View Full Version : Everyday filter... UV or Skylight?

19th April 2011, 12:48 PM

My 'new' 2nd hand E-510 arrived today with 14-42 and 70-300 lenses, and I plan to get a 40-150 very soon.

Having dug out my old OM-2n I noticed I had a UV filter on the old prime 50mm lens, a skylight filter on its Hoya 80-200, and a 72mm polarising filter for its Hoya 35-105.

Apart from special effects and polarising, what filter should I put on the new lenses for everyday shooting, and why?

Being originally a two lens kit, it only came with one front lens cap which seems a little mean of Olympus! Plenty on Ebay but some combine them with filters so I could kill two birds.

Thanks for any advice!


19th April 2011, 01:03 PM
I will put in my 2p worth on behalf of the "I never use filters" brigade. This does mean I am paranoid about damaging the front element, equally I never wonder if the filter has damaged the image sharpness.

I expect you will get both views expressed :)

Now, charge that battery, put that 70-300 on and runs some shots in the daylight at f8 and see why we think you should keep it *chr


19th April 2011, 01:10 PM
I've been in both camps of the filter question, and have in my time bought some "top end" u/v filters. I've now come to the same conclusion as Pete :eek: and am filter-less unless it's a graduated or polarising effect which I seek. I take moderate care of my kit and have never damaged a lens. That said, I tend to use a lens hood when possible, which does help against knocks.

David Morison
19th April 2011, 01:31 PM
As I sometimes use my gear in pouring rain (not much recently) or in very dusty conditions (a lot recently), I find I am wiping or brushing/blowing the front element often so I use a filter most of the time. Unfortunately the 300mm f2.8 doesn't take a filter in front of the lens and although the huge lenshood protects it from most of the rain it is less effective against dust. Some macro work I do risks touching the front element on a twig or something so this is another good reason to use one. When I do use filters (apart from effects) I use the protection filters but I have no idea whether it effects IQ. The possibility of IQ degradation could be a good project for some dynamic young scientifically minded person, but for me I don't care and I suspect the difference would be almost unmeasurable.



19th April 2011, 02:02 PM
Thanks for replies so far.

I do another type of shooting, one using a target rifle and telescopic sight and I've just twigged that on the scopes I use there is no filter but I do tend to use a lens hood which does a good protection job although makes it more difficult to see how dusty it is. I'm generally careful with my toys so unless someone adds another very good reason to use filters I may well steer clear too.



19th April 2011, 02:31 PM
I rarely use protective filters, although it's interesting that the Olympus ZD 90-250 f/2.8 comes with a UV filter as standard!

If I did use a filter, I would use a UV, which is very very slightly yellow. Skylights are noticeably magenta.


19th April 2011, 05:29 PM
at present I am in the no filter camp...unless it is an IR one

19th April 2011, 06:13 PM
I put a UV filter if the weather means I don't bother fitting the hood and none when the hood is on. The exception of filters + hood would be the CL polarizer and some ND filters.

19th April 2011, 10:15 PM
I do usually keep a filter on all mine, but have been known to take it off if I feel that the shot deserves it. I use UV filters as standard as they seem to be the most 'neutral'.

I know both sides of the argument, but I know that I do get dust and the odd smear on the front of mine and I'd rather clean a filter than the lens...

Just my opinion!

20th April 2011, 10:02 AM
To add to the debate here is my opinion. Both of the filters are only really useful for ladscape work or lens protection and if thats your bag go with either. I personally leave a filter on all my lenses permenantly, accidents do happen, I can not see the point of paying a grand or more for a lens and risk damaging it. A filter that has not been mentioned is the 81 series A B or C. Speaking as a wedding photographer of nearly 30 years, now retired, I found these to be the most useful of all, they enhance skin tones very well and can lift an otherwise dull scene. Hope this helps, regards, Ian W.

20th April 2011, 11:31 AM
I always thought that for filters "skylight" was a non-scientific term for "UV". Is there in fact any difference between a skylight filter and a UV one?

20th April 2011, 04:35 PM
Hi David, Sorry I did not get back to you sooner, Ive only just got in. Anyway to get back to your point. UV filters were the most common form of lens protection in the good old days of B & W and when color became more popular with the masses in the sixties this seemed to take over the UV slot especially with the likes of slide film like Ektachrome which had a very cool bias. I would refer you to my previous answer and urge you to try the 81 series A B C, A having the weakest effect and C the strongest. If you have a friend running Pohtoshop these are built into the program so you could preview the effect on some of your pictures to see if its for you before you shell out your hard earned cash, all my lenses are fitted with an 81A, I rate them highly. Hope this is of some help, best wishes, Ian W.

20th April 2011, 05:32 PM
I always thought that for filters "skylight" was a non-scientific term for "UV". Is there in fact any difference between a skylight filter and a UV one?

Yes, while skylight filters do filter out UV, they are also slightly magenta in tint which is designed to reduce excessive blue in the sky (I ask myself why anyone would want to reduce the blue in the sky!?).

UV filters are very very slightly yellow in tint, but not worth worrying about. By filtering UV you can reduce haze under certain conditions, but it's pretty marginal and was more important in film days.


20th April 2011, 05:47 PM
The other possibility is that both Dorr & B+W make purely protection clear glass filters.
My own local dealer lists some here (http://www.harrisoncameras.co.uk/Shop/Lenses+and+Accessories/Lens+Filters/58mm+Filters/list.htm) in 58mm

It does add up though if you have 3 lenses to protect and want the best ones, B+W MRC or Dorr DHG. :(
I'd be wary of the cheapest ebay ones though as even the Oly kit lenses are pretty good optically and it would be a shame to spoil them.