The Importance of a UV Filter

Last week I was down in Houston shooting a wedding when I decided to do a quick circle around the church to scout out possible formal portait locations for after the ceremony. I was walking with my Shootsac camera bag looped around me, my 50D hanging on my right side, and my 5DMarkII in my left hand. I was wearing my black Danskos, which are great for preventing sore feet from all of the standing/walking, but awful in other ways because the heel is so high that I frequently turn my ankle over and look quite clumsy and feel all sorts of dumb. I was looking around for shady spots and not paying attention to where I was going when I stepped on some uneven pavement and turned my heel. I went down on my left knee (no worries, baby and I are both fine!) and in the process ended up using the front of my 5DMarkII to help break my fall.

When I got back up again, my camera looked a little something like this:


I was sick to my stomach that I had busted my lens and cost myself over $1000 in the process, but there was a wedding to attend to and the show must go on! The camera was working fine so I took the lens off and put it away for the day. The next day I found out that my clumsiness only cost me $26.99+tax. How?

A little thing called a UV filter.

When I first started buying lenses Kelli Nicole told me “Get UV filters right away!” I read up on them and definitely found a multitude of opinions concerning them. Some photographers swear by them because they protect your lens investment, others hate them because they don’t like the idea of putting a $50 circle of glass on a lens that cost them $150o. I decided I wanted to take Kelli Nicole’s advice and bought UV filters for all of my lenses. I now owe Kelli Nicole big time for teaching me this important step. She’s in Houston. Hire her. 🙂

To put a UV filter on your lenses (which, obviously, after this experience I think you should) you need to figure out two things:

1. The diameter of your lens. You can find this number by looking at the lens itself.

2.  Do a little bit of googling to figure out what brand will work best for you. I’m using Hoya brand Ultraviolet UV(0) Haze Multi-Coated Glass Filters on my lenses.

When you receive them all you need to do is screw them on to the front of your lenses, and then leave them there for good. Protected lens = peace of mind.

Also, don’t trip and fall and use your camera to brace yourself on the way down.

28 thoughts on “The Importance of a UV Filter

  1. Haha, you can thank my professor at BYU, John. I vividly remember him grilling this into us and telling us stories about hiking in the woods with his camera and dropping it (lens was fine, filter shattered). It’s also happened to me! I use B/W filters. They seem to be the best quality (though also pretty pricey!!)

  2. WOW!! I just bought a new lens and was highly recommended to get the filter. I didn’t have one on my other lens (also a $1500 lens) for almost a year. While I was purchasing the filter for the new lens I bought one for the old as well. SOOOO glad you posted this because now I’m glad I bought mine.

  3. Better to break your fall with the camera than your arm and breaking something or hurting the baby! Glad to see everything turned out well 🙂

    Lauren Reply:

    Second that one – better the lens than you and baby! (My mom had a similar accident before I was born. Delivery with two broken ribs is something she does not reccomend!)

  4. Thanks for this Jenna. I was just thinking to myself, “Do I need to get a UV filter for my new Nifty Fifty lens?” I have one for my kit lens, but hadn’t gotten around to buying (and forking over money) for the filter for the new lens. I’m going to hop on that right away!

  5. At least you didn’t do like me when I was 11 and lended on my front teeth.
    I had never heard of UV filters for cameras. Are they only there to protect from falls/scratches or do they serve other purposes?

  6. The night my car got towed from my own parking lot in King Henry, I dropped my camera and shattered my UV filter. I was so glad I had that silly filter on. I know this sounds like the dumbest thing you have ever heard, but I have not replaced it. It has been two years. I better get on that.

  7. eeps! Time to get a UV filter. But Jenna… we were Danskos at the hospital all the time… and I ALWAYS turn my ankles and look the fool!! Haha… I’ve been sticking to my sneaks these days when wearing scrubs.

  8. You should try out some Keen’s. So comfy and maybe easier to walk in 🙂

    Glad the lense is ok. I get SO mad at myself when I do something silly that ends up costing lots of money!

  9. On a totally barely related note, I wear Danskos to work to (I’m an RN) and I do that funny misstep/ankle turn thing all the time. My patients laugh at me – but for all the standing I do, they’re a foot/leg/back/neck saver!

  10. Wow, as the bride of that wedding, I had no idea! I’m glad you were okay, and you did an amazing job of keeping things running smoothly. I never would have known if it wasn’t for this post.

  11. Yikes! I did the opposite – when I was in Rome, I stepped backwards into some rocks…. and held the camera up to protect it. Came out of it without too many injuries (holding the camera saved me from broken wrists) but I never would have thought of the filter to save the camera! Thanks for sharing – and I’m glad everyone is ok!

  12. So, I’m going through all your photo advice. I have so much to learn. I never want to start my own company (don’t worry, no mommy with an expensive camera company from me), but I do want to do the best I can.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write it all out for all of us in blog world. I’m excited! I’m so glad Forrest didn’t get the kit lens. And I’m getting a UV filter tomorrow.

  13. Do you only use your UV filter for this purpose, or do you play around with other filters? I remember always wanting my dad (a professional photographer) to let me play with his filters. I especially liked polarizing filters, for some reason. They might mostly be a film photography thing, though.

    Kelli Nicole Reply:

    When I shot film I used to own a bunch of other filters, but with digital photography most of them are obsolete (warming filters for example). There are SOME filters (like a neutral-density) that could be of some benefit, but I doubt many digital shooters use them. Jenna and I both use close-up filters though!

    I had a professor who lived by the motto “Polarize EVERYTHING.” I’ve gotten rid of all mine.

    Jenna Reply:

    I don’t do any landscape photography so I don’t feel like I need any polarizing filters, as they are usually used to help darken the skin so that the landscape can be properly exposed without blowing the sky out.

  14. i’m in the process of getting some uv filters for my nikon camera. My father had an old filter from his old film nikon so I’m using that till I go get my own. They are the best things ever!

  15. Also, if you happened to have bought any of your damaged items within the past 90 days with an American Express card they will replace it FOR FREE if you break anything accidentally within 90 days. I have tried this out myself and they replaced my point and shoot digital camera about 4 years ago after I dropped it soon after buying it with my AMX.

  16. I just have to tell you that I rarely read your blog, but it’s on my Google reader, and I happened to read this post…

    And then I hired Kelli to shoot my wedding because of it. Haha. So thank you for helping me find my photographer!!

  17. We just bought our first dSLR today! And I remembered this post, so just showed it to my husband. Where do you recommend getting filters?


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