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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 107
Registered: ‎07-18-2018

Will Canon "protect" lenses hurt image quality ?

Canon sells these and says they can be left on all the time.   Is this a high quality glass ?

 

Any info on how they effect image quality appreciated.

VIP
Posts: 10,996
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Will Canon "protect" lenses hurt image quality ?

I guess you are referring about protecto filters?  Yes, well some are better than others. I prefer B+W but I have used a few of the Canon brand and found them to be just fine. I will say they are mostly on my film lenses though.

The cheap junk filters are just that .... junk. Remember no filter is 100% perfect but B+W filters are close and they screw off as easily as they screw on. If you notice a problem in a certain situation remove it and replace it when done.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV, even less and less other stuff.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 4,921
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: Will Canon "protect" lenses hurt image quality ?


@ebiggs1 wrote:

I guess you are referring about protecto filters?  Yes, well some are better than others. I prefer B+W but I have used a few of the Canon brand and found them to be just fine. I will say they are mostly on my film lenses though.

The cheap junk filters are just that .... junk. Remember no filter is 100% perfect but B+W filters are close and they screw off as easily as they screw on. If you notice a problem in a certain situation remove it and replace it when done.


I guess it's just a matter of individual preference, but I provide that degree of protection by using my lens cap and hood more than most people probably do. The only filters I ever use on my digital cameras are circular polarizers.

 

But what I see people (including professionals) do far more often is use a camera without its neck strap or other comparable restraint. I think that's far more dangerous than not using a filter or lens cap.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
VIP
Posts: 10,996
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Will Canon "protect" lenses hurt image quality ?

"I provide that degree of protection by using my lens cap and hood more than most people probably do."

 

A filter is still just another tool to use. Use it correctly.  One big advantage is you don't have to clean the front lens element as often. Hoods do nothing to lessen that. It is better to clean an easily replaceable filter.  Now you might argue the cost of a high quality filter also plays in to this and I agree. A cheap lens does not benefit as much as a high dollar lens does.

 

Straps are again just a tool.  Use it when it does the job. Don't when it don't.  I never use a strap when shooting weddings or Senior photos, etc.  I do when I am out hobbying around. On my recent New York shoot I used my Black Rapid all day long.

 

Protecto filters have their place and they offer a real benefit. So do hoods, lens caps not so much and are more a pain than help.  Straps work well in certain situations, not so much in others.. In order, use what works. Simple?

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV, even less and less other stuff.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,972
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Will Canon "protect" lenses hurt image quality ?

[ Edited ]

@mangurian wrote:

Canon sells these and says they can be left on all the time.   Is this a high quality glass ?

 

Any info on how they effect image quality appreciated.


I think it is good idea to use clear, protective filters.  I have never used Canon’s filters, just Tiffen and B+W.  Some of Canon’s “L” lenses need a protective filter to actually become “fully resistant” against dust and moisture.  In some cases, they are actually recommended for many shooting scenarios.

Filters are also easier and safer to clean than the front element of an expensive lens.  I have never cleaned the front element on any of my L lenses, just the clear filters.  I put a clear filter on a lens as soon as i take it out of the box. 

 

One time I was at an outdoor food fair taking photos of the various chefs and their grills and smokers.  When I downloaded the photos later that evening, I noticed some photos lacked contrast, and sort of looked blown out.  My clear filter on my EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM had become hazy with smoke.  A simple cleaning cured it.

 

Protective filters do offer protection that a hood cannot provide, namely when you are carrying a spare lens in a bag.  Most people remove lens hoods, or mount them in a reverse position when storing a lens.  My son once dropped his camera bag while carrying it and the baby to the car.  He broke the protective filter on his lens, but the lens was fine.

 

”Where was your lens cap?  What happened to it?”  [ crickets ]

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,805
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Will Canon "protect" lenses hurt image quality ?

Can vs. should are really two different ways to think about these protective filters.  You can put a piece of clear plastic cling-wrap stretched across the front of the lens but it probably wouldn't give you great results.

 

The main thing is there is no "this is always the better way to handle it" answer to your question.

 

The filters are flat glass.  That glass can create reflections that can show up in your image.  The better filters are coating with anti-reflective coatings.  This reduces the reflections ... possibly to the point where most of the time they are not noticeable.  But no coating can 100% eliminate reflections.  If there's a bright light source in the scene, you'll probably still see reflections.

 

The reflection would usually show up on the opposite side of the frame (relative to the center point).  E.g. if you took a photo in a dark room and there's a bright light source in the upper left corner ... then the ghost of that subject will probably appear in the lower right corner.

 

For most day to day shooting you probably wont see these reflections.  If you have bright lights visible in an otherwise mostly dark frame (for example... a nighttime city-scape scene) then you may see the ghost reflections of strettlights in your images.  

 

Use them as you want... but keep in mind that if you see reflections (or are shooting a scene where you realize there's a strong potential for these reflections) then you may want to remove the filters for those shots.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
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VIP
Posts: 10,996
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Will Canon "protect" lenses hurt image quality ?

It seems like a lot of folks forget filter come off as easily as they go on. "But no coating can 100% eliminate reflections." However, high a quality protecto filter will do so 99% of the time in real world daily photography.

 

I probably know as many people that have never had a lens issue and never use a protecto filter.  They tend to think them unnecessary.  On the other hand I probably know as many folks that the protecto filter saved an expensive lens.  They tend to swear by their use. If you have a $100 lens it is probably not good sense to put a high quality $100 protecto filter on it.  By the same standard, if it is a $1200+ lens, it seems a $100 protecto filter is a good idea.

 

I know pros that throw the front and rear lens caps in the trash when they get a new lens.  So, it does take all kinds and whatever works for you is best.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV, even less and less other stuff.
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