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Old 11-06-2007, 04:58 AM   #1
Bete
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Question Should you use a filter to protect your video or digital camera lens?

I just bought a high definition video camcorder and I was told by the merchant to protect the lens by using a nuetral density filter or another type of filter of my choice on it. This may be more of a sales pitch.

I think the idea here is that if the camera takes a shock of any kind to the lens, the filter takes the blow and not the lens. I can see some truth to this helping out. I do have a 4 year insurance plan on the camera; so, I'm not sure I should care about doing this or not.

Also, I'm not sure I want to do this; because, I don't anticipate using the camera that much and I'm careful with it and I'm not sure how a filter will affect my video.

I'm sure you can use the same logic about a filter for a digital camera, too.

Are there any opinions out there on this matter?
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Old 11-06-2007, 05:26 AM   #2
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If he told you to put a neutral density filter on it, then he has no idea what he is even talking about. Those are used to reduce the amount of light going in, to force a slow shutter speed. I cannot think of a time that would ever be desired on a video camera.

UV filters are what are normally used for protection. I would not use one because any filter is going to degrade the quality of the image. Also, if you have the extended warranty that covers damage, who cares.

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Old 11-06-2007, 06:08 AM   #3
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I agree with Kevin that an ND filter is definitely the wrong option for lens protection. An ND filter can be useful in allowing you to use a wider aperture in bright light with a low shutter speed, but it's not for everyday use.

The argument over whether to use a UV filter (essentially a clear piece of glass) or not is a long and sometimes bitter one. My view is that, provided that you buy a good one, it's not a big deal either way.

In most situations, you'll won't be able to detect any difference in the appearance between a shot taken with or without a UV filter. It won't be less sharp, lower in contrast, etc. The image degredation that are likely to see comes from two possible sources. First, because it sits in front of your lens, it increases the possibility of stray light hitting it and getting into your camera, thus washing out your shot. Second, because it adds a flat surface to your optical path, it increases the chance that bright lights in your photograph will reflect on it giving you flare problems. So in most cases it won't make an optical difference but in a few cases it will significantly degrade the image quality. You can mitigate those problems by using a lens hood to protect from stray light and using a multi-coated filter to reduce the chances of reflections.

Assuming that you always use a lens hood on your camera and video camera, scratching or breaking your front lens element is a pretty low risk. It happens, but it's not very common. In all my years of photography and video, I've never scratched a filter or front lens element in a significant way and I've taken cameras in all sorts of insane places and in sorts of conditions. I've seen other posters that you shattered UV filters in falls. Whether the front lens element (presumably much stronger than a UV filter) would have been harmed without the filter is not determinable.

So the trade-off as I see it is between spending a lot of money on a good UV filter to provide a small measure of protection against lens scratches and adding a small risk of optical problems or saving your money and risking more scratches. My advice is to always use a lens hood on your camera and video camera, whichever choice you make. For the UV filter, you have to decide based on your risk tolerance.
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Old 11-20-2007, 08:40 AM   #4
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What Filters

Traveling to the world next week and I was wondering what you suggest as the best filter for my lens? I have both UV and Polorizer for both the lens I plan to use but am not sure which I should use for the best shots and colors.

Thanks in advance for the advise.
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Old 11-20-2007, 09:49 AM   #5
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Only use the UV if you think you need it for lens protection. It does nothing to the results on a digital other than making it a little less sharp and possibly introducing flare (I am assuming you are using a digital). Also, do not stack it with the polarizer.

The polarizer is best for when there are reflections off of non-metallic surfaces (i.e. glass, water, etc.) and the sky when the sun is not directly overhead. If it is say 10AM-2PM, it is likely not going to do much for the sky. Also, it will not do anything if you are in line with the sun. You need to be at angles to the sun. Also, be careful of the effect if you are using it at a very wide angle (i.e. 18mm on a DSLR lens) b/c it can make the effect inconsistent across the field of view. One last word of advice on the CP; just like the UV filter, I would keep it off unless I needed it for the shot.

