What is a UV filter?
A UV lens filter is a disk of coated glass that screws onto the front of your camera lens. If you look close at the front of your lens you will notice there is a thin threading. This is there so you can screw a filter onto the front of your lens. There are a ton of different filters out there. A filter works just like when you put on sunglasses, its puts something between the light and your eye to change it in some way.
What does a UV filter technically do?
A UV filter helps filter ultraviolet rays from the light coming through your lens. Enough geek-speak for you? Here it is in plain english, UV filters reduces glare. Sun glare off of small waves in a lake, the gleaming sun off the chrome on a motorcycle, the reflective sun off of a glass window in a building. Screw a UV filter onto the front of your lens and you will cut down the gleaming sun.
I’ve seen a lot of new photographers carting their camera around with a lens cap on all the time. I did the same thing when I started out. This is a pain in the ass because you can never take the lens cap off quick enough when something is happening and you end up missing the shot.
How will a UV filter save my ass (or my lens’ ass)
I’m not sure if lens have asses, but I’ll try my best. I was shooting a wedding with two cameras around my neck and was crouching down to get a shot. One of my cameras with my mid-range zoom slid off my lap to the ground and landed straight onto the lens. The sound of breaking glass will haunt my dreams forever!
The $10 UV filter screwed onto the front for the previous year and a half shattered. Imagine losing one of your go-to lenses in the middle of shooting a live wedding! I thought lost the lens but realized that only the filter was shattered.
I unscrewed the filter from the lens and keep on shooting! I actually got applause from the attendees of the wedding when this happened!
Ninja photography tip: a UV filter is a see-through lens cap
I see a lot of new photographys carrying their cameras around with the lens cap on all the time. These are easy to lose, and kill any spontaneous photography you could ever hope for. Something starts happening and you are busy fumbling with the lens cap!
You could miss a once-in-a-lifetime photo from those lost few seconds! How many times has this happened to you while wanting to take a quick photo with your phone but your screenlock prevented you from getting it?
The real practicality of a UV filter is that protects your lens just like your lens cap. That means as long as you have a UV filter on the front of the lens, you don’t need to bring your lens cap! Any scratches, dirt, dust, or damage will happen to the UV filter and not your lens! I never leave home without one of these on my camera.
How do I know which size UV filter fits my camera lens?
Each lens has a filter size. Most of the time, the lens will have the number for the size filter it needs on the front of the lens. Its a number next to a circle with a line through it. Use that number when looking up the lens filter size.
My favorite places to get UV filters are Amazon. Now go get one and protect that lens!