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Keep Shooting! Photography Assignments (04 Feb 2013)
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Using UV filters
I never use UV filters on any of my lenses for a number of reasons. For protection, I always use the lens hood instead.
Personally, I think UV filters are generally bad news (the cheap ones anyway). If you have gone out and spent over €1,000 on an L lens, it seems completely wasteful to me to then put a very cheap and low quality UV filter in front of the lens. You may as well be shooting through a cheaper piece of glass, in my opinion. You are not only wasting money, but you're not going to get to use the lens to its full potential with the filter in front of it.
I am not totally sure of how much a UV filter affects sharpness. I have seen tests where the difference in sharpness between images without the filter and images with the filter has been vast, and tests where the difference has been minimal. I imagine it depends upon the filter but to be perfectly honest, I don't think a $25 filter that came with the lens will be particularly good.
The best UV filters I've ever seen are from a German company called B&W but they tend to be quite expensive so I guess you get what you pay for. If you must use one, I would recommend them over any other brand.
I would take the $25 UV filter off and leave it off. For protection, the lens hood is quite good and if you're careful with your gear, I don't think you'll have any problems. I would only reach for the UV filter if I was shooting in dirty or dusty conditions or where the risk of damage is increased.
Hope that helped and hope you enjoy the L lens.
AND I think if there was a time when you'd need protection for the glass. Having sharp pieces of filter scratching your lens would be worse than not having it there.
Filter discussions can get pretty heated with pro and con going back and forth. There are some canon L lens that are not totally sealed, unless a filter is used.These are the ones that the front element moves when focusing.
Canon themselves recommend a filter to complete the sealing. I have them but rarely use them. If I'm going somewhere where it may get dustier i may put it on. If I'm shooting at a dog park i will put one on as they have a habit of licking the lens if it's hanging at your side.(the lens hood is just a challenge for them)
Try it with and without and see if you can tell a difference.
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