If you have a lens hood, it can be very helpful at WDW for protection and keeping unwanted light out.

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Old 11-21-2007, 12:16 PM   #6
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For years, I insisted on keeping a UV filter on all my lenses, mostly for pretection. Then after reading many posts here about the evils of UV filters , I decided to remove them all. I don't know if I just had better shooting conditions this time, or finally have my D70s tweeked just right, but the color and clarity of my last batch of shots was way better than anything I'd shot at WDW before. So I'm now a firm believer in no UV filters. I probably could have used a good circular polarizer on one or two shots, but my general opinion now is to leave those filters off.
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Old 11-21-2007, 04:55 PM   #7
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I'd forget about your UV and stick with CPL (unless inside or at night). UV in my opinion, is good only for protecting your glass. I kept my CPL on virtually the entire time i was there.
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Old 11-21-2007, 05:12 PM   #8
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The downside of the CPL is that you lose 2 (??) stops (or EV if we're wearing Sunday clothes). Even somewhere as bright as Florida, that might be important - especially when it's raining.

Are you planning on shooting scenics at the World, or pics of family and friends enjoying themselves? If it's the latter, I'd probably suggest you leave the CPL in the hotel room.

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Last edited by alan; 11-21-2007 at 05:14 PM. Reason: Changed my mind about where to leave the CPL
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Old 11-21-2007, 05:18 PM   #9
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True, you do lose a stop or two, depending on its setting, but nothing beats those bright blue skies. In my opinion, having a great blue sky, even on portrait photos, really makes a photo. Blown out skies really detract. CPLs also help with "out of control" reflections on glass/water. I would definitely take it off later in the afternoon/evening, after the harsh midday sun takes a backseat to the nice lighting.
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Old 11-21-2007, 05:50 PM   #10
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No filter


Polarizer


These were taken a couple minutes apart to prove a point about using a polarizer. If you have enough light, use it (but not with a UV filter, which I never use anyway).
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Old 11-21-2007, 06:13 PM   #11
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Yes, definitely use it, if light permits.

NO FILTER



CPL FILTER

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Old 11-21-2007, 07:31 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the great info, I think I will try the CP and see what type of results I am getting. I won't use the UV filter based on everyones' suggestions here and yes I will use the lens hood as well.

I received my new lens today, the Oly 70-300 so I will be playing with that alot this weekend to practice. I can't wait to try it out at AK as well.

Thanks again
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Old 11-23-2007, 11:23 PM   #13
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Recomend use of quality multi-coated filter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renysmom View Post
I won't use the UV filter based on everyones' suggestions here ...
I would strongly suggest a UV filter for lens protection. If you use a quality multi-coated filter, there will no noticable image degregation.

Use of a polarizer filter requires practice. The polarizer must be adjusted for each shot. If you go too far, the sky will look unnatural.


-Paul
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Old 11-23-2007, 11:37 PM   #14
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If you have a lens hood on and you're not carelessly swinging your camera around, you really don't need to worry about using a UV filter for protection. It will degrade the sharpness of your photos, even if it's just a slight amount.
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Old 12-04-2007, 06:09 PM   #15
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Cokin Filter kits

Does anyone know what Cokin kit I would buy to get a nice selection of ND filters for the Canon 30D? I see on the Cokin website that I would be best suited with a "P" series kit as it would be large enough for all my lenses. I would need to buy the adapter rings for my specific lenses, but they seem to offer a kit of 3 ND filters and then they offer a DSLR kit with only one filter. Is this a gimmick? Do I NEED to buy the Canon DSLR Cokin kit, or would the regular one work just as well? I'm not sure what makes the different brands of DSLR kits different? Seems silly if you ask me but maybe the lenses from different manufacturers have different threads? I'm confused. It seems to me that with the exception of the adapter rings to fit my lens diameter, this kit would be the best for me at this time.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ty_Filter.html

I am assuming I can buy new different "P" series filters to fit this as time goes on. Please let me know if I am missing something here. Thanks in advance.
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