If you have ever bought a camera lens in Hong Kong, inevitably you have been asked this question – do you want to buy a filter?
What does a filter do?
Different filters have various purposes but the one most often used, and the one that a shopkeeper will most likely immediately try to sell you after buying a lens or camera is a UV filter – essentially a clear piece of glass that screws on to the front of your lens without having any noticeable effect on the actual image.
Then why do people use lens filters?
Photographers generally subscribe to one of two schools of thought – using UV filters on all their lenses or not using UV filters at all. Those that use UV filters generally use it for protection – if you were to drop your lens or something were to smash into your lens, the filter would take the brunt of the impact, and hopefully leave your actual lens unscathed. Unfortunately many camera shops in Hong Kong will try to “scare” a first-time buyer into thinking you ABSOLUTELY NEED a UV filter when really, its up to you. Not cool.
Yes, a UV filter could save your lens from damage one day, but I prefer not to use any UV filters at all and to just use my lens hood as protection. It saves me money and works just as well. So the next time you buy a lens and get the hard sell on buying an additional lens filter, think twice.