Do You Really Need a UV Filter?

On this video photographer Phil Steele talks about a question that we have been getting here on LensVid for years – “Do I really need to buy a UV filter for my lens”?

This one is probably one of the oldest and most debatable questions we know of in the photo industry. Should you use a UV (or “clear”) filter on your lens? Steele’s answer in this video is, in our view, one of the best and most comprehensive that we have seen (and actually very close to the way we look at this topic ourselves.

To sum up what Steele is saying (but we do urge you to watch the video – it isn’t too long), there is basically no real practical reason not to use a UV almost all of the time on most or all of your lenses. a decent UV or protector filter (one from a good company that got some good reviews – see for example our recent review of the Aurora Aperture UV protector filter which uses super strong Gorilla Glass), can help you protect your expensive lens from hits, scratches and is much easier to clean, plus if something happens to it – just replace it (something that is much harder when something happens to the front element of your lens.

Now, yes even with high quality UV or clear filters there might be a very slight degradation in image quality – but both Steele (and us) feel that what we gain is much more than what we loose – and in those cases where you have a super important high res image or images that you need to shoot – you can always take off the filter and put it back again when you are done.

As we have stated in the past – you have to make your own mind – we use UV filters on all of our lenses almost all of the time and feel good about it – if you don’t want to – it is O.K. just understand the pros\cons of this decision.

If you want to hear a different opinion on this subject – watch Wildlife and nature photographer Steve Perry’s video (who is a true expert in his field but on this subject we do not necessarily see eye to eye with him).

You can also check Steele’s previous videos published on LensVid – here.

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