One of the benefits of running a gear rental business is that you have a ton of equipment you can use for random experiments. That’s exactly what Roger Cicala, the owner of LensRentals, did with the UV filters he had on hand. One-upping the 19 filter stack we shared a while back, he mounted 50 different UV filters to a Canon 5D Mark II and 300 f/4 lens to see what the resulting images would look like.
Obviously no one uses stacks of filters in this way, but it does illustrate an important truth: while UV filters protect your lens, they also degrade your image quality (even if it’s ever so slightly).
So is there a difference in quality between expensive, “pro” filters and cheaper ones? To test this, Cicala stacked 5 high-quality UV filters and 5 cheap UV filters. Here are the no-filter, good-filter, bad-filter photos, respectively:
As you can see, it’s definitely worthwhile to purchase a high-end UV filter for protecting your lens if you care about image quality. You can read more about Ciala’s filter tests here.
Good Times with Bad Filters [LensRentals]
Image credits: Photographs by Roger Cicala/LensRentals and used with permission