A lens filter or no filter?

When I am teaching I always tell 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. 

I have heard all the sales talk about how a filter will protect the lens glass and save the lens. But honestly in all my time taking pictures and teaching I have never seen one that has protected a lens from a drop or a major incident.

Or for that matter a lens that had the front glass scratched.  It may happen but I have not seen it.

Real Life!

The other night when teaching Astro photography one of my students took a picture.

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

I am not saying that with every picture a filter will cause issues but some times it can be a problem.

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

What Lens Filter to buy??

If you have a real use for a filter buy one. I use circular polarizing filters and yes on some lens a UV filter.

If you are just buying because the sales person has told you to, be careful. 

If you are looking for a filter, or filters, look at Lee, B&W or Cokin filters. 

Lee and Cokin are not designed to be left on the lens all the time but do a great job of “filtering” your image when you want to use a filter.

Remember as with so many things in life, a cheap filter is NOT WORTH the money. Save up till you can afford a quality filter. You will be happy you did!

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