Technical & Testing

Camera Lens UV Filter Test: Does coating make a difference?

I decided to do a quick test to see how my collection of 58mm UV filters damage image quality. I also took an image without a filter to see what difference using no filter makes.

Why do I personally use filters? I want the added protection that a filter brings as well as the simplicity of cleaning a filter instead of the front element of the lens.

I occasionally take the filter off when I know the situation will cause issues such as extreme reflections from that added glass. This test was intended to test reflection and glare, not image sharpness. I might eventually do another test to see if there is a reduction in sharpness.

Here is the video I put together as I was testing:

Here is an image with all filters and the no filter sample.

Get the replacement Hoya 58mm EVO Antistatic UV(0) Filter here:
B&H Photo Video
Used from

Get the Hoya 58mm Ultraviolet UV(0) Super Multi-Coated (S-HMC) Glass Haze Filter here:
Used from
B&H Photo Video

Results are easy to analyze. The filters without a coating were terrible, which justifies my reasoning in not using those filters anymore. The coated Promaster and Hoya filters had the best result, but still not as clean an image as the one without any filter.

Seeing this result, that I basically already knew about based on my experience, still won’t change my decision about using filters. The multi-coated filters appear good enough in limiting reflection that they a good compromise. In this case I prefer to be practical rather than an elitist about image quality.

Video Transcription

Hey, this is Scott of Today I'm
going to talk about lens filters. Also

going to do a little test to see how
they perform. And see if it's a good idea

to buy a filter with a coating on it. Or
just not use a filter at all. I have five

different filters here 58mm for
this lens. Some of them don't have

coatings, some do. This one, for example, is
a Vivitar 58mm super cheap

junk no-coating. I kind of expect what that
will turn out like. Here's a Canon...

Another UV projector, no coating on it.
And this one's kind of an odd bird. It's a

Tiffin digital ultra clear. I bought this
because I thought it would be really

decent, but it turns out it doesn't have
any coating on it. And it's just piece of

glass. Down the line this is the one that
I use for this lens all the time. It's a

Promaster 58mm MC UV, so it's
got a multi-coating on it. And I have one

more. This is the one that I use on my 31mm lens. This is a Hoya HMC

Super. So this has an improved multi
coating probably a very good glass to it.

So this should be the best one. I do
generally use filters because I want to

protect the lens. And it's a lot easier
to clean a filter than to clean the lens

properly. I'm sure there is some negative
image quality wise, but it's not enough

for me personally to not use the filter.
We'll see today how that works out.

Just got a camera here focused on this
lamp. And then we'll see what type of

reflections and things happen with each
filter. Camera on, put it on F/4 aperture.

ISO 200. Start with the Vivitar UV 58

mm filter. No multi-coating on it.

That doesn't even properly fit (threading issue). Next up
is the Canon. Just says UV protector.

This does not have a coating either.

Next up is the Tiffin Digital Ultra Clear.
I suspect that this will be just like

the other two previous ones.

Okay, next up is the Promaster 58mm MC UV. It has a multi-coating on it.

Take a shot!

Now I see a difference right now... Last
one is the Hoya HMC Super 58mm.

and it says UV(0), but that's some type of additional...

property to it. Take a photo. Looks pretty
good. Now I will take one photo without

any filter on it.

So that's it for the test. I'll put up
each image as it goes in the video, and I

also make another article most likely.
Here is a screen that I put together to

show all six images. Let's just go over
them a little bit. You can see the three in the

top those are the filters without a
multi-coating. The Vivitar is a little

bit darker. All of the highlights a
little bit darker than the Canon one,

which is the worst possible filter. The
Tiffin is pretty similar to the Vivitar.

And the Tiffin was expensive. It was
supposedly better than the other ones,

but it's not. And you can see in the
bottom Promaster multi-coated is

probably the best filter in the group
here. Although, you can see it adds a

green tint. The Hoya still has the blue
tint to it, but it's a little bit

brighter in those reflections then the
Promaster one. And of course no filter

you have the least amount of reflection.
Because there's less glass to deal with.

So that's it for that little test. I hope
you found it informative. I actually did

quite a bit because I see that the
filter does make a difference in image

quality. But in my case, not too much that
I'm not going to use a filter. Thanks!