Here we cover the reasons why so many photographers never take a UV filter off their lens, how to make sure a UV filter doesn’t hurt image quality, and how to know which UV filter to buy for your own lens.
Words and Photography by Gobe HQ
What is a UV filter and why use one?
An Ultraviolet Filter is a lens filter that blocks ultraviolet light from entering your camera. There are two main reasons to use a UV Filter:
1. Sharpen your photos and videos by cutting out haze, and
2. Protect your lens glass from the perils of daily use.
The beauty of a UV filter is it doesn’t affect your exposure settings. It allows 99.99% of light through to your lens (called a transmission rate) so you can keep it on your lens all the time as a protective layer.
“Your images will be sharper, clearer and have more detail.”
Buying the right UV filter for your lens
As a rule of thumb, use the quality of your lens to guide the quality of your lens filter. If you’ve invested in a professional quality lens, which will have premium optical glass, buying a cheap lens filter will affect the quality of your image because the optical glass won’t be as high a quality.
At Gobe, we have three ranges designed for entry-level lenses (1 peak), mid-level lenses (2 peak) and professional lenses (3 peak). Of course you can still use a 3 peak lens filter on an entry-level lens without any problems.
How does a UV filter work?
GREAT FOR HAZY DAYS
Ultraviolet light creates a blue hue and makes details look softer focused. It’s usually quite subtle but can be seen more clearly on hazy days, which is when a UV filter comes into its own. When you cut ultraviolet light, you’ll remove the cold blue hue, and by cutting the haze, your images will be sharper, clearer and have more detail.
INSURANCE FOR YOUR LENS
Whether you’ve invested in a professional lens or you’re getting started with an entry-level lens, they’re a significant purchase and one you want to last you for a long time. If you have a lens filter on your lens and it falls victim to one of the many perils of outdoor photography – sand, dirt, mud and the rest – it may just save your lens. We’ve had customers drop their cameras and their lens filter was the only casualty – easily replaced and a lot cheaper than replacing a lens.
“When choosing a UV lens filter, match the quality of your filter to the quality of your lens.”
Some people believe that using lens filters negatively affects image quality. It really depends on the quality of the lens filter. So long as the optical glass on your UV filter is as good as or better than that of your lens, it won’t noticeably affect image quality. A premium quality UV filter won’t affect image quality and will help clarity and sharpness.
UV filters can help sharpen your photos by cutting out haze and blue hue. They have no effect on your exposure settings so you can leave them on your lenses, which also provides a protective barrier for your lens. When choosing a UV lens filter, match the quality of your filter to the quality of your lens – if in doubt, go for the better quality filter.