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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old May 19th, 2004, 01:11 PM   #1
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lens protection

I have just bought my xl1s over the weekend and am having lots of fun getting to know how it all works on the xl1s. I have one question that I`m sure you budding users will have the answer to. On my SLR camera I have a skylight lens which I was advised to put on to protect the lens as well as get rid of any haze. Would adding a skylight filter to my xl1s lens cause any loss on quality of the picture or should I just leave it bare and make sure I take extra extra extra care with the lens ?

Thanks in advance.
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Old May 19th, 2004, 01:20 PM   #2
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A skylight filter or an optical flat will work just fine to protect the front element of the lens. Always advisable to have one.

Neither one of these will jeopardize your picture quality.

RB
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Old May 19th, 2004, 01:22 PM   #3
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Welcome to DV Info Andrew. This is one of the most often asked questions on the forums and there is no clear cut answer for all people. I don't use "protective" filter because I believe they degrade the image quality. Others feel differently. You may want to further research this topic. The search function can be accessed via the search button in the upper right corner of the window or via link in my signature.
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Old May 19th, 2004, 09:02 PM   #4
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Opinions, opinions...

Andrew,

The price of replacing a front element is going to be much more costly than ANY perceptible degradation that can come from adding an optical or skylight filter to the front of your lens.

Realistically speaking, I challenge anyone to tell me when a protective filter has degraded an image, barring the fact that maybe said filter was dirty, which is probably your worst enemy, whether it is the filter or the element that is dirty, especially if light is hitting the lens directly. At this point you would, probably, have to deal with lens flare and all of the other little nuisances that come with this problem.

We use opticals in the "Hollier Than Thou" film industry all the time, especially when extra lens protection is needed. Normally, you do not need the extra protection on a film shoot because of one of two reasons:

1- We're not shooting something that puts the lens in any kind of jeopardy, such as shooting in interior or in a studio, any kind of controlled setup, etc.

2- There is already a filter such as a color correction filter like an 85 or any of its neutral density brethren already being used or some other glass filter is in place that would, in itself, protect the front element just by being there.

If it is not noticeable on a projected motion picture screen, from 35mm film, I guarantee you that you and I are not going to notice it on our pathetic little monitors at home!

Do yourself a favor and protect your investment...put something between your front element and the rest of the world!

Good luck,

RB
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Old May 19th, 2004, 11:20 PM   #5
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Having gone without a filter for 20 plus years in some of the harshest conditions (desert, plains and rain-forests of Africa and jungles of the Philippines) I have never damaged the front element of a lens. It's not because I'm extra careful, because I'm not. My prime concern is getting the shot and I've placed many a lens in harms way in pursuit of the best possible image.

Most people operate under the false assumption that the glass elements and the multi-coatings are soft. They are not. I've seen cigarettes put out on the front element of lenses without any damage to the surface. The multi-coatings and front surface are actually very hard. The manufacture knows the dangers the lens might face and designs the coatings and elements to help withstand the punishment they will face. Believe me, if the lens designer wanted anything in front of the lens to protect it they would design it in. This can be evidenced by the longer lenses which Canon produces with an outer protective element.

The cost of two protective filters is in many cases more than the cost of having a front element replaced. A good multi-coated 72mm filter (B + W) for the XL1 lenses is well over $100 dollars. I had a front element replaced on a used 16X Canon lens for just over $200. About the same cost as two filters so there is really no savings.

The issue of image degradation is a hot one. I have seen the effects of cheap filters placed in front of lenses. The poor quality results are easily seen on a video monitor. Search the threads here. Numerous members have reported the effects of cheap filters. For me and many others, the places we go and the shots we get can't be repeated. It's not Hollywood, where you can yell cut and que the action after removing or cleaning a dirty filter etc. Life doesn't happen twice, whether it's a child's first steps or a cheetah making a kill. A protective filter is unnecessary.
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Old May 20th, 2004, 12:03 AM   #6
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There's much to be advocated for both opinions. I've adopted the mostly-naked philosophy for three reasons.

1. While high-quality, coated filters impose little tax on image quality in ideal conditions (later) naked produces the purest image the lens can produce.

2. Ideal conditions rarely exist. Off-axis lighting, particularly in dim scenes, can ignite a storm of flare and internal reflections (between the filter and the lens).

3. During the past few years I've had a chance to watch many film and television productions being shot outdoors here in Chicago. Being an out-of-the-industry amateur I'm generally relegated to being a gawker. But I always try to see how the camera operator has his lens (usually Panavision cameras) rigged. (Who cares about the celeb actors! <g>) Whether in the blazing summer sun, snowy days, or drizzle the lenses I've seen are always naked. Certainly, this must not always be the case. ND grads must be used frequently. But my interpretation of this observation is that camera operators and DP's must also believe that nudism is best if possible.

So unless I really expect nasty conditions I shoot naked.

Still, I'll not become extremist on this point. I simply advocate that folks think about everything that comes between the subject and their CCD's. I think too many newcomers adopt the protection philosophy blindly and then robotic-ally follow it. They then find themselves stacking filters ad nauseam on top of a UV (ex: polarizer, softener, et.al.) and complain when they have problems. Or they blame the lens when the fireflies appear.

So I just advocate that folks consider their own risk/reward curve and do some experimentation before they adopt one policy or another.
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Old May 20th, 2004, 01:55 AM   #7
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Whether you decide on going with or without a UV/skylight filter to protect the lens, screwing on a lens hood further also or protects the lens. That is more important than the filter, I think. However, I'm one of those shooters who always has a filter screwed on all of my lenses (as well as a rubber hood). The photo guys I know who don't believe in using filters are also the guys who end up with bad B&W examples and seem to be replacing their lenses every couple of years.
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 02:14 AM   #8
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Thanks guys, you`ve been most helpfull. Looks like the best ting to do is read the situation and put a lens on if the lens is at risk, otherwise go naked..........The wife has just told me to go and put my cloths back on, guess thats not what`s ment by "filming naked" !!! :-)
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 03:19 AM   #9
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Andrew, the thing about having the XL1s lens naked does not matter as much with say leaving a DVX100a lens naked because the Canon lens screws off if it needs to be replaced. Replacing a DVX100a lens would be more costly.

Do you own the NTSC XL1s? I see you are from the UK (PAL country). I was just wondering.
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 09:41 AM   #10
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I have the PAL version. I also have the XM2 (I think you guys call it the GL2) which is also PAL.
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Old May 23rd, 2004, 09:38 AM   #11
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I shoot naked all the time. SOmetimes I take the filter off the lens too.

My rule of thumb:
If there is a chance something nasty will hit the lens, then I put the filter on. Otherwise, I leave it nekkid.

Situations would include: shooting out a moving car window, shooting mountainbikes that kick up gravel, shooting paintball games, shooting martial artists stickfighting up close.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 05:35 AM   #12
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Hi guys, I was working the chemical fire in Conyers, GA yesterday and had to "meet the press". There were 7 TV camera crews there. They were useing Sony and Panasonic. Everyone of them had a lens filter on. Yes, it is easy to get your lens fixed. However, it is very hard to get your lens fixed while on travel to Africa, Amazon etc. I put the lens filter on the day I buy the lens. I have replaced 3 of them....but never had to replace a lens. Bob
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Old May 26th, 2004, 11:18 AM   #13
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If I were a news camera operator I'd use a protective filter, too! That's a good example of never knowing when hazard's around the corner. The primary "hazard" in this case is not potential lens damage; it's getting your sorry caboose fired when you come back with a broken $10,000+ lens.
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