A lens filter or no filter?

Do you need a lens filter

Are you looking at a lens filter for your photography endeavors? As an avid photography instructor, I consistently advise my students against acquiring a filter merely for the sake of having one. Buying one might only contribute to the profit of camera stores without substantial benefits in improving your photography.

While the sales pitches emphasize the protective qualities of filters for lens glass, based on my extensive experience in photography and teaching, I have yet to witness a filter effectively shielding a lens from a significant impact or drop, or preventing scratches on the front glass.

Although instances of filters offering protection may exist, I personally have not encountered such situations.

Real filter experience!

During a recent session on Astro photography, a student captured an image that surprised me due to the noticeable reflections present. Upon instructing the student to remove the filter and take another shot, the remarkable difference in image quality became evident. This incident serves as a testament to the potential issues filters may introduce. A filter may negatively impact image clarity and quality.

It’s crucial to acknowledge that even high-quality filters can adversely affect your lens. Causing softer images and lens reflections. The comparison between two images below highlights one potential consequence of using filters—added glass contributing to a decrease in image quality.

Paterson Photography UV filter
With a UV filter
Paterson Photography No Filter, Lethbridge photo lab, order prints online, prints and enlargements, photofinishing. Poster prints, digital printing, Photography courses, online courses, online photography mentoring
No filter used on the lens

What lens filter to buy??

If you have a real use for a filter buy one. Personally, I like circular polarizing filters and, on certain lenses, UV filters. However, caution is advised against purchasing filters solely based on salesperson recommendations.

When exploring filter options, brands such as Lee, B&W, or Cokin are worth considering. While Lee and Cokin filters aren’t designed for permanent attachment, they excel in enhancing your images when needed.

In the realm of photography, as in many aspects of life, it’s important to recognize that opting for a cheap filter might not be a wise investment. It’s advisable to save up for a high-quality filter, ensuring a satisfactory and lasting addition to your photography gear. Ultimately, the choice of a filter should align with your specific needs and not what someone else recommends.

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