To Filter or Not to Filter

Do you keep a filter on your lens at all times as a way of protecting the front element of your lens? That’s a question I get at almost every workshop I teach.

Filter saves the day.

I do, with one exception, but not everyone believes that it is necessary.  I try to keep a high quality UV or clear filter on the front of my lens, unless I am photographing a situation where there are prominent light sources in the photo, like a candle or other small light source.  I’ve learned the hard way, that the extra layer of glass in front of the lens can cause ghost images of the light source in your photo.

The important phrase in the previous paragraph is “high quality”.  It makes no sense to buy an expensive, quality lens and put a cheap filter in front of it.  On numerous occasions I have had workshop participants return from a shoot with images that lacked critical sharpness.  In each case they were sent back out to shoot without the cheap filter they were using and returned with crisp images.

There are a number of high quality brands of filters on the market, but if you are unsure, just get the lens manufacturer’s filter.  That will be a good match for you lens and will help protect your investment in that lens.


Michael A. Schwarz Photography
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