There two camps of thought regarding screw in UV haze filters and I am firmly in the “use” camp. I have a UV filter on every one of my lenses, not to reduce haze but to protect the front element of my expensive lenses and prevent them from getting scratched. As far as I am concerned it is better to scratch/damage and replace a filter costing £30 than the front element of lens costing several hundred pounds!
If there’s one thing I have learned having a UV filter permanently attached to my lens it is never screw another filter or lens attachment to it. When I got my first screw in ND filter I immediately screwed in to the UV filter already attached to my Canon 16 – 35 f4L IS wide-angle lens. The shoot went well but when I went to remove the ND filter it was stuck fast to te UV filter, and no matter what I did I couldn’t get the damn things apart! That episode ended up costing me the best part of a hundred quid - as I ruined both filters trying to prise them apart and also had to buy a replacement UV filter for my lens. I could only conclude I tightened the ND filter a little too much.
The next problem I encountered using a UV filter on my lens was with my Hitech filter holder adaptor ring. Once again I screwed the adaptor ring in to my UV filter, but this time I was extra careful not to screw it in too tight, and took the shots. When it came to removing the filter holder adaptor ring from the UV filter I couldn’t get the damn things apart. I managed to get the UV filter off the front of my lens, but there was no way the filter holder adaptor ring and UV filter were coming apart and all the filter would do was spin around and around. This was another expensive exercise since I had to replace the UV filter and the filter holder adaptor ring.
This time I was extra careful not to screw the filter holder adaptor ring in to the UV filter too tight yet I still couldn’t get them apart. Since I had no idea where I was going wrong I thought I would go and see the bloke at my local camera shop to see if he had any advice. From discussions with the very helpful bloke at my local camera it seems that what I was experiencing was a very common problem – even when attaching the ND filter/filter holder adaptor ring just tight enough it remained in situ. Basically I was told to never stack screw in filters or a screw in filter and other attachments.
I still have screw in UV filters on every lens I own however when I use screw in ND filters or want to use my Hitech square filter system I always remove the UV filter in the first instance, and since I have been doing this I haven’t had any further issues.
The moral of the story is to never stack screw in filters – unless you want them permanently
The screw in filters I use
I learned a long time ago the difference between cheap and expensive photography filters is in the way they are made and put together, and not the effects/results they produce. In my experience cheap lens filters and expensive lens filters will potentially leave ugly color casts and the like which need sorting out with some photo editing software, but when it comes to build quality expensive photography filters are always stronger, sturdier and more robust. Cheap filters are often flimsy and the screw in thread is weak, fragile and easily sheared off. The thread is also machined poorly resulting in light leaking gaps once the filter is attached to the lens too.
I have learned not to buy/use cheap filters but I also never buy the top end and stupidly expensive photography filters either. These top end filters do exactly the same job as cheaper filters and no more. The filters I buy are mid-priced ones and the brand I buy are Zomei.
Zomei filters produce the results I want (optically speaking), they are tough, well made and withstand the abuse I give them. My Zomei filters fit the end of my lenses perfectly, i.e. there are no gaps to let the light through, and the thread is well machined and long lasting. I have attached/removed my Zomei filters many many times and I have not had any issues.
Buy the Zomei filter kit from Amazon (US), eBay, Amazon (UK)
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.