The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to UV Filters

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In the market for a UV filter? Find out why so many photographers never take their UV filter off their lens, learn how to ensure your UV filter doesn’t hurt image quality, and discover how to know which UV filter to buy for your lens.

Words and Photography by Urth HQ

Here’s the lowdown on how UV filters can help provide sharper, clearer images with more detail while simultaneously giving you peace of mind of the safety of your equipment. Read on to get up to speed with why a UV filter for camera and lens equipment should be the next thing on your wishlist.

What is a UV filter used for?

An Ultraviolet Filter is a glass filter that blocks UV light from entering your camera. There are two main reasons to use a UV Filter:

1. Sharpen your photos and videos by cutting out haze, and

2. Protect your lens from dust, micro scratches and the perils of daily use.

The beauty of a UV filter is that it doesn’t affect your exposure settings. It allows 99.99% of light through to your lens (called a transmission rate) so you can keep it on your lens all the time to ensure that you’ve protected the front. 

“Your images will be sharper, clearer and have more detail.”

Before using a UV filter.
After using a UV filter.

How do I choose the best UV filter for my lens?

As a rule of thumb, use the quality of your lens to guide the quality of your lens filter. If you’ve invested in a professional quality lens with premium optical glass, buying a cheap lens filter will affect the quality of your image because the optical glass won’t be as high quality.

At Urth, we have two ranges of filters: Urth and Urth Plus+. Our standard Urth range is made to our exacting standards and provides a high-quality and affordable option for all creators. Our Urth range is made with Japanese AGC optical glass and features our 8-layer protective nano-coating. 

Our Urth Plus+ range is made from the best materials available with professional creators in mind. It features a 20-layer nano-coating (30-layer for our UV Plus+) and the world’s best German SCHOTT optical glass, for professional standard photos. 

Both the Urth UV Filter and Urth UV Filter Plus+ are designed to be easy to use, highly robust and long lasting. Whilst there are varying degrees of technical difference, each type of filter stands on its own two feet as a world class protective filter.

Urth standard range.
Urth Plus+ range.

How does a UV filter work?

GREAT FOR HAZY DAYS

Ultraviolet light creates a blue hue and makes details look softer focused. It’s usually quite subtle but can be seen more clearly on hazy days, which is when a UV filter comes into its own. When you cut ultraviolet light, you’ll remove the cold blue hue, and by cutting the haze, your images will be sharper, clearer and have more detail. This is particularly useful when shooting at high altitude or with a very bright light source. To see our UV filter in action, check out Justin McLean’s photo series, taken on a hazy morning.

Digital cameras are not particularly sensitive to UV light in the same way that analogue cameras can be, especially with certain types of film which react to UV radiation. Nevertheless, it’s often worth the peace of mind when you buy a UV filter to protect your lens and there will be a noticeable improvement in terms of haze too!

If you’re big on nature photography it’s definitely worth checking out this guide to the must-have lens filters for capturing nature’s details.

Before using a UV filter.
After using a UV filter.

INSURANCE FOR YOUR LENS

Whether you’ve invested in a professional lens or you’re getting started with an entry-level lens, they’re a significant purchase and one you want to last you for a long time. If you have a lens filter on your lens and it falls victim to one of the many perils of outdoor photography – sand, dirt, mud and the rest – it may just save your lens. Having dust settle on your lens also increases the risk of dust scratches. 

We’ve had customers drop their cameras and their lens filter was the only casualty – easily replaced and a lot cheaper than replacing a lens.

Camera lens protected from sand and scratches with a Urth UV Lens Filter Plus+.

When choosing a UV lens filter, match the quality of your filter to the quality of your lens.”

IMAGE QUALITY

Some people believe that using lens filters reduces image quality, but that depends on the quality of the lens filter. So long as the optical glass on your UV filter is as good as or better than that of your lens, it won’t noticeably affect image quality. A premium quality UV filter won’t affect image quality and will help clarity and sharpness.

Shot with a Urth UV Lens Filter Plus+.

Are UV filters worth it?

UV filters can help sharpen your photos by cutting out haze and blue hue. They do not affect exposure settings so you can leave them on your lenses, which also provides a protective barrier for your lens. When choosing a UV lens filter, match the quality of your filter to the quality of your lens – if in doubt, go for the better quality filter.

Did you know Urth makes lens filters that reforest the world? Five trees are planted in deforested areas for every filter purchased. Shop our range of lens filters here.

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2021-09-23T04:25:00+00:00Categories: Gear|Tags: , |