Are Filters for Lens Protection Worthwhile? Geoff Jones Wants to Know

Posted Sep. 24th, 2015 by Daniel J. Cox

Are Filters for Lens Protection Worthwhile?

Apologies for what might seem to be a ‘simplistic’ email……. but having reached a point where, for both age and health reasons am no longer able to carry heavy camera gear, earlier this year I purchased an FZ1000 for general nature type photography.
I have retained my Nikon D7200 and 300mm f4 PF lens plus 1.4x converter for birds etc. At my local nature reserve.

An issue that keeps coming up in conversations with other hobby photographers is the question of using UV Filters to protect the front element of lenses ….. maybe they degrade images and are a waste of time and money …… maybe they prevent scratches.
Other users of Panasonic FZ cameras would be interested to know your thoughts however brief.

So, is it a good idea to attach a good quality UV Filter to the lens of my FZ1000?

Feel free to ignore this email question if you think it either inappropriate or you have insufficient time to reply

Cheers,
Geoff
UK

No apologies needed Geoff. This is a great question. My feelings are a very positive YES, a good UV or skylight filter is very much worthwhile for protecting the front element of any lens. Not only will it protect from the lens from scratches, dirt, and grime, but it has often protected more than one of my lenses from accidental drops. There are better filters than others and I’ve done a fair amount of research into which filters are best. From my experience my favorite filter is the Hoya HD2 or HD3 series. They are not cheap but they produce virtually no glare and no negative impact on the final image that I have ever been able to see.  I have Hoya HD UV filters on all my lenses that can take them.

The new Hoya HD3 series UV filter. This or the HD2 version are the ones I use on all my lenses.

The new Hoya HD3 series UV filter. This or the HD2 version are the ones I use on all my lenses.

Hope this helps. And by the way, you picked a great camera to use for your general photography. I’ve been a big fan of the FZ1000 since it was released. The fact it has a 25mm-400mm zoom is super convenient and the 1-inch sensor gives you excellent quality. Thanks for your question. Let me know if you need anything else answered.

Add Your Voice!
There are 8 comments on this post…
  1. Mark WalkerOn Nov. 25th, 2015

    In June I was using my GH4 with a 100-300mm zoom taking photos of gannets and other seabirds at Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire. Shooting all day into strong sea breeze, I started to notice white streaks appearing on my rain jacket, then I copped a glob on the lens. I cleaned it off as best I could but was a bit concerned that the uric acids might eat into the coating. So yes I can now see the need for a filter.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Nov. 25th, 2015

      Mark, nice story! Without a doubt, you have not paid your dues in the world of nature photography until you have been nailed by a fecal bomb from above. Way to go buddy! I tell our Explorers all the time, who worry about their gear getting dusty, scratched (not lenses) bumped, jarred or whatever, that if their gear looks brand new, they aren’t shooting enough nor having enough fun. The worse you cameras look the more fun you’ve had as long as you are protecting that sacred glass on the front and back ends. Thats for sharing this great story.

  2. Ron GaskinsOn Nov. 13th, 2015

    Daniel, Jeff… I agree with the practice of adding a high quality skylight or UV filter on my lenses. I’ve been shooting since the 70s, and have had a couple bad incidents that cost me a filter, but not the lens!

    In one case, I was working a whitewater rafting assignment. I was shooting out on the river with my old Nikonos 35mm, but had my Nikon D40x in a dry bag, which I would break out when we would put into shore. One of the river guides was “helping,” and opened the dry bag, and my camera (in a small padded bag) dropped out and hit the rocks! The filter on my Nikkor 10-24mm was shattered, and jammed in place. I had a hard time getting the remains of the filter off, but the lens was unscathed! I continued to shoot with it throughout the day.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Nov. 13th, 2015

      I swear by them Ron. Seems you do to. Better than swearing because of an accident you have where you could have used one:) Thanks for stopping by to add your insight.

  3. ScottOn Oct. 5th, 2015

    I agree that a UV filter is a good idea. I’m a hobbyist who uses my Panasonic GH3 a lot and I have saved a couple lenses from scratches with an attached filter (fortunately not drops… yet!). IMO, a good UV filter attached to the end of a lens is just about the cheapest insurance you can get for your equipment. And decent filters can be had for $50-75 and, with care and luck, will last a lifetime… or with bad luck (or conditions) keep your lens protected.

    Scott

  4. Dean SwartzOn Sep. 24th, 2015

    Excellent advice, again, from The Master! I have, since no longer shooting film, relied upon Nikon NC filters because I did not want to add or delete ANYTHING to/from my digital images. Film often benefited from a reduction of ultraviolet light or a warming filter. However, if you place a Nikon NC filter and a UV filter (I used both Hoya and B+W filters for my comparisons) on a bright white piece of paper, you will discover that the UV filters are ever so slightly darker (yellow?) than the NC filter. They appear to add some coloration to the image that’s not there. I have done this both outside under “cloudy” skies, and in my ‘computer’ room that is illuminated by Solux 4700K lights. In my experience, if you do not want to change the quality of light entering your camera, an NC filter is the way to go. The Nikon NC filters are multicoated to reduce flare, and protect your valuable lenses without altering the light entering them. (Plus, I still can say I shoot with Nikon even though I’ve jumped to MFT!!!! Old friends are hard to leave.)

    Just my two-cents-worth!

    Dean

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Sep. 24th, 2015

      Thanks for the input Dean. Always appreciate hearing from our readers.

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