Photography: Which is the best UV Filters? Different brands tested!

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I’m just another professional-wannabe photographer trying to learn more. After finish reading this entry, you will realise how much I hate filters right now.

Here’s what exactly happened. For almost a year, I’ve been using my Nikon AF-D 35mm f/2.0 for uncountable shoots. And after every shoot, I’ll start wondering why this piece of lens, reviewed as one of the great primes out there, produces photos with really lousy contrast. I used a Hoya UV Guard filter. Anyway, I got really sick of the 35mm and nearly sold it (here). On the day of posting, I decided to remove the filter to clean the lens up and realised that shots taken with the filter degraded my photo quality by a lot.

The test was done with:

Nikon D90 (All photos were shot on RAW with NO POST PROCESSING)
Nikon Nikkor AF-D 35mm f/2.0

Read the whole test after the jump!

 

35mm_NoFilter_original

Above: Whole photo of the test scene used. The photo was saved with PhotoShop at Quality 8/12.

All test shots were shot at f/4.5, 0.8secs at ISO 200.

 35mm_NoFilter

Above: 100% without any Filter.

35mm_hoya

Above: 100% Crop with Hoya UV GUARD (JAPAN).

If you look closely, details were  kept rather well, The filter caused the photo to lose too much contrast. This was the biggest problem when I used the lens.

 

35mm_kenko

Above: 100% Crop with Kenko (Digital Filter) UV.

On a Kenko, the photo actually turns out rather blur. It’s not handshake as the camera was left on a table opposite. Lots of details were lost, retaining some contrast.

 

35mm_SteinZeiSer

Above: 100% Crop with SteinZeiser Germany MC UV.

This is the worst filter for the test. Say good bye to your details and a little contrast. Never get this filter if you want some decent photographs.

BONUS!

shot_hoya

shot_nofilter

Top: Used Hoya UV Guard
Bottom: No filter
Both: Nikon D90 (RAW), Nikon Nikkor AF-D 50mm f/1.4, shot at f/2.0, 1/15, ISO 200. No post processing done.

This may be a brief review but with the 4 shots, tested using 3 different filters, I realised that filters in a way or another degrade the photograph I take.

Conclusion

If you must have a filter and you really need a budget one, get Kenko. Kenko doesn’t kill too much details and gives you fair contrast.

If you can, do without a filter. Your photos should appear best without any filter.

Disclaimer

I am not paid to do this test.

This test was done on filters that cost less as I have no budget for anything like B+W. If you would like to send me donations to get more filters and continue the test, feel free to send me the donation via paypal – paypal@ker.sg.

* All photos above have original EXIF intact.

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  • http://waynefotography.wordpress.com/ Wayne

    Where’s B+W filter? keke .. i prefer Hoya since contrast can be adjusted by PP ..

  • http://www.desmondyee.com Desmond Yee

    how come yours with filter on makes such a huge difference! O.O

    stunning!

  • fai ming

    cool shit. thanks for the heads up! i want to try yr 35mm f2 too!

    • http://felixker.com Felix Ker

      Thanks Fai! You’re part of my inspiration to do this test.

      “no filters. i dont believe in uv filiters”