is blowing sand or anytime the wind is blowing more than a breeze. It is amazing what can get past a lens hood even on a 200mm zoom.
Happy New Year.

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1/1/2011 1:09:10 PM

Leslie L. Steinkraus
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/23/2008
  Hi Lynn, excellent idea, thank you!
May you also have wonderful year.....

Sincerely, LLS

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1/1/2011 3:54:09 PM

Bruce A. Dart   HI all,
I'm from the other camp and strongly disagree. You SHOULD use the protective filters. I USE my cameras and have had filters protect a valuable lens when it got accidentally bumped. Also, the money invested in the lenses: when I take off an pretty inexpensive filter that gets somewhat beat up, I still have what amounts to a brand new lens underneath. For the purists, I say do what works but I defy nearly everyone to tell the difference in their photos. There are too many "fudge" factors in photography to spend much time worrying about this!! Spend your time photographing.

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1/4/2011 6:25:09 AM

Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  I don't generally use "protective" filters on my lenses and I do have a slight nick on the front element of one of my lenses. I am pretty sure this happened one day when out shooting in the wind near a lake or maybe on a day I was standing alongside the road at a National Wildlife Refuge shooting and a small piece of grit hit the glass. I vaguely recall hearing it hit. The lens still takes photos the same as before and the nick is hard to see but it's still there :(. So in conclusion I suggest to use something on a lens when you're out in the elements. A lens hood will not protect the glass from debris when the wind kicks up or if you're walking past an erupting geyser in Yellowstone. I came home last time with a brand new Nikon polarizing filter covered in specks from the mist of a geyser. Glad this time it was my filter and not the lens. Does not hurt to insure your camera/lenses either.

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1/4/2011 11:26:04 AM

Bruce A. Dart   In the classes I have taught I strongly recommend the filters to protect the lenses. I have had several "saved" by the filter. Insurance is a good idea but a real "Catch 22;" the deductible is usually more than the cost of repair. A recent go 'round with a two month old Nikon 18-200 lens cost about $150 to repair, a $700 + lens to start with and a $500 deductible on the insurance. The insurance is $86 per month and this time I would have saved enough on my own to get a new lens. Go figure!

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1/4/2011 12:18:35 PM

Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Bruce, that's a very high deductible. I do not have a deductible, but I also do not file claims on small stuff like a filter or a scratch on the lens. BTW, even my filters are insured but that's more in case someone would steal my entire case of gear rather than for damage to a specific filter.

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1/4/2011 4:17:02 PM

Bruce A. Dart   Thanks Sharon. I have the insurance for the same reason and don't like to submit claims unless necessary. My insurance has varied but the low deductible usually has higher premiums. The two month old lens problem occurred when my tripod tipped over. Photographing a senior girl and I saw something in the background that needed to be moved. I was shocked when I saw my usually stable tripod and camera go over! Went to your gallery and really like all the gallery but especially the night shot at Union Station in KC. I was there in daytime a few years ago.

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1/4/2011 5:43:05 PM

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