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Old April 3rd, 2003, 06:36 PM   #1
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Sometimes a filter does save the lens

Last Friday, I was covering a live-fire SWAT building entry where they throw a flash-bang, enter and then fire their automatic weapons at targets.

The flash-bang kicked up a piece of gravel and it dinged my very very nice B&W UV filter. Big ding. Kicked up, hell. It FIRED that sucker at me. Along with a number of other members of the gravel family. Good thing I too was wearing my UV filter.
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 06:48 PM   #2
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Ouch! It sounds like you might need eye protection too. I'm glad that everything came out o.k.
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 07:00 PM   #3
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LOL. Any other potholes in your body?
So how's the footage you captured? Can you show us the shot where you get hit?

Rob:D
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 07:56 PM   #4
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It just looks like a piece of paper is on the lens . . . sort of. The physical damage wasn't all that great. I then set the filter up as a target. Really got chipped then!

The real problem is that one cannot see that type of lens problem when looking through the viewfinder while wearing eye protection. So I have the chip showing in all 4 takes. Fortunately it is at the top of the image.

I always glance at the lens between takes during this type of activity. Wasn't readily apparent until we set the camera up and played the footage back on the LCD that the filter was damaged.

I was wearing eye protection and a flack-jacket. Should have worn shin guards too. The gravel stings. Last time I did this I got popped with chips of bullets as they broke up on the steel targets. This round I thought I was far enough away and up on a berm.

The wildest footage was where one of the team members volunteered to get shot with a Taser. OUCH! It dropped him in a heartbeat. Left welts on his back like a Bee sting.
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 09:04 PM   #5
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CRAP! LOL. greatest thing. did you record that as well? lol.
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 09:30 PM   #6
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Oh yes. I had to chip in $5 (he made $100 for 5 seconds of agony) to fill up the pot. The guy that paid $20 got to shoot the Taser.
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 09:54 PM   #7
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A nice, heavy-duty lens hood, one made of thick rubber, will also add to the protection of your lens, and maybe to the cam's lens housing as well.
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 10:11 PM   #8
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As a point of interest, since there are many who feel that no quality lens should be used without a protective filter:

In the film industry, where a good quality fixed focal length lens costs anywhere from $5000 to $25,000 and the zooms can cost over $100,000, it is standard practice to use them naked, with no clear or UV filter in front. The reason is that the filters do not have the same level of coatings as the lenses and are thus making the lenses more prone to flare or contrast issues, as well as double reflections.

However, in a potentially dangerous situation as you described, we will always insert an optical flat (plain glass filter) to protect the lens. I just finished shooting a pilot that involved several scenes of automatic and pistol gunfire as well as squibs and spark guns, and we were constantly adding the flat, covering the cameras with furniture pads and/or positioning lexan in front of the cameras for protection.
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Old April 4th, 2003, 02:00 AM   #9
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LOL. SWAT Jackass wannabie? now thats a dangerous combination :)
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Old April 4th, 2003, 02:12 AM   #10
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Having been a photographer for years, I've heard the old argument about to filter or not to filter; having been a martal artist for years, I've heard the argument about linear verses circular. Here's my conclusions. A filter is inexpensive to replace, a lens is not. I know a lot of pro photographers, some extremily famous. The ones who don't believe in using filters, because they're "purists," are the people who keep buying replacement lenses because their older lenses are damaged. They sell their older lenses to unsuspecting newbies. Nice, huh? Regarding martial arts, there is no dividing line between linear and circular.

PS: the photographers I know who are not so famous are the ones who don't believe in using filters. Because they're "purists." Yeah, right.
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Old April 4th, 2003, 09:42 AM   #11
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our Canon lens supplier gives always spare uv filter with all more expensive lenses he sells, and that saved two cameramen last year from bigger damages. Gravel is not the only danger for lenses. If shooting news stories you are always in hurry and sometimes happens that you touch outer lens. These fingerprints are very hard to remove and if not removed in time, they 'burn' into outer lens. I think that in newsgathering some filter, clear or uv, is essential.

regards, Margus

just afterwards,
huh, cameramen were saved from big finantial losses, not damages.

silly me, margus
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Old April 4th, 2003, 10:19 AM   #12
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Modern multi coated surfaces are very durable and very hard. In recent times I've never heard of finger prints burning in and not being able to be removed. We used to have a camera store owner, in a small town I lived in, who put out cigarettes on the front of multi coated lenses. No damage. Finger prints can be stubborn, but not impossible to remove.
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Old April 4th, 2003, 10:48 AM   #13
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that Canon guy explained, that human sweat contains acid, which can go through some layers of coating, if not wiped out in time. i've seen some optics, not very old-fasioned, which have fingerprints on them, no way to get rid.
But anyway, the last case was with one digibeta cam, optics was hit by gravel under car wheels. When the cameraman heard a price for uv filter damaged, he thought 'hell of expensive glass'. Then we asked for approx price for job if first lens would be damaged. He saved over 2000 euros!

rgrds, margus
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