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Big John

Protective / UV filter?

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H guys,

 

As mentioned in another thread, I just bought an SL and 24-90. I have always bought a skylight / UV or protective filter for any lens I have ever bought but this is my first Leica and I don't want to interfere with or degrade optical quality.  So wanted some advice pls - filter needed or not?

 

Thanks

John

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The Leica world has always been split up between the image degradation and protective factions.

The  impact of a filter on the image  so small that it used to be negligible. However, with the increase in image quality with the newest generation of cameras the image degradation may well be more visible.

Personally I would at least use a Protective Filter (007 by B&W for instance) as those are designed for minimal optical impact and maximum protection (thin tough glass, special coatings), as opposed to an UV filter which is designed for ummm... filtering UV light, which is not normally needed since the 1950ies.

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Only use filters when needed. 

 

"Protection" filters are only necessary when shooting in situations that require them ... such as stormy, windy conditions, shooting at the races or beach where flying grit can abrade a lens surface, same for windy desert conditions, etc. I've not needed one. 

 

I have one filter for the SL lens: a high-quality polarizer. I've used it two or three times. 

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Thanks guys - and apols, I have just seen there was a thread on same question last month.

 

Am going to get a protector filter - to use when necessary. I have always used Hoya and think their latest 'HD' range look good.  Any comments otherwise pls?  Thanks.

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Thanks guys - and apols, I have just seen there was a thread on same question last month.

 

Am going to get a protector filter - to use when necessary. I have always used Hoya and think their latest 'HD' range look good.  Any comments otherwise pls?  Thanks.

 

I don't trust Hoya.

i only trust German filter brands: B&W and Heliopan. Both very very good. 

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Thanks guys - and apols, I have just seen there was a thread on same question last month.

 

Am going to get a protector filter - to use when necessary. I have always used Hoya and think their latest 'HD' range look good.  Any comments otherwise pls?  Thanks.

 

 

I have multicoated B+W, Heliopan, Rodenstock, and Hoya filters for various of my lenses. I've not noticed much if anything different between them in use. If you're using a protection filter because of flying dirt, water, grit in the air, etc, any minor difference between them is likely inconsequential anyway. 

 

Generally speaking, the B+W mounts are the best, but I've only had one filter in all my years that had bad threads (a Heliopan) and only one that the filter was incorrectly made (a Tiffen ... front and back surfaces of the filter were not parallel). 

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The main advantage of B+W 007 filters is that they are available with Nano coating, which is much easier to keep clean and  takes longer to get dirty.

In general, you cannot go wrong with filters from any of the main top-end suppliers: B+W, Hoya, Heliopan.

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B+W and Rodenstock have the best coatings. I prefer B+W. You should take in consideration that a clean front element is essential for best contrast and IQ, and frequent cleanings cause micro scratches to the lens coatings. I change my filters every 2-3 years and I can see easily the surface degradation.

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I have taken to putting B+W Nano filters ( http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/905846-REG/b_w_661073872_46mm_xs_pro_nano_mc_clear_007.html ) on my lenses that I use for street photography (21mm, 28mm and 35mm).  At $40 USD +/- these are well worth the cost to provide some protection for lenses that run $2000-3000 each.  I shudder to think what the cost of replacing a damaged front element would be.

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I have taken to putting B+W Nano filters ( http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/905846-REG/b_w_661073872_46mm_xs_pro_nano_mc_clear_007.html ) on my lenses that I use for street photography (21mm, 28mm and 35mm).  At $40 USD +/- these are well worth the cost to provide some protection for lenses that run $2000-3000 each.  I shudder to think what the cost of replacing a damaged front element would be.

 

 

Replacing the front element of a lens is, generally speaking, fairly inexpensive. Much less expensive than changing almost anything else in a lens, although a bit pricier than a filter of course. 

 

Filters and their coatings are not made to the same standards as the primary lenses. Filters and their coatings scratch much much more easily and more quickly than the lenses they are protecting. 

 

In fifty years of doing photography, I have never damaged the front element of a lens, whether it was a filter or not. All it takes is the minimum amount of care in handling..

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Replacing the front element of a lens is, generally speaking, fairly inexpensive. Much less expensive than changing almost anything else in a lens, although a bit pricier than a filter of course. 

 

Filters and their coatings are not made to the same standards as the primary lenses. Filters and their coatings scratch much much more easily and more quickly than the lenses they are protecting. 

 

In fifty years of doing photography, I have never damaged the front element of a lens, whether it was a filter or not. All it takes is the minimum amount of care in handling..

