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Do skylight/UV filters degrade the image?


Marietta, US
32 posts

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ToddEvans Basic Member
Fri 19-Oct-01 12:26 AM

I realize this can be a hotly contested topic, and I don't intend to re-start a thread that may have already been debated and that everyone is sick of, but I thought I'd ask the Nikonian experts. : ) Is it a good idea to always use skylight, UV or haze filters with Nikkor lenses?

I have always used skylight filters on all my lenses, kind of like a permanent lens cap you can shoot through. I've also always discounted the opinions of some who would suggest that one should never use any filters unless they have a specific purpose in mind. Recently, however, I came across a post on another forum (which shall remain nameless) where a person suggested that some UV filters are such poor optical quality that they can cause autofocus mechanisms to fail to lock. What I'm wondering is, if a filter can cause a lens to fail to autofocus, could it also cause it to focus incorrectly?

I am asking because since switching to Nikon from C*n*n this past spring, I have noticed that some of my landscape photos seem slightly soft at infinity. I noticed it first with my 28-80 AF-D, then later with my 50mm f/1.8. Could a marginal quality or not quite 100% squeaky-clean skylight filter be causing the autofocus to lock at some distance other than infinity? Is the filter just dirty enough to cause the softness? Or maybe I should be shooting landscapes using manual focus?

I am referring to skylight and UV filters manufactured by Tiffen and Hoya.