Do you need UV filter aka. lens protector?

You know that first camera accessory you have ever bought, the one that the salesman in the camera shop so enthusiastically tried to force you to buy? Yes, I’m talking about these guys; do you need UV filter?

While this might be the first filter you have bought it might be the least useful.

The only thing this will do is to protect your lens. Now that’s a good thing right? That expensive lens might need some protection right? Well this might be true, but let me explain you the mindset of those who use their cameras daily (and depend on them).

Professional photographers rarely use UV filters. They can’t afford having  extra piece of glass sitting on their lens. The filter, any filter for that matter, adds extra risk for glare, and might and will also affect colour rendition. Professionals can’t afford this, because image quality is their life quite literally.  Now high end UV filters might be good but they are quite pricey, often more expensive than basic lens repair.

One professional photographer I talked with in Japan said “I like direct communication with the subject” meaning that adding extra layer of glass would only create distance between them. I think this explains the mindset of a professional well. I think it’s quite beautiful way to think actually.

Do you need UV filter?
Do you need UV filter / aka lens protector that was sold with the lens?

Do you need UV filters for lens protection?  The salesman in camera shop might tell you that this piece of glass might save your lens if you drop it, not unlike insurance salesman.. One thing is sure, this is insurance that might cost you in image quality.

Ok, I do get that near salty water or in sandy desert, these might come in handy. Or maybe near small children. So I keep mine around just in case, but rarely use it in normal conditions.

My advice would be to use lens hood instead. It protects the surface of the lens way better from snow, rain and glare. And is way cheaper.

Please see the video above on my thoughts on UV filters.