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View Full Version : UV vs. Skylight for "digital" cameras



Jvasey
12-19-2004, 06:57 AM
I made a visit to my local camera store in LA trying to buy a "protective" lens for my new digital camera. The salesman advised to buy "UV" over "Skylight" for digital cameras because they had some kind of advantage, although he couldn't remember exactly why. If you were in the market for a new filter for "primarily protection purposes" for a lens on a digital camera, what is the prevailing opinion on which to buy? And I assume you want to buy the best piece of glass you can get (something in the $50-$70 price range vs. $30) if you'll be leaving it on the camera all the time...any thoughts? John

propwash
12-19-2004, 08:08 AM
Here's my opinion, and I'm sure that lots of people will disagree with me. I started using filters for protection many years ago in my 35 mm SLR days. I was told that I should get a UV filter and leave it on all the time. When I went to the store, they didn't have any UV's in the size I needed, so I bought a skylight 1A filter. I noticed no difference in the photos I took with it on versus those with the filter off. When I got some more lenses, I bought skylight filters for them as well. I borrowed UV filters on occasion, and I didn't notice any difference with those filters either. I now have one of my old skylight filters on my digital camera, mainly because I already had it and it was the right size.

I also put a skylight filter over the lens of my camcorder for protection, and didn't notice any difference in the movies I took.

My opinion is that if you're just using it for protection, that it probably doesn't matter which one you use. I think it's pretty cheap insurance to protect an expensive lens.

Rhys
12-19-2004, 08:12 AM
I was a skylight fan with my 35mm kit. Then I tried Hoya MC UV filters and found them far superior. Then I took all those nasty little filters off any my photographs improved tremendously. I'm against anything being between the lens and the subject. Whatevery you use will distort or discolour what the camera sees. The only thing I would advise sticking on the front of a camera is a lens hood. But even then, you don't need to buy one. I've used quickly rolled sheets of black paper attached with an elastic band before now.

ReF
12-20-2004, 12:18 AM
I made a visit to my local camera store in LA trying to buy a "protective" lens for my new digital camera. The salesman advised to buy "UV" over "Skylight" for digital cameras because they had some kind of advantage, although he couldn't remember exactly why. If you were in the market for a new filter for "primarily protection purposes" for a lens on a digital camera, what is the prevailing opinion on which to buy? And I assume you want to buy the best piece of glass you can get (something in the $50-$70 price range vs. $30) if you'll be leaving it on the camera all the time...any thoughts? John

You keep mentioning that it is digital. this is an SLR lens (or a pro1, 828) that you are protecting, yes? you probably wouldn't need one on a regular consumer cam. many Skylight filters have a pink, yellow, or orange tone to it, creating a "warming" effect in your photos and also taking a bite out of your blue skies. this may or may not be what you want. UV filters are just clear pieces of glass that aren't supposed to affect color in any way. i've had good experiences with HOYA filters and I hear the same from many others. cheaper filters seem much lower in quality and the pricier ones cost A LOT more but don't really offer any advantages (feel free to disagree with me).
I personally don't use UV or skylight filters so I can't comment on how or if they lower picture quality. I only use polarizers and Infrared filters by HOYA.
you can get a good multi-coated UV filter by HOYA from 2filter.com for about $30. I wouldn't spend more than that on an UV filter if I were to get one. you can also try B & H from NY but last time I checked, their prices were higher.
BTW, if that salesman can't even tell you WHY you should buy one thing over another, be cautious of anything else he tells you.

Rhys
12-20-2004, 11:36 AM
When I used filters, I noticed that they seemed to attrract dirt and grease - the kind of dirt and grease that never accumulated on bare lenses. In the end, I found the best way of keeping a lens clean was with a lens cap - when not in use and a lens hood - when in use. The lens hood also protected from flare. I have tried filters. I found the cheaper filters were almost like mild diffusers. In fact, I sandpapered one of the cheaper ones and made a lovely diffuser. Hoya were pretty good as long as you had the multi-coated UV filter but even so, my best photos were taken with no filter. Even Hoya degrades the image and in my opinion any degradation is completely unacceptible.

Jvasey
12-20-2004, 09:11 PM
After listening to the different points of view, it seems like one scenario would be to buy a UV filter (the best you can afford) and use it in a limited way...in other words, only put it on the camera when shooting in extreme conditions: windy beach weather, blowing dust, etc. Then you are truly protecting your lens. And for the rest of the time, keep the UV filter off...and make sure to use the lens cap and lens hood. Thanks again for all the input. Much appreciated...John

tqpiggy
02-01-2006, 04:01 AM
I used UV filter, skylight filters and polariser back when I used a film SLR camera, and it really produced some positive effects. However, when I tried to use the UV filters on DCs, there is nothing difference I noticed in terms of the image appearance. I heard that DCs are NOT Sensitive to UV frequence radiations. Is that true? This means, even there is loads of UV light comes in, DCs don't see it. This will totally ruin the point having a UV filter at all!

Looking for advise on this point and not sure this is a rumor or not. :confused:

tqpiggy

coldrain
02-01-2006, 04:17 AM
Since the UV filter is there for film SLR's to get rid of UV, how can the lack of seeing UV ruin anything?

Ray Schnoor
02-01-2006, 05:33 AM
I used UV filter, skylight filters and polariser back when I used a film SLR camera, and it really produced some positive effects. However, when I tried to use the UV filters on DCs, there is nothing difference I noticed in terms of the image appearance. I heard that DCs are NOT Sensitive to UV frequence radiations. Is that true? This means, even there is loads of UV light comes in, DCs don't see it. This will totally ruin the point having a UV filter at all!

Looking for advise on this point and not sure this is a rumor or not. :confused:

tqpiggy
The point of Jvasey using a UV filter is to keep contaminants (dust, etc...) off of the lens, not to filter out UV light. I don't think that it is necessary to put a filter on to protect the lens, though.

D70FAN
02-01-2006, 06:08 AM
The point of Jvasey using a UV filter is to keep contaminants (dust, etc...) off of the lens, not to filter out UV light. I don't think that it is necessary to put a filter on to protect the lens, though.

It does depend on the environment. If I'm just shooting where I know the lens will stay relatively clean I probably wouldn't have a filter on the lens, but shooting in the rain, at the beach, on a boat, or in a dust storm, I would slap the protective glass on the lens. Much easier to clean.

ktixx
02-03-2006, 11:39 AM
It all depends on the ratio for me (Filter Cost/Lens Cost). I do not have a UV filter for my $400 Sigma 24-7. The main reason for this is because I can't warrent spending $100 on a high quality filter to protect something that only costs $400. If I were to purchase the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS ($1600) I would definitely spend the extra $100-$150 for a high quality UV filter. I am not going to spend 1/4 to 1/3 of the price of a lens for an expensive UV filter. If the glass gets pits or scratches in a year or two I will just purchase a new, better model for $400 or find it used for $200. JMO
Ken

Rhys
02-03-2006, 12:41 PM
It all depends on the ratio for me (Filter Cost/Lens Cost). I do not have a UV filter for my $400 Sigma 24-7. The main reason for this is because I can't warrent spending $100 on a high quality filter to protect something that only costs $400. If I were to purchase the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS ($1600) I would definitely spend the extra $100-$150 for a high quality UV filter. I am not going to spend 1/4 to 1/3 of the price of a lens for an expensive UV filter. If the glass gets pits or scratches in a year or two I will just purchase a new, better model for $400 or find it used for $200. JMO
Ken

IMHO, if a filter is to be used then it should be a polariser and that should only be used when it is needed - not kept on permanantly.