Based from the title above, of course the quick answers are either "depends" or yes it will (depending on the severity of the scratch).
But how much scratches/marks are we talking about here before it will actually affect the image quality?
And the decrease of image quality, is it in terms of contrast, sharpness, or something else?
I recently got a used lens and it comes with 72mm Nikon L37c filter. It has quite a lot of scuffs, not big, thick ones, but minor ones like the one you'll get if you wipe your lens with a "hard" cloth (not using proper lens tissue). Apart from those, it also has this little mark around 1mm.
Do you think those marks will actually affect image quality? I know for lenses, it will take lots of marks and dust before you can actually tell the difference. Does the same thing apply for filter as well?
I honestly can't really tell the difference, but just wanna make sure that it's not me that is not inspecting carefully enough. Thanks!
PS: On a side note, do you think a Nikon 85mm 1.4 AIS need this filter? (for use with digital)
>Do you think those marks will actually affect image quality? >I know for lenses, it will take lots of marks and dust >before you can actually tell the difference. Does the same >thing apply for filter as well? >
Probably. You're probably reducing the contrast and increasing the likelihood of flare. As you mention, it all depends on how many are present and how large they are.
> >PS: On a side note, do you think a Nikon 85mm 1.4 AIS need >this filter? (for use with digital)
No, I don't. It's a never-ending debate (search on protective filter to see different thoughts), but I gave up using protective filters when I was sixteen years old. That was twenty-eight years ago, and I have yet to damage, scratch or scuff a lens surface.
The circular screw-on filters (polarizers, neutral density) I own are not scratched to any noticeable degree. However all my ND Grads show some fine scratches on the surface and I have been using them for a number of years and on hundreds of shots. I have yet to see any deleterious effect.
I also do not use filters for protective purposes. I just don't think it is necessary and I believe it only serves to negatively impact the performance of the optics in your lens. I do use a lens hood whenever practical to not only protect the lens element but to minimize flare.
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The L37C was invented before that little mirror at the back of your camera (called digital sensor by some)
The modern recommended protective filter is the Nikon NC or equivalent since they'll help reduce reflections and flaring. However, you're putting a ~$100 piece of flimsy glass in front of a legendary $1000 lens - sure you're protected against smudges on the lens itself but you've still got to clean the filter. In some environments it may be worthwhile (blowing sand is the common example) but for general use I shoot without so the filter doesn't negatively affect the image.
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>But isn't the L37C suppose to be the "better" filter and >won't affect image quality so much? > >The reason why I am keeping it on the lens is mainly because >the 85mm 1.4 got such a big glass and it's easy to >accidentally put your finger on the glass and it's annoying >to clear such a wide glass. >
It's certainly your choice, but I haven't put a smudge mark on a lens in a long time, and they're easy to remove if you get one. A quick wipe with a microfiber cloth gets rid of one quickly and safely.