Photography Tips Week #8: Filters
Apr 29, 2008
As I mentioned in my last post, my 135mm lens took a tumble this weekend at Andrea and Jason’s engagement shoot. It was a pretty major tumble–it popped out of my lens bag as I was bending over taking portraits and bounced down a flight of cement steps. Nothing quite like seeing your favorite lens rolling into the street!
It was a hard fall, but the lens itself is fine (I put it through many tests and it’s resting comfortably now). I had a lens filter and lens hood on it that took the damage like a champ. Nic had to cut the filter to get it off (he was ready to call in the jaws of life). Instead of being out hundreds of dollars to repair the lens, I’m out a mere $65 to replace the filter.
And that is exactly what UV filters are for.
Filter pros: Saves you money when your lens tries to commit suicide by jumping out of your bag. Ensures that any scratches are limited to an easily replaced filter instead of your actual lens.
Filter cons: Any time you add a filter onto your lens you run the risk of decreasing the quality of your pictures. However, investing in high quality UV filters is a great work-around to this problem (though it will run you $50-$100).
Bottom line: All of this being said, I used our pricey lenses for three years personally without UV filters and for eight months professionally without filters and never once had a scratch. As long as you’re careful, I think you’re fine. I always had the lens cap ready to pop back onto the camera the minute my finger was off the shutter. But with weddings I felt that our lenses were more at risk. Close quarters with guests, less time to deal with constant lens cap use, and more chaos. It is nice to have the peace of mind of the filter, but if you will only use your lenses in nice controlled situations (or your lenses are of the $200 variety), it’s an easy purchase to skip.
(PS–not really sure how the pic up top plays into all this, it’s just one Nic snapped as we were packing up on Sunday and it makes me laugh. It’s the sort of dorkiness that people who drop lenses exhibit.)
Posted in Photographer Tips