Do you need an UV-Filter?

Do you need a UV filter?

Every­one who has ever bought a cam­era kit knows that there are UV fil­ters avail­able. But what is it for? Is it real­ly nec­es­sary? And if I have not bought a cam­era kit, do I have to buy a UV fil­ter for my cam­era as well?

Technical use of a UV filter

The sen­sor of a cam­era is not only sen­si­tive to the vis­i­ble light spec­trum, but also to the invis­i­ble light spec­trum. The invis­i­ble UV light (ultra­vi­o­let light) can thus also be record­ed and some­times even appear on the image. A UV fil­ter can keep just this light away from the sen­sor to pro­tect it and pre­vent the expo­sure on the photo.
Lens­es also shield the sen­sor of a cam­era from exces­sive light. How­ev­er, this only applies to the vis­i­ble light spec­trum. Only a fil­ter can reg­u­late the light irra­di­a­tion of the non-vis­i­ble light. The pho­tos thus become sharper.

Optical benefits of a UV filter

Oth­er advan­tages of a UV fil­ter are imme­di­ate­ly vis­i­ble in the pho­tos. If the ultra­vi­o­let light does not affect the desired light spec­trum and addi­tion­al light irra­di­a­tion is pre­vent­ed by a fil­ter, high­er con­trasts are cre­at­ed on the pho­tos. As a result, unadul­ter­at­ed col­ors are achieved, espe­cial­ly when the white bal­ance has pre­vi­ous­ly been car­ried out man­u­al­ly. This is espe­cial­ly impor­tant if an image with nat­ur­al col­ors is to be created.

My Recommendations on UV-Filters

Absolute Basic UV filters

Pre­mi­um UV filters

Why a UV filter can be superfluous

Most mod­ern cam­era sen­sors have a pro­tec­tive lay­er applied to them, which blocks UV light even with­out a UV fil­ter or lens. There­fore, a fil­ter is often no longer nec­es­sary. Also, the design of mod­ern lens­es often already blocks a large part of the UV radi­a­tion. It is there­fore almost impos­si­ble that pho­tos tak­en with a mod­ern set­up are still affect­ed by UV light.

UV filters as protection?

You may be won­der­ing why UV fil­ters are still used today? There is a log­i­cal expla­na­tion: They are often used to pro­tect the lens from scratch­es and oth­er dam­age. Since UV fil­ters are usu­al­ly very inex­pen­sive and do not make a notice­able dif­fer­ence in pho­tog­ra­phy, many pho­tog­ra­phers use them to pro­tect their lens­es. Should some­thing hap­pen, it is much cheap­er to replace a UV fil­ter than to replace a lens. Is this nec­es­sary? No. Even the glass of a high-qual­i­ty lens is much more robust than you might think at first. Even in case of a fall, a lens hood would pro­tect much more than the thin UV filter.
In a bad case, where the fil­ter bursts in a fall and glass splin­ters hit the lens, a UV fil­ter can even cause seri­ous dam­age. In addi­tion, the infe­ri­or glass of fil­ter bursts much faster than the lens is actu­al­ly damaged.

The UV filter as a disturbance factor

A fil­ter can also neg­a­tive­ly affect the qual­i­ty of pho­tos. For exam­ple, so-called ghost­ing arti­facts can occur in back­lit pho­tos. Here, objects out­side the pho­to are mir­rored in the fil­ter glass and thus become vis­i­ble on the image. How­ev­er, the objects are not clear­ly vis­i­ble but are strong­ly trans­par­ent, they look like ghosts in the photo.
Also, a UV fil­ter in com­bi­na­tion with oth­er fil­ters can wors­en the imag­ing per­for­mance of the lens. Final­ly, fur­ther glass­es are added to the lens that actu­al­ly does not belong here.

Conclusion

Every­one must know for them­selves how much they want to pro­tect their lens. But I do not use UV fil­ters but put lens hoods on the lens instead. What is your opin­ion about UV fil­ters? Let me know, I would be very interested 🙂