A lens filter or no lens filter?

When teaching I am always telling my students that buying a lens filter for the sake of having a filter is not a good thing, the only thing that you are doing is adding to the stores profit margin.  Sure I have heard all the sales talk about how a lens filter will protect the lens glass and save the lens, but honestly in all my time taking pictures and teaching I have never seen a filter that has protected a lens, or for that matter a lens that had the front glass scratched.  It may happen but I have not seen it.

The other night when teaching Astro photography one of my students took a picture that I was shocked to see all the reflections on the image.  So I asked him to take the filter off and take another picture.  Sure enough the difference was amazing!!

Paterson Photography UV filter
With a UV filter

Paterson Photography No Filter

No filter used on the lens

Even the best filter can cause your lens to loose quality and the two pictures above show just one thing that can happen.  With the added glass you can get softer images, lens reflections, etc.

If you have a real use for a filter buy one, if you are just buying because the sales person has told you to, be careful.  I strongly suggest that if you are looking for a filter, or filters, look at Lee or Cokin filters.  They are not designed to be left on the lens but do a great job of “filtering” your image.



NO I did not want to shoot in RAW now what???

One of the common questions that I get asked is “How do I get my images from RAW to Jpeg?  Many times the photographer accidentally switched the file format setting and never realized it and now has dozens of images to convert.  So if this has happened to you, or you face it in the future what do you do?

First do not panic it is a solvable problem, and your pictures are not lost.

If you have a version of Adobe Photoshop, Elements or Lightroom try opening the images there.  A lot of times this will work as long as the program is the same age or newer than the camera, sometimes it may require you updating the program, so check for updates before giving up on this end of things.

If your installed editing programs do not work find the disks that came with your camera and see if they happen to have a RAW conversion or image editing program included with them, most cameras have a program with them.

NOTE: If you have a program that was converting your RAW files and you upgraded to a new camera there is a good chance that even with the files being the same type that your old program will not work. So you can use the program that came with your camera or buy a new version of your editing program if the updates did not do it.