I'm never wrong. Once I thought I was wrong, but I was wrong. And so the story goes.
I think that from my very first class that I taught in photography, I've expressed the opinion that I don't like the UV filters that are recommended to "protect" your lens. I've got good reasons for that too.
I just don't understand why you'd spend good money on a high quality lens with expensive coatings to provide you with quality images, and then put a filter on the lens of questionable optical quality.
I've always found that lens hoods have done more to protect my lenses while filters increase the chance of lens flare and risk lowering the quality of an image.
That was until Dan came along. It's been many years now, but my good friend Dan Leffel attended a workshop that I hosted in Arches National Park. Of course, during the workshop I spouted off about how lens hoods are better that those pesky filters.
Later in the day, Dan and I are hiking along the top of a fin rock formation. He was on one sloped side and I was just behind another rock formation when all of the sudden I heard a strange noise. It's hard to describe but in my mind it was the sound of Dan slipping on the rock and sliding off the edge, plunging some 50 feet to the rocks below.
I ran around the rocks to where Dan was standing and thank goodness he was still there. "Are you okay?", I asked. "I thought for sure you had slipped off the rock and I'd have to call your wife." After which someone would have to call my wife when she got through with me.
"I'm okay, my camera bag slid over the edge", he said. Now, if you've ever been to arches and seen some of these formations, it wasn't easy getting to the bottom and finding the bag, but we did and guess what? Not one thing was broken, except for the UV filter that protected his lens when the bag hit the rocks below.
So, now I've modified my recommendations. If you plan on putting your camera bag on a steep slope near the edge of a cliff, you have my permission to use UV filters to protect your lens.
About Dan Leffel
Over the years, Dan has really grown into a wonderful photographer. He focuses his time on travel and nature photography and you can see more of his work on his website at boldlightphoto.com.