All You Need to Know About UV Lens Filters

17 March 2024

UV lens filters are a helpful accessory for photographers of all levels. Without a UV filter, your photos might show some haze, light reflections and flares. But what exactly are UV lens filters, and do you really need one? In this guide, we'll break down everything you need to know about these lens filters, from how they work to what to look for when purchasing one for your camera lens.

What is a UV Lens Filter, and How Does it Work?

A UV lens filter, short for ultraviolet lens filter, is a clear piece of optical-grade glass that screws onto the front of your camera lens. Its primary function is to block ultraviolet light, which is invisible to the human eye but can have a negative impact on your photographs.

Here's a breakdown of how UV filters work:

  • Blocking Ultraviolet Light. Ultraviolet light can cause a bluish haze to appear in your photos, especially when shooting in bright, sunny conditions or at high altitudes. By blocking this light, UV lens filters help to produce sharper, clearer images with more accurate colour reproduction.
  • Protecting Your Lens. Beyond filtering light, UV filters also offer valuable protection for your lens. They act as a barrier against dust, dirt, scratches, and even moisture. If you accidentally brush your lens against a branch while hiking, your UV lens filter will take the brunt of the impact, potentially saving your lens from damage.

Do You Actually Need a UV Lens Filter?

The short answer is yes. A UV filter is a valuable and affordable accessory for most photographers. While the impact on image quality might be minimal in some situations, the benefits of protection far outweigh the drawbacks. 

Here are the pros of using a UV lens filter:

  • Peace of Mind. Knowing your lens has an extra layer of protection can give you peace of mind while shooting. While some argue that modern camera sensors are less susceptible to UV light, a UV filter still offers valuable protection for your lens. 
  • Easy Cleaning. UV filters are much easier and cheaper to clean than your actual lens. If you get dust, fingerprints, or even water splashes on your filter, you can simply wipe it clean without worrying about damaging the delicate lens coating.
  • Improved Image Quality. In some situations, blocking UV light can actually lead to slightly sharper and more vibrant images. This is especially true when shooting landscapes or at high altitudes.

What to Look for in a UV Lens Filter

Now that you understand the benefits of UV filters, let's explore what to look for when purchasing one:

  • Filter Thread Size. This is crucial. Unlike lens focal length, filter thread size is specific to each lens and is typically denoted by a millimetre value (e.g., 52mm, 67mm) printed on the front of your lens barrel. Double-check your lens thread size before purchasing a filter to ensure a perfect fit. You’ll likely find this information on the manufacturer's website or in your camera's manual.
  • Filter Quality. UV lens filters come in a range of qualities, impacting both price and performance. There are entry-level filters suitable for basic protection, multi-coated filters with an additional anti-reflective coating, and high-end filters for professional photographers and videographers.

An entry-level filter is a good option for your basic standard zoom lens. However, consider investing in a multi-coated filter or a high-end option to protect a more expensive, high-quality lens.

Protect your lens with these UV Filters

Accessorise Your Camera with a UV Filter

Whether you're a seasoned photographer or just starting out, UV lens filters are a worthwhile addition to your camera bag. They offer affordable protection for your valuable lenses and can improve your image quality in certain situations. To find out more about other lens filter options and what they can do, check out our Camera Lens Filter Buying Guide

Ready to explore the possibilities? Visit your local Ted's Camera store today or browse our extensive selection of UV lens filters online. Our experts are always happy to answer your questions to help you find the perfect filter.

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