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June 28, 2016

Tips from the Loop: UV Filters?


Loopers know that the best way to find answers to your photography business questions is to ask it on theLoop, PPA's official, members-only social network. The discussions on theLoop are always productive and helpful, so dive right in!

Here's a recent example of a question and the first couple of responses. 

Q: Is the use of a UV filter standard? If so, which do I need and what is a good brand to purchase?

--Andre R.


You are going to get a lot of opinions on this.

Some for and some against using a UV filter, and then on which one to buy.

I'll just tell you my experience and you can decide for yourself. There is a belief that the more you spend on one the better it will be. 

I use them. I have had at least 6 incidents where I've dropped or bumped a lens (no lens hood attached), and the filter was trashed. But the lens was fine. Two incidents where I did not have a filter on the lens but I did have a lens hood - and the lens hood was destroyed, leaving the lens intact. I have had one incident where the integrated lens hood on a 14-24 zoom, a lens that does not lend itself to a convenient filter arrangement, did not save the lens and the front element was trashed.

There is an article that you might find helpful if you decide to use the filter.

The cheaper filters have non-metal mounts, where the more costly ones use brass. At one point in the past when lens barrels were made of metal, I would prefer to have a filter that was made of brass. These days, many lenses have hard plastic filter threads, which in the past have cross threaded when using metal filters. I have yet to have that happen with the non-metal filter mounts.

-Eugene L.


The argument for and against UV filters (like Eugene says) is as follows:

Fact 1: Every UV filter will degrade your image (even the most expensive ones).

Fact 2: Every UV filter will protect the front element of your lens (even the cheapest filters).

The decision you have to make is, in my opinion, if negligible degradation of the image with a good UV filter is worth the protection it offers your equipment. 

Every one of my lenses has a UV filter on the constantly. When I worked full time in an indoor photo studio, none of my lenses had UV filters. 

I'm with Eugene on this one. I'd rather have a protected lens, then a lens with a damaged front element, because the degradation of your image with a shattered front element is definitely noticeable.

I like B+W filters. They are made by Schneider one of the best optical manufactures in the world. While you're checking out filters, they make an amazing Circular Polarizing filter, which is the second filter I'd buy. For the UV filter, just buy the largest lens diameter you have (77mm or similar) and get a bunch of Step-up rings to make it fit on the different lenses.

-Pascal D.

Check in at to see more responses and ask your own questions for peer-to-peer discussion and support!