 

This rings a bell with me - not fifty years of photography, merely 30 (!) but I too am similarly careful with my kit and have never had an issue. My latest round of Fuji kit that I am about to move on all looks like new. 

 

Thanks to everyone re the various merits or different filters and brands. 

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Replacing the front element of a lens is, generally speaking, fairly inexpensive. Much less expensive than changing almost anything else in a lens, although a bit pricier than a filter of course. 

 

Filters and their coatings are not made to the same standards as the primary lenses. Filters and their coatings scratch much much more easily and more quickly than the lenses they are protecting. 

 

In fifty years of doing photography, I have never damaged the front element of a lens, whether it was a filter or not. All it takes is the minimum amount of care in handling..

 

Same here, although it's been more like 40 years for me.  I decided to put filters on my lenses that I use for street photography because people can be unpredictable. 

 

In all my decades of landscape and travel photography, the only damaged gear I ever had was breaking a 300mm f/4 in two due to a trip and fall.

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Leica and Zeiss coatings are very soft, much softer than the coatings used on other brands. They will show fatigue signs the more they are cleaned. The B+W filters use Schott glass and the nano coatings are harder than the glass they are used on. They are made by the same standards as the lenses.

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Leica and Zeiss coatings are very soft, much softer than the coatings used on other brands. They will show fatigue signs the more they are cleaned. The B+W filters use Schott glass and the nano coatings are harder than the glass they are used on. They are made by the same standards as the lenses.

 

 

That's not been my experience except with 1950s lenses. 

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A B&W nano MRC coated clear protect 82mm filter is already on my 90-280mm zoom and will never come off 

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That's not been my experience except with 1950s lenses. 

 

Probably you're not looking close enough, under the right light, or maybe you're very careful with the cleaning.

 

My understanding is that with Leica and Zeiss, the coatings are developed with specific anti-reflection and color balance in mind, but not necessarily to improve hardness, even though more recent coatings seem to be a bit harder than the old ones, as you pointed out.

Edited by edwardkaraa

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Edward,

 

I don't clean my lenses very often ... curiously, that's another side effect of not using filters: my lenses seem to stay clean most of the time, where when I had filters on them all the time there would always be a fine bit of dust trapped between lens and filter, coating both surfaces. But when I clean them I use a blow bulb and a microfiber lens cloth to dust them. They rarely need anything more. I just pulled three of them out and examined them with my 10x loupe and a penlight: they are absolutely spotless, after being used for 7 years from new. My 1960 Hektor-M 135mm f/4.5 also has a blemish and spot free surface. 

 

I've never seen a modern Zeiss or Leica lens that scratched or seemed to have a fragile coating. The only one I had that seemed to have soft coatings was the 1950s Summicron 50mm collapsible that my father bought with his IIIf way back when. 

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Edward,

 

I don't clean my lenses very often ... curiously, that's another side effect of not using filters: my lenses seem to stay clean most of the time, where when I had filters on them all the time there would always be a fine bit of dust trapped between lens and filter, coating both surfaces. But when I clean them I use a blow bulb and a microfiber lens cloth to dust them. They rarely need anything more. I just pulled three of them out and examined them with my 10x loupe and a penlight: they are absolutely spotless, after being used for 7 years from new. My 1960 Hektor-M 135mm f/4.5 also has a blemish and spot free surface.

 

I've never seen a modern Zeiss or Leica lens that scratched or seemed to have a fragile coating. The only one I had that seemed to have soft coatings was the 1950s Summicron 50mm collapsible that my father bought with his IIIf way back when.

Well, that's really great! Maybe I'm a bit overzealous with my cleaning, but I have to replace my filters every couple of years due to cleaning marks in the coatings. I think I should do it less often and more gently.

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I don't use filters on my Leica lenses, but i am careful with it, and always use hoods and lens caps.

there is a UV filter on my X100, because my wife and kids use it (no cap, always has a hood)

and there is filters on my work cameras, because i don't get a choice, i am told to use filters (no caps, hoods when they aren't in the bag)

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Well, that's really great! Maybe I'm a bit overzealous with my cleaning, but I have to replace my filters every couple of years due to cleaning marks in the coatings. I think I should do it less often and more gently.

How do you clean your lenses? This is curiosity and seeking knowledge on good practice, not looking to criticise (I don't have enough expertise for that).

I hardly ever clean my lenses, and don't use filters routinely, but use a rocket blower when I do. I may use a hair brush to dislodge something stubborn.

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