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UV filters for film - dumb question?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:26 pm    Post subject: UV filters for film - dumb question? Reply with quote

Hello to you all,

I have simple, maybe dumb, question concerning UV filters.
At first, please don't write that UV filters protect the lens as I don't care about that feature (I'm not shooting in sandstorm Wink ), also topic is about film only, not digital.

The question is: if UV filters are going to make any difference, when shooting on modern colour films?
I'm going to the mountains for my holiday and I would be shooting Portra 400, Ektar 100 or Superia X-Tra 400 and I wonder if UV filter in front of my lens would be any use.

I always thought that UV filters are just marketing-trick to sell you another piece of crappy glass for some ridiculous money and that they probably had some proper use with older film emulsions. Now, however, I came across a few articles that claim UV filters would still make difference when shooting film, especially on higher altitudes.

What are your experiences?


PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whilst I've not done any testing I'd be VERY surprised if UV filters didn't help with modern film.
The gain may not be too significant if your using only modern lenses many of which block much more UV than legacy lenses.

UV wavelengths have more energy than visible wavelengths, so will be above the thresholds needed to activate the reactions in the film. Whilst it's probably possible to develop an extra layer for the film to block UV there wouldn't be enough profit in the subsequent sale to pay for the R&D.

If you're ever shooting film at high altitude (where UV is a more significant problem) it would be a relatively cheap & easy thing to test out.


PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never used UV filters neither on film nor on digital. I always considered the coating of the lenses as sufficient and was never in favor of putting a glass in front of my lenses.
However, If you go to the mountains I would rather recommend a polarizing filter. My best pictures from the mountains have been made with polarizing filters on both analog and digital. That gives you a rather dramatically look if there are clouds around: Deep blue sky and very contrasty clouds. Even for pictures with water (lakes or little rivers) it helps to avoid reflections. I have pictures of fish which wouldn't have been possible without such a filter.
However, for film the use of a SLR camera is more or less a must as you have to control the effects beforehand.


PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you guys for your replies.
There are probably as many for as against using UV filters.

I've never used them thinking it's bollocks and I agree with you Thomas - I'm always against putting additional piece of glass in front of the lens.
As for polarising filters, it's sure thing I would take them and I think that you don't need to convince me or tell me how it works Wink, also I'm planing to take OM-2SP Wink.

Here's a photo from my last trip (on Fuji Superia X-TRA 400, Pentax ME Super and Vivitar Close Focus 28mm/2.8, polarising filter, lab dev and scan):
98860017 by Mateusz Molik, on Flickr


As for UV filters I'm probably going to shoot a few frames with/without a filter to try it on, but was very curious about other mflenses members experiences.
Still I hope to hear some more opinions.


PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've answered my own question as I did small test. I shot the same scene with two different lenses without filters, with UV filter from Hoya and Skylight filter from B+W.

There was absolutely no difference whatsoever between the photos after scanning. Haze wasn't magically removed from distant landscape.
I've added one frame per lens shot with polarising filter, which of course gave noticeable effects, which is quite obvious and wasn't surprise.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Old books say it makes a difference in the mountains. Either I have not old enough lenses or the mountains I was were not high enough.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PhantomLord wrote:
I shot the same scene with two different lenses without filters, with UV filter from Hoya and Skylight filter from B+W.

There was absolutely no difference whatsoever between the photos after scanning.


Although i have never tested this myself, a skylight filter has a slight pink color, so theoretically it should do something with blue colors / blue hue and/or give a slight improvement in color temperature (warmer).


PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AAMOI a polariser will cut through haze slightly.....enjoy using film.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are older lenses e.g. Makro Noflexar 35mm which don't block UV completly. Here of course filter makes sense. But for modern glass the only reason is front Lens protection.


PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UV filters were designed to filter out the uv light that affects the blue layer of film. Mountains and the beach are places you may get higher uv light. Back in the day when I worked at a camera shop we had genuine sample prints showing the difference.

My advice, get one - get a good one, you can pick up Hoya MC, Tiffen or BDB relatively cheaply on ebay, they are the best of the affordable brands . Dont buy cheap crap.

I don't know if modern films have reduced UV sensitivity, I suspect not.