Experimenting with Stacks of UV Filters

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.

The photo on top is an image taken without filters, while the one of the bottom uses the 50 filter stack:

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