Don’t put cheap glass in front of your expensive lens

I used to have UV filters attached to my lenses. I started with the “store brand” ones and ended up with $70 Hoyas. After all, I wanted to protect my lenses from the elements and from damage (the accidental drop).

I have spent a couple years with all sorts of UV filters attached to my lens. But one day, in a group outing, one person asked me “why do you put cheap glass in front of your expensive lenses?”. That’s quite a rude comment, I thought to myself. After all, it was not cheap! That Hoya costed me $70!

I have spent the next few days thinking about that comment, reading articles and taking a few shots without the UV filters.

UV filters could definitely give some level of protection, no question about it. But think about the millions of dollars spent on R&D by the lens manufactures to produce the finest optical lenses. Do I really want to interfere with the natural process of the light traveling through the lenses and reaching the sensor? I know, some people will say that the UV is transparent and will not affect anything in the final picture. And it also reduce haze. But modern lenses have coatings and elements that already does this, if not something similar.  Lens manufacturers make their lenses to the best they can without the need for third party additions to improve their performance.

So in the end, it is a personal choice. How well you handle your camera in adverse situations could be the leading factor to attach a UV filter. In my case, I experienced everything from -35C in the winter to sandstorms with +30C in the summer. And no UV filter.

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